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Ghosts & Hauntings

Why the ‘White Lady’ is the Scariest Ghost Story in Filipino Culture

By Carl Samson

Ask any Filipino to tell you a story of the White Lady — it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong. The ghost of a lady in a long, white dress has been reported all over the world.

In the U.S., the most famous “lives” in a “castle” in Rochester, New York, and in Japan, Sadako from “The Ring” was inspired by true events in the life of a 14th century servant named Okiku.

In the U.S., the most famous “lives” in a “castle” in Rochester, New York, and in Japan, Sadako from “The Ring” was inspired by true events in the life of a 14th century servant named Okiku.

However, the White Lady’s depiction in Filipino culture — which happens to be teeming with ghosts — is pretty special.

To begin with, she’s extremely popular, making countless appearances in local movies, and killing characters until she’s left with protagonists to make some bargain. These usually end with her liberation from seeking revenge, which is often motivated by an untimely death.

Photo: Screenshot via YouTube / Everything Filipino

But it’s not exactly her popularity that makes her the creepiest for Filipinos. The reason lies in the assumption that she shows up anywhere, unlike other entities in local folklore.

For one comparison, the kapre, a hairy, red-eyed giant, is limited to rural areas, because he only stays on the branches of huge trees while smoking tobaccos. There aren’t many huge trees in areas like Metro Manila, and when present, there are simply too many people around to start freaking out.

A painting of the manananggal by artist Sam Flegal.

The same goes for the manananggal, a sort of vampire whose upper body detaches and flies when hunting its prey. Somehow, this creature is heard in the cities, but more likely to prevent people from roaming around the streets late at night.

Stories about such beasts are more common in far-flung rural areas, such as barangays or sitios with difficult transportation systems, which is probably why they fly.

Photo via DeviantArt / Iaaaaaaaaaan

Then there’s the tiyanak, a tiny monster that hides in the facade of an innocent baby, which is perhaps the most deceitful of them all. Because really, who can ignore the cries of a sweet-looking baby?

Sadly, people from the countryside also get more of this horror, although a belief that they originate from unnamed or aborted babies can scare everyone.

Photo via DeviantArt / bdy

Another is the duwende, sometimes referred to as the nuno sa punso. We’re really talking about a dwarf here, but this sort is so unforgiving that one step on its home — the punso or an ant hill — can expect a myriad of misfortunes ranging from common colds to deaths of loved ones.

Thankfully, the fact that cities rarely have ant hills saves residents from this creature’s horror, while rural dwellers have been accustomed to saying “tabi tabi po” (“excuse me/us”) when passing near ant hills.

Photo via DeviantArt / woofer1212

For a final match, there’s a monster called the tik-tik, which, in essence, is slightly similar to the manananggal. However, this creature assumes the form of a big, black bird and has a particular taste — it feeds on unborn babies from the roofs of houses by using its long, elastic tongue. Because big birds are rare in the cities, stories are also more popular in rural areas.

There are way more ghosts and monsters in Philippine folklore, but as far as it’s obvious, the White Lady gets one distinct advantage that others don’t — scale.

Jo, a 36-year-old mother from the province of Cavite, shared her story:

“We were driving to Manila when we crossed the first bridge from our hometown. My daughter just got back from school. It was just around 5:00 PM but it was already dark. So we turned the headlights on.

“But just as we crossed the bridge, the lights went off, and to my horror, I saw a White Lady sitting next to my daughter at the backseat.

“She had no face, but the fact that she sat next to my precious daughter was enough to make me want to move somewhere else. I don’t think I can ever cross that f***ing bridge again.”

Interestingly, the most infamous Filipino White Lady resides in a suburban area surrounded by trees. This is the ghost haunting Balete Drive, a street in New Manila, Quezon City.

The street acquires its name from the abundant Balete trees around it. This is already scary for many Filipinos because these trees have long been associated with paranormal phenomena.

But the White Lady along Balete Drive couldn’t care less, making apparitions to haunt anyone crossing.

For the longest time, witnesses have been urging drivers to avoid the street if they’re alone, especially at night. When possible, the back seat should be fully occupied and that no one should ever look back or stare in any of the car’s mirrors. You know what happens next.

Photo via Bing/Culturalist

The legend became so scary that many who crossed the street reported sightings, or at least feelings of uneasiness, which is completely understandable. I haven’t been there, but I was told to horn from the intersection where it starts. That should communicate that I’m asking for the White Lady’s “permission” to let me through.

