The Phantom Roommate: A Perception of Fear

By Christina Kim - August 26, 2015

I recently heard this story from someone engaged in a group conversation and this was a personal experience from her own niece, who had an encounter with the supernatural while on her own vacation.
Now this is not meant to be a spooky post, though well, the title was intended in that way, but it got me thinking, along with the reactions from the rest of the people who heard the story on the spot.

This girl, let’s call her M, was on a trip with her group of friends to one of the most visited tourist attractions in the beautiful island of Penang.

Well, it is not hard to guess the location of this place which is perched on higher land offering a superb view of the famed Pearl of the Orient and is touted as one of the most crowded places during peak seasons; namely the school and public holidays, though generally, it is still popular among the tourists even on a daily basis.

M and her friends planned this as an overnight trip; where they were heading to spend two nights in relaxation and just as a getaway and they have booked two rooms separately.
It was all just like one would expect of a normal and perhaps, ideal short escapade; comfort and great company in an idyllic setting.

They spent the day exploring the grounds; landscaped by the lush greenery and serenaded by the sweet songs from the chirping birds and nature. 

It was late in the evening when they returned to their rooms and after their dinner and just going through the events of the day, they decided to snuggle into their cozy beds for an early night.
Everyone was soon fast asleep.

M too, tired from the day's activities, settled into her sleep shortly.

It was in the middle of the night when M, for an inexplicable reason, woke up, despite her weary state.
She opened her eyes slowly, and was instantly surprised by someone sitting at the foot of the bed, directly opposite her, staring at her.
It was dimly lit in the room, and M, could only make out her silhoutte, though it was a lady with long hair and in a flowy dress.
(You know, somehow it is always the typical depiction of the figure one always spot. 
It is just this unmistakable description that sends the chill down the spine).

The lady was just seated there, right at the end of the bed, staring at her while she remained in her sleeping position with her half-open eyes.
M did not make a commotion, nor did she stir to sit up in her bed.

M thought to herself, "Could it be one of her friends?", but deep down in her heart, she knows that it is definitely not for at a quick glance, she could see that most of them were in their beds, sleeping.
This is a different person; or may not even be a living being.

The lady was just staring at her, and even M did not know why she was not reacting in terror, for this is not something that one is ever mentally prepared for anytime in their lives.
It was just funny, that the lady was just staring at her.

What M did next, surprised me.

She closed her eyes and went back to sleep.

Yes, that was it.
M decided to let fatigue take over and thought that it was probably her imagination stemming from the exhaustion after the long day she had.
At the same time, she was curious as well and still lifted her eye lids lightly in that twitching manner to steal a peek.
The lady was still there and still staring at her.

M did that once or twice and just snapped her eyes shut, praying in her mind that she could just go away.
Perhaps it was the tiredness or just the stretch in her mind on praying and wondering that M soon fell asleep.

She woke up the next morning saying nothing to her friends and continued with the day's activities.
They stayed on the second night, for it was a planned three days and two nights trip, and it seemed that M was determined to enjoy her little holiday; staring lady or not.

It was only when M went home that she told her family about the encounter.
Even they were surprised by her courage to continue sleeping and even continued with the vacation, in that same room for the second night after that spooky encounter.

M was surprised at herself too, as to how she did not seem to be reacting or having thoughts to divert her plans despite the encounter and that she could even just sleep through it all.
She could not explain why either, but it was a blessing that she was unharmed.

I, for one, was quite impressed with her attitude towards the whole thing, especially after hearing how everyone expressing their shocks and crying bloody murder over the episode, and everyone was just so perplexed at the way M behaved towards the whole thing.

Perhaps it was fatigue that led M to think that it was probably her imagination (though she did check a couple of times on whether the figure really existed).

Perhaps it was the fact that M felt that there was nothing she could do anyway, so why bother?
(What do you really expect anyway, a face-to-face confrontation with the ghost, with a series of questions, like "Why are you sitting there?" 
I'm not sure if you really want to hear the answer either)

Whatever the reasons, I do applaud M's calm thinking in handling the situation.
Given the fact that it was not really something natural and unknown, it was just really amazing that the young girl could be so composed and unnerved by the whole scenario.

It was not just the fact that she could just close her eyes and go back to sleep upon seeing that lady at the foot of her bed, but also that she could continue staying in that same room for the second night!
I am not sure whether her phantom visitor came back on the second night or if it was really phantom, but the very fact that one could be not bothered by it all and just go back to the same room, bed and even position was probably the surprising part of the whole episode.

Most of us, as the women who told me the story, would probably pack our bags and request to leave or to change rooms the very next morning.
We probably could not even sleep a wink the entire night even, despite us silently praying to God for His protection.

No one would really keep mum about it, or even proceed with their schedule as though nothing happened.

Well, nothing actually happened either, technically speaking, but I don't think anyone would want to take the chances anyway.

This was not meant to be a story to scare the living lights out of anyone, but just a perspective into the ways people respond to situations; especially when it comes to dealing with the unknown.

The supernatural has been a perplexing and obviously mysterious subject for centuries and generations now, and while science has often wriggled its way into rationalizing the situation with a logical explanation, there are still many that remains unexplained.
It is why it is known as the supernatural, the paranormal; something out of the ordinary.
It is just not normal.

