Monday, October 8, 2007

Ghost Story

Reading about the Japanese journalist who got shot at close range in Burma reminded me of my friend Shoko's husband, Akihiro Nonaka who has been leading a free minded group of journalists called Asia Press International for many years.

I don't believe in ghosts even though I used to read a lot of horror stories, but her husband's story from Cambodia really sent shivers up my spine.

I don't remember what or where exactly the journalists visited that day but it was some site were there had been a very bloody massacre. One of the journalists was very much affected by this, feeling strong waves of sympathy for those who died there, and was warned by one of the locals that it was not good to let yourself feel that way because the earth bound spirits might follow him back.

Anyhow Akihiro and the other journalist didn't really think much of this and went back to their hotel. Everything seemed quite normal until there was a power failure at around 2am or so in the morning and then there was a loud rapping at the window of the hotel.

I don't remember the details of this story as Akihiro told me this more than a decade ago, but I think the hotel staff told them not to ever open the window when this happened.

This happened again the following night and so they decided something had to be done.

I think they went and had some Buddhist monks say some prayers and make some offerings. I don't remember exactly what they did, but they did this and they shortly left the country.

The Cambodians seemed to believe that the earth bound spirits had followed the sympathetic journalist back to his hotel and were rapping his window asking to be let inside.

I really don't know what to make of this story. It could be that even seasoned war zone journalists become nervous when visiting massacre sites and that the words spoken out loud have the power to cast some kind of spell on your mind if said by the right person at the right time....and well, your imagination makes things that seem supernatural happen.

Many other explanations can be explored but I found this story frightening because more than one person seemed to witness it at the same time.

Anyhow it's not a story one wants to remember in the middle of the night if one lives alone. I think that's why I'd put this away in the back of mind for years...

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