Rarely do paranormal things happen or could have happened in which I am a witness. What happened made me wonder if I was getting a message from beyond the grave. Could my cousin(s) have been acknowledging my presence and also making their presence known?
I brush most things off as superstition from my birthplace, the Philippines. My family emigrated to the US when I was young. Aside from my brother’s experience, I can still brush things off. But, the incidents in Hawaii were just a little more than ordinary happenings. Perhaps, if it was one incident, it would not be worth mentioning.
My father’s side of the family is very superstitious. Many of them believe that bugs – mosquitoes, flies, moths that bother you when a friend or a relative dies are maybe them visiting you. So, don’t kill them. They make an altar and place food on it for the departed loved one’s consumption. It is not usually eaten later. It is thrown away.
If one wants to eat the food, permission is asked from the spirit.
“Cousin, may I have the pineapple?”
“Uncle, grandma wants some grapes. Can I give your grapes to her?”
If you eat the food without asking permission, they warn you that you will get a stomach ache.
Excuse Me, Mr. Ghost
Sometimes, the males do not use the restroom to urinate. They find corners in their backyard to relieve themselves. But, not at night without saying, “excuse me.” That is, to warn and not offend the spirit that might be there. If you do not acknowledge the spirits, they might give you some sort of genital disease.
Belief Plays a Part
Fortunately, my family did not practice these rituals. My father did not practice what his side of the family did. Our religious upbringing was by my mother. Her father, my grandfather, was a United Methodist minister. Our family prayed to God only and was not superstitious.
However, I did ask my grandmother once if ghosts exist. She said that yes, but only where people believe they exist. That explained a lot. I had lived most of my life in the U.S. I have asked many. Most do not believe in ghosts.
I did not see any ghosts, but my brother did. When my brother visited my father’s family in a farming community in the northern Philippines. He is a high school teacher, and not much of a story teller. I have never known him to tell made up stories, if he did tell one.
He visited my grandmother’s sister or my grandaunt. My grandaunt’s place was a stopover for many kids walking to school, as they have a water pump for drinking water. The kids also hung out to rest and converse. For differing reasons, some of them stay until late afternoon or early evening.
One time in the middle of the night, my brother woke up and a kid was sitting on a chair beside his bed. He assumed that the kid was one of the school kids. But, when he got up, the kid was gone.
He was traveling with his friend. He went to his friend’s room and asked to sleep on the floor because there was a ghost in his room. I asked his friend later if he saw the ghost. He said no, but he felt a sensation. I did not ask him to describe the sensation. My grandaunt said that the kid had visited before. She did not know who he was.
Visiting Relatives in the Cemetery
There are many Filipinos in Hawaii. Many of them believe in ghosts. I was in a much needed vacation. I had been working an excess of 50 hours per week for almost a year. I decided to visit my cousins in the island of Oahu. Some cousins work during the week, so on daytime hours, I had some time to myself. I visited with them at night.
I was driving from one house to another when I decided to visit my uncle
and my cousin’s grave at the Mililani Cemetery. It was a typical hot, humid Hawaii day, around 3:30 in the afternoon. There was no breeze, so coming out of the car to the grave made me sweat.
There was not much else to do since the cousin I was visiting didn’t get home until 5:30 or 6, so I decided to walk around the cemetery. It’s
interesting to me to read about when a certain person was born, when he
died, how long his life was, and anything else written on headstones.
My mind wandered. Not having the stress of work, I felt relaxed and became aware of my feelings. My uncle and cousin had died a few years before. Although I gave their graves some respect, I felt nothing, or not much, standing over their graves.
What gave me a good feeling of welcome were those who were buried within a week. It was mixed with the good and fresh smell of flowers. I didn’t try to explain my feelings. I just felt it.
It was a week day. The whole time I was there, I have seen no more than seven people in the 63 acre cemetery. Suddenly it was after 5 and was beginning to get dark. I looked and there were two people left other than me and they were going to their car to leave. Suddenly, the temperature dropped about ten degrees. There was now a cool strong breeze.
The tall trees that surrounded the cemetery looked like hands, swaying back and forth from the breeze. The shadows that they formed, as the sun was coming down, made more hands. I was walking slowly to the car until then. I walked faster. As I drove past the trees, the shadows of the trees, or the hands, were all over the car. It was not terrifyingly scary because nothing else happened. But I did drive fast.
Calling from Beyond the Grave
A few years later, I had another cousin that died. He was a brother to the cousin above. I was not able to attend the funeral, but I visited him at the hospital when he was dying of cancer. I was in Hawaii about two weeks. He was still alive when I visited him the day I came back to California.
At the airport waiting for my flight back, I had a call. The caller ID was from the dying cousin. It was a butt dial, since my attempts to communicate were not answered. I could hear kids and his wife on the background. I hung up, and thought nothing else of it. That is, until I found out that my cousin just died a few minutes before the call. My immediate thought was he called me to say goodbye.
Back to the Cemetery
A few months later, I visited him along with my mother and daughter in the same cemetery. We had to get a map from the office to tell us how to get to the grave.
When we got to the rented van to go to the grave site, there was a sudden gust of wind. Gusts of wind are not unusual in Hawaii, but this one delivered a big pile of leaves on the van. There were other cars. None of them had leaves except my van. My daughter picked up one of the leaves and commented on how unusual the leaf was. I looked around and noticed — the nearest tree was more than one hundred yards away except for the coconut trees next to us.
The last thing was a friendly cat hanging around my cousin’s grave. We had no food for it. It was acres and acres of graves, but this cat was all alone playing around the particular place my cousin was buried in. There were no mice or birds around. The admin building nor any other building were not within walking distance. I can’t say that it was connected to my cousin. But, it felt like the cat was waiting for me.
- Cemetery: Ben Baligad