Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Just last week after I completed my university assignment, I had attempted to relax by heading to the library's DVD collections area, and lo and behold, I found one of my favourite series, Survivor. And it was the first season no less, which aired in 2000 or 2001, so it was a good ten years ago, a lot earlier before I enjoyed the show.

So I quickly began devouring each episode one after another. Fun fact: the first ever Survivor was held at Pulau Tiga, somewhere in Sabah. One of the challenges was particularly interesting- the host had started by telling the contestants facts about the local culture, and then proceeded to hand them video cameras which they have to film themselves heading into the jungle and search for masks. Behind these masks are questions, and they have to film their answer. Once they've collected all the masks and return, the host will check if their answers are right.

Now I wasn't so much interested in who won the challenge, but I was more interested in what the host had told them. It was, eerily creepy. So as you know, we Malaysians have a lot of superstitions regarding supernatural beings in the jungle. But before I tell you what the host told them, I should provide a little context. So in Survivor, you start off with two teams, or tribes. After a certain point in the game the tribes merge and it becomes an individual game. Hence, only one person wins the entire game. Every time they will go to Tribal Council where they vote off a person. The person voted off will have their torch extinguished by the host, to symbolise the end of their life in the game.

 According to this, I'm a nerd who prefers to be a hipster, but can't due to some technicalities.

So what happened was, after the merge, during Tribal Council everytime before the votes were announced, the person who was going home had their torch's flame go out without notice, while the others remained fine. Producers then had to relight it without the contestants (and the cameras) noticing so that the torch could be extinguished ceremoniously.

Another thing is that snakes supposedly bring good luck, and disrespecting it will bring bad luck. Apparently, once a contestant had chased a pit viper out of their camp, and he was voted off at the next Tribal Council.

Finally, the host said that head hunters used to blow this shell that will induce the gods to bring about rain. He said that he has blown it every single time before Tribal Council, and lo and behold, it's rained at every Tribal Council.

Here's the video of the challenge where he said that:



In that Tribal Council, the person voted off had his torch already extinguished, perhaps to prove the point. Now of course there will be sceptics who think that it's all just for TV, but it's creepy nonetheless!

I'm sure we've all heard similar stories; I would say all Malaysians would have gone through their life with at least hearing ONE supernatural tale. I myself had heard countless ones, some even creep me out to this day and gave me sleepless nights when I first heard them. Heck, I've even had a (sort of) supernatural experience once.

So for this Halloween, I pose this question- do you believe in the supernatural? Do you believe in ghosts, spirits, and other supernatural beings? Have you had an experience of the supernatural sort?

Growing up, I had always been afraid of the supernatural. I remember how some family members would watch shows like The X-Files and it got to me so badly that I wouldn't be able to sleep. I mean, how else are you supposed to react? I don't understand how people can be so unaffected, especially when these beings supposedly can mess up your life.


Of course, later on I got less and less scared about it. I think that till now, I still get spooked about these things but I handle it much better now, and I think having to live alone for a year definitely helped out a lot.

I'm going to tell you an embarrassing confession now- when I first moved to Adelaide, into my apartment, living all alone, with the surrounding area so alien and pitch black, I was so scared that for the first week or so I had to sleep with the lights on. By the end of the year, I couldn't be bothered by most noises (and there were a lot of weird noises in the apartment, I assure you). This year, moving in with someone I know well, made it even easier. Or perhaps I'm just less affected by this now? I hope so.

Anyway, I'll end this with a couple of spooky things that I read yesterday in a book that I found in the public library:


1. Legend of the Bell Witch 

This is about a ghost who haunted this house and family in the 1800s:

Some members of the family began seeing strange looking animals around the property. Then late at night they started hearing knocking sounds on the doors and outer walls of the house. Later sounds were being heard in the house. Sounds of a rat gnawing on the bed post, chains being drug through the house, stones being dropped on the wooden floors, then gulping and choking sounds.

It was not long before people were coming from miles around to hear and witness this unseen force that was terrorizing the Bell home. Before long this unseen force had gained enough strength that it now had a voice. When asked who and what it was, it gave different identities. It once stated that it was the witch of a neighbor woman named Kate Batts. This is what many people believed, and from then on, this unseen force was called "Kate" the "Bell's Witch".



It seemed that Kate had two main reasons for visiting the Bell home. The main one was to kill John Bell. For what reason no one knows because Kate never gave a reason why. The second reason was to stop John's youngest daughter Betsy from marrying a certain neighbor boy named Joshua Gardner.

