Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Spot Her!

I was sent this link to a YouTube video; featuring a Hong Kong commercial advertisement back in the 90's.
There were rumors that there were more than the intended number of children involved in the filming of the advertisement; with the main rumor saying that there were only six children but there was a part when they found a 7th girl behind the last boy who was looking down.

I played this video and watched it; trying to see what the story was all about and found that it was just a normal advertisement about the KCRC railway in relativity to their friendly services to the locals and the notion of using children in the advertisement is to show the commuters how simple and close the train company is to the commuters; similar to the game that children play; putting their hands on each other to form a train line.
KCRC is trying to send the message that they are reaching out to their commuters and that they are just friendly and relative to their commuters.

I have watched it a couple of times, and I still don't see the weird part about this advertisement at all; despite being told that there is an appearance of a 7th girl behind the last boy's back, at 0.26-0.27.

The Rumor
If you noticed right from the start of the advertisement, there seemed to be only six children playing the 'choo-choo' train game; there are 4 boys and 2 girls.

Nothing seemed to be wrong, and towards the middle of the advertisement; or as mentioned, at the 0.26-0.27 seconds, the last kid at the back of the line seemed to be a girl, rather than a boy.
Some of us may not have noticed it, but then in the last scene, you can see that the last kid in the line is actually a boy and not the girl.

Also, it was mentioned that the girl standing at the back of the line was looking down with her head bowed at the above mentioned second.

It was said that the last boy died shortly after the advertisement, and the locals linked it to the superstition of 'tapping hands on the shoulder' and in the forest where creepy things tend to happen.

KCRC was rumored to have only hired six children for this advertisement and that they were surprised when they aired the advertisement that there were seven children.

Anyway, as I could not find anything funny about the advertisement (I really tried!), I decided to try and do a little checking and research on my own.
I did my research online; Googled up the story behind this advertisement and also contacted my Hongkie friends to hear their side of the story, since this advertisement was reputed to be one of major rumors surrounding the country in the 90's; which was when this was aired on TV.

It was said that when it was aired on TV, it was taken off screen shortly which spurred rumors on that there was something creepy about the advertisement.
Imagine, at that time there was no Youtube yet and people had to wait patiently for the ad to appear and then count the number of children in it. Some even went to the extent of the recording the ad and playing it again and again!
(Thank goodness for the existence of technology and YouTube today!)

Thanks to the sources from Google and also my friends, I have managed to dig up a bit of information about this advertisement.
However, a disclaimer here; I am not able to speak on behalf of KCRC nor am I able to verify the rumors and these are only based on my findings.

I was unable to find much information from KCRC (For your information, KCRC is a railway service in Hong Kong and the abbreviation stands for Kowloon-Canton Railway Company), but I did come across a few forum threads discussing on this topic and, also sources from my friends.

Apparently this commercial was produced by KCRC and was aired on TV to promote their railway in the 90's, and it was scheduled to run for a period of time.
During its running period, there did not seem to be any rumor circulating around about the extra kid in the advertisement.

When the advertisement was taken down, that was where the rumors started whereby people started to say that there was an extra kid appearing in the advertisement and that KCRC probably realized it, hence the prompt removal of the advertisement from the national television.

People then started to talk about the advertisement, which also happened to be filmed in a forest and with its dark gray surroundings, as you can observe in the above video, made one associate the story to the supernatural (unbiased statement here).

The rumor started with the observation that there was supposedly six children appearing but somehow there was an extra appearance of a little girl behind the last boy in a scene. As the little girl kept her head bowed down in the commercial compared to the other children who were smiling brightly at the camera, she was reputed to be the 'ghost'.
Furthermore, the last scene seemed to lay the concrete on the rumor when it was obvious that the last kid was a boy!

There were lots of views on this rumor; and let's separate them into the supernatural and also the logical explanation part.
Supernatural Explanation
There was indeed a ghost, who was the girl behind the last boy because she held her head down most of the time and only appeared in one of three scenes.
1. The 1st scene showed that there were 6 kids, and the last kid was a boy. Then the middle scene as they marched towards the camera, there seemed to be another girl behind the last boy and she was just looking down. The last scene again showed that there were only six kids and that the last kid was indeed a boy.

2. The setting was in a forest, and the place looked a little gloomy, which usually could be a base for the supernatural scene.

3. All the children were always focused on the camera; and only the girl kept her head bowed down when they were supposed to face the camera directly in the middle scene.

The Logical Explanation
1. Bad editing; the order of the children kept changing throughout the advertisement, despite the short period of time.

