Fact or Fiction?
By Gianna Maniego
“Ayoko. I don’t want to play, I’m scared!” Maita protested.
Maita was not usually a scaredy-cat, but what her bestfriend was suggesting was just too dangerous, in her opinion.
Camilla wanted Maita to join som egirls in class who were playing with the Ouija board that Steph brought to school that day.
It was early December, and the whole school was preparing for the Christmas pageant. Some were in the choir, some were acting as Angels and Shepers. Regular classes were suspended and the whole week was devoted to rehearsals.
The only ones left in the classrooms were thos who weren’t included in the pageant. They were assigned to decorate the classrooms for the Christmas decorating contest.
Maita and her classmates were in Room 36, the honors section. As usual, their resident artist had everything planned ahead of time, so there was nothing left to do but string up the rainbow-colored lights.
Bored, some of the girls began bringing games to school. Someone brought playing cards; others brought a chess set. The braver ones brought GameBoys. Those were not allowed, but since the teachers were also busy with the pageant, Maita’s classmates got away with it.
Pretty soon the classroom turned ito recreation center, with groups of students playing in various corners of the room.
The most popular game at the moment was the Ouija Board.
About 10 girls had gathered around the rectangular-shaped board which was painted with the alphabet, numbers, the moon and several stars. In the middle of the board were two circles. Inside one circle was the word YES, and in the other, was the word NO.
The girls were listening in hushed silence to Steph, who was explaining the rules of the game.
It’s like Spirit of the Glass. You ask a spirit to join you and then ask it questions, like ” ‘When I will get Married’ or ‘will I finish school?’, stuff like those. Tapos hintayin mo yung sagot ng spirit (Then wait for the spirit’s answer),” she said.
”Paano sila sasagot? (How will they answer?)” Celine asked skeptically.
“Pag Yes, pupunta yung glass dun sa bilog na may nakasulat na YES, pag NO dun sa kabila. Pag hindi masasagot ng YES or NO, ii-spell out nung glass yung sagot. My Ate once called the spirit of Jose Rizal. He was a lot of fun, he kept speaking in Spanish, so nobody understood most of what he said,” Steph told her enthralled audience.
”Ibig mong sabihin, the spirits get inside the heart-shaped thingy and play the game with you? Hindi ako naniniwala! I don’t believe in ghosts… or spirits!” said Arlene, one of the prettiest girls in class.
to be continued……
Every year our clan spends time with our departed at the cemetery from afternoon of October 31 to the morning of November 1. It has become a tradition of sorts. Most you might ask, “Why would psychics go to a cemetery, or worse, spend the whole night at one?” Well, we deal with the unknown all year long so what’s a night at a cemetery?
One of my cousins, Erwin, who has yet to master his skills, had an idea night back in 2001. He had made an Ouija Board and asked us if we could like to try it in a far corner of the cemetery. “Huwag kayong mag-alala. Hindi alam nina tita,” he said in a reassuring voice.
”Alam mo ba kung anong araw ngayon? Eh kung masapian ka? Monopoly na lang,” I told him and looked around to see if anyone else is listening.
He got mad and whispered, “Kung ayaw mo eh di huwag.” He and two of our cousins went to the darker part of the cemetery.
Concerned, I asked my mon if she knew where they were headed. “Bibili lang yata ng makakain,” she told me.
I began to fear for my cousins, because if anything were to happen, nobody would know until it was too late. I took a rosary and wrapped it around my left hand. Holding a bible in my right, I followed them from a safe distance.
I saw them throw away the Ouija Board. This partially shocked me, prompting me to hide behind a tree to see what they were really up to.
It was three minutes past midnight when my cousins performed an incantation. When I closed my eyes and opened them again, I saw a crowd of entities appear one by one and encircle my cousins. I felt my heart jump and cold sweat run down my face. I did not know what to do. Beatrice, one of my cousins, screamed. Erwin was already flat on the ground.