There are many who are bold, many who are curious, many who are just interested in pursuing the truth.
There are also many who are afraid, who are evasive and those who are just staying out of things which could be potentially a problem.
There are also those who simply could not be bothered; even if the apocalypse is to occur right now.

There are many ways I could think of how M could react, given the different types of people when faced with an unknown situation like this.
Of course, that goes without saying that many would even just face the prospect of dealing with something unknown with dread immediately.

Some would be frozen stiff with fear, with screams welling up in their lungs but they just could not force it out of their mouths.
Some would probably scream right out and tug at everything they have, including their religious locket hanging around their necks (probably the only time they would find the real value which often act as just an ornamental accessory on most days).
Some would shut their eyes tight, praying hard, and trying to recall the mighty prayers their parents or grandparents taught them.
Some would even think of closing their eyes but yet trying to reach for their friends.
Some may even grab their mobile phones; in this modern age of technology, not to call someone on their speed dials alone but probably to find a religious app to scare the thing away.

Given this is also a story told from a third party, of course there could be some information missing or left out in the process.
M may not be as brave as she sounds; it could be just an additional coat of varnish to make her sound like the admirable heroine and to gain much more admiration from the audience.
It doesn't matter.

It may be true, it may not be.

M could be as bold as she sounds too.

Now, the question is, how would YOU respond or react to such a situation?
Of course I am not hoping for anyone to encounter such scenarios, for whether you are a believer or a skeptic, this is still not something one would often hope to bump into.
On one exception, unless you are an avid ghost hunter or a paranormal investigator, or even someone who just wants to prove that you have the guts larger than the universe and just like to challenge the unknown.

Think, would you do the same thing as M?
It is not just about sleeping it through, for fatigue got the better of her, and that could logically explain that first night.

Would you stay the second night?
Would you keep quiet about the whole incident until you reach home?
Would you even want to go back to that same room?

Even if, nothing happened, at all.

Think, are you willing to share your room, and bed, with a phantom roommate, whom you have no idea about and be stared at the whole night while you sleep?

Of course, on the other hand, you could think of her as a protector or the guardian angel.
Not the phantom and not as scary anymore, right?

That makes the whole thing seem a little less terrifying, I believe.

But, just what would YOU do?

Fear is inexplicable and also a complex emotion which could lead one to many different ways to reacting to the situation.
There is just that part of the mind which would try to explain or decipher and yet form its own mechanism to counter the scenario.
It is all part of conditioning of the mind; that many could have been trained with since their early days of childhood.
It is a rule that we have imposed and it just finds it way into the back of the mind and settled in that rule portions. The rules which govern our behaviors and generally, our thinking.
It is where we define the clear boundaries of right and wrong.

Fear is just that taboo, and often in many cultures, fear is often shunned and children are taught to not speak up when they are afraid.
It becomes a passive emotion; and one that is only to remain hidden and kept in the heart and the mind.
There is just no way to overcome fear except one's willingness to.
It needs to come from within one's self.
Fear cannot be eradicated by simply anyone else; nor can it just be ignored and that it doesn't exist.
Fear lives and could possibly grow in one's mind, subconsciously.

Had one not been told that snakes are poisonous or that bees could sting, a child would never know the dangers of these creatures.
Had one not watch a movie on how dark closets and basements could have boogeyman lurking in them or that a horrifying ghost could spring out upon them, they would never be afraid to open a closet door or go down to the basement unaccompanied.

It is about the mental approach, about the way one has been taught to deal with, handle and even define fear.

That would probably explain why sometimes some people are just so afraid of everything and then there are those who are often fearless.
There is nothing definite; don't perceive those who are always afraid as cowards, nor are those who are fearless

There is just that something in each one of us that could not be seen with the naked eye.
There is just that in-built mechanism in each of us which could also explain that sudden and accidental hero, and how someone could turn to be a selfish coward from their charitable ways.

It is just that perception; the perception that taught us of emotions and most of all, of fear.

M probably had her parents telling her that had you not done anything wrong or caused the death of others, you need not be afraid of ghosts or spirits.
She probably knew that there were spirits everywhere, or perhaps she may just have what the Taoists refer to as the 'third eye' where she could often see or communicate with these spiritual beings that they are nothing to her.

We do not know.

I am not about to offer any explanation on this story, as mentioned earlier, but rather just juxtapose the whole situation to make you see it in a different light.
Science would probably explain it easily that M was just experiencing the effects of fatigue and her exposure to the nature throughout the day could have conjured up vivid images which could send the waves to form hallucinations.
The lighting from the room could have casted a different glow and M's transitional state from her deep sleep to sudden awakening could just contribute to that forming of a willowy figure, whereby it could also relate to the angle on which she was staring in along with the light.
All that sort of theories would probably submerge.

No one could say for sure (even if they were insistent until they were blue in the face and stomping on their feet with sheaf of papers on their findings) the truth except for that person experiencing it.

It is all about the perception of fear and the mind to decipher it when thrown into situations like this.

While I am not going to explain the story, I can certainly tell you what I think I might do if I were M.

I might just do the same thing, though, I would be trying hard to sleep rather than just falling asleep immediately, and yes, I will definitely be reciting all the prayers I know.
From the Our Father to the Hail Marys and calling for the angels and saints, I think sometimes even divine help needs to be called for, in numbers.

This is not a sponsored post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and preferences and do not represent the general public. Experiences vary from one individual to another.

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