Monday, December 5, 2016

The Luzon Red House (吕宋红屋子)

In the first quarter of 1999, I was sent to Manila to attend a company meeting. During my visit, a Filipino friend, Albert who was an avid ghost hunter suggested that the group went for a ghost hunt as our team building activity. Since no one objected or seconded the motion, Albert’s proposal was somehow passed ‘unanimously’. He proposed we visit the ‘Bahay na Pula’ aka the ‘Red House’.

So after an early dinner, our group comprised of 4 gentlemen and 2 ladies hopped into Albert’s van and off we went to the Red House. It is located in the Province of Bulacan, about 11km north of Manila. According to Albert, the house was used by Japanese Imperial Army as their administrative building. It is believed that the Red House was used to detain women and guerrilla; it is not surprising that many of those unfortunate folks died in the house during their captivity. The locals believe that the red colour of the house was caused by the blood of those ones tortured and killed by the Imperial Army. Sounds of woman screaming and wiling could be heard especially near full moon.

A very interesting urban legend of the Red House is that there is a sighting of ‘white lady’ wandering in and around the house during full moon. Since this Red House is located somehow near the highway, the mysterious figure had caused some car accidents when it wandered around the highway. Some drivers would lose control and caused their cars to collide with each other, or those unfortunate drivers would suddenly step onto the brake and caused their cars to skid and overturned. Legend has it that the ‘white lady’ was a prisoner in the Red House and she was tortured and raped by the soldiers. This lady subsequently hung herself in a room upstairs during one full moon night. After her death, it was said that those soldiers who raped her were either killed during a guerrilla ambush or of unknown reasons. The locals believe it was the doing of the ‘white lady’. After the WWII, the red house was vacated until these days.

Albert also suggested that in order to spice up the ghost hunt, we should perform a traditional Filipino conjuration ritual to attract the ghost. So, we stopped by the town to buy some necessary props: some white candles, a mirror, a comb, and a rope. After we got what we want, we arrived at the Red House around 6pm. An old nanny was in the house sweeping the floor, Albert approached her and according to his translation later, the old nanny was the owner of the house and she warned us of not disturbing the ‘white lady’ or very bad consequences may be fallen upon us. Of course, Albert didn’t believe her warning.

Anyway, we walked around the house and found that the structure was quite good still. Except some bats swooping above us causing the two ladies: Jane and Karen to scream in panic; we found the surrounding was quite peaceful. Since the ‘white lady’ hung herself upstairs, Albert suggested we went upstairs to perform the conjuration ritual. Again there were no objections from the group. We quickly proceeded to the room where the white lady hung herself and did the necessary arrangements.

At the location, we tied the piece of rope on a beam where the lady committed suicide to attract the hung ghost. Then we lit the candles and arranged them in a circle. And now comes the fun part: “Who should sit in the circle combing his/her hair while looking into the mirror?”

Again, after some heated discussions our conclusion was: the ladies first. Though Jane and Karen objected the proposals but in the group where the ‘majority speaks’; they had to comply. After all, Albert assured them that since the ‘sifu’ (master) was around they are in good hands. Due to safety reasons, I suggested both ladies did the conjuration ritual together. After all, no one likes mishaps to happen. Well, we just never know.

So said, Jane and Karen both went upstairs and into the ‘protective’ circle made by burning candles. Jane combed her hair while Karen used the mirror to ‘scan’ around the place. And the rest of 4 macho men just wait downstairs for their turns. About 10 minutes later, some very horrific and pathetic screams came from upstairs. Feared for the ladies’ safety, all of us rushed to the scene. All of us took a few flights up the staircase at a time to save the ladies with Albert in front, and just as the 4 gents were stepping on the last flight; Albert suddenly took a back fall which caused the 3 of us behind to roll down the staircase.

All of the 4 macho bodyguards rolled down the staircase in one big lump until we were stopped by the wall directly opposite the staircase. Luckily, other than minor bruises and black green spots; we were relatively okay. John who was behind Albert started to grumble: “Hey man, mind your steps would you?”

And Albert replied: “It wasn’t my fault! Something white suddenly bumped into my chest that has caused me to lose balance and topple backwards!”                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Now it was the time for the 4 macho people to moan and groan in pain. Jane and Karen heard the commotion, they came down the staircase and saw the men were entangled together in agony. Jane asked with exciting voice: “Did you guys see what I and Karen saw just now?”

All of the men sat lethargically on the foot of the staircase and asked unanimously: “What!?”

Jane was apparently oblivious of our pain continued with her speech: “Oh, at first Karen saw a pair of legs descended from the top. And then the white gown and finally the face of a lady… Then I saw the white lady too and we both screamed hysterically. As soon as we started to scream, the white lady suddenly took a dash towards the staircase and we heard something heavy rolled down the stairway… Unexpectedly to find you bozos down here! And there was a disembodied voice in the air too after the white lady left…”

We all asked: “Yeah, tell us about it…”

Jane and Karen said simultaneously: “DON’T TRUST THOSE MEN DOWN THERE!! HA! HA! HA!”

At this point, no one was in the mood of continue with the ghost hunt as the only thing in mind for the gentlemen was to seek some medical treatments and hit the hay for the night. Was that the white lady that bumped into Albert, perhaps only God knows the answer…

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