Tarot with Zoei inaugural meetup in Singapore with guests from Supernatural Confessions. We decided to meet up, picnic style, at one of Singapore’s most spiritual site - Fort Canning Hill. Once known as Forbidden Hill back in the 18th century. It was home to many dead kings and royalties. Some of the tombs still remain visible on site today.
The reading was done by the light of tea candles and a handphone torch. Proving that iPhone 11 low light capture is simply amazing.
It was a beautiful place, surrounded by ancient monuments and trees right in the heart of town. And it’s free! The skies were too cloudy to see the stars but the weather held up and the wind made it bearable to be outdoors in the usually humid Singapore.
We started off with yoga, got into a brief introduction about what tarot is and isn’t, and Zoei did a complimentary reading for three guests as promised. We ended the night with a round of meditation led by Zoei and breath work by Murali.
This is our #NoSpoiler #MovieReview of the Grudge (2020) by Eugene Tay.
Grudge is a reboot and also a sequel of the Ju-On series, which was originally in Japanese, first released in 1998 on video. Ju-On is NOT the name of the ghost boy that we, at least amongst my friends in Singapore, commonly refer to him as. That pasty faced, throaty growl boy is called Tashio Saeki. Ju-On means Curse Grudge in Japanese.
Those watching this latest one might get confused with the constant jump in timeline and talking about seemingly unrelated incidences, it's because the movie is trying to stay true to the original style which does the same. So purist would like it, non-fans might find it unnecessary.
I feel that there is a legitimate reason for the non-linear timeline. It was revealed in Ju-On: The Grudge (2002) that time in the paranormal world does not function the same way it does in our reality. In Grudge (2020), there was a line spoken by a character that goes like this: "Places like this feels like the walls between this world and the next has been torn down. Time flows differently. Anyone who enters here, we are all bound together." This is a concept that many of us in the metaphysics field believe in and I think it's a deliberate move by the writer to portray the movie as such.
In the original, due to the lack of budget, the movie had very little sound effects, often times just relying on ambient sound, which Grudge (2020) emulated. So at times, it can feel a little art house, but know that it was intentional, once again, to try to pay tribute to the original.
On the internet, critics slammed the movie real bad. Many citing the lack of originality and overuse of jump scares as the main reason for this movie’s failure to scare. I don't agree with those points. I liked the familiarity of the horror tropes without trying too hard to be new and different. It stayed true to source material which, back in 1999, it was probably considered ground breaking. So how inventive can they get for a remake without pissing off at least one demographic of audience? Fortunately for me, I enjoyed it. So screw you, angry internet ranters!
For those of you who feel that a horror movie is boring because it’s predictable, I’m willing to bet that the scary but predictable scenes still got your heart pumping. Part of what makes horror, horror, is that you as the audience knows what’s coming and you mindfuck yourself in the process. And after the scare is done, you start talking smack about “how you saw that a mile away” probably to downplay your fears.
The biggest difference between Grudge (2020) and the Japanese version is that Asian horror are often subtle. Our ghosts are classic white-gowned-long-hair apparitions or a version of such. Grudge (2020) attempts to add a layer of scare with gore and zombie-eque ghosts. It's got Sam Raimi's Evil Dead vibe all over it. I reckon this sort of horror is more in line with the Hollywood audience it was intended for.
There was also a nice tribute to one of the two original Ju-On prequels titled 444444444. In Grudge (2020), the detective received a distress call at 4.44 am. 4 means death in Japanese and Chinese folklore. Usually Hollywood would use 12am or 3am as the witching hour. So this 4.44 timing for an American movie is definitely a nod towards the Asian source content it appropriated.
So how close to the truth is The Grudge based on?
Death based curses, according to asian mythology, are one of the strongest. When someone trades their life to place a curse, it can last through many generations and lifetimes.
In the case of tragic deaths through brutal murder, it is bound to leave behind an extremely strong imprint of negative energy. This is what causes a place to feel haunted and for sensitive folks to feel uncomfortable. That’s the part where the movie got right. In the movie, the spirits of the dead can come back as apparitions. This is also true. That’s your standard ghosts and vengeful spirits variant. Such entities are often times tied to the location of their death. They can’t follow you around. They can affect they way you feel when you are in the haunted house but not outside of it.
A house with such tragedy, if left un-cleansed can and will affect the new occupants, and cause a string of recurring unfortunate events. In the Ju-On movie franchise, the evil entity follows you around after you have come into contact with the house and cause you to commit murder elsewhere. This evil entity, I believe is no longer just the vengeful spirit of the dead. Houses with gruesome pasts have such strong negative energy that it attracts demonic entities to the location. These demons can take the form of the deceased and use that as a mask when interacting with the living. I believe this is what The Grudge really is. Demons don’t always kill their pray outright. They torment you mentally and lower your defences. Then it can either take over you or whisper thoughts into your mind making you commit the crime by your own will.
