Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Asian Eyes' China - Haunted Tale

         As travel is part and parcel of my work, I cannot run away from close encounter with the spiritual world. Since it is now Chinese Hungry ghost festival month, I would like to relate my tales in China that are still freshly etched in my brain. It was not the usual 'ghostly' stuff, but something more likely to happens to travelers, especially those weary after a long journey and most time than ever, our mind plays trick on ourselves.  I am sure everyone had their fair share of similar tales. 

Offerings to ghosts - According to those with Ying 
Yang eyes, there were twice the number of ghostly 
beings present during Chinese Hungry Ghost 7th 
month compared to other months.
        The most memorable one was once I flown in from Shanghai to Xiamen on Dec 2004, arrived close to 2 am past midnight due to flight delay. The taxi took about 45 minutes to reach Harbor View Hotel near Zhongsan Lu. At the check in counter, was no one around and I pressed the calling bell. I woke up the clerk, and he groggily passed me 2 plastic keys. As usual I always knocked on the door to my room first before trying to use the electronic key on the door. The light indicator was red and continued to blink red after numerous tries. When I tried to use my second card, suddenly the door opened. Taken by surprise, I jumped 2 steps backwards. A white towel seem to hang on thin air at waist height. I nearly peed before I heard a loud voice"What do you want?". I was stunned and then realized the voice came from a tall dark figure with a lot of hairs, wrapped only in white towel. Not sure if he was human, words seem to stuck at my throat. Finally I blurted out "What are you doing in my room?" "What do you mean your room? I check in this afternoon" he replied, slamming the door before me. Stunned, I make my way down to the reception and related my story. The clerk checked his computer and paperwork before apologetically informed that the computer record was not updated and he had given me an occupied room. He upgraded me to a superior room. The next morning I over heard an Indian guy complained to the reception that someone tried to scare him in the middle of the night. Phew, what a fright!
An invisible pair of man's 
shoe paced up and
down the corridor outside 

my room freaked me out.
           Second story happened in Beijing during a tour in 2007 with my wife. We stayed at a local hotel close to Tienanmen. On second day of the tour, we went early for our breakfast in the restaurant in our hotel. It was buffet style and after we took our food we searched for a place to sit. I found a empty table and waved to my wife to join me. However, across the other end of the restaurant, a fellow tour mate gestured to us to sit with them instead. I asked if it was not OK to sit at the empty table, but he just mentioned that the empty table smelled funny and winked at us. Sensing some thing not right, we followed as told. We also avoided that table for the next 2 days before we switched to another hotel. After 8 days of tour we went home safely. On the plane, our friend told us that he saw a pair of man's shoes, no leg nor body, paced up and down the corridor, and stopped at the table that I intended to sit earlier. He used his hand to show it was a big pair of shoes, wore by those in military and every time it arrived at the table, it brought along a foul smell. Hearing this my hairs at the back of my neck all stood up. Luckily I only heard it on the way home, not in the hotel itself. Ah, the curse of ying yang eyes (one that can see ghosts)!
         Final story was in Shanghai where I attended a meeting with suppliers in 2008 together with colleagues from all over the world. I arrived at Shanghai Pudong Airport early evening and took 1.5 hour taxi ride to Merry Fair Hotel near Zhongshan Park. As usual I knocked at my room and then used my card on the room lock. The lock light blinked red. Then I switched to the second card and this time the light blink yellow. Hmm! I have never seen room lock blinked yellow before. Sensing something was not right, I went down to the reception. The clerk checked in his computer and declared everything was in order. He accompanied me back to the room and used one of the card on my room lock. The lock light blinked green and he opened the door. "See, no issue", he said, also testing on my second key. "If you want, you can change to another room", he added. Since I were running late for a dinner appointment with my colleagues, I declined politely. As soon as the male clerk left, with me alone in the room, my hair at the back of my neck started to rise. I brushed the thought aside, thinking it was the air conditioning blowing. I cleaned up and hurried downstairs to meet my friends. After dinner I came back to my room and tried to unlock the room. Again, first card key yielded a yellow light, but the second key lighted a green. I cannot slept the whole night as I kept on hearing noise of water drippings. I get up and checked the bathroom but nothing amiss. It was not a nice experience at all. I said a prayer and then tried to go to sleep, but the water sound continued on. I tossed and tossed, and out of sudden a big gush of water poured down from my room's ceiling and drenched the entire room and bed. I called up the front desk and 10 minutes later a maintenance crew came. I was evacuated to another floor and given complimentary dinner vouchers. The following morning I got to know that the noise of water drippings turned out to be caused by water pipe problem in a room a floor above mine. Water had seeped through the floor and short circuited my room door key system. Nowadays whenever I check into hotel, if a room door's lock lighted yellow, its time to change room!             

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