Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 11, 2016

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween! 80 Nights Left! "Magwayan"

 The door of the old plantation home was open, and the room itself was practically empty save for a single bed and a nightstand with a pitcher of water on it and a simple porcelain cup. Sitting on a chair was an old Filipino woman dressed in black who stared out the window; her gaze did not seem to be fixed on anything in particular. It was a strange tableau that almost reflected an old Bergman movie. In her hands, she held on to a short bamboo stick with something pointed that was lashed to the end of it. The kids on Ho'opi'o street would happen by the house and see the ancient Filipino woman dressed in black as she stared at them through her window and would try to scare one another by saying,

"It's Magwayan! Magwayan is going to get you! The goddess of death is waiting to take your soul."

It was a custom among Filipino women during the plantation era in Hawai'i to wear black for an entire year after their husbands had passed away. However, this woman's story was completely different.


In the time of the old plantation days in Waipahu, a man and his wife lived together quietly in the Filipino camp. Arriving recently from Panay in the Visayas, the couple worked long hours in the cane fields and managed to make a humble life for themselves. Social life after a workday was relaxed because some of the other Filipinos in the camp were from the same area in the Philippine islands as they were. One of the older Filipino gentlemen who lived in the bachelor's quarters helped out part-time in the general store; although illegal, he would sneak some of the latest confections into his pockets when the owner was not looking and later share them among his friends.

It was not long before the young Filipino couple found out that they were with child and that the wife was already five months along; they were thrilled, and with the coming of their newborn, it signified the beginning of their life together as a family.

One late night, the couple were jolted out of their slumber when the husband heard the painful crying and howling from the dogs outside. The husband thought it might have been a wild pig who had wandered into the encampment; grabbing his shotgun and a kerosene lantern, he ran out into the backyard, and to his horror, he witnessed two Aswang pulling his dogs up into the mango tree. Without hesitating, he raised his weapon and shot both creatures but only wounded them temporarily; he watched in horror as their grotesque forms fell to the red dirt with a sickening thud. As if the night had not already brought on the worst of things, the Filipino man now heard the horrified screams of his wife coming from the house,

"It's on the roof!" He heard her say.

Holding the kerosene lantern up toward the roof, he saw another Aswang with its long tongue trying to get in through their bedroom window. He realized then that the other two Aswang who were pulling the dogs up into the mango tree was doing it order to distract him. They were really after the embryonic fluids in wife's womb; he let out another round and shot the right ear off of the creature. The Aswang screamed wildly and flew off. The husband found himself quite upset that he had wounded the last one with ill success. By the time their neighbors had arrived to assist them with whatever the matter was, the chaos had subsided. However, when their fellow countrymen arrived at the scene, the bodies of the Aswang were gone. They covered themselves with the sign of the cross and immediately began to discern the matter as to who the creatures might have been in their human forms? One of them offered the thought that should any two men in their camp not answer the call to work the following morning that their identities as the Aswang would be revealed. And so it was that the next morning, two of the younger men who were staying in the bachelor's quarters were not present and seemed to have disappeared altogether.

But now the remaining question lay in who the third culprit might have been?

It was the topic of discussion for all of the workday; that is until the couple and their friends made their way to the general store for essentials. Imagine their shock and horror when they saw their older friend who assisted the owner at the general store wearing a large bandage covering his right ear? A cold murderous rage possessed the husband at that moment but his companions whispered wise counsel in his ear, urging him to stay the tempest. The men said nothing and did not let on that anything had happened the night before; once they had made their purchases and returned home, each man agreed to meet at the bachelor's quarters to wait for the older gentleman.

To be safe, the husband brought his wife with him.

The group waited for most of the night, but the older gentleman never returned. It was late, so everyone agreed to return home, however as a precaution of their own safety, the group saw each of its members home one by one until the last had no choice but to fend for themselves.

The pregnant wife is the target of the Aswang and rendered herself and her husband to be seen to their house first. They had not been home for less than a few minutes when an urgent knock came at their door; the group had returned because while they were on their way to escort the others to their homes, they had found the older gentleman not more than a hundred feet from the couple's place. Except that the top half of his torso was broken off and the bottom half was still standing up against a tree,

"The Aswang is here somewhere," one of the men said.

