Films such as The Sixth Sense, The Conjuring, and The Blair Witch Project, have piqued interests regarding the belief of those returning from the afterlife as ghosts. These movies portray ghosts as entities who try to haunt us, send us messages, or tell us to stay well away from certain places or things. But while most perceive them to be scary and horrific, we cannot deny that people have had a fascination about the paranormal for quite some time, thanks, partly, to the curiosity it stirs within us.
Aside from Hollywood horror films, Filipino myths and legends have roused our imaginations as well. Tales of white ladies being seen during nighttime drives and stories relating departed loved ones to the presence of butterflies in the garden or in the house are common in regular conversation. When encountering a person who can “see” or “perceive” these entities, we can’t help but bombard them with questions about what or whom they might have seen, or other such experiences.
There are many theories as to why some people are gifted with what is commonly known as the Third Eye, or the Sight. Some say it’s a psychological effect, that our belief in ghosts is directly related to our ability to see—if we truly, firmly believed in ghosts, then our ability to see is greater.
Yet others say that the reason why some of us can’t see ghosts is that our mind is too terrified to believe, and a ghost would not show itself to someone who doesn’t believe they exist in the first place. It is said that every one of us has the potential of having a Third Eye, but only a select few would have Third Eyes that are wide open.
Seeing is believing
For Elden (IV, BS-LGL), sensing and catching glimpses of the paranormal have been regular occurrences for as long as he can remember. While he is unsure of the exact moment he realized he was capable of such, Elden does recall that his first brush with the other-worldly familiarized him with the sensation of knowing that something else was around and helped him to “distinguish the dead from the living clearly.”
In a similar situation, Steph* (IV, BS-LGL) believes she was born with a sixth sense, which only seemed to be reinforced by her relatives and her surroundings. “It runs in the family, and growing up I’ve been exposed to the idea and community of manggagamot, albularyo, manghuhula, black magic, and other taboo.”
Steph however, recalls her first paranormal encounter vividly; she was in their family home, walking from room to room and on the way she passed by the stairs where she says she saw a bride and groom standing atop the staircase landing.
“At first I just saw a girl in white. Her back was turned to me and her hair was long. Then when I blinked, another figure appeared beside her; a man in a barong. It looked like he did not have a head because there was just a black shadow where his face was supposed to be.”
While there are a good number of people with the Sight, there seem to be an equal number of skeptics as well. There are those who say that people only “pretend” to have the ability to see spirits as a way of getting attention from their peers, and even others who have the audacity to think those with the Sight are crazy and suffer from mental health problems. Hence, people with the ability tend to be very discreet about it.
“I only disclose the fact to people I am very close with,” shares Steph. She then adds, “It is a gift, yes, but not something many are open minded about. I’d rather be open about this to people who I know will not judge me or think I am crazy.“
Elden adds, “I also don’t talk about the beings I sense when I know the entity is present somewhere.” According to him, there is a chance that talking about them may provoke them into anger, especially if they are malevolent.
On life and death
Having the Sight could change how one perceives life and death. Religion tends to say the spirits of the dead can never return, and they immediately depart to heaven, or even to another world upon death. The Catholic faith states God would never allow a departed soul to return to the world of the living, thus ghosts are actually not deceased loved ones, but incarnations of the devil.
Steph shares it has affected her perspective, simply stating, “It’s just sad for someone to die without peace, especially when they die without reconciling with certain people. Those lone spirits stay longer on Earth to try and carry out their unfinished business.”
Additionally, Elden confesses that his Sight has impacted his view on life. “The entities I see are normally dead people who wanted to do something before they passed on. Their wish for it was so strong that it had bound them to our world. I see them as a lesson that I must live my life without any deep regrets.”
A gift or a curse?
When asked on whether or not they would rather be rid of their sixth sense, Elden firmly says no. While he considers these episodes to be fleeting, he also considers them to be happy accidents, stating, “It happens when it happens. It might be terrifying when experiencing the sensations at the moment, but it is thrilling to look back to after the episode is over.”
On the other hand, Steph has mixed feelings, but clearly explains both her reasons. “Yes and no. Yes because there are times where the spirits keep feeding on your energy, and you feel tired for no reason. You get this heavy feeling and your breathing shallows like the spirits are taking you with them,” she openly shares.
While it is seen as a curse by others and there are instances where she may agree, Steph still believes each and every one of us are gifted—where some, like herself, possess more unusual abilities than others.
“For some reason, each person is gifted at birth and like any other gift, I believe mine was given for a reason and for a purpose.”
*Name changed to protect anonimity of respondent