What’s scary about such haunting is that without intervention, this curse/demon can just keep going on and on for years. The less people believe in the paranormal and the more people rely on medical science to explain unnatural behaviour, the more likely these demonic entities can run rampant.
A recent case I attended to was about couple who were happily married for nine years. Within a year of moving into their new home, they began to feel a sense of aggression towards each other. A sense of pure hatred for each other. They filed for divorce and moved out. During their time apart from the house, they began to realise how different they had been behaving during their stay there. For this case, the haunting was only in the house itself and the thing did not follow them around.
Why this is one of the better horror franchise, in my opinion, is that unlike other haunted houses portrayed in American horror, a curse simply cannot be beaten by burning down the house or running away from the place. Once you are marked, death is probably the only way out.
Reading about the recent Peranakan painting story reminded me about this experience I had back in 2014.
I have always had this thing for scouring or photographing flea or vintage markets. As Sungei Road was closed, I heard about this huge antiques market near Turf City (don't really want to mention the shop name, but it is easily googled) and made my way there.
I remembered it was a long warehouse with compartments - they had everything from old vending machines, phone booths, horse carriages, vintage carts and tonnes of paintings. To be frank, most of them were in dusty or rusty conditions, but still very fun to look at. I came to this room, and for some reason "locked eyes" with this big Balinese style painting on the wall. It was a portrait of a Balinese lady with her back turned to the camera (I think she was topless) with a long green skirt and an almost alluring facial expression. The moment we "locked eyes", I felt very light-headed and really giddy. I think was a little unsure of the feeling though, and kept glancing back at her but the light-headedness remained. I was with my husband, and told him that I really needed to leave. At that time, I sincerely thought it was because of the dust or even spores from the antiques and that I may have even breathed in some - anything supernatural did not cross my mind.
So we drove home. The same night though, I developed a very high fever (I seldom fall ill, and even if I do, I usually recover in a day). The fever came and went for 2 weeks with extreme chills and headaches (again, something rare as I don't get headaches!) and even lost close to 5 kg (again...another rare occurrence for me, lol). I visited the doctor thrice during that period, and he did not find anything wrong. It was during the tail end of the 2 weeks did it occur to me that it may have been something "dirty". I couldn't recall exactly what happened that had me cured, but I think I told my mum in desperation and she advised me to go to a temple to pray and bathe with flower water. I think I did that, and recovered pretty quickly thereafter.
Confessed by Rachel Y
SC: Although Rachel didn't point out the shop name directly, it really wasn't hard to guess which. Junkies Corner is a really beautiful, one-of-a-kind place that contains a certain mystical charm you simply cannot create through thoughtful planning.It is not uncommon for shops selling pre-owned items to somehow be housing haunted artifacts unknowingly.
Some of these items may not be haunted in the traditional sense (like in our last story about the item bought on Carousell), they may just have some negative energy attached to it. Which can be easily cleared using home brewed methods like bathing in flower water or putting the object under direct sunlight.
I wonder if the owner would like me stay a night in their shop. Imagine the amount of stories we can collect from a night of investigative lock down.
I would like to share with you guys my personal experience that I've encountered recently for you all to be more careful with what you bring into your household.
Recently, I bought a 2nd hand item from Carousell. The next day, the seller decided to contact me saying that she wanted to give me a few beauty items that she has for FREE. So i thought, why not? I then informed her if i could collect it a few days later, seller seems to be very abrupt to hand it over to me and she wanted to hand it over the night itself. Puzzled with the urgency, i said she can hand it over to my mom in law the next day. She said its okay if I am busy, she can bring the items over to my house, at 10am in the morning the next day. Thinking to myself WOW, what a blessed thing to have, free items yet seller wanted to send them over right at the doorstep!
The next night, for 2 nights straight, I had bad nightmares, I dreamt that something was "following me".. ( at this point i haven't touch the items at the house yet)
At 1am, my mom in law texted and said, "can you return all of these items back to the seller?"
I was confused and asked why, she said...This whole time the house was okay, right after the items was brought into the house, she felt a presence of something watching her alone in the house.. One night, she was watching TV alone, she heard noises coming from the room where the items was at.. She brushed it off, yet it happened repeatedly (even though there was no one in the house).
The moment i heard that news, i had goosebumps all over my body. My heart was at unease, maybe God was trying to protect me, from direct contact of the items with my busy schedule. But i almost.... had it....
Now it may be coincidental, but yeah i am having fever and falling sick, may Allah protect us all from evil eyes and heart.
Here is some of what i had.....
Confessed by Nadie Othman
Eugene Tay is a retired paranormal investigator and the author of the book Supernatural Confessions.