Encounters with the paranormal are likened to a mirage of appalling nightmares that often whets a subliminal fear and sense of inquisitiveness. The out-of-body experiences relay much on the supernatural frontier as this controversial topic forays into yet another mystifying journey, springing forth an intricate tapestry of both myth and unexplained occurrences. The following tales comes from the Sultanate of Brunei:
Much has been whispered about the strange conundrums surrounding a local beach and although the scenic beauty bears no glaring flaw, visitors have been urged to exert caution when taking a dip in the otherwise tranquil waters.
In this story, a family from Berakas recalls the events of their supposed ‘barbeque outing’, which turned out to be a bizarre ordeal.
As the family of four embarked on their journey, the ’sleepy’ sun peeked over the horizon, radiating the first strokes of light at the crack of dawn. The deserted roads and empty shops are a common sight on Sundays with the exception of a few early risers opening their ‘kopitiams’ for business and an occasional jogger or two hitting the extra miles along the roadside. They whizzed pass several buildings and a residential area before reaching a familiar road. A pleasant signboard greeted their very arrival and before them, the oceanfront glittered like diamonds against the golden rays of the glowing sphere in the sky as the mighty waves crashed against the shore, its cool morning breeze emitting a soothing sensation, as if washing away all the sorrows of yesterday.
They managed to secure a hut near the playground and began setting up the grill for their barbeque. “Sarah wants to play on the swing dad,” Anwar said and before he could even utter a ‘yes’, the two siblings ran across the field and began playing with the recreational facilities. Their father, Hakim, simply smiled at the children’s eagerness for it has been a while since they spent a family day together amid the hustle and bustle of daily life. After a hearty breakfast, Hakim decided to go for a swim while his wife watched over the kids.
The alluring sea had already beckoned its visitors to enjoy a host of nature’s fine offerings as beachgoers could be seen playing volleyball, while others engaged in various fun-filled activities. A former swimmer during his youth, Hakim attempted to test the vigor of his once-perfectly honed skills but laughed off the foolish endeavour after fatigue overwhelmed his entire body. Suddenly becoming conscious of his whereabouts, Hakim noticed that he had swum beyond his reach. “I didn’t expect to swim that far off to sea and was shocked as to how I reached that point,” the aspiring manager said.
Out of the blues, a piece of log floated in his direction but he simply dismissed it as nothing unusual. As he attempted to swim for the shoreline, a giant wave appeared from nowhere and struck Hakim hard causing him to spiral down beneath the surface as he struggled to fight the torrential currents that pulled him deeper and deeper into the menacing waters.
“I tried with all my might to rise to the surface but it felt like a thousand strong hands were pulling me from below,” he said. The sturdy force of the tide dragged him like a rag-doll as it glided across the sea, refusing to release the father-of-two from its grasp. As he entered into a state of unconsciousness, the melodic laughter and angelic faces of his children flashed before his eyes. “I longed to see my kids again and vowed that nothing would take me away from them,” Hakim said with sheer pride. With that, he expended a new burst of energy to swim ashore and ascended to the surface, gasping for air as he did and made his journey back.
However, his sudden willpower was short-lived as the relentless torrents refused to surrender its claims and once again, hauled him into the dark, gloomy waters. In that instant, a brawny pair of hands pulled Hakim back to the surface as he constantly slipped in and out of consciousness. The phenomenal episodes promptly summoned him back to reality as he stared at his valiant savior and although grateful, Hakim gravely feared for his safety. “We need to swim back. It’s not safe here,” Hakim murmured as they buoyed on the baleful territory like two helpless souls. His sudden rush of adrenaline rekindled a renewed strength as he repudiated the idea of placing the youth’s safety in jeopardy but regardless of their attempts to make it to shore; they seemed glued in position as it took forever to reach their destination. “Mister, what’s going on?” the terrified youth questioned as an evident fear loomed in his eyes.
Hakim began reciting verses from the al-Quran along with prayers to guide them back to safety. Together, they vigorously swam until they reached the soft layers of sand and collapsed on the shore. The beach was gripped with pandemonium as curious onlookers rushed to their aid. Hakim’s wife and children smothered him with kisses, grateful for his safe return. He turned towards his side and thanked his heroic rescuer for such a courageous act.
Days passed when his wife approached him to relay her side of the tale. The uncanny state of affairs ensued after his bizarre disappearance on that fateful day. Seeing as though something was amiss, she sought help from fellow beachgoers and some were kind enough to render their assistance. After searching the grounds for more than five hours, a young man caught sight of Hakim struggling in the waters and when he made the rescue attempt, both of them mysteriously disappeared from sight. They only re-appeared after reaching safely ashore.
After concluding her version of the story, Hakim removed the retention bandages on his legs to reveal a hundred handprint marks and scratch spots embossed in the deep layers of his skin. “My wife was bewildered by the strange marks on my legs and it bears a painful reminder of my near-death experience. This has broadened our concepts in every aspect of life. Thankfully it was I who ventured into the waters and not my kids. To learn that I was missing for a good five hours surprised me as it only seemed like a few minutes,” Hakim said. He also advised beachgoers to keep a watchful eye over their children when swimming in beaches and ensure their constant safety at all times.
Whether this incident was the work of paranormal entities or not, it isn’t meant to misconstrue or tarnish the charms and tranquility of our serene beaches but more rather to unleash a sense of awareness amongst fellow readers that an impending danger can lurk anywhere and thus, exerting vigilance is certainly vital especially when it concerns young children.
Throughout the years, tragic deaths or near-accidents occurring at beaches, rivers or even pools involving drowning victims have made headlines in local newspapers. The public has voiced deep concerns on the need to set up watchtowers and install lifeguards to ensure the safety of both children and adults alike at the beach or swimming centres.