From time to time, I do get "tagged" by bloggers who wish to pass on certain memes, or ideas down a long chain of bloggers.
Thanks in no part to Tina Burton from misterjebs blog, I have been tagged with a paranormal meme, a fairly hair-raising genre for those not accustomed to creepy tales from the crypt.
As part and parcel of the meme, the guidelines are as follows:
1. You should post these rules
2. Recall and relate a time when you experienced a "paranormal event"
3. Explain it rationally if you can
4. Inflict this meme on 5 other people
The Creepy Voice From Above
As far as I am concerned, I don't have that many creepy stories to narrate: Those "true ghost stories" phenomena I have largely scoffed at, partly due to the fact that I am a skeptic with regards to the paranormal event, and partly because ghosts, if they do exist, would have to exist in a different plane from ours, and should by and large avoid our dimension. This is an interesting diversion, but since I am not in favor of dragging the story till kingdom cometh, I shall proceed with my creepy little tale.
I guess I had to start with the year 2001: I was a recruit with the Republic of Singapore Navy, or RSN for short: Those days, all newbie sea crew were sent to the Sembawang Naval Base (somewhere in the North of Singapore, across the Johor Straits), a decrepit, dinghy left-over base consisting mainly of WWII era British housing, plus the spanking new diver school in the vicinity. It was an odd dichotomy, since the new diving school didn't seem to blend well with the rest of the navy barracks.
And very old they were, these old colonial houses, which were at that time converted to trainee barracks. While the block I was "dumped" into had few, if any circulating horror stories, one of the more notorious blocks was reputedly so haunted that the trainees could hear banging cupboards and moving furniture in the still of the night. A friend of mine, who was attached to that block, could testify to this, but since I am not in the mood to trust second hand testimonies, I shall move on.
And so it was, on this particular, starless night, I was handed the once-a-week guard post duty, which was as dreary as it was monotonous: Maintaining the guardhouse, reporting to the Duty Officer, doing the mandatory rounds..........yes, and that was where the fun really started.
Those more senior folks will tell you that certain locations were incredibly spooky: There was at this spot an unmarked grave just across the "Wolf" Block, a multi-terraced training centre converted from one of the more upmarket British homes in that area. It is located right in a central location, beside the furiously haunted barrack and the "Wolf" block, and frankly not many people relished going for rounds along that certain stretch of road. I vaguely remembered a friend who was superstitious enough to wear numerous amulets around his neck, simply as an extra protection.
On that "fateful" day, I was extremely peeved with boredom & sheer frustration: I had been drafted to do extra duty for some minor misdemeanor, and was just begrudging the fact that I had been covering for some of my smarter colleagues who seem to be getting away with their malingering asses. Clearly, I had an axe to grind, and anything, holy or otherwise, was going to be blasphemed, no questions asked.
After a couple of hours of incessant complaining, my senior trainee, hell bent on getting some peace, sent me out on my patrol with a friend, LY. LY was the kind of guy who would jump at even a squeak from a mouse, and on this particular night he seemed particularly edgy, which got into my nerves and irritated the hell out of me.
As we sent out purposely on our rounds, we brought our usual equipment along: A baton (God knows what batons are used for: You can't really kill someone who is armed to the teeth with a rod and no guns, can you?), a torchlight, a pen for signing the rounds book, and the walkie talkie.
And just to let everyone around know that my anger wasn't exactly dissipating, I went off into a ranting session, this time with a walkie-talkie. And just to spook my friend, LY, I had peppered my rant with some of the more blasphemous varieties, some of which included the quip that an encounter with a beautiful, female phantom would really relieve my boredom.
& right there and then, we heard it: Quite unknowingly, we had approached the wolf block, the reputedly spooky location. A girlish voice, very soulful, very subtle, was humming a little tune, followed by a soft gust of the wind. My friend was simply stiff: It seemed that he had been gripped by raw, unadulterated fear. I thought I felt the fear too, but I managed to gather myself, looking upwards towards a very ancient tree beside that damn spooky block. Nothing. Not a phantom sighted.
Just as we were looking at each other, our faces chagrined and spooked out, the walk-talkie crackled, and rather mysteriously, the humming stopped. My senior was apparently worried, because my rantings had suddenly grounded to a deafening halt. The loudspeaker (i.e me) simply had apparently gone offline for a few five minutes, and that was quite unlike me, even on my better days.
In the end, we really didn't see shit: LY was so spooked that he swore he would never go up to the Wolf block in the dead of the night, and so I had to clamber up all four floors of that accursed block and sign the rounds book. I wasn't sure whether it was fear that I felt, but I felt as if there were eyes locked upon me for the entire duration I was in the building.
Nervy as I was, I certainly didn't expect did see a floating phantom or some headless corpse walk pass me: The fear, as always, is unfounded, but the more superstitious folks would have chided me for spewing nonsense in the middle of the night, as my friends did later on.
Strange as it may seem, I did the mandatory (on my count) blasphemy everytime I had to walk my rounds, and not a single calamity or spooky activity have befell on me since.
A Rational Explanation?
At first glance, this seems to be a classic ghost story, minus the floating heads saga or the phantom experience: Haunted buildings, a cemetery and a rather starless night . I would have liked to explain this away as a fickle of my own depraved imagination, except that my rather mousy friend was there when we heard it, and believe me when I tell you that I am not easily spooked by such phenomena, which can usually be explained rationally without evoking the supernatural.
Thinking back, I presume that it had something to do with the wind: A low, slow gust of wind an object (in this case, a building and a tree) could trigger voice-like mimics that an already heightened and alert brain may interpret as an eerie, humanoid voice. Or perhaps, on that fateful day, fear had simply taken over us, and it was merely the nature of the environment and the haunted reputation which had preceded it, that was playing havoc on our impressionable minds.
Five Blogs Tagged:
1. Confusion of Ideas
3. Beep! Beep! Its Me
4. Crazy Christian Blog
5. Deeply Blasphemous