Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Haunting memories

I have decided that nothing scares me more than just an ordinary stare – just a long intense stare, with a hint of a smile. Nothing more. That would be enough to make me shiver in my sarung. No need for any grotesque features with blood, clot eyes or fangs or intestines spilling all over the place. One such stare that haunts me to this day is the look that Mona Fendi gave as she stepped down from the police van in front of the court house. She calmly looked straight into the camera and...smiled!

These are images that were running riot in my mind as I contemplated my trip to a castle last week. At the very last minute, I cancelled the 8pm train on the Sunday, which would have taken me to its doorstep at exactly 9 pm. I would have been met by the caretaker, who would have shown me to my room along the dark narrow corridors, lined with big enormous portraits of previous occupants – portraits that have eyes following your every move. I know this because I have stayed there before – once with the family, which wasn’t too bad but one summer I was there all alone for a whole week. Other guests were placed in different parts of the huge castle in different wings.

This time, I didn’t fancy arriving so late at night, so I took the early morning train from Waterloo and slept all the way. Which as just as well ‘cos all the other participants had the same thing in mind.

My uneasiness and fear were not totally unfounded. Castles do have their resident ghosts after all and taxi drivers would gleefully tell you all the gory detail during the 15 minute trip from the station. I bet they were paid by the local tourist board! Anyway, I was there the second time one summer two years ago. It was a lovely summer and the castle was beautiful with greeneries and flowers of all colours and scents. I was then given a room at the upper most level, up creaky staircases and along narrow corridors. I imagine, it must have been a room for the look out for advancing enemies. They have very thick walls with small windows, from where they could shoot arrows and stop any unwanted guests.

It was after lunch in the big dining room which was once a kitchen, where the maids and butlers and cooks used to eat, that I decided to go up to my room. Walking up the winding staircase, I overheard someone telling a visitor, “This is where the Bishop was found. He spent his last few years in a coffin in the small room underneath the staircase, as a penance for his misdeeds.” How my legs carried me to the fourth floor, I don’t know. But I think I must have flown straight up every night after dinner and lock myself up in the room, with the duvet right over my head. Every night!

This bishop’s portrait is among the many decorating the walls of the castle, his beady eyes following my every move and I’d sit transfixed byhis stare, on the sofa by the big fireplace in the grand hall, sipping my coffee before saying goodnight to the other guests and making my hundered metre dash to my room. By some cruel turn of fate, for the stay last week, I was alloted a room, with the Bishop’s name! How I counted the hours before I could go home.
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It is a funny thing about fear – you don't want to see, but you will still do so with your hands half covering your eyes. You don't want to know, yet, you are curious. So, during this trip, I wanted to know more. Apparently, the Bishop isn’t the only one still reluctant to leave his home. There’s also talk of other apparitions – one of them a young dancing girl, who was rumoured to have collapsed after being forced to dance non stop. Suffice to say, I planned a quick retreat from the place soon after.

Once we were invited by friends, owner of a castle like hotel overlooking the Thames up the A40, to spend a weekend there. It is a beautiful place with its 100 year old garden, a maze and yes, you guessed it...a resident ghost. This one is friendly, according to the brochure and goes about her business at the break of dawn by the Thames. The Dutchess who used to own the place, is said to make an appearance at that time. Suffice to say again, I found myself awake just at that time and looking at the spot by the river where the grand Dutches was supposed to appear. Oh well, she must have overslept that morning.

Oh yes, the other thing that will make me pee in my pants would be an alien voice coming from what you think is an ordinary face....Linda Blair in The Exorcist suddenly comes to mind!

33 comments:

Noni said...

yea yea yea... am first first first... what was most scary to me while I was going up was the Indonesian horrors during the 70's... sundal bolong lah... suzana lah... roro kidul lah... scared me ****less. And then I went to boarding school and we had a resident ghost there The Green Lady. All borading schools ada resident evil dia I would imagine. Oh please don't get me started.

ailin...in aalborg said...

kak teh, so much for cari hantu! and just like noni, I think every boarding school has it's share of ghost stories.

Remembered my Sis#2 suddenly. We used to watch Friday the 13th and scream our lungs out. She actually. I just punched her each time I though my ear drum was gonna burst.

may said...

