Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 4, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #44. Anting-Anting

 After the spark of light has left the body in a month or longer, there's a chance that peace and quiet will return to the old house again.

A slight chance. It was an old-school funeral service from the plantation days. It was held in the house's living room, not at a funeral parlor. The neighbors came to pay their respects, as did family members. Chairs were borrowed from Immaculate Conception Church to be placed in the garage, concrete sidewalk, and backyard. There was more food than was expected, so many people made a plate for themselves and took the food home. I wasn't Catholic, but I came to support my friend Orlando because it was his grandfather's service. I hung out with him as he and his family prayed and did all the formal Catholic prayers and rituals for such a service. The casket was nearly a wooden crate, as you saw in a packing plant or warehouse. Distinguished in his tuxedo, the grandfather looked like a man who commanded respect in life, with hair neatly combed back, shallow cheekbones, and an old scar just above his left eyebrow. Everyone in the cramped living room wailed in grief, men and women. They were all brown from the sun, working in the cane fields, making a life for themselves. When the Catholic part was done, Orlando tapped me on the shoulder. "Go outside and make something to eat, and wait. You can't be here for this part. I'll come out later,"

"Why? What you guys going do?" I asked.

"Anting-anting," he replied. "But you can't be here for it; you must go outside."

I went outside, got some food, and waited. I talked to a few classmates there; we were the only five non-Filipinos in attendance. A few of the adults asked why we weren't inside, and when I said it was because of anting-anting, they suddenly fell silent and walked away. Some visibly shivering as they did so. Suddenly, screams rose up from the living room. People inside were pouring out the front door, some running over the slower ones. Orlando's mother came out and grabbed an older Filipino woman, begging her to come into the house. Soon, that older Filipino woman was shouting something in Filipino repeatedly. I could not tell which dialect it was, but soon, Orlando's father came out and ordered everyone to go home. There was such desperate urgency in his voice that many people left their plates of food right where they lay. 

We discovered the following day that Orlando would have his schoolwork sent home until he could return to school. Even his parents were given a paid reprieve from the plantation. In a month, Orlando was back in school. After lunch that day, he secretly told us that while the anting-anting was being performed at his grandfather's funeral, he sat up in his casket and began talking to everyone in the living room. People were climbing over one another so they could escape their fate. The smart ones fainted or died of a massive heart attack on the spot. For the past month, the problem was trying to convince the re-animated corpse of his grandfather to let them pray him back to being dead. To this day, Orlando has told me what the anting-anting was all about and why it brought his proven deceased grandfather back to life.


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