2. KCRC probably hired more than 6 kids; and the director probably used different kids to achieve better results in the advertisement. There may be more than 6 kids, and at different points of time, the director probably arranged them differently and used more kids.

3. The little girl looking down could be seen in the earlier scene; the one in pink and with ponytail and not a ghost, as rumored. Furthermore, she was probably looking down at that point because she wanted to make sure she did not tread on the shoes of the boy in front of her.

My take/opinion on this whole story?
Well, if you ask me, I have to pick the logical part for this one, as first of all, I don't really see anything wrong with the advertisement and I would attribute the overall confusion to the editing process of the commercial.
I just don't really think that a little girl's ghost could appear so clearly and visible in an advertisement and also at the same time, looks like one of the girls in the advertisement.
(Yeah, you can consider a doppelganger, but that was not the point of the story in the first place).

I think there was just a little illusion involved, and it may be associated with the editing process by the production team. They may not be detailed enough to notice the parts of the editing which went wrong with the advertisement and probably they did not double check before they air it on TV.
When production filming takes place, there are always more than a few shots taken and the director may change his mind to alter the image portrayed in the advertisement (it is a lot of pressure when filming an ad). Perhaps the director's indecisiveness was not properly communicated to the editing team, who also went with their own professional opinion to fit in the best shots into the commercial.
After all, this was scheduled to run on national television, and should be artistically portrayed.

Whether the children or that particular kid died or not, there was no sound confirmation from any source, and therefore I will not comment.

However, sometimes, I believe the human mind can play a lot of games; and can make one believe what one wants to believe.
The girl has appeared in the other parts of the advertisement, and I still think she is just as human as the rest.

So, my conclusion? Editing and also mind illusion.
If you are not happy, well, maybe you can form your own conclusion and to aid you in this, you can also do more research and share with me.
I would love to hear from anyone who can shed some light on this story.

Additional information
You might be interested to check out some of these forum discussions:
The HK KCRC commercial; 6 kids or 7?
Extra Girl Ghost in KCR commercial
HK KCRC commercial

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pillars of a Building

Living in the modern and advanced 21st century surrounds us with tall buildings and skyscrapers everywhere we looked.
These skyscrapers and buildings have pushed out remnants of the past, and are now the icons which grace the skylines of our cities today.

Most of the time, we are in awe as we looked up at these buildings, but have we ever wondered how these buildings come to stand as tall as they are, from the flat land that used to stand in their place?
We have seen construction taking place when we drive around, or even walk past a building during its establishment phase and we see yellow helmets bobbing up and down; through the bamboo stick frames set up and perched on the ground, with an occasional shout from the half-complete concrete walls.
A familiar scenario, and sometimes just watching these men balancing themselves or walking around the eerily shaky poles makes one wonder whether they are safe or what happens when there is a mishap or if one is not careful; especially when most of these buildings are usually completed within a short period of time.
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The following story is contributed/shared by a loyal reader whom I now call my friend, Stan.
This is something which was experienced by Stan's friend, on a construction site of an upcoming mall. For the sake of the story, let's refer to his friend as Dan *
(*not actual name of the eyewitness).

Dan had an appointment at this mall which was still in its construction phase. When he arrived at the building, he was told to park his car at the lower basement of the car park; at B2. There were lots of cars parked at that level as well; including that of the workers and maybe vendors who are there for meetings.

He then proceeded to his meeting on B1; to meet up with his customer and when he arrived there, it was about 10.00am.

The meeting was short, and in a brief moment, he was getting ready to leave. He walked down to B2, and at that point, he needed to go to the toilet very badly, and since it was a construction site and he did not want to go to the inconvenience of going all the way upstairs again, he decided to just pee near one of the pillars in the car park in B2.

After easing himself, he got into his car and started driving towards the exit from the car park, which was located at B1.
When he reached the B1 level, he was surprised by the total darkness which greeted him and he could barely see anything.
He thought that he must have driven to the wrong level of the car park, and decided to drive back to B2.

When he descended to B2, he was no longer surprised but shocked when he saw that there was not a single car in sight!
(Remember I mentioned earlier that there were a lot of cars parked there? Furthermore, it was in the morning)

He was terrified and badly shaken yet he tried to drive to B1 again to seek help from the people at the site office, and no surprise when he saw that B1 was covered in total darkness and there is no site office in sight. In fact, the whole place did not seem like anything he saw when he was there moments ago.

Dan started to panic when he was driving around and he frantically tried to find the exit but there was no light in sight. The whole place seemed like it was thickly blanketed with darkness and nothing seemed familiar to him, at all!
He must have been driving around the whole place for what seemed like hours, and he was badly shaken by now.
Feeling scared and at the same time, anxious to get out of the place, Dan suddenly started uttering words of prayer which he knows.
He prayed and prayed, while he continued driving up and down; traversing between B1 and B2, in rounds, yet still covered in darkness.