Alice, a 21-year-old university student from Quezon City, agrees that the White Lady is the scariest ghost in the bunch:

“I haven’t really seen the White Lady on multiple occasions I passed by Balete Drive. Still, I felt something was always off about the street. I’m not sure if it’s just my head, the many stories I heard or there’s really something eerie going on.

“But yes, I’m scared of the White Lady the most. Stories are just everywhere. It’s probably the reason why the one at Balete Drive never showed up to me… She knows god knows what I’d do if I see her.”

Do you think the White Lady is the scariest ghost in town? Share your thoughts/experiences in the comments!

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Ghosts & Hauntings

Reality show to be filmed in medieval “haunted castle” in Wales

British celebrities will take part in a reality show at the medieval castle of Grich in the city-county of Conwy (Wales), which, according to legend, is full of ghosts. It is reported by The Sun.

According to data from open sources, the castle was built in 1283-1289 by order of Edward I of England. For four years one and a half thousand people erected the fortress and walls. The castle is surrounded by a stone wall with round towers and loopholes. 

According to local residents, the ghost of the previous owner, Countess Dandonald, who died in 1924, wanders around the castle. According to legend, the woman’s spirit is angry because her husband took the valuables out of here. 

About ten years ago, a mysterious silhouette appeared in the photo, which was noticed on the first floor of the castle in the former banquet hall. In addition, it is rumored that objects are moving mysteriously in the castle. Also, fans of everything mystical believe that there you can meet the ghosts of gamekeepers and a maid who died after falling from a horse.

The creators of the reality survival show I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! Became interested in the legends of the ancient castle, in which celebrities perform creepy tasks. 

The producers are delighted with Greich Castle. It is planned to spend almost 1 million pounds and six weeks to prepare the location for filming.

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Ghosts & Hauntings

Loftus Hall is the most famous haunted house

Almost any house built 150 years ago is tempting to think of ghosts. Of course, if it was not restored beyond recognition. But a special pleasure is to visit, or at least look at photographs of a house in which ghosts are definitely found. Well, exactly: in the opinion of its owners and those who live nearby.

Loftus Hall is one of those. Even if, in the opinion of the locals, ghosts were not found in it, they would be worth inventing again – this is how the atmosphere of this gloomy house located on the windswept and washed by waves of the Hook Peninsula in the Irish County of Wexford has to do this.

But, before we tell you what is so paranormal in this Loftus Hall, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with real historical events related to the house. Moreover, they are worthy of attention without any devilry.

Photo # 2 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photoloftushall.ie

We can say that the history of the house began in 1135, when the Norman knight, Raymond Le Gros, landed on the peninsula. To assimilate faster, the knight renamed himself the more familiar to the Irish ear by the name Redmond.

The castle, built by the knight, stood for two centuries, until in 1350 the descendants of Redmond built a new house in its place. It is interesting that they were building right during the Black Death – a plague pandemic that arrived in Ireland by ship from Bristol a year earlier. The new house, Redmond Hall, was named.

Photo # 3 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photo: Shutterstock

Three centuries later, in 1650, the house became the site of one of the fiercest sieges of the Irish Uprising. The owner of the house, 68-year-old Alexander Redmond, with his two sons, a couple of local activists and a tailor who happened to be in the house at an unfortunate time, barricaded himself and bravely repulsed the attack of almost 90 British for several days. 

In all fairness, most of these Englishmen have crawled into neighboring villages, indulging in robbery and violence, instead of laying siege to an impregnable home.

The attack was repulsed with the help of the Irish forces arrived in time, which attacked the British under the cover of a thick fog, which in time fell on the Hoek Peninsula.

According to local chronicles, Alexander repelled several more attacks. When the British nevertheless conquered Ireland in general, and Redmond Hall in particular, Cromwell even let Alexander die in peace in his own house – for his courage.

Photo # 4 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photoloftushall.ie

Well, after the death of Redmond, his relatives were evicted from the house and soon the house was sold to a family of Englishmen named Loftus, who live nearby. 

Subsequently, the Redmond repeatedly tried to sue Loftus Hall back, but to no avail. But as compensation, they were given land in the neighborhood.

The Loftuses moved rapidly up the court stairs. If in the 18th century the head of the family was called Baron Loftus of Loftus Hall, then already in 1800 the title of Marquis of Eli was created especially for the Loftus.

Actually, the 4th Marquess of Ely gave the modern look to Loftus Hall. A major renovation was undertaken by the Marquis in the second half of the 19th century: he very much hoped that Queen Victoria would come to visit. After all, the Marquis’s mother was her maid of honor!

