Monday, 29 August 2011

Diplomat Hotel, Baguio City, Philippine

Baguio City is known for its cold and relaxing weather. It’s been called as the Summer Capital of the Philippines. Do you know why? Well of course you do, but for some who don’t, it’s called Summer Capital because during summer, people tend to go to Baguio City to cool themselves off because of the heat in the lowlands and because of the cold weather in Baguio City.
But do you know that Baguio City is also home to paranormal events. A lot of Philippine ghost stories come from Baguio City. I myself experienced some during my stay in Baguio City.
There’s this hotel that was abandoned for many years now. It’s been deserted and all precious items and designs to the hotel were already ruined. What you would see now is just destroyed bricks, destroyed walls, destroyed rooms, destroyed bathrooms, well you get the idea. This hotel is called, the DIPLOMAT HOTEL.

The Diplomat Hotel

The Diplomat Hotel is located at Dominican Hill, Baguio City. It’s believed to be haunted. In the early 1900’s, it was bought by Dominican Friars from the American owners. Now, it’s been abandoned due to the war that raged here in the Philippines.

On May 1911 the Council of Dominican Order decided to erect a rest house in a 17 hectares place that was called Dominican Hill for the terminally ill patients in Baguio City. The first building was inaugurated on May 23, 1915.

On June 1915 Collegio del Santissimo was opened to the public because of tax exemptions during the time. But it was closed after 2 years and became a vacation house sanitarium. When the World War II started, this is where the refugees stayed. The Japanese Army Liberation Forces bombed the place and a lot of nuns and priests were beheaded and murdered.

After the war, the Dominican Hill was reconstructed in 1947-1948. In 1973, the property was purchased by the Diplomat Hotel Inc. and remodelled the interior and turned it into a 33-bedroom hotel. From the start of the opening of the hotel a lot of guests didn’t stay long for the reason that they’ve been seeing ghosts in their rooms. There were screams and howlings heard along the hallways. Until now, some of the residents in the Dominican Hill had testified of hearing screams and howlings from the hotel.

The fountain view of the stairs going to the second floor

So now, let’s proceed to my story. My friends and I went to the Diplomat Hotel last August 2006 around 5:00 pm. It’s been 3 years since we went there. There’s a guard watching the Diplomat Hotel. Just one. His guard house was located at the gate of the hotel, well duhh. It’s just a very small guard house where you could just stand and sit. The thing is that you won’t be able to enter the Diplomat Hotel when you couldn’t get pass through the guard because it’s the only way. The guard won’t allow you to enter especially if you’re just teenagers. Unless you bribe him with something like liquor or think of a very silly excuse that is believable. So what we did is to tell him that we’re visiting the hotel to do a little investigatory project on it. Kind of like a science project on spooky stuff. He wasn’t buying the excuse so we showed our university ID and such then he let us go in. Finally.

The entrance to the lobby of the Diplomat Hotel

So there we are, walking inside. We felt eerie things while we are walking. As we went inside, you would see that everything has been destroyed and all. We first roamed the first floor. Walked inside every room. Walking inside the halls and inside a room will give you goose bumps. At first, we didn’t encounter paranormal things. So then we proceeded to the second floor.

 Second Floor - Restaurant

The second floor consists of rooms; of course it’s a hotel, and a restaurant of some sort. We took pictures as we proceeded from one place to another, one room to the next, one side to the next one. After that, we went directly to the third floor and me taking a video footage since we entered the gates up to the last. While we were walking through the stairs going to the third and last floor, I was still taking a video of the whole thing. So as I was in the middle of the stairs, I stopped the video recording for awhile and watch if everything’s going well and if I captured something strange. I blasted the volume to maximum and full screened the video. So there I was in the middle of the stairs watching the video while one of my friends watched it with me. Until it came up to the video footage of me walking up the stairs and shooting a video of the guard walking through the second floor. Then a scary thing happened. When I’m watching the video, I’ve heard myself talking in the video; however there was a second voice. I was not shouting or anything and it’s impossible that it’s an echo because there’s no hallow place there and it’s an open place. There I heard a voice copying my voice. Here’s the dialogue:

Me: The guard is right over there!
Unknown Voice: The guard is right over there!
Me: He's coming!
Unknown Voice: He's coming!
Me: Let's go to the third floor immediately!
Unknown Voice: Let's go to the third floor immediately!)

So after I watched and heard that video, I was frightened and so is my friend. We ran to the view deck of the hotel with the others. However, we didn’t tell them the story yet so that they won’t freak out. They were just wondering why we ran to them.