I'm such a coward when it comes to the supernatural. I almost never watch horror movies because I can't stand the gore. I try to excuse myself when people start telling ghost stories at night. And to imagine that there are resident ghosts here and there in our modern days... Eeks!

atenah said...

ada connecting bathroom dak KT? ish kalau tak dak, torturenya nak pi k***** tgh2 mlm

bergen said...

Gosh Noni, you mentioned Suzana!

Don't worry about it, them ghosts can't hurt you none unless you want them to.

(This macho talk is made possible by the fact that I am safe in my room. I'd talk different in the castle you mentioned in this entry.)

Good day, ma'am.

dr in the house said...

Kak Teh!

I am not even half-brave as you!! I would have pleaded to share a room with someone! And pulling the duvet up covering my head wouldnt help either cause I'd be thinking about that ghost in that Juon movie who would wriggle up in the blanket and suddenly pushed its head out!

To my cowardice standard you are still one plucky gal!

Jane Sunshine said...

I was wondering what happened to the castle expedition after you mentioned it. Now, you've spooked me! M is away on work for 10 days. I am going to sleep with all the lights on.

Zed said...

i admit i am just a big woose heh heh so it doesn't take much to freak me out, but in real life i tend to just bite my tongue and bear it all - else macho factor goes down the tubes heh heh. the price we pay to look cool sometimes. cheers

mommy@lif said...

kak teh! how ironic!! baru mlm kelmarin i cudn't sleep because of my own version of haunting memories habis semua citer hantu or yg i imagine (based fr citer my friends')keluar. until 3 o'clock in the morning still cannot sleep. i just hate those feeling, seram sejuk kaki, plus my own heartbeating nearly drives me to death.. terasa cam the sound being magnified 1000X!and yes, when i closed my eyes trying hard to sleep and i 'sensed' something is 'watching' or 'lalu' dekat i, terus i akan bukak mata and scan the bedroom!! i cannot help it!

can't imagine how you survived in the castle

signing off,
lemah semangat woman

Nazrah said...

takooooooooooot!!! even the efferverscent maya karin scares me, n to think that I have not seen the harum bla bla bla movie.

nadya said...

mak teh,
sukanya castle2...walaupun spooky,tapi macam best je la.
please post more pictures.. plis plis pretty please :)

cheers mak teh!

Alang said...

banner kak teh ni buat sayer terliur ler... tgh PMS ni raser nak mkn coklat jerk. aiyakk..

Lady K said...

hehe...kak teh...

kita baru balik dari egypt...sepenakut tahap dewa i ni...boleh terberani lak p masuk mummy section kat museum depa tu......nampaklaaa semua mummy ada yg dok menyeringai....mlm balik hotel, i couldn't sleep, ternampak lak entrance ticket tu ada gambaq mummy hitam belegam tu...lagilaaaa...cik abe sebelah baik nyer dah sampai wonderland...
sejak balik ni...everynite takleh tidoq...dok terbayang-bayang....hiiiii

easylady said...

ampun.. saya memang penakut.

pu1pu3 said...

La..bila you mention tidur with the blanket on I teringat cerita freddy kruger on nightmare on elm street yg tiba2 keluar mencengkam dari tengah katil and habis mati si teruna & dara yg baru nak panas...hehe..masa tu I think i was only 7 yrs old kot. punya la takut..rasa nak mati. my bro pulak tak habis2 sakat I..
Beraninya kak teh. I sure baca jampi serapah semua siap!

Beautiful Stranger said...

*shivers* ... that's spooky . Why would you wanna go back t5here after the first trip ? yikes ...

Kak Teh said...

noni, ihave watched some indonesian horror movies, but not the ones u menationed,. yang i tengok punya too - banyak sangat slapstick.
ailin, ya - we had orang minyak!!!
may, i dont want to hear ghost stories, but i still stay back and listen, in between closing my ears and eyes!
tenah, bathroom all attached and very modern lah -

Kak Teh said...

bergen, ya, i can imagine aunt su waiting while u type - in case u takut!
Well, DITH - nak buat macam mana , terpaksa pejam mata sampai pagi lah! nak tunjuk takut tak best lah!
jane dear, did u ask abt the history of the house before you bought it? hahaha - just joking!
zed, thanks for the visit - a real honour i must say.

