Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Thank you for not opening the lights."

It is normal for college students to live in a boarding house alone or with their friends or with a stranger for the sake of studying. Others live alone for work. Filipinos aren't used to live away from their parents and/or family, thus living without them is usually a sacrifice. So for foreign people, it is not normal because some of them are not family-oriented.

Anyway, another urban legend copied-and-pasted from abroad circulated in the Philippines. It was actually titled, Aren't you glad you didn't turn on the lights?

The Story

[Taken from Internet:[1]]

They were roommates. The other one was getting ready for a party while the other was getting ready to sleep. So the former closed the lights as he went out of the room. When he reached the parking area, he realized that he forgot his keys so he went back to get it. He didn't bother to open the lights anymore since he knows where it is and he does not want to disturb his sleeping roommate. After the party, while he was driving back to his dorm, he noticed that there was an ambulance following him and some police cars too. As soon as he entered the grounds of Ateneo, the ambulance was still tailing him. When he reached his dorm, there was a crowd surrounding his room. His roommate was murdered, his body dismembered and on the mirror was a note in blood "Thank you for not opening the lights".


According to the story, it happened in Ateneo. However, the story has a similar one in USA, and it was documented by Jan Harold Brunvand on his book The Vanishing Hitchhiker. He also gave it a title, The Roommate's Death. The legend actually dated 40 years ago (or probably more). Brunvand said in his book:
.... One consistent theme in these teenage horrors is that as the adolescent moves out from home into the larger world, the world's dangers may close in on him or her. Therefore, although the immediate purpose of these legends is to produce a good scare, they also serve to deliver a warning: Watch out! This could happen to you!


All versions have similar story line:
... someone is killed right under the nose of an unsuspecting female protagonist, but because the lights are out, or the crime takes place in another room, the victim's body isn't discovered until later, usually the next morning. As the story is sometimes told, the protagonist hears suspicious noises but is afraid to investigate because she thinks it could be an intruder coming after her.[2]

And here is one example of it:
As told by Jon Little:

I heard about a girl who went back to her dorm room late one night to get her books before heading to her boyfriend's room for the night. She entered but did not turn on the light, knowing that her roommate was sleeping. She stumbled around the room in the dark for several minutes, gathering books, clothes, toothbrush, etc. before finally leaving.

The next day, she came back to her room to find it surrounded by police. They asked if she lived there and she said yes. They took her into her room, and there, written in blood on the wall, were the words, "Aren't you glad you didn't turn on the light?" Her roommate was being murdered while she was getting her things.

(I've heard this several different times. Each time it was at a different university.)


[Brunvand, 1965:[3]]

These two girls in Corbin had stayed late over Christmas vacation. One of them had to wait for a later train, and the other wanted to go to a fraternity party given that night of vacation. The dorm assistant was in her room—sacked out. They waited and waited for the intercom, and then they heard this knocking and knocking outside in front of the dorm. So the girl thought it was her date and she went down. But she didn’t come back and she didn’t come back. So real late that night this other girl heard a scratching and gasping down the hall. She couldn’t lock the door, so she locked herself in the closet. In the morning she let herself out and her roommate had had her throat cut and if the other girl had opened the door earlier, she [the dead roommate] would have been saved.

Obviously, the story happened in Ateneo is a fake. Perhaps, the person who started to spread it just want something interesting that (s)he can share to his/her friends.

Have you watched the 1998 movie entitled Urban Legend. Watching it is much more illustrative than just reading it actually.

Last Updated: November 27, 2013


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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Kentucky Fried Chicken Rat Tail

Fast-food chains, like Jollibee and McDonalds, have been subject to urban legends. These stories only focus on the foods they serve to their customers. All of them tell that, These restaurants are filthy, serving their gross meals to their loyal buyers.

Actually, one of my readers contributed one urban legend about Kentucky Fried Chicken (more commonly known as KFC). Thanks to him.

Finger Lickin' Myth

A famous fast-food chain whose specialty are fried chicken has an urban legend too. In a certain branch of the mentioned fast-food store, a customer ordered one piece of their world renowned fried chicken. When the patron was about to eat the meal, he/she noticed that it had a string-like object attached to the meat. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a tail... of a rat, a FRIED RAT! The customer complained the tainted meat to the manager who speculated that a rat might have slipped and fell into the frier. The management offered a certain amount of cash to this person and also a brand new car to keep his/her mouth shut. I think it was a failed attempt to silence the person as the story got out.

The above story is similar to some stories in USA: (I got this from

[Collected by Fine, 1976]

An old lady ordered out for Kentucky Fried Chicken. She was eating along when she noticed teeth; she pulled back the crust and discovered she was eating a rat. She had a heart attack and died, and her relatives sued Kentucky Fried Chicken for a lot of money.

[Collected by Fine, 1977]

There was a wife who didn't have anything ready for supper for her husband. So she quick got a basket of chicken and tried to make her dinner look fancy with the pre-pared chicken. Thus, she fixed a candle-light dinner, etc. When her and her husband started eating the chicken, they thought it tasted funny. Soon to find out it was a fried rat.

According to
... The choice of a rat as a contaminant is easy: rats have turned up in food products before; they're the right size and shape to be mistaken for pieces of chicken (especially when fried in batter); and rats are vermin, symbols of filth and decay. The fact that the rat-chicken is usually eaten in the dark is a plot device to prevent premature discovery of the "secret," although some might consider it an important symbolic aspect of the legend.

