Please do not read this post unless you have read 23rd June and 3rd July's post. They are inter-connected.
* The interview has been translated to english for the benefit of all readers, especially my own. This is because the Pakcik speaks in heavy Kelantanese dialect and it was damn difficult even for me to comprehend.*
9:45pm, 6th July 2005
Pakcik Non's Home
Me: Pakcik, I've read some of the reporters' interview with you, and it seems that you found Ah-Kim's body because you smell rotting flesh on your way to work? How did you know it's a rotting flesh?
Pakcik: I'm already 74 years old. Though I was not in the military, I was involved in defending my village during the Japanese occupation. So, I am very well used to smelling decaying bodies as well as burned ones. That time was a nightmare. I hope you won't interview me on that.
Me: No Pakcik, my interview is going to be based on the latest happening here. Police stated that the boy has been dead for more than 36 hours. Was there anything unusual that happened on the day before? As you were heading to work?
Pakcik: Actually yes. The day before on my way to work, I saw something like a mist at that area. So I slowed down, and I saw the boy, Ah-Kim was it his name? Anyway, I thought he was just a wandering ghost, you know, the type that cannot sit still and roams the earth. Funny thing is, he was still standing there instead of going on his way, but I never thought anything negative from that, that morning.
Me: You never mentioned this to the reporters, how come? And couldn't you see Ah-Kim asking for help in any way?
Pakcik: If I were to mention I saw Ah-Kim in the news. What do you think will happen? His parents will blame me for not acting fast. The whole nation will come to interview me further and disturb my life. Pious friends will accuse me of making up stories, to take advantage of news, and so on.
Me: Why are you telling me now, Pakcik?
Pakcik: You're not a reporter. I believe you are a researcher. And I can see that you have some of Pakcik's curse as well. You see ghosts too, don't you?
Me: No Pakcik. I cannot. I can sense them sometimes, but have never seen one. Why do you call it a curse? Wait, before that, get back to Ah-Kim. Was he in anyway asking for help from you?
Pakcik: Well, I can see him shouting. I can see, but I cannot hear ghosts. And then when he was shouting, he started to blur out. At that time, I can only see him form, not himself, and I knew he was moving his hands. I had to act as if I cannot see him, because I thought he's one of those haunts.
Me: Haunts, pakcik?
Pakcik: Haunts are ghosts who are restless, and wish to show themselves. Sometimes, when we acknowledge their existence, they will start to scare us. That's why I don't want to acknowledge him. Or else he might just harm me, or follow me home, which I don't want! Enough of ghosts of Japanese soldiers following me home. I learn from that. That's why I call this gift a curse.
Me: Some say it's a gift, some say it's a curse. Has this gift really trouble you a lot? When did you first knew you could see ghost? Were you born with it?
Pakcik: No, I acquired this gift sometime after the war has ended. I was 35 at that time. I was expecting my third child, so I worked into the nights. One of the nights when I rode back home, I noticed the air was colder than usual. I dismissed it at first when I thought it was going to rain. Then I saw a girl some distance on my path waving at me.
Me: Did you run away? What was she wearing?
Pakcik: Run away?! It's just a girl. Why would I want to run away? My first thought is that she wanted a ride on my bicycle. As I was getting closer, she ran to me, panting asking me to help her. As for what she's wearing, I know you want to hear long hair and white gown. No, none of that. She was in her early twenties, hair tied back and wearing a red baju kurung. Not pretty, but not ugly either.
Me: What happened then, Pakcik?
Pakcik: She was pointing into the forest, asking me to follow her. Saying that her house is on fire. I asked how her far inside is her house, because from the thick brushes, I knew I had to run in. She said it was just about half a kilometer in, but if it's really half a kilometer in, I would have seen some kind of light. At that time it was already getting very dark, near the end of Maghrib. I got suspicious, so I stayed there while she backs off into the forest, still calling for me. Any sane human would have already pulled me, or run inside the forest and look back, shouting for me to follow, but she was very calm. She backs into the forest, still looking at me, waving me to follow her, saying "follow me". As she was reaching the trees from the road path, I noticed she started to float. I would have bolted, but I was too shocked, paralysed! I started saying some prayers and when she was half as tall as the trees, I found myself able to move so I rode on. That was when I heard a scream of laughter from her behind me. All of a sudden I hit a rock and fell. Are you listening?
Me: Yes, Pakcik, go on.
Pakcik: Okay, you were too quiet, I thought you were lost in your own thought. To continue, I woke up the next day at home, with high fever for several days. My wife said I shouted a lot in my sleep. I am glad I was fit to work again within a week.
Me: You still didn't mention how you acquired the gift.
Pakcik: That was how I acquired the gift. A few days later, after Subuh prayers I left for work. It was still very dark, but what's different is that I see more people awake than usual. I see some people already awake, some walking about, some on bicycles. There were no noise from these people, just doing their own things. Though I found it weird, I rode on to work. Then I saw three men marching in Japanese uniform. That was when my hairs stood. I rode faster hoping to reach work faster, but I just had to stop at one sight I cannot forget. I saw my friend rubber tapping. He saw me, smiled at me and continued on with his work. The scary thing is that he died 12 years prior to that.