Suddenly he saw a speck of light coming from a distance, and he stopped his car and got out.
He ran like a madman towards the faint light, and when he finally reached the light, he realized that it was emitted from the fire exit.
Without hesitation, he grabbed the door and ran up the staircase as fast as he could and grabbed the first door open.

This time, to his relief, he was greeted by a normal bustling scene of people and cars!
There were people walking around, and cars driving as though nothing unusual happened at all. He was so relieved and yet exhausted by his traumatizing experience that he just sat down in the midst of the busy scene to catch his breath and relax.

While he was trying to calm and recollect himself altogether, he was greeted by his customer; or rather, the site manager who was walking past and asked him about still being there when he had already left at 10.30am; which was two and a half hours ago.
Surprise, at that moment, it was already 1.00pm!!
(Guess he was not wrong that he had been driving for hours)
The manager was also surprised at his disheveled state; not to mention him drenching in sweat.

Dan started explaining the whole incident; ignoring the fact that he is probably going to sound like a crazy lunatic then and the manager just listened in patience, and surprisingly, without uttering a single word.
Upon hearing his story, the manager told him that he will arrange for someone to get his car from the car park which Dan thankfully agreed.

When the worker returned with his car, Dan thanked the manager promptly and almost instantly sped out of the building!
I don't think we can blame him for that!

Dan was probably left to forget and get over his trauma for a few years, and probably never to recall the incident had he not met up with the site manager again, by chance a few years later.

It was then that the site manager shared with him on the facts and stories about the construction, which shed light on his experience.
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During times of construction, there are times when the developer or the project owners have to complete the building within a short period of time.
Times like these call for desperate measures and in speeding up the construction process, the safety of the workers may not be considered. In fact,there may not even be specific safety guidelines to govern the behavior or to ensure that the workers are working in a safe environment; despite the laws set by the government.

There are some unscrupulous contractors who hire illegal immigrant workers whom they pay at a low price to help in the construction. It is no surprise why they will do that as illegal immigrants are not registered nor are they protected by the law, and there need not be much compensation or benefits for them as they themselves are afraid of being exposed and risk being sent home to their poor countries.
As such, most of the time, these workers will be treated with disrespect and not properly equipped with the gear and equipment to do the job.
Sometimes, due to their inexperience, may meet with fatal mishaps at their workplace.

How do they deal with the deaths which occurred at the work sites, you wonder?
Now, comes the spooky part; as the site manager reveals to Dan.
When these workers met with fatal accidents at the work site, their deaths are concealed as a secret by burying them underneath the piles of concrete and stones which build the very foundation of our buildings!
The reason is simple, when they are rushing to complete a building, accidents and deaths are deemed as potential showstoppers if they were reported.
The reports will lead to investigations and surveillance of the work sites, and these can lead to an order to cease all work immediately.
This may cause delay in their construction, and as such, loss in profits in huge sums of money.

Therefore, these unethical contractors will not reveal nor report any such incident and instead choose to deal with them in their own ways.
They will dispose the bodies in the most convenient way possible, and that means, burying these injustice deaths underneath the pillars of concrete, sand and stones which form the building.
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Now, you understand the reason why Dan was being haunted when he was in the car park? He 'peed' on one of the pillars, which probably was the grave of one of these workers and his act was deemed as disrespectful to the spirit.

These are probably restless spirits, and these pillars are regarded as their eternal resting places.
So, the next time you want to ease yourself of your full bladder, please be wary of the 'unseen' resting in these places, and just use the designated washrooms/toilets.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Heads or trails...

The Japanese occupation during the World War II had left lasting effects on most of the countries they landed on; even way after the war has ended.
In fact, you will be surprised to learn that there are still remnants of the occupation found in some of the places where some of the killings took place, haunting and lingering among the living.

I have heard of so many stories revolving around the hauntings and sightings of the Japanese past, existing in the present day. It is like they never left, even centuries after the end of the war, reminding the generation today of the terrifying incidents of the war.

The short story I am about to share is from a third party (a friend of a friend), who experienced a bizarre and disturbing incident during his stay in a hotel in a remote place in China.

He was traveling with his wife to this part of China, for sightseeing and relaxation and they booked a hotel. There was not much of a choice anyway, as the place here is rather isolated and they were not fussy with their place of accommodation as their primary purpose is to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the place, and the amount of time they spend in the room is secondary to their tour.
Furthermore the room they checked into was quite good, and therefore they left their luggages and started their tour of the place.

