Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Cautionary Tale of The Unseen

I am not out to frighten anyone. I am merely relating what had been told to me by the very people who had experienced it.

Of course, the choice is yours. You may want to take it a step further or you may just want to laugh it off as one of my many paranoia.

As always, I prefer to err on the side of caution because one of the few things I dislike most in life is being reproached with an "I told you so", (not that it never happened, by the way).

I used to collect things. Those unkind enough would probably say I was a hoarder of junks, which in a way wasn't so far off the mark.

The recent house-moving, however, was a blessing in disguise for it finally saw me casting aside sentimentality in favour of practicality. Truthfully, there was nothing left save for a few cherished items.

Apart from those souvenir plates I mentioned in an earlier blogpiece, there is this pre-Victorian, English-made, blue and white porcelain bowl that I inherited from my late grandmother.

By virtue of my previous work with the Royal Mint, where I got to know a number of people in the worlds of numismetic, philately and objet d'art, I realised there is value attached to this more than a century old bowl, so it's not going anywhere.

One thing for sure, I no longer collect vases (I was once a sucker for ethnic vases), and if you hear what I have to say about some of them, you may reach the same decision as mine.

This story was related to me by the wife of a high-ranking government servant (now retired and is prominent in the private sector), who once owned some of the most beautiful vases I had ever seen.

She travelled the world to find them and paid good money for them. They were not those dainty little receptacles you plonked flowers in and placed on your coffee table.

These were huge vases, some of which you could easily fit a body in. She lined them along the walls of her spacious living area for guests to admire their intricate workmanship.

She said, one night she awoke to the muted sounds of voices in the living room. She described it as 'quarrelsome voices'. Fearing a break-in, she woke up her husband who informed the security guards outside.

While they found no one in the house, the guards realised the voices emanated from some of the vases. Terrified, they called the couple.

The entire collection was discarded the very next day upon the advice of an ustaz who told them they had brought in all kinds of unknown, potentially harmful spirits dwelling in the vases into their home.

Apparently, some of those beautifully carved vases, especially the ones from South America and Indonesia, were once burial jars. How they got to be in the tourist market, only God knows.

My sister Zaridah used to have one of those Swiss-made cuckoo clocks with two swinging chains in her home, the kind where the cuckoo bird pokes its head out and say cuckooo! as the hour strikes.

One day she fell ill and started hallucinating. Somehow, she is one of those susceptible to 'seeing' the unseen. She saw a group of beings in white dancing around a campfire in her bedroom!

An ustaz called in to assist in prayers told her to take a look at the cuckoo clock on the wall. Apparently, there was a whole community of "them" there too, merrily clambering onto the bird and swinging on the chains.

The ustaz said 'they' had been living there for quite a while, probably taken by the carousel effect of the chains. Suffice to say, the clock met an early demise.