Living With Ghosts

We all have eyes, and with eyes we can see how wonderful the world is. But if the spectrum of your vision went above and beyond this reality, would you still consider the beauty of nature as you usually do? Sensa Nostra speaks to Roy Lau from Hong Kong, who looks into the paranormal world and incorporates it into his daily life. Roy has spent his whole life seeking a balance between the real and supernatural worlds, and endeavors to help similar people in need.

My ability didn’t come innately. I had a high fever at the age of six, so my mum, as a believer, brought me to an old temple for worshipping good health. A Taoist priest explained my illness was a result of spiritual possession, which means some ghosts were fooling around with me and causing my high temperature. So he performed a ritual event to rid me of these spirits. And that was the start of my lifelong creepy visions.

The first ghost I saw was a man. He jumped off the building as we were leaving the temple. I heard a loud BANG and saw a body lying dead and bloody on the ground. I looked up to the roof, and saw the same ‘man’ in the same blue T-shirt. It occurred to me that he was about to jump, again. He wasn’t a living man at all.

I inherited the Eye from my mum, but our fields of vision differ slightly. She could only see our deceased relatives, but I can see generally any kind of dead person. I passed my special genes to my daughter too, who is now fifteen years old. I never put the spiritual topic on the table, though. I try to avoid sharing my own interpretations, as any prejudgment will disturb her understanding of the world, and that’s the last thing I want. I only discovered her visions through some random chats, and that’s all.

Ghosts talk to me directly, in the same way that people communicate with each other. Only they usually have no specific facial expression. If you had to find a modern term for it, you’d call them stoned. They approach me with requests, such as passing a message to their family, or burning food and clothes for them, which they’ll receive in the afterlife (a Chinese religious custom). I seldom respond, pretending instead to not hear or see them. It’s very troublesome once you cross this line, as they’ll basically just keep asking for more. The worst thing is that they’re visible 24/7—don’t be so naïve as to believe they only come out at night. They exist everywhere, and at any time. Perhaps they’re reading this article right now too.

I could never engage in normal relationships. My wife divorced me due to miscommunication: whenever we were chatting and there were spirits nearby, I couldn’t concentrate, so I asked the spirits to go away. My ex-wife misinterpreted that as a cue for her to be quiet, and that’s how we ended up signing the papers. My girlfriends left me too. They thought I was just bullshitting. About half a year ago, I went out drinking with my colleagues. I joked that if I saw a pretty ghost, I would even consider marrying her—a joke I should never have made. A few days later, as I took a night bus back home, I saw a female ghost sitting across the aisle. As usual, I pretended I saw nothing and listened to my iPod. Shortly after, she disappeared. When I got off at the station, it was raining heavily. I saw her again, standing at the bus stop. Of course I ran home immediately. I was safe for an hour or two, but then I started hearing some strange noises in the garden. I peeped out through the window, and saw a blurred image of a woman’s head protruding from under an umbrella.

She died in the 1940s. She had a happy marriage, but it only lasted a year before illness overcame her. She and her husband were so deeply in love that they hired a Taoist priest to tie their souls together forever. According to her, after you die, you will be given two choices: either move on to a new life right away, or simply stay behind in this world. Seven days after death, spirits are allowed to go back up to their homes, to ‘see’ their family. She saw her husband crying heartbrokenly. She decided she had to wait for him so they could spend the rest of eternity together. She rejected all other offers to move on to a new life, and just waited. During the course of this waiting, she appeared in front of her husband three times, without realizing that he was actually completely freaked out by the experience. By the third time she showed up, her husband couldn’t stand it anymore, and hired a priest again to forbid her coming near him for good. He had a car crash decades later, but at this long-awaited moment of reunion, she found his spirit alongside a child and a another woman: his new family, who had also perished in the crash. Feeling betrayed, she remained in her loneliness for eternity.

Stalking the streets for more than seventy years, she explained that she could only communicate with three people—one of them me—across this infinite time span. That’s why she couldn’t let me go. Without my consent, she lived in my house and projected into my dreams. I guess she had a crush on me, as in the dreams we went shopping, eating, and did all those simple things that couples do. She told me her story and feelings, but this wasn’t fun at all. I didn’t like her. Not that a relationship was even an option—she’s not human. Besides that, she got easily jealous. One night two girls asked for directions to the nearby university, and I offered to drive them, as it was so late. When I arrived back, she’d completely messed up my home, simply because she was angry that I’d offered a ride to those girls. I couldn’t stand it any longer, couldn’t let her live around me any second longer. As a result, I also hired a priest to forbid her coming close to me ever again. Even a relationship that was completely linked with my strange life wasn’t an option for me.

This so-called ‘connection’ to the fourth dimension distressed me to the extent that I became suicidal. To be precise, I tried to commit suicide three times. I felt isolated in my community, without anyone to share my fears and worries. The ironic thing is, when I felt that lonely, I actually got a lot of support from the spirits: the support to die.

Seven years ago was the last time I tried to kill myself. I’d just been fired, and my girlfriend decided to break up with me on the same day. After this double attack, I sought death. At 2 am, I made my way to the top of a building. But the second I began to run towards the edge, ready to jump, a small girl, apparently not human, walked in front of me carrying a toy. She looked so happy and innocent, which reminded me of my daughter. I had been promising to buy her a toy too—she’d been excited all week. As this thought hit me, I dismissed the idea of dying. After all, suicide is a reckless impulse, not a decision, right? I told my family about how this ‘little girl’ saved my life, and, as most of them are Christian, they believed she was an angel and that God was trying to save me. They persuaded me to start going to church. And I did, for almost two years. During this period, I could no longer see the precise shape and appearance of ghosts, and I saw less of them too. Yet as I got to know more about the rigid mechanisms of the church, it didn’t feel right anymore, so I quit. Now I believe in Taoism.

To face reality and do something productive, two years ago I set up a group on Facebook called Hong Kong YinYang-Eyers, which aims to provide a stable community for similar people to communicate, express, support and discuss their daily life problems. Before I established the group, I met so many people with the Eye, just like me, who were also failing to deal with everyday life situations, leading to divorces and separations between family and spouses. Our group is not seeking more publicity, and I do not see why we should tag ourselves with a special label either. There have been cases where some members only pretended to possess the ability. I don’t understand their intention. That’s why I’ve now decided to make it a closed group, so that outsiders can no longer view our posts. Everyone deserves a stable community, and this is the one for us.

The Eye still remains a taboo today, but why should people accept that? It is human nature to resist any information that contradicts our established environment. Anxiety and fear follow simply because people do not understand. So next time, if your friend tells you something that goes to the extreme of your believed values, will you at least try to relate to their experience and show some sympathy? Or will you act like others mostly do, condemning our ‘craziness’ and leaving us behind?

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