At night, they went back to the hotel which had two beds, and feeling tired, they just slept together on one of the beds.

In the middle of the night, the husband was slightly stirred by some movement at the side of the bed where he also heard some sounds.
He moved over to the side of the bed to take a look, and to his amazement (not to mention shock), he saw a rather transparent and grayish face looking back at him.
He then jolted up with a shock as he saw that it was a head (only!) of a Japanese soldier, with blood on his eyes and face.

He rubbed his eyes, and realized that it was still there!
He was unable to move although he tried with all his might to wake up his wife, but he just simply could not move nor speak!
The head just remained there, and it seemed like forever it was fixated in the air.

When he could finally move, the head sort of disappeared into thin air.
He turned and noticed his wife, looking scared and shaken, and apparently, she had seen the head too!

They were both badly shaken by that sighting and quickly turned on all the lights in the room.
Needless to say, they were unable to get back to sleep that night.

The next day, they went to the reception to relate the incident and to request for a change of room.
The guy manning the desk did not seem surprised when they told him the story, and apologized that the hotel was already fully booked and they were unable to change their room.
The guy also further revealed that it was due to the full occupation of the hotel that they opened up their restricted floor for guests, and that the room which they were occupying at that time was located on that floor.
It seems that the floor was closed due to some supernatural reasons, and that there have been reported sightings of Japanese soldiers.

Hearing this, the couple was freaked out, but the guy told them that these spirits are only appearing because they feel that their space has been intruded.
Also, the hotel has provided two beds in the room as one of the bed is reserved for the spirits and that the couple only need to sleep in the other bed to avoid any disturbance.
The reason why they saw the head the night before was probably because they picked the wrong bed, and that bed was the one which belonged to the spirit.

The couple had no choice, but to stay on for the second night although they were still fearful of the incident repeating again.
They tried to avoid staying in the room as much as possible and spent most of the day in the town, and only going back to the room for sleep (which they would prefer to skip if they had a choice, but the town was just quiet as well at night).

That night, they hopped to the other bed to sleep and cuddled up to each other tightly, not daring to look at any direction. They stayed awake for a while before finally falling asleep due to exhaustion.
When they opened up their eyes, it was already the morning and they were relieved and thankful that they survived that night without any disturbance.

They continued to stay for another night, to finish up their itinerary, and was relieved to finally check out.
They thanked the receptionist for his help, but he shrugged, telling them that is was a normal phenomenon and that usually the hotel will not choose to open up the rooms on that floor to avoid extra requests and complaints.
He also told them that the hotel was built on a site which had reported killings of soldiers during the Japanese occupation and that the hotel was occasionally haunted by the sightings of Japanese soldiers.

Nevertheless, the couple was glad to be finally leaving the place and going home.
I would too, if I were them, but I am still amazed they could continue staying there after the sighting that night!
I would probably book the next flight out, or if not, I would choose to stay in the lobby! :-P

Spooked, or Stay?

There are various stories I have heard which revolves around hotels, motels or vacation accommodations everywhere; be it local or overseas.
I have recently heard of a few more stories; really short and simple but I find it rather bizarre and how amazing some people can be taking things like these so well.

Most of the stories I have heard revolve around disturbances experienced during stays or some even to the extent of actual sightings!
Some would be too spooked to continue their stay, but I have also heard (and impressed) by the bold ones who chose to stay and ignore, no matter what happens.
Those who chose to stay usually share that the location is rather remote, or there are no other hotels around. Some also involves the trip itinerary and their flights out of the location they are visiting.
Some could be even due to budget constraints.

Whatever it is, I think it is a personal decision or a choice the eye witnesses have to make; as sometimes they are the only ones who encountered the spooks and only they know the extent of their fears.

However, sometimes I do wonder, to what extent can some take the spooks level.

I am going to share a short story here for you to judge, whether you can take it to stay another night.

Story: Disturbance in an apartment
This couple went on a vacation with their family and relatives to the east coast of Malaysia, and they traveled to a rather remote area of the state.
They booked an apartment to share with their family and relatives, and they were a rather big group, so it was all a merry environment.

When they checked into the apartment, they noticed there was a chair in the bathroom; which was rather odd, to be honest, but they just moved the chair away.

Anyway, as they were hustling and bustling to settle down, they heard noises coming from the bathroom and everyone turned to look.
They saw the bathroom door latch/hinge locking and unlocking itself repeatedly.
Everyone was speechless, and they just kept quiet.

They stared at the door, and it was obvious no one was standing there nor could there be any way anyone could do that to the door!
The door latch just lifted itself and dropping into the latch, and this just kept repeating itself.