When we were in the view deck, a friend of mine who has a third eye noticed something weird. He pulled me and told me that he saw a ghostly and shadowy appearance on the cross (there’s a cross in the middle-side of the view deck) and the shadowy appearance jumped. So again I am almost freaking out but I maintained my composure. After that, my friend who saw it said that we’d better go down already.

After which, we went back to the first floor. We decided to get a picture of the fountains. There were two fountains. In the left, and in the right. It has 2 or 3 angels on it. However, heads were already removed.

Left Fountain and Right Fountain

While we were taking a picture. A friend of mine heard a girl screaming. A lady more likely. So she went running outside screaming while I and another friend of mine remained in the fountain. Then the friend of mine went back to the fountain and told us what she heard. So everyone ran inside the lobby of the hotel. After that, every one of us heard the screaming and we went outside the hotel. We were so frightened and we were wondering on what and who was screaming. After that incident, some of us wanted to get out of the hotel already. But majority said that we should still visit the park or garden or whatever it is where there’s a lot of trees.

While we were walking through it, the guard told us that there were a lot of visitors who entered the hotel already and went through the park or garden. He said that some even had a camping there. For some, they were unlucky; they were never found and never came back until this day on.

Walking to the garden

We don’t know if it’s true but we’re already scared so we’re starting to believe it due to what happened inside the hotel. So we went to this place in the garden where there’s a big hole in it. The guard said that the hotel had a hidden underground passage where the people staying in the hotel could pass if ever the enemies would try to invade the place. But now, it’s not really clear if it’s still a hidden passage because it’s already filled with water and trash.

The hidden underground passage

After that, the friend of mine who has a third eye said that there’s a woman looking at us from a far. So we asked him if he’s just joking because we’re already scared as it is. He said he is not. He looked really serious to us so we believed him and we hurriedly went back in front of the hotel.

After that, we decided to visit the place where they usually held a mass. There’s a statue of a saint or some sort in there. The weird thing is that, the statue is black, really black. We don’t know if it’s really like that or someone ruined it to be like that.

Well that’s the whole hotel. After that, we took the very last video of the hotel through my friend’s phone. This time, we decided to not watch it until we are far away from the hotel.

We left the hotel around 6:00 pm or 6:30 pm. We decided to walk because there was no taxi passing by in that place. After we arrive in the highway, we departed in our own ways with different taxis. The next day, in class, the friend of mine who shot that last video of the hotel approached me and said that she captured a ghost in the video. When we were watching it closely, it appeared to be a bloody nun or a bloody woman standing just inside the window of the Diplomat Hotel. My friend sent me the video. Fortunately, my phone has the ability to play videos frame by frame. So there it is, we saw it clearly. We chose the best frame and took a snapshot of it using my phone. The snapshot is below. Feel free to see it.

Berry Pomeroy Castle

The White Lady

Berry Pomeroy castle is situated in an isolated part of Devon near to the small village of Berry Pomeroy near Totnes. The castle was built during the early 12th century on land that was presented to Ralph de Pomeroy by the King of England, William the Conqueror, as a reward for his loyalty and support during the Norman invasion of England.
The castle was home to the Pomeroy family for nearly 500 years after the Norman conquest.The lands were forfeited in 1549 when Thomas Pomeroy took part in a religious rebellion. The castle passed to Sir Edward Seymour, who built a mansion within the walls of the Norman castle.
The castle was ravaged during the Civil War (Oliver Cromwell's Roundheads Vs the Cavaliers who fought for Royalty) and was further damaged by fire in the early 18th century, after which no one has wanted to live their due to it's dark history. It is now reported to be one of the most haunted buildings in the United Kingdom.
One of the ghosts is known as the White Lady. She haunts the dungeons, and rises from St. Margaret's Tower to the castle ramparts. Those who report seeing this figure associate it with feelings of depression, fear and malevolence. She has been identified as the ghost of Lady Margaret Pomeroy who was imprisoned in the dungeons by her sister, Lady Eleanor.
Eleanor was insanely jealous of her younger and prettier sister, and is said to have incarcerated her because of a love rivalry, after Lord Pomeroy left to go on a crusade and left Eleanor in charge. Margaret was imprisoned in the castle dungeons for nearly two decades, before Eleanor allowed her a slow and painful death through starvation.
A blue light has been seen on a particular day every year in St Margaret's Tower, usually during the evening. The blue light has been witnessed by many people in the past including Peter Underwood and his colleagues during an overnight investigation some years ago.

