Sunday March 26, 2006

Spirit of the coin

Since young, I’ve been very interested in horror stories. To some, it is taboo to listen to ghost stories at night for fear the tales might haunt them, but they excite me and I especially enjoy listening to stories about the Japanese Occupation. 

Here is how my fascination nearly got me into trouble. 

When I was studying in a local university, a few of my friends and I preferred staying in the hostel rather than commuting from home. Having that “freedom’’ allowed us to do some crazy things.  

One Friday night, we were in room 415, which belonged to one of my friends, Dewina. We liked to “lepak” (hang out) there, and since her room faced the cafeteria and the car park, we got to watch “live shows” – couples on bikes and in cars getting all hot and steamy.  

Being young and cheeky, we switched off the room light and spied on them, then had a good laugh after that.  

And there was another thing we enjoyed doing – inviting “unwanted guests” to the room. Although we had been warned several times by our parents, there was still a thrill in playing the game called “Spirit of the Coin’’.  

Poppy and I were the chosen ones to place our fingers on a coin each time we played this game. Fortunately, that day, I had a cut on my finger so I refused to put my finger on the coin. Poppy agreed to do it on her own.  

A few minutes later, we heard the sound of a lizard and a strange feeling came over all of us. We felt a cold wind blowing past. After a moment of silence, we began asking the spirit silly questions. We had a few laughs as well as disappointing news, as we were told that we might not pass our semester examination. We then asked the spirit how she had died. 

Suddenly, the spirit got angry and said that she had committed suicide because of failed love. She wanted to seek revenge and told us she wanted to be our friend, to be with us forever. Then it struck us that this spirit was not joking. We quickly (and politely) asked the spirit to return home. After refusing several times, she went home. 

After the game, we felt as though there was a sixth person in the room although there were only five of us. Not having learnt our lesson, we played the game again the next afternoon and the same spirit came into the coin. This time the spirit showed a liking for Poppy, who although religious, was vulnerable due to personal problems.  

After the game, Poppy confessed she didn’t feel good playing this game as she could feel something terribly amiss. We agreed to quit for the day. 

Life went on as usual after that, but not for Poppy. She used to be cheerful, but became very quiet and fearful of everything. She skipped classes and couldn’t concentrate on her studies.  

My friends and I called Poppy to room 415 one day. At first she refused to come but after much persuasion, she agreed. She came into the room with a note pad in her hand. She sat on the bed and did not talk to any of us, but scribbled on her note pad. She started screaming when we approached her. Then she threw things and started to cry. Being the most religious of the rest, I told them to stay in the room and pray.  

We closed our eyes and didn’t dare look at Poppy. Her eyes told us that she was possessed by the spirit. The moment Poppy stopped crying, all of us looked at her. She was sitting on the bed opposite us, and when she removed the pillow which was covering her face, her stare was terrible and evil. Her eyes were red and watery. 

“Oh, my god, it is not our Poppy,’’ Thini whispered.  

And what did we do? We ran as fast as we could out of the room. We stopped when we were some distance away and thought carefully of our next move.  

We decided to call her parents. Two of us guarded the room to prevent Poppy from coming out. We were afraid she might do something crazy like jump off the roof. Her parents finally came and took her to see some priests. They prayed over her but nothing worked.  

The spirit disturbed all of us. We had nightmares and felt something strange around us for almost a month. Poppy, on the other hand, suffered the most. The spirit threatened to kill us if we didn’t leave her alone. We knew the spirit wanted Poppy, but we had to save her. 

Only her faith in god and our true friendship helped her. Slowly, she regained control of herself and was not afraid of the spirit anymore. Today, she is a career woman, a caring wife and mother who says a daily mantra and is very religious. 

We all learnt our lesson, especially Poppy, and there will always be a sense of fear in all of us. This incident is one my friends and I will remember for the rest of our lives. I am a teacher now and always tell this story to my students to remind them of the consequences of inviting unwanted “guests” into their lives.  


  • We all love spooky stories, strange encounters and spine-tingling tales. If you have such an anecdote based on a real experience, e-mail it, in not more than 800 words, to Original contributions will be paid.  


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