Some were spooked, but they just ignored it as there is simply no other place to stay around that area as it was really isolated. Furthermore, they have already booked the place for their trip and moving out in groups could be inconvenient and so, they decided to stay back, as they didn't think there would be much trouble when they are in a big group.

Things didn't really escalate as well, which was rather fortunate, and they went to bed that night, with everyone sleeping everywhere in the apartment.

They turned the lights out when they tucked in that night, and everyone slept really soundly.

The husband woke up in the middle of the night and was surprised to see ALL the lights turned on. He was bewildered, and yet, in that half awake state, stirred his wife awake and asked, "Why did you turn on the lights?"

The wife, who was sleepy at that time, just answered him, "No, I didn't, No ONE did...we switched it off just now when we went to sleep!"

They realized that when the guy asked about the lights, even before the wife answered, the lights just turned off automatically and the whole apartment was in pitch darkness again!

Guess what, they just went back to sleep!

That was about the incidents which happened to them during their stay, and I am amazed that they could withstand these spooks.
Yeah, they may not be very damaging nor very spooky, but hey, if it was me, I would probably pack and run off immediately!

That's me, what would you do, if it was you?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Heating it Up

Some of us do travel quite a bit; especially when it comes to work-related trips, although there are also those who plan and make time for their personal trips.
(I am not referring to myself here :-P )

Typically when it comes to business trips, the perks are the 5-star hotels we will be staying in which we get to enjoy the comforts of home in a luxurious environment; not to mention the facilities located within the building itself.

On business trips, typically we get a room to ourselves, and trust me, sometimes it may be a good thing and sometimes, not really.

I recently heard stories from some of my hubby's friends who shared about their very own encounters in hotels; some are from overseas and some in our very own country!

I have one short story here on a business trip; where this person, let's call her J, who experienced something on her business trip to Singapore a few years ago.

It was a company trip; and her whole department were checked into the same hotel.
Each of them was assigned a room to themselves; which was quite a privilege.

J was uncomfortable to find that her room was at the end of the corridor; near the emergency staircase area. She never did like last rooms; as it is often so deserted.

She was quite tired from the flight and also the day's events, and went to bed.
She heard lots of noises from the outside; doors opening and closing and people walking, even in the middle of the night.

She brushed it aside, as she thought that they were guests from other hotel rooms who were probably enjoying their nightlife a little too late into the night.

After all, it was pretty normal for anyone to hear doors closing and opening at any time whenever you are staying in hotels, right? They are filled with occupants anyway.

She felt weird inside the room anyway, but she told herself not to think of anything.

She had a weird encounter, during her second week of stay in that room.

She was back from her meetings, and was getting ready to take bath.
She stepped into the bathroom and took a relaxing bath.
As she came out of the bathroom, she was surprised to see the electric jug kettle boiling with water and it just turned off automatically; as most electric kettles do when the water is boiled.
She was amazed and bewildered at the same time, as she was pretty sure that she did NOT turn on the electric kettle at that time.
She did not want to think too much about it, and she even thought positively about the whole incident like, "Hey, whoever is doing it, spirit or not, is just so considerate to make sure she has hot drinking water!"

Besides that incident, there were no major incidents that she could recall except another time whereby she caught the water heater in the bathroom being turned on.
Again, this spirit must be really concerned with the temperature inside the room, huh?

She stayed inside that same room for almost a month, and she sleeps with all the lights turned off at night, but she did not face any disturbance.

Honestly, I am really impressed with her courage to be able to stay inside the room for so long!
I think I would have probably requested for a room change when I saw the electric kettle incident, but then again, I do agree with the optimisim, that at least the spirit did not mean any harm and was often helping her out.

It is always good to be positive and to stay calm when in situations like these, although I must say that it is easier said than done.
When you are in the situations like these, you will not be able to just sit and think calmly sometimes.

I find this story really interesting, and not really the typical spooks type.
A good one to amuse my readers after a long break :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New spooks on the way!

I've just gotten back to blogging after my busy hectic schedule of wedding planning for the past few months, and I think, this is one of the most neglected blogs; which is totally unjust to some of my loyal fans and followers of this blog.

Anyway, I have good news to share; I have just gotten hold of not one, but a couple of good stories on spooks and personal encounters.
Besides spooking you guys out, I am also working on some cultural and tradition-based articles to share my experiences and knowledge with everyone.

It's a great thing to be back, and I have gotten around to updating most of my blogs, and now, it's time to revive this blog!

Thank you, if you have been patiently waiting for the resurrection of this blog, as you were not wrong, it is NOT abandoned!

Stay tune, a story coming up soon! ;)