Me: That would have definitely made me run.
Pakcik: There are times when you will not run from a ghost. When you see a ghost of a dead loved ones, be it family or close friends, would you run away? I didn't. I actually walked to him. As I was reaching home, he turned to his back, and then started running. Then I saw the Japanese ghosts earlier running as well. That's when I knew they were chasing him. I finally knew then how he died. They manage to shoot his leg from far, and then they stood over him, demanding something. When he shook his head, they started to kick him, stomp him and one man decided to end his life by stabbing him at his neck with the bayonet. Then I puked.
Me: I've heard of this situation before, pakcik. What you saw is a released energy of the dead. At some situations, you will see what happened in the past due to that energy still lingering around. It can happen again and again at different times, as long as some settings is right. I'm not sure what kind of settings, maybe the atmosphere.
Pakcik: You're not the only one who heard of this. Yes, I believed I saw how he died because of the memories from that energy. Now, answer me this. When I puked, the soldiers looked at me, then they started running at me. Now, this cannot be the memories from that energy, you know. I ran away, on foot because my bicycle was quite some distance away. Being the klutze that I am, I tripped and fell, and they came up behind me. I turned around and looked at them. The Japanese with the bayonet smiled, and stabbed me with at my chest. The bayonet went through, but something was wrong. I didn't feel it, and I was not bleeding. I was shocked. The Japanese was in a more state of shock that I am. I guessed that was the time they realised they were dead. All three started pointing and shouting at me. They tried jumping on me and tried to strangle me, but they could hold nothing. All I could see was their transparent bodies on top of me, but their feet and knees were on the ground underneath my body, through me.
Me: You didn't faint from that shock, pakcik?
Pakcik: No, I was too angry seeing how my friend died to feel scared. I was just shocked I wasn't killed. First time with a ghost you know, how would I know that the bayonet cannot kill me? They got so angry with me they didn't want to leave me alone. So they followed me to work, they followed me during lunch, they watched me pray Zohor and Asar and they followed me home. That was when chaos started in my family.
Me: How come they were not afraid of your prayers? And what happened at home after they followed you?
Pakcik: I'm not sure why they were not affected by the prayers. I believe they were not devils to begin with, and they were not able to harm me. But they did just sit away looking at me from a distance. Now, at home, my 2nd child, a baby girl of 2 years has my gift. That was when I knew, she can see them. At first when they knew she could see them, they tried attacking her. That left us with about two to three days of her constantly crying, running away from wherever they are, eating with her eyes constantly on these Japanese. My wife knew there was something in the house, but she doesn't know I could see them. I met a couple of bomoh to help lure our the ghosts, but they could only come in the next few days.
Me: So your daughter ended up not sleeping nights then? Must have been very bad trauma for her.
Pakcik: It was very bad. Her eyes started to darken and she hardly sleeps. Always tugging at me and pointing to them. I'm lucky that they follow me to work everyday and not stay home to disturb my daughter. One thing changed though. They left me one afternoon and didn't come back to follow me. I thought it was over. But my thoughts were wrong. I came home one night hearing my daughter talking. I thought my wife was talking to her. When I came up I realised that she was talking to the Japanese. My wife was in the kitchen, perhaps thinking that our daughter was just playing. They were not looking as fierce as they were. They saw me, stood up, bowed and left. And was the last time I ever saw them.
Me: That's very rare, pakcik. For them just to disappear like that.
Pakcik: How would you know what is rare and what is not? Human ghost still come from human life, and as humans we have compassion. I guess they slowly accepted that they were dead, and somehow my daughter must have soothed them, and in the end, they left. Even I, who was very angry at them for disturbing my family did not feel vengeful over them after they left. I'm just hoping they find peace.
Me: That's a very interesting experience, pakcik. Back to the current case, what about that little boy who claims Ah-Kim will call his parents? Any truth in that?
Pakcik: The little boy is very innocent. He just wants to help anyone in trouble. He is sad to see Ah-Kim not able to speak to his family, therefore asked Ah-Kim to call his family up. They can you know. Use the phone, that is. On a correct atmosphere, a ghost needs to just be in the room, with part of his being at the phone and the phone will ring. He will speak, not through the phone, but just speak standing up, like you do in speeches, but the phone answerer will only hear his voice in the telephone. But this requires the correct time and atmosphere, which we normally will not face.
Me: Wow, pakcik. You seem to know a lot! How did you know about ghosts being able to call on the phone? The boy told you?
Pakcik: Not the boy. No. Actually, I just found out about this today as well. In fact, it was just a few minutes before you arrived.
Me: How? Who told you?
Pakcik: You were too engrossed in interviewing me and listening to my story. You told me you could feel ghost. You and I are not the only ones in this room. Ah-Kim is sitting directly to your right.