The Blue Lady

A second ghost is the Blue Lady, she has been reported there as far back as the 18th century. Dressed in a long blue cape and hood it has been claimed that she tries to lure men to their death by seeking help in unsafe areas of the castle.
Said to be the spirit of the daughter of an early Norman lord, who after an incestuous relationship with her father, she gave birth to a child. Shortly after it's birth, her father strangled the baby in one of the upper rooms of the tower. In another version of the story it is said that she hated the child so much that she strangled it herself. It is said that because she smothered her child, her troubled spirit can find no rest, and she is often seen wringing her hands in anguish. At various times, the cries of the murdered infant can be heard throughout the castle.
Fig.3's photo was taken in the early 1900's with the image of a ghost in the doorway of the gatehouse, while the castle was still encased in Ivy, before English Heritage took management. The figure appears to be of a woman in a long dress. It's thought that it could be the Blue Lady.
Sir Walter Farquhar was a witness to the Blue Lady in the late 18th century. He was a prominent doctor of the time and was in the castle attending to the wife of a steward who had fallen ill. He saw "a stunning young woman, who was wringing her hands in obvious distress," and he watched the figure move up a stairway and into a room upstairs.
With no prior knowledge of the legends of the Blue Lady he asked the steward who the figure was. Showing signs of considerable distress, the steward explained that the appearance of the figure was an omen of death. He thought that this meant that his wife would die. The doctor dismissed the idea, and confirmed that the woman was recovering well. But in fact the steward was rightly concerned, his wife suddenly died later that day.
Modern investigations in Berry Pomeroy Castle has resulted in many reports of apparitions, shadows, photographic failure, paranormal sounds and more. It has been documented that some visitors to the castle who have taken a small memento, such as a small stone etc., have quickly returned it as they feel that part of the foreboding and lingering feel of evil has followed them home.

Berry Pomeroy Castle-Reader's Emails

My name is Rebecca I am 15 years old and my story dates back to when I was 3. I am writing in to share my experience and wondered if any-think like this had happened to any of your readers. When I was three years old my mum, my dad and myself went out for the day to Berry Pomeroy Castle in Devon.
We arrived half an hour before the tour of the castle was due to start, so we went into the coffee house, which is in the castle grounds. If I remember correctly there were some square tables and we sitting about the forth table from the door. My mum and dad was sitting at the table and I was there next to them in my pram.
A couple of minutes after we sat down the guard dog from outside ran in and hide under my dads chair with all its hairs standing up on end, my parents didn't think any think of it until my mum realised that i was talking away to myself. she turned to me and asked me who i was talking to. I then raised my arm and was pointing upwards, I then said "the lady" my dad quickly said "what lady" and I replied "that lady, that lady right there". My mum and dad looked at each other and told me that no one was there.
When we finally went into the castle we had a guide that told everyone there that the castle was haunted by a fair few ghosts and that the coffee house also was by a lady. This was when my parents realised that this was the lady that I had spoken too. So far I have not returned to Berry Pomeroy, but for the past 2 years I have been trying t find out who his lady was but so far I haven't been successful. If somebody knows which on of the female ghosts that haunts the coffee house or that part of the castle please contact me via, thank you so much for reading my story.

Sent in by Rebecca Starling

On the19/8/2007 my boyfriend and I along with a mate and her boyfriend thought we would visit Berry Pomroy Castle its close to where we live. It was still daylight when we entered the castle, we went inside and had a look around to get a feel of the castle. As soon as I entered the Castle I had the funniest taste in my mouth it tasted like brick dust or stone dust and I had all the time a was there. By the timed we'd explored the Castle and it's grounds it had started to get dark.
My boyfriend thought it would be fun to go into the castle in the pitch black without a torch. He went in and sat in the dungeon for several seconds before he started to get very very cold and so ran back out into the open Castle grounds, where we were sat, I was sat up on the wall he came up to me and he was stone cold. We then became aware of something in the top middle window of the castle. My mate got up from where she was sat and ran over to me and my bf then her boyfriend ran after her we all sat on the wall looking at the window we could see a little light in the window and could hear wired noises.
We started to get very scared and shook up and it seemed like something or someone wanted us to leave so we all jumped down from the wall and ran up the path leading out. I have never seen my boyfriend and his mate so scared. We got to the second gate got passed it and we all stopped running and we felt safe there.
We would go back there but not just yet, perhaps during the day but the whole place feels a lot different in the dark.

Suburban poltergeist

Nothing on that balmy August evening seemed even slightly out of the ordinary. Peggy Hodgson was busily tidying up her terrace house in Enfield, North London, after her four boisterous children had once again left it looking like a pigsty.

