[Whenever you see yourself headless in the mirror or picture, the day of your death is near.]
That's one example of a Filipino pamahiin or in English - superstition. Pamahiin is an irrational belief explicating a natural and/or supernatural action or incident that may lead to good or bad luck.
I was still in high school when I first heard this pamahiin. At that time, reading ghost stories were popular to students in our campus. We really love that hobby, and because of that, I became interested in everything mysterious, aside of my professor's influence.
Anyway, I also learned the only way how to reverse the effect of the said pamahiin.
[You need to burn the clothes you wore the time you saw yourself headless.]
Doing that is a must, because there are no more other known ways to counter the pamahiin.
Speaking of this pamahiin, there was a story spreading about a girl whose taxicab driver saw her headless in the rear view mirror. The driver told her to burn the clothes immediately after arriving to her house.
[Taken from Internet:]
A woman gets off work late and takes a jeep home. She is a little unnerved as she is the lone passenger but she's in a hurry to get home so she doesn't want to wait for another jeep. The driver keeps glancing at her through the rear view mirror. After what feels like forever, the jeep starts. The driver keeps looking at her and, horrified, the woman notices that he's trembling and sweating. She moves to the back of the jeep just in case the situation escalates. To her relief, they reach their stop. What the driver calls out after her turns her blood cold, though.
"Miss, pagka-uwi mo, paki-usap sunugin mo mga damit mo. Nung nakita kita sa salamin, wala kang ulo."
[Miss, as you arrive home, please burn your clothes. When I saw you in the mirror, you're headless.]
[Taken from Internet:]
Isang gabi habang nagmamaneho ako ng Jeep may pumara sa'kin na College Student. Sya lang ang pasahero ko, gabi na kasi, mga 11;00 na.
"Manong sa Q.C. lang po ako". Sabi nung babae.
"Sige". Sagot ko.
(pagkadating nmin sa Q.C)
Manong sa kanto na lang po.
(tinignan ko siya sa salamin, tapos kinilabutan ako, iniba ko yung direksyon kung saan sya bababa.)
"Manong dun po sa kanto, san po kayo pupunta?" tanong niya sakin na parang kinakabahan siya.
(Ibinalik ko na lang yung direksyon ko knina. dun sa kanto kung san siya bababa.)
"Manong dyan nalang po. " Sabi nya.
"Pagkapasok mo ng bahay mo, sunugin mo lahat ng damit mo, wala kang ititira ha? wag ka munang lumabas ng bahay nyo." Sabi ko sa kanya,
"Manong anong sinasabi nyo?" Kinakabahan niyang tanong.
[Taken from Internet:]
It's funny when certain events in our lives occur and we blame it all to bad luck. What's funnier is the things that we do to counter the flow of bad energy that causes these so called bad luck or bad events. At least at that time I thought it was funny, until my friend shared her unlikely experience.
This story is about my friend and her scary jeepney ride going home. For those of you who don't know what jeepneys are, they are a popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. They were originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II and are well known for their flamboyant decoration and crowded seating.
My friend went home late after finishing their school project, now since she lives within the vicinity of the U.P. Diliman campus (University of the Philippines) it was perfectly safe for her to take the jeepney instead of taking a taxi in going home during late hours. It was about midnight when she took the ride home, and she could not help but notice the driver kept glancing at her through his rear view mirror and then he would turn to her. (Now all jeepneys have their own route and do not take any turns and they have to stick to their route or else there is a big chance that they would run into some cop trouble). What's odd about this jeepney ride besides the eerie glances that the driver gave from time to time, he was also taking turns in corners that he was not suppose to. Afraid of what the drivers plans are, she was even more afraid of her surroundings because it seemed as if she was in the middle of nowhere already. So instead of going down, she just stayed on the jeep. On the last turn that the driver made, she noticed that they were back on the route that they were suppose to be in the first place.
Before reaching the end of the terminal, the driver turned to my friend and said, "Im sorry if I scared you or startled you! It was not my intention".. "Could you do me a favor and BURN all your clothes when you get home".. Wondering why my friend asked why he was acting very strange. The driver explained, "The reason why I kept glancing was because your head was not attached to your body when I looked through my rear view mirror." "That is why I changed my route awhile ago, hoping we could get away from the bad energy present in that area, and that's why I want you to BURN your clothes when you get home because I think its still with you."
Upon arriving home, still shaking from fear, my friend took all her clothes off and burned them as quickly as she could. A few days later she found out on the news that the jeepney driver died a day after the incident. It turned out the warning was not for her but for the driver.
Variations and Similarities
Urban legend stories almost always have variations. Even though they have the similar type of story, there is still difference.
Among the three stories above, I don't know which is the original. However I believe the third one is much close to the real story.
- The first story tells about a woman who got off from her work late at night. The second one (which I think is a self-reconstruction of the author's own version) says that it was a 'college student', while the third mentions the school. All of the stories also tell an identical gender - a female.
- Though I don't have a story that tells about a taxicab instead of a jeepney, still there were other stories spreading uses taxi. The above legends use jeepney.
- The female passenger felt uneasy because of the frequent glances of the driver. All of the stories say the same.
- Both the second and third stories suggest that the driver took wrong turns before reaching the destination of his passenger. The first didn't mention that.
- All of the stories mention about the drivers caution to his passenger and explained to her the reason why he acted very mysteriously. However, the last one revealed that the incident was a warning to the driver himself not to the passenger. That's also the reason why I believe it was the original story.
It was alleged that the urban legend started in the University of the Philippines. I don't know if it is true, but all the stories I found suggest UP Diliman as the setting of the legend which made it the origination. Others didn't mention any place.