I told a very condensed version of this in a comment to one of the Jez horror story posts maybe about five? years ago, so I’m officially submitting this now. Now with bonus pics. 

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Back in 2003 or so, I took a trip to Southeast Asia with my then-boyfriend, now-husband. We’d been together only for year or two at this point and this was the first time I was going to meet the extended family as well as visiting this country, so it was quite a big deal.

We flew to a city in the central region where his paternal grandmother lived. The hubbs seemed unusually nervous on the airplane which was odd as he’s not usually an anxious person. After we arrived and took a taxi for the hour-long drive into the city, he turned to me and warned me very seriously to not freak out, but his grandmother’s house was haunted.

I’m a huge fan of horror stories and cinema so I was like, COOL! He obviously did not agree but he didn’t want to talk about it further, so he only mentioned that this ghost or ghosts seemed to have it out for him when he was a child growing up in his grandmother’s house.

His grandmother’s house, it turned out, was in an ancient part of the city. Residential construction in these urban regions tends to be concrete shoebox-type deals stacked on top of each other. Her house is located right next to the river which floods regularly every year during the monsoon season. So her house was oppressively dark, with cracked concrete floors and discolored flood marks high on every wall of the first floor. It was a creepy house, even for a non-believer like me.

There was a staircase in the back of the house that split off in opposite directions; one went upstairs to a spare bedroom that overlooked the roof and the other to a room housing a very large Buddhist shrine as grandma was a very devout woman. According to the hubbs, when he was a child, he’d seen a bright orb flash from the shrine room down the stairs and up the steps to the bedroom. He also recalled being terrified as a very young child by things he couldn’t articulate. His relatives told us stories of him sometimes rushing out of a room where he’d been by himself screaming in terror at something that had frightened him badly. Other relatives told me of seeing figures walking around the house or hearing footsteps and voices when they were there by themselves.


The staircase. It goes up to a shrine room to the left and then also up to a spare bedroom to the right. (Sorry about the poor quality; back in 2003 I was a broke college student and didn’t have a high quality digital camera.)









The staircase leading up to the shrine room.

We stayed in the spare bedroom, which was through a door and up a set of steep concrete steps, almost like a loft. The room overlooked the roofs of neighboring houses, and would’ve been quite comfortable...except I got very ill almost immediately with food poisoning and a whole bunch of TMI things and started spending a lot of time up there by myself.

The first day I was reading a book upstairs. I heard my name called very clearly but it sounded far away, like someone was calling me from downstairs. I went down and found the house completely empty – everyone had gone out. I brushed it off as it was VERY quiet inside the house and it could very well have been just my imagination, and went back upstairs. Later it occurred to me that the silence was odd in of itself; usually the city is noisy with pedestrians and honking motorbikes going by outside. But at the time, since I was nauseated and it was hot and very humid, I just wanted to sleep and was happy for the quiet.

A while later, I was laying there on the bed facing the staircase when I heard footsteps heading up to the room. They were very loud, unmistakable, hard stomps on every step. I looked up, thinking maybe my husband had returned, waiting for him to appear at the top of the steps. But the footsteps just stopped just below the top of the stairs. I heard breathing and felt someone there. Was the person just pausing on the steps? What were they even waiting for? I called out, and when I got no response I went over to see who it was.

The staircase was empty. I went downstairs again. The house was still deserted.

The voices, footsteps, and breathing occurred several more times during the three days we stayed there, while I was alone in the room. It got to the point where I’d just concentrate on my book and refuse to look up or acknowledge the sounds or presence in any way. I figured people had been living with this spirit for decades and it hadn’t harmed anyone that I knew of...right? I didn’t tell my husband at the time since I didn’t want to frighten him more than he already was, and I still wasn’t sure if I wasn’t just imagining it.

Later, I woke up in the middle of the night. My husband was already awake next to me. The room was unusually dark; usually street lights could be seen through the windows and it was a moonlit night. The staircase was suffocatingly dark. There was the feeling of a heavy brooding presence at the end of the bed which was closest to the staircase, watching us. We forced ourselves to go back to sleep because what the hell else were we supposed to do about a creepster ghost watching us? lol

The next day, since he’d experienced it too I told my husband about the weird sounds and voices I kept hearing coming from the staircase. Needless to say, he freaked the fuck out and told me that years ago when his mother had been pregnant with him, she’d been going down those steps when two invisible hands had SHOVED her down the stairwell.

The next night, we were awoken by loud scratching at the window next to our bed, like tree branches scraping against something. Except there was no breeze, and this was a rooftop so there were no plants, much less tree branches to scrape anything. I looked outside (I know, I know, in a movie I’d be the first to die) and saw nothing. We went back to bed and we’d only laid down for about fifteen minutes talking about the house when a cat started YOWLING outside our window like something out of The Grudge. We nearly had heart attacks; I shot up to look outside the window again. There was no cat, no noise, nothing around. We weren’t overlooking an alley or anything – this was the rooftop of a three story house. There was nothing to be seen anywhere.

I’m willing to chalk the last up to an actual live cat though, because cats are assholes.

The next morning, things seemed to be happening. My father-in-law was bustling around in the living room with a bunch of men, measuring things on the floor and pointing at things. My husband got really nervous again and hustled me out the door to do some delayed sight-seeing and wouldn’t answer any questions about what they were doing. Much later in the day he told me that his father, a feng-shui practitioner, had been losing money in some ventures and thought his misfortune originated in the house, so he’d brought in other practitioners to diagnose the problem.

They found two bodies buried under the floor.

By the time we got back to the house, the bodies had been removed and disposed of properly with funeral rites to appease the ghosts. The bodies outdated the house; centuries ago, when the city was still being built the river still overflowed its banks annually. These two were laborers who died in the flood and had been buried there, next to the river. My memory of what exactly the reason was or how the practitioners even knew the manner of their deaths is spotty, as my husband to this day refuses to talk about it.

I’m not supposed to have these photos. I’m told possessing even the photos can bring bad luck.

We never stayed in that house again.