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People Who Can See the Souls of the Dead

Image credit:  Wikimedia Commons.
Late Friday afternoons, ABS-CBN’s Atom Araullo has this documentary special on the paranormal called ‘Hiwaga.’ I have always had an interest in the paranormal, so if the episode is not too creepy, I watch.

Last Friday, Araullo’s feature was on the healing priest Fr. Efren Borromeo, a.k.a. Fr. Momoy. I had not heard of him previously; and the episode was less on the healing and more on the priest’s other ‘gift.’

Fr. Momoy is able to see the souls of people who have died. The gift has been with him since childhood, but became more pronounced after he came back from a near-death experience.

It was after he was yanked back to the earthly dimension that his ability to look through human bodies – the basis for his healing – became more pronounced. Moreover, he started to see the souls of the dead.

They come at all times of the day, but mostly in the wee hours of the morning when all is quiet, Fr. Momoy narrated on-camera. Sometimes, they come to hear confession; other times to ask him to relay messages to relatives left behind.

The very same fortune teller, Brother said, actually saw the bloodied soul of a very famous sitcom actress after she was murdered. The soul of the actress told the fortune teller that her murderer wore a prominent ring and wore green clothes at the time the murder was committed.
He does not even drive. The souls manifest themselves to him even when he is driving and they can be very distracting.

His stories are not unlike those of the character Oda Mae Brown in the 1990 hit movie Ghost. As was the case with Oda Mae, sometimes the visitations can become something of a nuisance.

Fr. Momoy related this one time when he was visited by a large group of souls, which he would belatedly realise were the victims of the Maguindanao massacre. He was feeling particularly tired that night and his visitors were an annoyance. In exasperation, he suggested to the souls that they go visit the person who had them killed, instead.

Then the episode segue-ed to a file video of one of the Ampatuans asking to be transferred to another cell because the one in which he was then incarcerated was haunted by ghosts.

I actually laughed, despite the gravity of the topic.

Then there was this well-publicised case in 1995 of the Navy officer Phillip Pestaño which was reported by the military as a suicide. Fr. Momoy recalled that the soul of Pestaño came to request him to tell his parents that he was, instead, murdered.

The priest arranged for a meeting with the officer’s parents so he could relay the message. While the father of the slain officer initially found the story incredible, the priest’s description of the slain Pestaño – who Fr. Momoy had never met – convinced the father to take action.

The case was reinvestigated; the suspects found, brought to trial and subsequently found guilty of murder. Pestaño’s father could not thank Fr. Momoy enough for having come to meet with him.

Fr. Momoy also related this one time after a calamitous typhoon passed over the country – that is, if I remember the story right – when the souls of those who were killed came to visit him. They were in the form of their bodies when they were killed – i.e. quite gory – and, in fact, the request was for the priest to tell those left behind not to look for them anymore.

The request, Fr. Momoy conjectured, was probably so that the living relatives would not see their bodies in the state they were in when they died. I rather thought this request extraordinary and quite contrary to the almost instinctive need of the bereaved to look for the remains of their loved ones – in whatever form and shape they may be – to be able to attain closure.

Fascinating as Fr. Momoy’s gift is, it is not unique at all. In fact, watching last Friday’s episode reminded me of a captivating discussion a group of us school administrators once had with our boss, a Christian Brother, about another person with a similar gift.

Brother has a friend who we shall call Juan. Juan is a compassionate person who has this habit of offering prayers for the repose of the souls of people whose deaths he reads about in the newspapers, especially those who die of gruesome accidents.

Juan has a fortune teller friend who has a gift similar to Fr. Momoy’s – the ability to see the souls of the dead. The fortune teller also sees the dead in the form they were in when they died: sometimes bloodied, sometimes with parts of the body mangled.

One time, the fortune teller told Juan about a number of souls around him – probably drawn to him because of the prayers he says for them. The more people pray for a soul, the more transparent it appears to the fortune teller.

Spooked by this revelation, Juan asked the fortune teller to please tell the souls around him that he would continue to pray for them – but for them to please not make a personal appearance.

The very same fortune teller, Brother said, actually saw the bloodied soul of a very famous sitcom actress after she was murdered. The soul of the actress told the fortune teller that her murderer wore a prominent ring and wore green clothes at the time the murder was committed.

I have written before that I have this ability to sense if there is a presence in a place. I do not spook easily; but when I go to a place and the hairs at the back of my head suddenly begin to stand and my feet start to feel leaden, I immediately know that I have company.

Thank God, though, that I do not have the gift to see these unseen entities, else I will quickly be among those lining up to see Fr. Momoy.

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