i like getting scared by a good ghost story. and, i must admit, i like scaring other people with a good ghost story. that’s why i share them. back in high school, and even through college, i love spending time with my friends and just sharing ghost stories.
in fact, back in my senior year of high school, we had a few evenings inside the school where we would share ghost stories while we waited for everyone to leave the school. a bit of a backgrounder: i was a cat (citizens army training) officer, and there was a time when we were asked to help out the assistant disciplinarians in checking to see that no student remained in the upper floors of the school.
during some evenings, we would pass the time by telling ghost stories.
i also got into the habit of reading ghost stories online, and on print. my mother used to buy these true filipino ghost stories for me some years back. while some stories scared me, i was never impressed by most of the stories i read. they felt very juvenile to me.
so when will suggested AFRAID: THE BEST PHILIPPINE GHOST STORIES for my filipino horror book pile, my interest was piqued. i wondered if i would finally be able to read an anthology of real accounts that would scare me.
i was disappointed.
AFRAID: THE BEST PHILIPPINE GHOST STORIES is a collection of ghost stories, yes. but i don’t think some of them are true ghost stories. the first story felt very much like a rip-off of THE OTHERS, and another story was more period drama than ghost story. these were not the stories i expected when i started reading the anthology.
but what disappointed me most was gad lim’s “THE RUNNING GHOSTS.” from his introductory paragraph, i knew he studied in ateneo de manila. i knew he took up running for his physical education, he said so himself. and i knew of the running “ghosts” he spoke of in the story. i saw them too when i was studying in ateneo, having also taken up running for my p.e. class.
i don’t think they’re ghosts–unless ghosts can age.
i did have shivers while reading the last story though. though it really wasn’t a story as it was an excerpt of a longer narrative. edilberto tiempo’s “MUSUAN” started slowly, before reaching a point where the shivers begin. but before the shivers can make way for fear to set in, the illusion gets destroyed–by boredom.
“MUSUAN” has too many talk and not enough scares. and i think i can say that for most of the stories in this collection.
this is not a collection i’d recommend for anyone looking for a scare. but don’t take my word for it: here’s a review from the bibliophile stalker.