Mrs Hodgson's daughters were upstairs getting ready for bed. As usual, 11-year old Janet was playfighting with her elder sister, Margaret.
Then, as the pair rolled around and giggled on the bed, something most peculiar happened: a chest of drawers began sliding slowly across the floor towards them.

The two sisters watched aghast as the chest shuffled across the room as if dragged by a pair of powerful but invisible hands. They were even more afraid when they realised that the piece of oak furniture was about to block their bedroom door - their only means of escape.
Luckily for the children, their mother burst into the room to complain about the noise. She grabbed the chest and shoved it back against the wall. But the invisible force continued. Peggy watched in terror as the chest once again began sliding across the room.
This time, the piece of furniture moved far quicker and Peggy could do nothing to stop it. She tried again to shove the chest back against the wall but failed. And this time she could feel an inhumanly strong force in the room.
Confused and terrified at what she was witnessing, Peggy gathered up her children and fled the bedroom in panic. And thus began one of the strangest cases of alleged haunting ever recorded in Britain.
Over the following months the so-called "Enfield Poltergeist" turned the lives of the Hodgson family upside down. Toys, plates, cutlery, books and pictures would all inexplicably fly across the room. Objects would miraculously appear and disappear before the eyes of terrified onlookers.
Such encounters may sound utterly absurd. But what makes the Enfield case so remarkable is that the events were exhaustively investigated by respected academic researchers and - more pertinently - were witnessed by more than 30 independent witnesses, including police officers.
Although the haunting happened 30 years ago, Janet and Margaret have not spoken publicly about it since childhood. They are still wary about discussing the incident in depth, as their lives have moved on.
But in a documentary to be shown tomorrow they will break their silence for the first time - and what they reveal sheds new light on one of the most remarkable paranormal incidents ever to take place in Britain.
"I felt used by a force that nobody understands," says Janet. "I really don't like to think about it too much."
"I'm not sure the poltergeist was truly 'evil'. It was almost as if it wanted to be part of our family. It didn't want to hurt us. It had died there and wanted to be at rest. The only way it could communicate was through me and my sister."
Hard-bitten sceptics, of course, scoff at such suggestions and claim that poltergeist stories are simply the result of hoaxing and trickery.
They point out that pre-teen girls are hardly reliable witnesses - and, crucially, Janet and her sister have admitted to playing tricks on some of those who were sent to investigate their haunting.

