08 January 2012

More Ghosts in the Call Center

…and on my way to the Sendong Benefit match at the Rizal Memorial last Saturday, a stopover at the Festival Mall in Alabang was a necessary detour to meet with my elder sister, who I had asked to purchase the tickets for the match.

I had not had a proper breakfast; so I suggested that we go somewhere to grab a bite. We ended up at the mall’s KFC restaurant; and as it was always bound to happen, soon my sister was waving at a couple who I learned were co-workers at the call center where she is employed.

This was the same sister whose stories provoked my earlier article on ghosts in the call center. The very same who, while in a meeting with two male co-workers, saw a plastic bag of biscuits levitate from the table right in front of her.

The friend who I travelled with had not read the story; so my sister willingly retold it for him. What is it about ghost stories that they are so fascinating? Once started, naturally, she went on with more.

About that son of a famous actor who was shot in retribution by somebody from within his own neighbourhood, he continues to be seen from time to time walking the aisles of the call center, my sister narrated. Sometimes, he would stop to talk to call center personnel and ask for directions; and then vanish into thin air.

Then, there was this time when a group of agents were undergoing a briefing with one of the supervisors. While the supervisor stood in front talking, those seated in front of her noticed that a lock of her hair was standing up on end – as though somebody unseen was fooling around and holding the lock of hair up.

The two weirdest stories that my sister told, though, involved the building’s elevators and the security CCTV cameras. The first was about this one night when a small group of employees called out to the guard on duty from the ground floor elevator.

The employees had already punched the buttons to the respective floor that each was to get off at; but the elevator door refused to budge. Thinking that there was some mechanical problem with the elevator, they called out to the security guard stationed close by.

The guard, who had been monitoring the situation through the CCTV camera monitor, immediately knew what the problem was. Approaching, he told the employees who had called out, “I’m sorry; the elevator will really not function if it’s overcapacity. Some of you will have to get off.”

What I forgot to ask my sister was if the overcapacity alarm went off, since the more recently-manufactured elevators have capacity gadgets built right into them. At any rate, obviously the security guard was seeing people who were not really there.

“Perhaps,” I immediately hypothesized, “the security guard has the third eye.” Or, in Tagalog, what we call lalabasin. The whole incident, my sister added, was captured on CCTV camera.

How I would love to get my hands on the incident’s recording, I told my sister. What a sensation it would cause if real, I added. I have watched shows with professional ghost hunters spending nights on end in haunted houses and still failing to capture no more than momentary and blurry images on camera.

There was this other incident, my sister recalled her final story for the day, when the same security guard scampered after an employee who just walked past him towards the elevator. The employee had gone out for coffee from a nearby joint and had returned with two covered cups in his hands.

“Sir!” security guard called out to the employee. “I’m sorry, but no children are allowed.” It must be a house rule since the entire building was used for call center operations.

Apparently, the guard was seeing a couple of children walking along with the employee; and both were even holding on to his pants. Needless to say, the employee was by himself; and again, the guard sped after him because he saw the children first on the CCTV camera monitor.

Perhaps, I again hypothesized, the building site was where victims of summary executions – or what, in Tagalized English, we call “salvaged” – used to be dumped in the old days. In fact, I personally can still recall when Alabang was still open spaces and tall grasses.

Maybe, my sister agreed; albeit, her personal hypothesis was that these were elementals that still continue to habituate what was originally theirs to begin with.

We both agreed, though, that these paranormal occurrences will make more sense if they occurred in large, dark and quiet halls. Why they are almost part and parcel of brightly-lit and 24/7 call center operations is something for the paranormal experts to explain.

The key, I suppose, is to see the CCTV camera tapes. How I would love to get my hands on those. On second thoughts, perhaps not…



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