With my eyes closed, I ran towards them. Bad idea. Even with my eyes closed, I could see the entities in my mind and they were turning to look at me. I felt myself being choked and I could barely keep myself aware of the surroundings. I was slapped, kicked and even punched by the entities. They were not hitting me physically, yet it hurt real bad.
I got to my cousins and I asked what incantation they did. Beatrice could barely control her crying as Noel, our other cousin, answered my query. “Mag-dasal tayo,” I told them. I checked Erwin, who was unconscious. As we prayed the Our Father, the entities around us giggled while the others mocked us repeating what we were praying. Chills ran down my spine while Erwin began to cry and blood ran down his cheeks. We continued to pray and the entities continued to mock us. This was hopeless, I said to myself.
Just as I was about to lose consciousness, someone hugged me from behind. I was about the shout out when I saw the arms around me - they were slender and their caress made me feel at ease, something I sorely needed at that moment. Big white wings covered me and I turned to look who it was. I was one of my guardians, smiling and winking at me. I felt her face next to my ear and she told me to say, “Dominus. Dominus. Be Gone.” I uttered those words and then it was over.
Erwin woke up and asked what had happened. If it was not a travesty I would have slapped him with the Bible over and over.
”Sira ulo ka! Mintik ka na nu’n!” I scolded him. Asw we made our way back, I continued my sermon. I hope my cousins learned their lessons.
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Throughout time, scientist of one school or another have contributed great innovations to the world of medicine, alchemy, chemistry, physics, and more. Most of these gifts have been exceedingly useful and set the stage for even greater advances in the field. However, the coin has another side… a far more sinister and selfish side that somehow twists the very minds of the scientists making them want to do more harm than help. Granted, said scientific minds often believe that the evils that they are ultimately performing are doing good, and this is what truly makes these individuals mad. Here are ten of the most diabolical scientific minds in history.
10 Paracelsus 1493-1541
Switzerland, Paracelsus’ contributions to toxicology were based heavily in astrology and he is quite well known for offering the community a wide array of useful ideas and innovations. However, for all of his use, he also thought he might be able to create homunculi, or small humans, who stood no more than a foot or so hight and performed actions very similar to Golems. His are said to have run away after turning on their master. The homunculus creation used bits of people including semen and hair.
9 Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer 1904-1967
Heading up the Manhattan Project, the very group responsible for the creation and use of the atomic bomb, Dr. Oppenheimer was a brilliant nuclear physicist. Oppenheimer said he was “a member of just about every Communist Front organization on the West Coast,” a subscriber to the People’s World, a Communist Party organ, and, he testified, “I was associated with the Communist movement.” He claimed to be horrified by the result of the project’s work. A co-worker, Victor Weisskopf said:
Quote:”He did not direct from the head office. He was intellectually and even physically present at each decisive step. He was present in the laboratory or in the seminar rooms, when a new effect was measured, when a new idea was conceived. It was not that he contributed so many ideas or suggestions; he did so sometimes, but his main influence came from something else. It was his continuous and intense presence, which produced a sense of direct participation in all of us; it created that unique atmosphere of enthusiasm and challenge that pervaded the place throughout its time.”
8 Alfred Nobel 1833-1897
Discovering the use of nitroglycerine in his invention of dynamite, Nobel gave the world its first mass-produced use of deadly explosives. Killing first his own brother Emil and several others in a factory accident, the future death toll from his creation will number in the hundreds of thousands. Eventually he used his significant earned wealth to fund the yearly Nobel Prize to distract people from his invention, after reading his own obituary (mistakenly printed as he was not actually dead) which called him the “Merchant of Death”.
7 Trofim Lysenko
While his experiments did not result in mass deaths, Lysenko needs to be on this list for his utter dishonesty in the field of Science that ultimately set the Soviet Union back decades in research. Lysenko was director of the Institute of Genetics and specialized in agricultural research. Lysenko’s habit was to report only successes. His results were based on extremely small samples, inaccurate records, and the almost total absence of control groups. There can be no doubt that there has never been such an abuse of the name of science as that of Lysenko. Here is a quote:
6 Dr. Jack Kevorkian 1928
Kevorkian is most noted for publicly championing a terminal patient’s right to die via physician-assisted suicide and claims to have assisted at least 130 patients to that end. Imprisoned in 1999, he served eight years out of his 10-to-25-year prison sentence for second-degree murder in the 1998 poisoning of Thomas Youk, 52, of Oakland County, Michigan. The judge that convicted him said:
Regardless of your views on euthanasia, the fact remains that Kevorkian swore an oath to save lives, not to take them.