Spooked: Janet says a poltergeist made her fly across the room
This has made it easy for rationalists to dismiss the whole tale as hokum.
And yet a close examination of the story reveals the truth is rather more complex, intriguing and perplexing.
Above all, those who witnessed the events at Enfield were left in no doubt that they were involved in a genuine case of haunting, and while their testimony may seem far-fetched, it is equally improbable to suggest that so many adult witnesses could have been hoaxed.
Key among the independent witnesses were the police officers, who were called to the Hodgsons' home, soon after the poltergeist first made its presence felt in August 1977.
They took statements and noted the family's sincere terror, but in the absence of any hard evidence were sceptical about what might have taken place.
It was only as the officers were preparing to leave that they were forced to take the case more seriously: quite suddenly, a sitting room chair levitated off the carpet before their eyes and started moving slowly across the room.
"It came off the floor nearly half an inch," recalls WPC Carolyn Heeps, one of the Metropolitan Police officers sent to investigate the haunting.
"I saw it slide off to the right about four feet before it came to rest. I checked to see if it could have slid along the floor by itself.
"I even placed a marble on the floor to see whether it would roll in the same direction as the chair. It didn't.
"I checked for wires under the cushions and chairs and I could not see any. I couldn't find any explanation at all."
But, of course, no actual crime had been committed, so the police were unable to assist further.
Desperate for an explanation about what could be taking place in their home, the family turned to the Society for Psychical Research, a respected scientific body that examines cases of alleged haunting from an academic perspective.
It sent two investigators, Guy Lyon Playfair and Maurice Grosse, to examine the evidence. And to avert any claims of trickery, the society drafted in an independent barrister, Mary Rose Barrington, to doublecheck all of their work.
This would ensure that there could be no credible claims that the pair were being anything other than meticulous, honest and impartial in their investigations.
Sure enough, over the following 14 months they spent on the case, the two researchers catalogued a range of inexplicable phenomena.
Boxes flew across rooms, ornaments floated in mid-air, books mysteriously appeared and disappeared. Strange knocking sounds were heard inside walls.
It was all very peculiar. But there was worse to come. One morning when Guy Playfair was working at the house, he heard a "tremendous vibrating noise".
"I really thought someone was drilling a great big hole in the wall of the house," he says. "I tore into the bedroom and there was quite a commotion. The whole fireplace had been ripped out.
"It was one of those old Victorian cast-iron fires that must have weighed at least 60lb. It was so heavy even I couldn't pick it up.
"The children couldn't have possibly ripped it out of the wall. It just wasn't possible. We caught the incident on audio tape, including the fireplace being ripped out of the wall."
Events were soon to take an even more disturbing course. Late one evening, when the children were asleep in their rooms and Maurice Grosse was downstairs compiling his day's findings, he was disturbed by the sound of Janet screaming.
Maurice ran to the foot of the stairs only to see the 12-year-old apparently being dragged through her bedroom door by an unseen force. Janet was then hauled down the stairs and dumped unceremoniously at Maurice's feet.
This incident was also caught on tape and was just the first of several incidents in which the poltergeist apparently picked up Janet and tried to carry her off.
Soon afterwards Janet was even seen floating in mid-air - and this time there were two independent witnesses. A lollipop lady and a passing baker both glanced up at the house and through a top-floor window saw Janet apparently hovering above her bed.
As Janet herself recalls it: "The lady saw me spinning around and banging against the window. I thought I might actually break the window and go through it.
"A lot of children fantasise about flying, but it wasn't like that. When you're levitated with force and you don't know where you're going to land it's very frightening. I still don't know how it happened."
And that wasn't all. Apparently in the grip of some disturbed force, Janet began swearing and hurling insults at those in the room in a disembodied voice quite unlike her own. 
The investigators began interrogating "the spirit" - and the answers they got were decidedly sinister.
The poltergeist identified itself as a man named Bill, who explained that "I had a haemorrhage and then I fell asleep and I died in a chair in the corner downstairs."
What could this mean? Astonishingly, subsequent research showed that long before the Hodgsons had moved in to the house, an old man called Bill Wilkins had indeed lived there. And he had died of a brain haemorrhage while sitting in a living room chair.
It's certainly an intriguing tale. But is it really a proven case of a poltergeist?
If you dig deep beneath the surface, doubts soon begin to emerge. On several occasions the girls at the centre of the case were caught playing hoaxes on their investigators.
In one instance, they were caught hiding Guy's tape recorder. They planned to pretend that the poltergeist had whisked it away.
Unfortunately for the girls, the recorder was running and caught their plotting on tape. "They weren't very good at playing tricks," recalls Guy. "We always caught them out. What do you expect children to do?
"I would have been more worried if they hadn't played around from time to time. It means they were behaving like normal kids."
Asked about such pranks today, Janet explains that she and her sister did indeed play practical jokes - because they were so fed up of being tested all the time. They had become like animals trapped in a zoo, constantly being asked to perform tricks for gawping onlookers.
People would turn up expecting inexplicable things to happen, and when nothing happened, the girls decided to play the occasional prank.
But, crucially, Janet estimates that only about one or two per cent of the many hundreds of separate paranormal phenomena that took place in the house were faked by her and Margaret - and these were minor things like balancing a chair on top of a door and pretending that the poltergeist had done it.
Besides, in many cases, it would have been physically impossible for the two young girls to have faked the evidence. How does a 12-year old girl rip out a fireplace, or make a chair levitate in front of police officers?
The barrister, Mary Rose Barrington, who reviewed the case on behalf of the Society for Psychical Research, is in no doubt that the investigators did a thorough and honest job.
She re-interviewed and cross-examined many of the witnesses and double-checked the evidence. Nothing she found suggested a wider conspiracy.
Equally, the 30 or so other witnesses who saw the hauntings - including police officers, journalists and passers-by - all seem convinced by what they saw.
Nevertheless, some experts remain unconvinced. Professor Chris French, a psychologist at London University, is in no doubt that the girls were mischievous and enterprising: "Children can be very ingenious. I don't buy the idea that kids can't outwit intelligent investigators.
Incredible though the events of Enfield were, they are far from unique. Professor David Fontana, a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, has investigated similar hauntings.
He says: "From my own studies I know of accounts of poltergeists pulling people's hair, causing objects to disappear before returning them in the most unlikely places, starting small fires, throwing water about, upsetting furniture, scribbling on walls, breaking objects and generally discomforting the hapless owners of the property they choose to haunt."
Perhaps the last word should go to Janet herself. Now aged 41, and eager to keep details of her present-day life private for fear of attracting ridicule, she is adamant that what she experienced was a genuine paranormal entity.
"I know from my own experience that it was real," she says. "It lived off me, off my energy. Call me mad or a prankster if you like. Those events did happen. The poltergeist was with me - and I feel in a sense that he always will be."