WHAT'S IN AT CLARK? IT'S GHOST HUNTING

ANGELES CITY, October 31, 2005 (STAR) By Ding Cervantes - A growing number of young people here and in neighboring towns are part of an unusual craze, one that some of them will embark on this All Saintsí Day after the traditional family sorties to local cemeteries are done.

Theyíre going ghost-hunting at the former US military base at Clark Field.

The ghost craze was first ignited last June after videos purporting to show ghosts visiting the office of an electronics company at Clark were passed from cell phone to cell phone and also featured on a popular television program.

The STAR was among the first to obtain a copy of the video, taken originally by cell phone camera, apparently showing translucent beings walking, sitting and standing in a storage room of the office.

The 1.7-megabyte video lasts three minutes and 27 seconds.A television crew obtained a copy of the video from The STAR and featured it in the ABS-CBN program "Magandang Gabi Bayan" recently.

"It seems believable," said Ashley Manabat, president of the Pampanga Press Club after viewing the video. However, the video could not be viewed via media player on a computer.

Attempts to print segments of the video likewise failed. The video, however, could easily be passed from one cell phone to another with infrared or "bluetooth" technology.

The video also seems to capture the voice of the person who took the video on his cell phone, as well as the terrified voices of three of his companions, including one woman, as they reacted to the phenomena they witnessed.

"Donít run, no one should run away," says one voice recorded on the video as at least three translucent images of what seemed to be American-looking ghosts started to materialize. A womanís shrieking voice is also heard on the video, urging her companions to leave.

"The voices indicated that the witnesses were reacting spontaneously to something quite unusual they were experiencing. They seemed both terrified and incredulous," Manabat said.

The video was taken from outside the window of the office showing a desk in front of a post and cardboard boxes stacked behind. In the beginning, a translucent figure of what appears to be a longhaired woman appears near the post.

A few seconds later, two other ghosts, apparently males, take form and move back and forth, at times stopping to sit down. The form of a woman with long hair becomes more distinct in the last segment of the video.

"This is an unusual video. I donít think it was made up," Manabat said.Noel Tulabut, a columnist for Sun Star Pampanga and a computer software enthusiast, agreed with Manabat, but reserved judgment on whether the moving forms in the video were indeed ghosts.

"The forms were unusual but there is still the possibility of illusion," he said.

Members of a local fraternity here said that they have long been ghost hunting at Clark even before the controversial ghost video emerged.

Wordness Simbulan, an official of a fraternity that he asked not to identify, said he and his colleagues usually go to the hospital abandoned by the American troops at Clark late at night "just for fun."

"I myself only feel the presence of something, but some girls we have brought there insisted they saw translucent ghost figures in the hospital. I believe them based on their terrified reaction. They never could be convinced to go to the hospital again," Simbulan said.

But this All Saintsí Day, Wordness and other fraternity members plan to change their venue of ghost hunting after their traditional visits to family cemeteries.

He said they have tracked down the exact office where the cell phone video was taken and they will try to convince the security guard there to allow them to take videos of the ghosts themselves.

The haunted office is reportedly abandoned ó but, according to some accounts, the ghosts have stayed on. "More than the thrill of it is the thought that there is indeed life after death," Manabat said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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