Kak Teh said...

alif's momy, looks like yr imagination is more active than mine!
nazrah,oh yes, that maya karim pontianak thingy look! hah - she did do it to me...yikes!
nadia nanti mak teh cari yang lama2 ambik masa summer - and put it on flickr
alang, kalau boleh cuit sikit dah cuit, kan?

Kak Teh said...

ladyk, how interesting! tapi kak teh pun rasanya kalau pi situ balik tak boleh tidur.di british museum pun ada mummy - seram tengok.
easylady, hahaha - samalah kita.
putri - hehehe - over active mind.
beautiful stranger - its work that keeps bringing me back...its kind of exciting BUT......

Ewok said...

KT, we have to meet for dinner soon so i can hear the ghost stories :)

tumpang lalu
naz, IMO harum bla bla movie tu sedih la, not that scary.

Mama Rock said...

kakteh, not forgetting amityville house (original version) - rasanya asyik tersentak2 je bila tengok movie tu

petalingstreet said...

ewok... si harum bla bla tu memang scary lah!!! especially part dia bertenggek tepi katil tu...

but one thing about me, i like scaring myself with horror stories. tido tak tido tu lain cite. hehe..

atiza said...

la ni hantu yang takut tengok orang..not the other way around..:)

Kak Lady said...

Salam perkenalan buat Kak Teh...hopped form Aili's blog...

Renungan Mona Fendi & senyuman sinis dlm akhbar ketika di bawa kluar dari mahkamah tu memang masih terakam dlm kotak fikiran Lady ni....very mysterious...

Betul mcm Kak Teh ckp..kita takut..tapi kita tetap nak tengok...nak tau...

Lady memang minat kat cerita2 horror & thriller...seram tapi masih nak tengok..ingin mengetahui segala misteri dari tempat2 menyeramkan macam 'castles' and old mansions.

Filem yang banyak meninggalkan kesan dlm hati Lady ialah The Omen & Exorcist...masih teringat kat Linda Blair...

maklang said...

Hai Kak Teh,

Maklang saw your name and photo at Ailin's.

Dah tua2 ni Maklang jadi penakut. No more horror movies for me. I feel that my heart will stop pounding if I go on watching all those horror movies. Dah tak thrill dah...lagi penakut ade...

maklang said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
swan said...

salam kak teh

I had hillarious memory of Haunted House back in the early 90's. kelakar giler tenggiling! I dedicated my life to everything, horror, scary and gory things. I could watch Malay and English horror movies without a flinch but I will definitely sleep with lights on after watching Korean, Thai and Japanese horror because they make me look under the bed just before bed time!

Film to watch this year:THE WIG

Lollies said...

I believe hantu omputeh tak kacau orang melayu. dan vice versa

Atok said...

at least they have nice names. kalau kat mesia, it would be:
- hantu kopek lanjut
- langsuir
- toyol
- etc etc....

... enjoy your duck esok.

aneeta said...

might as well admit it - am a coward. would never have even considered going near the castle.

Kak Teh said...

ewok - okay - i will think of more stories to tell u over koay teow goreng! and not forgetting cucork udang!
mama rock - ooh yang tu kak teh tak tengok lagi..and most probably tak akan tengok - ...hehe
ps - i used to like - entah dah tua2 ni dah jadi penakut.
atiza - u are probably right.

Kak Teh said...

kak lady, thanks for dropping by. Kak teh walaupun penakut terpaksa tengok some of the horror movies because i was doing a paper on horror movies in South East Asia. terpaksa lah!
mak lang , terima kasih sudi menjenguk. nanti kak teh buat lawatan balas ke teratak mak lang pulak.
swan, there are many so called horror movies - yang memang tak horror but funny - they migth as well be classified as comedy, kan?
lollies, mana ta - depa nak kacau jugak sebab nak tengojk macam mana orang melayu melompat ketakutan!
atok - that is so true - and hantu setokin??? yes, we had wonderful chinese meal last night.
aneeta, i went there and kept going there because of work...i dnt mind day visits though.