Mystery in Fort Santiago

When it comes to mysteries, I make myself less busy to take a good look at them. I and my wife love solving or listening to mysteries. When my late dad shared eerie stories, it was relaxing and kinda kicked stress out. We gathered as a family either at the living room or dining, with dim light (or during brownouts), and dad would tell stories like they happened right in front of us, or as if we were in the middle of it. Yup, though a veteran journalist and editor-in-chief of a major daily then, dad made himself less busy to share us stories.

Spooked Family Outing

One day in 1993 we had a real close brush with a spooky mystery. We went to Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila as a family in our old pickup, all 15 of us. The fort was built in the Spanish occupation of Manila in the 1800s and was used as a fort and a prison. It was there that national hero, Jose Rizal, was incarcerated before being executed in Luneta. It was also used by the occupying American forces and later the Japanese forces. So it was a scene of sufferings, executions and murders through the centuries. No wonder many say it’s haunted.


Image from TrekEarth.

After visiting the Rizal Shrine there and taking a lot of pictures (I used my old camera, the type that used films and which you cocked before taking a shot) in and around the Fort, we had lunch and went home. I knew for sure that there was a loaded film in my cam because I had put it there and the lever had resistance each time I cocked. If it were empty, the lever would simply give way.

When we were home, I opened the camera to get the film and have it developed. We were kindof expecting to get spooky shots of the place especially where we posed and which were said to had been scenes of massacres, like the underground tunnel. So I opened it excitedly.

But lo and behold, it was empty! There was no film! All 23 shots gone!

We Played Detective

My family was convinced that I failed to load the film, but I insisted that I did. In fact, the lever gave resistance each time I pulled it. They just laughed it off. But later, they admitted that some spook in Fort Santiago probably tricked us. But some doubted—could a ghost handle material objects? Some answered, why not? We tried to examine it from different angles like real detectives, to no avail. By the way, I love it when we’re kinda like the Bobsey Twins or Hardy Boys trying to solve mysteries.

Subsequent visits to Fort Santiago, always with my camera (I made sure it was loaded), proved pleasant experiences. No more mysteriously missing films. The lost camera film mystery was never repeated. Probably, I did forget to load the film, after all. But how about the resistant lever? Empty cams of that make would never have a resistant lever. It remains a mystery to this day.

What It’s All About

Well, after attending spiritual warfare seminars many years after, I learned that spooks are real and they are actually evil spirits lurking around to fool people—little demons that convince superstitious and gullible folks that ghosts are souls of dead people who stay on earth to haunt places where they died.

So, the next time you think you’re seeing the ghost of a deceased relative, it’s not really the soul of your dead relative. It’s just a demon imitating the person. Do study more on this when you are less busy.