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Superstitions Running Amuck In Philippine Jail


By James Donahue

March 2005


An interesting story recently about how the inmates of a detention and rehabilitation center in Cebu City, The Philippines, are so caught up in superstitions and a belief in bad spirits that they are dropping dead or getting violently sick.


It seems they are so gripped by fear over a series of strange incidents inside the newly constructed prison, they are calling on a local priest to exorcise the place.


It seems that a black cat is occasionally seen roaming the facility. But whoever sees that cat (sometimes a black dog) is usually destined to die or become very sick. So strong is the belief that it usually happens, authorities say.


Other strange events, like prisoners waking up to find their faces strangely distorted, jammed between the iron bars, or suffering from a swelling of the feet, also are being blamed on the ghostly spirits that live among the prisoners.


Some say the prison has been cursed. The local priest says he believes bad spirits are really haunting the building. “It is not a joke,” he said.


The situation has become so critical that prison authorities say they are seeking professional help from anyone that can explain what is going on. They say security cameras are even picking up a strange white light flying from the walls and through the cells in various parts of the jail.


This kind of stuff seems quite natural to this writer, who has been living in haunted buildings now for a while. It seems that the spirits want to come out whenever we buy another old building and move into it.


We have made a game out of capturing the lights, orbs and unexplained images on film, and often catch the sounds of footsteps, bells, and other sounds made by the spirits that share our home.


We know how to chase them away, but we choose not to because my family finds it amusing to live with ghosts. Because we understand what we are living with, we have no fear of it, and enjoy studying ghostly behavior.


We used to have a dog that seemed to be afraid of the ghosts. When they were around, he cowered and got as close to us as possible. The cat we now have as a pet enjoys watching them. We often see him gazing, wide-eyed, at something invisible moving around in the room. Animals have an amazing ability to see through the veil that separates us from the spirit world around us.


Unlike the fate of some of the prisoners in that Philippine jail, we have rarely had anything happen to us, short of an occasional scratch on the back or leg, or having something we are using misplaced.


We are presently restoring a haunted old three-story monster of a house and find it annoying when tools go missing. We are quite certain that the hammer, square or power drill that we eventually find in odd places has been the mischief of playful spirits. But then, we can’t prove that, now can we?


I know also about the power of the mind in relation to superstitions. My mother used to tell about the time she lived in an apartment in the city. She said there was a woman that lived in the apartment below theirs who could read the signs. One day when the lights dimmed in the building, she announced that it meant somebody was going to die soon. Within 24 hours one of the tenants in the building died.


That incident made a believer out of my mother. Yet after living for years in rural areas, where electric lights not only dim, but flick completely out from time-to-time as electrical storms and various power surges pass by, I have a problem recognizing dimming lights as a precursor to death.