5 Members of the Tuskegee Study
For forty years between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) conducted an experiment on 399 black men (mostly impoverished and poorly educated share-croppers) in the late stages of syphilis. The essence was to gather data on the course of the disease when left untreated. The researchers understood from the outset that test subjects would provide most of their useful information in the form of autopsies, so great pains were taken to insure that subjects didn’t obtain medical care elsewhere. The program came to an abrupt halt in 1972 when its existence was made public by the Washington Star. It would be easy to dismiss this as a case of simple racism by a public institution, but that is not the case: The project was enthusiastically hosted by the Tuskeegee Institute, a historically black college, and many key researchers and staff on the project were, themselves, black.
4 Johann Konrad Dippel 1673-1734
Dippel was born at Castle Frankenstein and is rumored to be the inspiration for Shelley’s vile doctor. This is disputable, but what isn’t is the fact that this brilliant doctor performed vivisections on many recipients. Working with nitroglycerin he destroyed a tower, but also detected the medicinal use of it. It is rumored that he also preformed gruesome experiments within this tower with so called “cadavers”. Though the actual details of the experiments have never been truly confirmed it is rumored that he attempted to transfer the soul of one cadaver into another. Interestingly, his greatest contribution to the world was his animal oil (Dippel’s oil: a nitrogenous by-product of the destructive distillation manufacture of bone char) commonly known as a base product in Prussian blue - the low cost blue dye that is used to this day by artists; previously, blue dies were extremely expensive to create.
3 Dr. Sigmund Rascher 1909-1945
Rascher was a despicable scientist during the Nazi use of concentration camps during WWII. Rascher’s infamous medical experiments at the Dachau concentration camp included hypothermia research in which three hundred test subjects were used against their will (one third of them perished), in high-altitude, malaria and medication experiments. At Dachau, Rascher also developed the standard cyanide capsules, which could be easily bitten through, either deliberately or accidentally. Ironically, this became the means by which Himmler (Rascher’s friend) committed suicide.
2 Dr. Joseph Mengele 1911-1979
Mengele gained notoriety chiefly for being one of the SS physicians who supervised the selection of arriving transports of prisoners, determining who was to be killed and who was to become a forced laborer, and for performing human experiments on camp inmates, amongst whom Mengele was known as the Angel of Death. On several occasions he killed subjects simply to be able to dissect them afterwards.
1 Shirō Ishii 1892-1959
Ishii was a microbiologist and the lieutenant general of Unit 731, a biological warfare unit of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. He was born in the former Shibayama Village of Sanbu District in Chiba Prefecture, and studied medicine at Kyoto Imperial University. In 1932, he began his preliminary experiments in biological warfare as a secret project for the Japanese military. In 1936, Unit 731 was formed. Ishii built a huge compound — more than 150 buildings over six square kilometers — outside the city of Harbin, China.
Some of the numerous atrocities committed by Ishii and others under his command in Unit 731 include: vivisection of living people (including pregnant women who were impregnated by the doctors), prisoners had limbs amputated and reattached to other parts of their body, some prisoners had parts of their bodies frozen and thawed to study the resulting untreated gangrene. Humans were also used as living test cases for grenades and flame throwers. Prisoners were injected with inoculations of disease, disguised as vaccinations, to study their effects. To study the effects of untreated venereal diseases, male and female prisoners were deliberately infected with syphilis and gonorrhea via rape, then studied. A complete list of these horrors can be found here.
This is a selection of photographs of some of the most important or famous historical events that have occurred since photography was invented. Most of the photographs have also won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize.