Well, perhaps the only reason why these stories rise because of customer loyalty competition. I remember the story of the Cat - As the Main Ingredient of Siopao. I wrote there:
... (This is just) a kind of business technique on winning customers' favor over the said restaurant, thus they told false stories circulated in the city.
Contributed by: Jan Erik Bernal

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Doña Juana Rodriguez Street Haunted House

The Doña Juana Rodriguez Street is located at New Manila, Quezon City. It was the old name of Broadway Avenue (near the building of Broadway Centrum - GMA).

I don't have enough time to research and go to National Library to confirm if the author tells the truth about the article of Daily Express. I cannot say the story is real, because me, myself, haven't gone on the said location. By the way, the

The Whole Story

The Doña Juana Rodriguez St. Project
By: Anonymous

I first heard this true-to-life ghost from my professor who ran out of lessons to teach one sleepy afternoon. It was about this saleslady - let's call her Mrs. Santos - during the Seventies who was into direct-selling Tupperware products, something new in te kitchenware market at the time.

At the end of the demonstration she conducted in Laguna, a middle-aged gentleman, who looked like an important businessman - sort of like a Jaime Zobel de Ayala or a John Robert Sobrepena - approached her.

The guy - let's call him Mr. Cruz - invited her to do another demonstration in a house along Dona Juana Rodriguez in New Manila, Quezon City.

Charmed by the man's courtly demeanor, the saleslady accepted the invitation and went the following week to the address given. It was a lazy Saturday mid-afternoon and very few vehicles were passing by in front of the mansion.

In the front yard stood an old, balding man in a white undershirt, sweeping away the dead leaves. When he saw her, the old man, who was probably the caretaker readily invited her inside.

The interior of the mansion exuded a certain Old World charm, something seen in period movies like The Sound of Music or Gone with the Wind. She was ushered into the sala and was told to wait for Mr. Cruz. Mrs. Santos proceeded to see out all the Tupperware items she had brought with her. By the time she had finished, Mr. Cruz still hadn't arrived. She decided to pass the time by reading some of the reading some of the magazines. Oddly enough, she couldn't recognize any of the faces featured on the covers. Glancing at the dates, she saw they were all dated in the 1930's.

Suddenly, she heard voices coming from upstairs - animated conversation, punctuated by laughter here and there. When she looked up, Mr. Cruz, together with several men and women similar to his age and bearing, were coming down the stairs.

Mr. Cruz introduced her to his friends, who were all wearing gray suits. Some of the men were in gray coats and ties, some in gray barongs and pants - even their shoes and handkerchiefs were gray. The women were in gray skirts and long gowns. Mrs. Santos didn't pay particular attention to their attires, surmising that perhaps it was a gathering of an upper-class club or organization and such "uniform" were required.

Mrs. Santos introduced the Tupperware products and everybody seemed excited and pledge to order some items. After her demonstration, someone turned on the turntable and played old tunes, probably Bing Crosby classics. Then someone brought out some food and wine and a party began. Mrs. Santos was invited to stay for the party. She declined, saying it was getting dark,but did drink a little of the wine.

Mrs. Santos went home happy and tipsy that day. She stayed the night with a 60-year old aunt who lived in Malate. Mrs. Santos told her aunt about her rich, elegant but weird clients. The aunt was surprised when she mentioned the names of Mr. Cruz and his friends. Apparently, her aunt knew them all by name and reputation. Yes, they were all celebrities and elegantly rich! Some of them were famous artist, musicians and socialites. The only thing was, her aunt had watched and read about them during her college days, decade ago. As a matter of fact, these people had been dead for a long time. Many of them didn't survive the Second World War!

Mrs. Santos was too stunned to speak. To think that she even danced a tune or two with them and tasted some wine!

A few months after, Mrs. Santos decided to write about her experience and have it published in the Sunday edition of the Daily Express. It came out in the second week of December 1972.

When my professor read the article, he tried to find out the truth behind the story. He asked his students (at the time, he was teaching the high school students of San Beda College), to visit the mansion in New Manila with him - as a sort of adventure. So, together with a dozen of his students, my professor went to the house one Saturday morning.

To their surprise, an old man identical to that described in the Express story was there in front yard, doing much the same thing that the old man in the story was doing - sweeping away the dead leaves.

My professor made some pretext about the needing to interview Mr. Cruz about the old houses. The old man ushered them all inside, and there they found everything as described in the 70's article. Even the old magazine were there, bearing the same dates. The old man told them to wait as he climbed the long staircase to inform Mr. Cruz about the group.

What happened next? Well, the group didn't wait around to find out as they sped out of the mansion as fast as their feet could carry them.

When I asked the professor whether the story was true or not, he dared me to find out myself. He gave me the exact location of the house, which was some blocks away from the Broadway Centrum. So one Sunday morning, I decided to see for myself. Trudging up Doña Juana Rodrguez Street, i noticed some old houses but saw no sign of the old man. Reporting back to my professor, I suggested that after 20 years, somebody might have bought the property and turned it into one of those townhouse complexes. Probably, he said. He didn't care because after the horrifying incident he never went back there. Even at the height of traffic in the area, he always made it a point to avoid the street.

As for myself, I can only report his strange incident that happened after I visited the street: One Monday morning I checked out the National Library for old copies of the Sunday Daily Express magazine. To my surprise, I discovered that all the copies of the December 1972 issues were there - except for the issue that came out on the second week. The librarian, who has been working there for decades, was also puzzled. Coincidence? Somehow, I think not.

True Philippine Ghost Stories. Book 12. PSICOM Publishing Inc.