As if on cue, the man's wife let loose with a blood-curdling scream from within the house; following the husband to his bedroom, the group rushed in after him and found themselves nearly paralyzed with fear. The Aswang was behind the wife with its arm firmly locked around her neck while its long protruding tongue hovered near her belly button. The creature's right ear was grossly disfigured because of the gunshot from the night before. It looked directly at the husband and smiled as the tip of its tongue moved in a small circle teasing as to whether it would drain out the embryonic life juices from their unborn child through his wife's navel or not. The men quickly put themselves between the bedroom window and the creature while the husband and one other man from the group blocked the bedroom door, robbing it of any hopes of escaping alive. The husband leveled his shotgun at the kerosene lantern next to his bed and pulled the trigger. The deafening sound of the blast made everyone jump but the husband quickly lit a match to the oil and instantly set his bedroom a flame. He fired another shot at the Aswang; this time hitting it square in the eye and killing it. The rest of the men were in such shock that they hadn't noticed that the husband had already retrieved his pregnant wife and had her stand outside their room. From his pant pocket, he removed a foot-long stick with something lashed to the end of it.

It was the barb of a stingray.

Handing it to his wife, he told her, "Go to the Luna's house and tell him what happened; if you see an Aswang stab it with this. It's the only thing that can kill them aside from fire,"

"What about you ?" The wife cried.

"Worry about our child," the husband replied. "Go, do as I say!"

With that, his wife ran out into the night.

The husband stepped into his bedroom and locked the door behind him. He walked over to the window and stood in front of it. The bedroom quickly filled with smoke and flames, and the group of men now screamed at the husband, asking him if he was crazy? They pleaded with him to open the door or the window so that they could all escape the fire; instead, he pointed the shotgun at them and would not budge.

"Earlier on, I had enough time to think when I came home, and I realized that the rest of you also live in the bachelor's quarters. Before I left here to go back and meet you, the Luna came to ask me if everything was okay with my wife? I told him she was fine as he saw for himself. He said that a pregnant woman from the Portuguese camp was killed yesterday, her husband found her in bed covered in blood. Her navel was torn open and her child died in her womb; he told me to keep a close watch on my wife because they had not caught the murderer yet. Three Aswang attacked my home last night, and they all lived in the bachelor's quarters. Just like you guys, and just a few minutes ago, when all of you came here and told me that you found the half torso of your friend who worked at the general store, not one of you mentioned anything about saturating the torso with vinegar. That is what you're supposed to do when you find something like that because it's the human shell of the Aswang. None of you did that, that's how I knew for sure that all of you are Aswang,"

"Please," one of the men begged, "you're delusional. It was not us, we are flesh and blood!"

"Stop," the eldest of the group told the first one. "No sense in lying, it was us. We are Aswang, but we only prey on animals. Our friends that you shot, he and the other two were stupid and arrogant. Their actions were beginning to draw attention to us. Just let us go. We'll gather our things and leave this place, we'll never bother you again."

The smoke quickly grew thick and black, and breathing was becoming troublesome; the flames were already at their feet, but the husband would not budge.

"Your entire house is going to go up in flames," the older man stated.

"I can wait," the husband said.

By the time the pregnant wife had returned with the Luna, her humble home had wholly gone up in flames. There was nothing left of it; she searched frantically for her husband and the group of men, but there was no sign of them. She refused to assume the worst until the fire had finally died down the following morning. That is when she and the Luna found the charred body of her husband still clutching his shotgun in his hands. Near him were the bodies of something that did not appear to be human at all. It was only then that the wife realized the truth of the situation they had been in; those men that she and her husband took as friends were, in fact, Aswang. Her husband sacrificed his life to protect his wife and unborn child, he might have also unknowingly saved the lives of others from the neighboring camps. Were there more of them out there?

No one would ever know.


Today, the old Filipino woman sits at the window of her Ho'opi'o Street home veiled in black where she holds in her hands a bamboo stick with the barb of a stingray lashed to the end of it. Even in her dotage, she awaits ever vigilant for some clue or sign that the Aswang has returned to exact its revenge.

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