Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Case of the Haunted Room


This is an excerpt from my book Funny Stories from My Travels. I have two reasons for posting this:
  • One is to test the paragraph spacing bug I mentioned in an earlier post, Blogger Paragraph Spacing. I sent them a feedback so I will be testing this bug from time to time. 
  • to give you a glimpse of a part of the book that isn't included in the free sample. I hope you enjoy it.

Back in 1993, I tried applying for a job at my Dad's former place of work, an oil refinery. It is located in Limay, Bataan and used to be owned by Esso, an American company. Dad left them in 1971 after Petron bought it but several of Dad's old buddies still worked there. I had an uncle living in the next town, Lamao, so it was only natural that I would stay at his place for the two days I would be in Bataan.

I naturally assumed I would be sleeping at their house. I had been to Uncle Romy's house lots of times and had no trouble sleeping there. This time, however, I was going with them to sleep at the harbor pilot's lodging house or quarters. Uncle Romy had been hired or appointed as caretaker of the building so they slept there at night.

The building was within walking distance from Uncle Romy’s house and was two stories high. I followed them through a door and entered a large kitchen. We then went up two flights of stairs to the second floor and opened a door to the left. It was a large room that looked like it could accommodate maybe ten beds or more. It was empty at the moment and a mattress had been placed on the floor at the center. This was where Uncle Romy, Auntie Guia and my baby cousin Chellie slept. It was a large mattress and Uncle Romy said we could all fit into it.

I decided to explore the rest of the building and found a door just across the corridor. It opened into a long rectangular room about ten feet wide and about fifty feet long. Three of the walls had windows with flimsy curtains on them and the windows on the long wall looked out over the street in front. The two, smaller windows overlooked the neighbors on either side. The fourth wall was bare with just a single light switch adorning it. It was a bedroom but an unusual one. The door was at one end and the bed at the other. There were no furniture, not even a chair or table. It contained just the bed. I thought about my uncle’s family making room for me on their mattress so I asked Uncle Romy if I could sleep in this one.
This is how the haunted room looked like 
as best as I could draw it. The drawing is 
not included in the book.
He hesitated. “I’m not sure, Eric. A number of people have slept there before and reported hearing footsteps in the room. One had even run out of it in fright.”

Now, I'm not a believer in ghosts. I’ve never seen one and I’ve investigated sounds that go bump in the night and found them to be caused by natural things.

“I’ll be okay, Uncle. You don’t have to worry about me.”

After some more hesitation, he gave his consent. Auntie Guia gave me a pillow, bed sheets and a blanket. After making up the bed, I laid down and appreciated the quality of the mattress as well as the silence. I stood up, walked the length of the room to the switch, turned off the lights and walked back to the bed. It wasn’t dark since a lamppost on the street in front illuminated the room though not so brightly. I laid back down and was soon asleep.

As sometimes happens when I sleep in a new place, I woke up after several hours. I checked my watch and found it was just before twelve midnight. The air was cool and the wind was blowing, causing the curtains to billow into the room. I closed my eyes to get back to sleep.
This photo is similar to the experience in this story.
The curtains were longer than this and reached almost
to the other wall. This is just to give you an idea
about what I saw.
I woke up with a start. I had heard footsteps! They seemed to be coming from the other side of the room. I sat up with my feet on the floor, got my glasses and looked intently. The windblown curtains obscured my view of the far end of the room but I could hear the footsteps very clearly. What's more, they seemed to be inside the room and getting closer to the bed!

I didn't feel any fear. If it had been someone else, I imagine they would have been terrified, more so because the footsteps were coming from the direction of the door. Anyone trying to escape needed to go toward the footsteps.

The sound continued to come closer. I stood up and started walking slowly toward it. The wind blew the curtains and kept me from seeing anything. As if it was avoiding me, the footsteps moved from inside the room to outside the window. I looked out and saw...

A security guard.

He was walking his beat with his shotgun on his shoulder, his shoes clicking on the cement road as he walked at a leisurely pace. I suddenly understood the phenomena.

The room had a bare wall along one side, and windows along the other. The sound of his footsteps entered the room and reverberated around, making it seem that the footsteps were coming from inside the room. Mystery solved. I went back to bed and slept peacefully for the rest of the night.

Next morning, I told Uncle Romy about the source of the mysterious footsteps. He shook his head in amusement and gave a little laugh. The Case of the Haunted Room was closed.


  1. Okay, I probably didn't go about this correctly. I copy and pasted the post from MS Word and manually entered the paragraph spacing by pressing "Enter" two times. It appears that Blogger didn't increase the paragraph spacing. I'll make another post by manually typing it in Blogger's editor. Not now though.

  2. Nice post with an unexpected ending. 😘