Time for another Haunted Humpday. Today I'm taking you on a trip to the other side of the world to where my family came from. My grandmother had many fascinating stories and the spooky ones were the ones that always stayed with me. Although this place is not about her hometown, I was intrigued by it because it's about a house.
First, a little history: The city of Baguio is a well known tourist spot in the Philippines. It's a beautiful city and like the rest of the country, it reflects a history of colonization by different regimes. Although the Philippines was mainly under Spanish rule, both America and Britain took possession of it at some point in time.
The Philippines is the only Asian country that speaks English along with it's own language (Tagalog), a mixture of Spanish and native dialects. It's also the only Catholic country in Asia which makes it ripe for countless stories about possession, hauntings and lost souls but that's for another post.
In the 1920's, while under American rule, a wealthy family built an imposing white Victorain house on Leonard Wood Road. The Laperals were part of one of the oldest Baguio dynasties and the details in the architecture of the house showed off their wealth.
Most homes built by wealthy families were Spanish colonials. Even in less affluent towns the architecture showed a heavy Spanish influence so this Victorian house was highly unusual. Another city called Vigan reflects it's Spanish heritage more than any other place. It's narrow streets resemble old European cities much more than it's humble Filipino surroundings.
Places like this bring back memories of tales of people losing their way while out on a late night walk. Someone would see an elderly woman on the street and out of fright, would turn down another street only to encounter the same woman until they became completely lost. My father swore this happened to him as a young man.
But back to the Laperal House.
The story goes that during WWII Japanese soldiers took over the Laperal house and tortured and killed nearly all of its residents. I know this also happened in my grandmother's hometown from her own stories. It was a brutal war where families fled their homes to escape the ruthless soldiers and ran into the woods to hide.
For decades, local townspeople told stories of hearing screams coming from the old house which sat vacant for some time. One well known tale was about a child seen on the stairway at the front of the house. Many believed the child was the owner's grandson who was hit by a car while crossing the street.
There are also tales of a woman appearing in a third floor window. Believed to be the spirit of the young child's nanny who was killed in that house. The house's owner was said to have survived the war but died later when he slipped on the front stairway.
Because of the home's solid structure it remained a presence in the community allowing it's haunted tales to be passed along to the next generation. Today the house is a museum that's open to the public. It's a favorite destination for budding ghost hunters, and visitors tell their own stories of eerie encounters.
I've never visited the Laperal White House and although I've heard other haunted house stories from my grandmother, this one intrigued me the most because it wasn't until recently that I saw pictures.
Of course what struck me right away was how much it looked like the Practical Magic movie house. To see an old Victorian in the last place I expected was a curious surprise. That it's somehow tied to the country that's part of my heritage made it even more fascinating.
The weather is starting to cool down here although this past weekend we were back up in the ghastly 100's again. But the nice weather person said it will feel more like Autumn this week. Last night I enjoyed rereading a tattered old book I've had for decades. In between I indulged in the latest issue of the Victorian Trading catalog. Perfect reading while the Delta breeze whistled outside my window.
Now that I think I'm smelling wet moss and old wood as I type, I think it's time for me to call it a night. Which reminds me, the city's name, Baguio (pronounced without the 'u'), comes from an old word that means moss.
Thank you again to Marfi for hosting and Happy Haunted Humpday.
There's more to see at Incipient Wings.