Photo # 5 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photoloftushall.ie

The Queen never came. But the 4th Marquis of Ely became the owner of a luxurious house with such unprecedented conveniences as flush toilets at that time. And, alas, the owner of huge debts. Soon the house had to be sold and its wanderings began among different owners.

In 1917, the house was sold to the monastery order of the Sisters of Providence. In 1983, the house was converted into a hotel. Well, in the early 2000s, it was acquired by the Quickly family. In 2020, it became known that the house was again put up for sale. Moreover, Quickly emphasize that they will not choose a new owner, but “the house will choose him.” And that’s why…

The story of how the devil sailed to Loftus Hall and what happened after his visit dates back to the 19th century. It sounds like this.

On a cold rainy night, a dark-robed rider rode up to Loftus Hall on a dark horse. He said that his ship was caught in a storm and had to dock in a nearby bay. The Loftuses were away, the family of their distant relatives, the Tottenham, lived in the house. They sheltered the rider and offered him shelter and bread.

Photo # 6 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photoloftushall.ie

Tottenham’s daughter, young Anna, immediately fell in love with a mysterious stranger. A couple of days later, in the evening, everyone sat down to play cards. During the game, Anna dropped the map and, bending down to pick it up, saw that the stranger had cloven hooves instead of legs.

The stranger realized that he had been discovered. He immediately soared up, surrounded by devilish flames – and, as expected, made a huge hole in the roof.

It would seem that the devil is expelled, you can live on. But Anna, after the disappearance of the stranger, became not herself. She went crazy by leaps and bounds. The family, frightened by this development of affairs, locked the girl in her favorite sewing room.

There Anna sat, almost motionless, clasping her knees with her hands and soon died. 

According to another version of the legend, before her death, she managed to give birth to a child – that is, the devil did not lose time during two days in the house. 

Anna was not buried in an ordinary coffin: they could not straighten her and buried her in a sitting position, in which she spent the last months of her life.

Since then, according to numerous testimonies of guests and owners of the house, ghosts of a girl have been walking around the house. And the house itself has become a place of attraction for lovers of everything paranormal and creepy – excursions, especially popular on Halloween, are regularly conducted in Loftus Hall.

If you consider yourself a mystic, but do not have the opportunity to visit Loftus Hall yet, we recommend watching the gothic horror film The Lodgers 2017. It is filmed entirely in the luxe and eerie interiors of Loftus Hall, and has received excellent critical reviews. Here’s the trailer:

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Ghosts & Hauntings

The ghost of the Haycock Manor Hotel: a beautiful legend about a frequent visitor to an ancient building

For decades, the Haycock Manor Hotel, located in the small English village of Wansford, has attracted tourists by claiming to be the home of the ghost of Queen Mary Stuart.

Mary of Scotland, aka Mary Stuart, according to legend, visited the Haycock Hotel on the way to Fotheringay Castle, where she was executed. Why, in this case, she chose a hotel in a small village as her last refuge , and not a stone castle, is anyone’s guess. Nevertheless, visitors to the hotel claimed to have seen the ghost of Queen Mary, the Mirror writes.

The last resting place of Mary Stuart

Because of her intrigues against Queen Elizabeth I of England, Mary Stuart was put on trial and sentenced to death, which took place at Fotheringay Castle. On the way to the castle, Mary of Scotch stopped at the Haycock Hotel.

Mary Stuart

Despite the fact that the woman spent only one night in the hotel, this is the place she, for some reason, decided to choose as her last home. At least that’s what those who encountered her ghost say.

Manifestations of supernatural powers

Many of the hotel guests, who ventured to spend the night in the last refuge of Mary Stuart, complained about strange things that happened to them.

Some guests claimed to have seen a ghost, which they identified as Mary of Scotland. Why they were so sure that the ghost was exactly Mary Stuart is not clear, because the history of England has a large number of women rulers, and it is simply impossible to remember them all.

Other hotel guests recall seeing an obscure ghostly cloud-like figure in the oldest part of the hotel. They also shared that they often encountered the feeling that there is someone else in the room – someone who cannot be seen, but can be felt.

Hotel Haycock

Guests also reported that they heard quiet voices and footsteps, although there was no one else in the rooms.

Despite the fact that such stories can scare ordinary people, they are not of interest to real seekers of the paranormal, since they can easily be explained by the dilapidated state of the building.

haycock hotel

Haycock Manor is currently closed for renovation, which means that if the phenomena of supernatural forces could be explained by the state of the hotel, then after the renovation they should disappear.

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