Over the next three years "Kate" tormented members of the Bell family almost daily. John and his daughter Betsy was the ones who received the worst of the physical abuse. Betsy had her hair pulled, she was pinched, scratched stuck with pins and even beaten. While John Bell began suffering from spells of swelling of the throat and often had the feeling of a stick being stuck sideways in his throat. Then came the twitching and jerking of the facial muscles. Kate would blast him with curses and hideous threats during these spells. As time went on John Bell became weaker and weaker.
(the story ends with him dying) 

2. Borley Rectory


 One of the alleged sightings

Borley Rectory was reputed to be the most haunted house in the UK. The rectory was built by the Rev. Henry D. E. Bull in 1863 near the river Stour, Essex, to house himself, his wife and their 14 children. However the rectory burnt down in a fire started in mysterious circumstances in 1939.

It's thought that the rectory was destined to be a haunted house from the start due to the events that had occurred on the site many centuries before.The foundation was an age old Priory on land that contained a 12th century Church, Caretaker's House and other buildings. A.C. Henning, the rector in 1936, discovered that the Doomsday Book told of a Borley Manor prior to 1066, so he concluded a wooden church was probably also built around that time. The foundations contained underground tunnels and a complex of vault rooms. The Rectory had 20 rooms, was about 3 stories high.

The most popular story to the background of Borley was that in 1362 Benedictine Monks built a monastery on the site which would later hold the rectory. Legend told of a nun from the Bures convent, 7 miles southeast of Borley falling in love with a monk from the monastery. They had decided to elope to be together, but the elders discovered their plans. A friend of the monk was to drive a carriage to help them escape. On the fateful night they were captured by the elders. The coachman was beheaded, the monk hanged and the nun was bricked up alive in the walls of the vaults beneath the rectory. Their ghosts have haunted the site ever since.


3. Epworth Rectory haunting


(From Wikipedia) 

The Epworth Rectory haunting is one of the best-known English poltergeist events, and has been described as "the second-best-authenticated ghost story in history". Epworth Rectory, in Epworth, Lincolnshire, was home to the Reverend Samuel Wesley and his wife and their 19 children, one of whom, John Wesley, grew up to become a founder of the Methodist Church.

From December 1761 until January 1762 it was plagued by a series of regularly occurring mysterious loud noises and knockings, apparently caused by a ghost the eldest Wesley daughter nicknamed Old Jeffrey, who made his presence known to all on Christmas Day 1761. In Mrs Wesley's words, "there was such a noise in the room over our heads, as if several people were walking, then running up and down stairs that we thought the children would be frightened".

As she and her husband searched the house in vain for the culprit, Old Jeffrey continued "rattling and thundering in every room, and even blowing an invisible horn at deafening decibels". Old Jeffrey disappeared in January 1762 just as suddenly as he had appeared.

4. Robert the Doll

 
Robert, otherwise known as Robert the Doll, Robert the Haunted Doll, or Robert the Devil Doll; is a doll that was once owned by Key West painter and author Robert Eugene Otto. The doll is alleged to be possesed by evil spirits and has a terrifying reputation. The doll, which is allegedly cursed, has become a fixture of ghost tours in the Key West area since it was inducted into the Fort East Martello Museum.

Aesthetically, Robert resembles an early 20th century American Naval officer. Contrary to popular belief, however, the doll's hair is not made of human hair, but rather, it consists of a synthetic material resembling wool yarn. Eugene was given the doll in 1904 by an African servant who, according to legend, was skilled in black magic and voodoo and was displeased with the family. Soon afterward it became clear that there was something eerie about the doll.

Eugene's parents said they often heard him talking to the doll and that the doll appeared to be talking back. Although at first they assumed that Eugene was simply answering himself in a changed voice, they later believed that the doll was actually speaking. Neighbors claimed to see the doll moving from window to window when the family was out. The Otto family swore that sometimes the doll would emit a terrifying giggle and that they caught glimpses of it running from room to room. In the night Eugene would scream, and when his parents ran to the room they would find furniture knocked over and Eugene in bed, looking incredibly scared, telling them that "Robert did it!".

In addition, guests swore the saw Robert's expression change before their eyes. When Eugene died in 1974, the doll was left in the attic until the house was bought again. The new family included a ten year old girl, who became Robert's new owner. It was not long before the girl began screaming out in the night, claiming that Robert moved about the room and even attempted to attack her on multiple occasions. More than thirty years later, she still tells interviewers that the doll was alive and wanted to kill her. 
And just for laughs, here's a video of someone's visit to a haunted house attraction (which means it's not really haunted, by the way) that will make you laugh. I could not control myself laughing when I saw it on TV.



That's all for now, have a great week ahead!
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