10 Southern Sudan
Kevin Carter took this photograph in southern Sudan. The picture would later bring him the Pulitzer prize, but also death. The image shows a vulture waiting for a child to starve to death. This horrific sight affected the photographer so deeply that he committed suicide after winning the Pulitzer Prize.
9 Volcano Victim
Omayra Sánchez was 13 years old when the Nevado del Ruiz volcano erupted. She was trapped in the remains of her house for three days in water up to her neck. Photor-reporter Frank Fournier got this picture a few hours before her death. The Red Cross alerted the local authorities, but they could not get there in time and Omayra died of hypothermia.
American photograph Richard Drew captured this image during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre. He managed to photograph a man who, in panic, jumped from the upper floors of the building.
7 Soldier’s Despair
In the photo, American sergeant, just found his best friend in the body-bag beside him. He was killed during the Gulf War. The picture was taken by David Turnley, but shortly after it’s appearance it was restricted by the Pentagon.
6 Soweto Riots
A photo that managed to draw the attention of the world shows Hector Peterson, age 13, as he dies in the arms of Mbuyisa Makhubo, after he was shot by a police officer on June 16, 1976, during the Soweto riot in South Africa. Picture taken by Sam Nzima.
5 The Lynching Of Young Blacks
This photograph was taken after the lynching of two young black men accused of raping a white girl. They were hanged by a mob of 10,000. The faces of the crowd are very telling. A third man was saved by the girls uncle who said he was innocent.
4 The last Jew In Vinnitsa
This was found in the personal album of an Einsatzgruppen soldier. It was labelled on the back “The last Jew of Vinnitsa”. All 28,000 of the Jews living there were killed at the time.
3 Execution Of A Viet Cong Guerilla
Photographer Eddie Adams took this photograph of Nguyen Ngoc Loan, South Vietnam’s national police chief executing this Viet Cong captain. Adams later said that he regretted that the world did not see Loan as a hero for his actions in Vietnam.
2 The Body Of Che Guevara
After capturing and killing Guevara (Marxist revolutionary), the Bolivian army showed this photograph to prove that he was dead. His death dealt a death blow to the socialist revolutionary movement in Latin America and the Third World.
1 A Monk’s Sacrifice
Thích Quảng Ðức, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on June 11, 1963. He was protesting the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam’s Ngô Đình Diệm administration. Journalist Malcolm Browne took the photograph of Thích Quảng Ðức during his self-immolation and it won the 1963 World Press Photo of the Year.
In February 1948, distress calls were picked up by numerous ships near Indonesia from the Dutch freighter SS Ourang Medan. The chilling message was, “All officers including captain are dead lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead.” This message was followed by indecipherable Morse code then one final grisly message… “I die.”
When the first rescue vessel arrived on the scene a few hours later, they tried to hail the Ourang Medan but there was no response to their hand and whistle signals. A boarding party was sent to the ship and what they found was a frightening sight that has made the Ourang Medan one of the strangest and scariest ghost ship stories of all time. All the crew and officers of the Ourang Medan were dead, their eyes open, faces looking towards the sun, arms outstretched and a look of terror on their faces. Even the ship’s dog was dead, found snarling at some unseen enemy. When nearing the bodies in the boiler room, the rescue crew felt a chill though the temperature was near 110°F.
The decision was made to tow the ship back to port but before they could get underway, smoke began rolling up from the hull. The rescue crew left the ship and barely had time to cut the tow lines before the Ourang Medan exploded and sank.
To this day, the exact fate of the Ourang Medan and her crew remain a mystery. Some say that pirates killed the crew and sabotaged the ship, others claim that she was transporting an illicit cargo of chemicals such as potassium cyanide and nitroglycerine (both of which become dangerous when combined with sea water). The condition of the bodies found aboard and haunting distress call, however, has led to more rampant speculation involving aliens, conspiracies, and even ghosts.
What really happened to the Ourang Medan? The only ones who know for sure rest at the dark bottom of the mysterious and unforgiving sea.