Tuesday, August 28, 2012

5 ways Hungry Ghost Month can interfere with your love life

Source : http://lifestyle.xin.msn.com/en/sex-relationship/5-ways-hungry-ghost-month-can-interfere-with-your-love-life#page=0

Fri, 24 Aug 2012 06:35:45 GMT

5 ways Hungry Ghost Month can interfere with your love life

How to keep ghosts and spirits from complicating your relationship

Text: Denise Ngo
Photos: AP and Singapore Paranormal Investigators

ghost story

In case the joss paper bins and puppet shows haven't tipped you off, the Hungry Ghost Festival started last week. According to Chinese tradition, the gates of hell are opened during the seventh month of the lunar year, meaning that during those weeks, ghosts and souls from the spiritual realm are free to roam the earth.

We're pretty well-acquainted with practices that will appease the ghosts, such as not sending out wedding invitations during the seventh month, but what happens to people who accidentally attract a bad spirit? In light of the festivities, we asked Desmond Wong, a member of the Singapore Paranormal Investigators (SPI), about some of the spookiest local haunts, as well as the ghosts he's encountered during his six years in the organization.

Suffice to say, we were totally creeped out by his tales of spirits, which he will talk more about on My Ghost Story Asia on The Biography Channel. Since the only thing more thrilling than a ghostly encounter is a whirlwind romance, we've organised Desmond's insights into a guide to keeping supernatural forces out of your love life during this especially mystical month.

To celebrate the Ghost Month, here are the top five ways that paranormal activity can interfere with your relationships:
baby tombs (© Baby tombs at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery)

1. Going on dates in haunted locations

Let's get the obvious one out of the way. If you don't want a ghost to follow you and your boyfriend home after a date, don't visit the Bukit Brown Cemetery, also known as Kopi Sua (Coffee Hill). You should also avoid the forested areas around Bukit Timah.

To study supposedly haunted areas, paranormal investigators use a variety of gadgets to measure disturbances in electric frequencies (we'll get to that in a moment). But when Desmond and his friends set up camp at Bukit Timah, the batteries in multiple pieces of equipment suddenly drained without explanation.

In general, going anywhere with a lot of trees and seclusion is a bad idea. Desmond says that one frequent SPI collaborator spotted a ghostly figure standing in the trees during a barbecue at a chalet, which followed her home - even taking the bus - despite all of her attempts to avoid him.

Our recommendation: Stay away from trees, old buildings, and secluded chalets
ghost month

2. Overlooking your unlucky numbers

Couples love travelling abroad, but just because your hotel is located outside of Chinese country doesn't mean it's immune to the forces that can plague you at home. Take the story of a Singaporean flight attendant who travelled to London for a few days with friends. She booked a single room, only to wake up several times in the middle of the night with the blanket on the floor. Then she noticed that the colour of the light bulb changed from warm yellow to light blue. She looked over the bed, and completely freaked out upon seeing a bushy hand emerge from under the bed. Straightaway, she ran to the lobby, where she ran into friends. Of course, none of them believed her story - until they went to the room, and saw a person sitting on the bed with his back facing the door. And in true horror movie fashion, his head turned 180 degrees when he heard them talking.

Here's the real clincher: the number of the hotel room was 444, which is extremely unlucky as the word for '4' in Chinese sounds like the word for 'death.' Was it ghosts? Was it drugs? We don't know, but during this month in particular, maybe it's better to book a room on a different floor.
Our recommendation: If you really must travel at this time of the year, book room 888, not 444.

3. Leaving on your appliances
The trope of ghosts using technology has gotten pretty popular over the decade, thanks to movies like The Ring and One Missed Call, but for those who've made paranormal investigation their profession, recording otherworldly activity on scientific devices is a very real thing. According to Desmond, there are theories that ghosts cause fluctuations in electromagnetic fields. There's also some research suggesting that strong electromagnetic fields cause hallucinations. Those who subscribe to far-out theories have even postulated that ghosts 'use' electromagnetic fields to communicate with people.

Our recommendation: Want romance? Unplug everything, turn off the lights, and enjoy a candlelit dinner.

desmond wong (© HISTORY)
Desmond Wong, SPI

4. Using black magic to fix your love life
You know, there's a reason why folk stories around the world warn against using potions, spells, or genies to make someone fall in love with you.

Desmond recalls one case involving a young woman who visited a black magic practitioner in hope of finding a means to repairing her broken relationship. After going home, the woman began hearing voices from unseen men who were leering at her.

As if that weren't scary enough, she frequently woke up at night feeling as if she were being molested, even though she was sleeping alone. After discovering what looked and felt like physical symptoms of sexual assault, the woman visited a doctor, who confirmed that she exhibited typical signs of rape. She then consulted the police, who visited her house but found no evidence of intruders. Finally, she reached out to SPI, who could only chalk up the strange encounters to medicines and substances she was taking at the time.

Our recommendation: Consult the self-help books, not the 'magical' ones.
forested area at sembawang road (© Forested area at Sembawang Road - can you spot the ghost?)

5. Date someone who is a magnet for ghosts
Unlike most of the people who consult him, Desmond maintains a sceptical view of the supernatural. Still, he acknowledges that some people are simply more sensitive to such encounters than others.

One woman who went along with his crew to Pasir Ris Swamp not only saw little non-human children running around them, but apparently she was so 'powerful' that the teams gadgets went haywire around her.

So why are some people magnets for ghosts and others aren't? Most of the extra-sensitive people he meets come from a long line of family members with psychic powers. These people are also 'very weak by nature,' as they easily fall ill. Almost all have had the ability to see ghosts since childhood.

'In today's world, if you want to define an encounter, you must work [from] a belief system,' Desmond said, reiterating the importance of putting people's experiences in context.

So if you suddenly start seeing and feeling a lot of ghosts after dating someone, it wouldn't hurt to ask him a little about his family background - who knows, maybe his mother was an accomplished medium. Or maybe his house just has way too many gadgets plugged in at the same time.

Our recommendation: Are ghostly encounters a dealbreaker? Either find someone new, or gently ask your S.O. if he would mind meeting an exorcist.
Old Brunei Hostel (© Old Brunei Hostel)
BONUS: For couples who want to take their dates to the next level
Non-SPI members frequently volunteer to test out haunted houses with the organisation. If you and your honey are feeling particularly brave this month - or are simply bored and in need to add a little spice to your relationship - consider staying overnight in an abandoned hotel or a location of ghostly repute. Desmond says that SPI will let you sit alone (or together, if necessary), in an empty room with hidden equipment like CCTVs. You will then be free to ask either ask questions to the spirits or wait for them to come around. Once you share your experience with SPI, they will check their recordings and EMF detectors to see how those readings compare.

Desmond recalls one instance where two Vasantham hosts visited the Old Brunei Hostel, which has been abandoned for two decades. While sitting in a room, they heard people singing, crying, and laughing - if that doesn't sound like an opportunity to hold someone tight, we don't know what is.
My Ghost Story Asia premiered on 16 August and will show every Thursday at 10 pm on The Biography Channel (StarHub TV CH 404). Desmond Wong will be featured on Episode 5: Pasir Ris Suicide tower.

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