Hal­loween fun

Get ready for a good scare this Sun­day.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE -

IT WILL be Hal­loween this Sun­day. Peo­ple the world over will be tak­ing part in fun ac­tiv­i­ties at night. These will in­clude trick-or-treat­ing, wear­ing cos­tumes and vis­it­ing haunted houses and places to have a scream­ing good time.

In Western so­ci­ety where the an­nual hol­i­day orig­i­nated, peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties like the blind and the phys­i­cally hand­i­capped in par­tic­u­lar, will of­ten join in the fun with the able-bod­ied to carve jack-o’-lanterns, cre­ate bon­fires and go on ghost tours.

I re­call be­ing in­vited to one Hal­loween cos­tume party in Kuala Lumpur a few years ago. It was or­gan­ised by a lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion. I had such fun that day.

Whilst ev­ery­one else came dressed up as vam­pires, were­wolves or some other ghastly crea­ture, I turned up in my wheel­chair.

There was a good rea­son for us­ing my wheel­chair as a Hal­loween cos­tume in it­self. Af­ter all, wheel­chairs do frighten a lot of peo­ple.

I’ve dis­cov­ered over the years that peo­ple are gen­er­ally afraid of them be­cause of the re­al­i­sa­tion that a time may come when they might have to sit in one – God for­bid – be­cause of a dis­ease, ac­ci­dent, or old age.

How­ever, be­ing in a wheel­chair doesn’t mean that life is over for the in­di­vid­ual.

In fact, peo­ple who have lived in wheel­chairs long enough will tell you how fan­tas­tic life can be once you have made the right de­ci­sions. And dis­abil­i­ties can en­rich one’s per­spec­tive of life.

My in­ter­ac­tion with the vam­pires and other mon­sters at the cos­tume party that day proved to be a plus point for both sides. For me it was a great op­por­tu­nity to be in­cluded as a dis­abled per­son in a nor­mal ac­tiv­ity.

By in­ter­act­ing with me, many of them told me that it was their first time meet­ing and chat­ting with a dis­abled per­son.

By the time the cur­tains came down that evening, the masks all came off and wheel­chairs were no longer an ob­ject of night­mares for any­one.

This Sun­day some of my dis­abled chums are look­ing for­ward to play­ing harm­less pranks on their able-bod­ied friends. Oth­ers say they are look­ing for­ward to watch­ing horror films with their fam­i­lies and neigh­bours. And oth­ers still, are wait­ing to scare their chums with some truly fright­en­ing sto­ries.

Here is a ghost story sent by a blind in­di­vid­ual who wanted me to share it with read­ers of this col­umn. The writer, who wishes to re­main anony­mous, at­tests that it is a true en­counter.

He writes: “It was ex­actly a week be­fore I be­came blind. I was alone in my apart­ment at night, fol­low­ing an episode of di­ar­rhoea and high fever. There was also an ir­ri­tat­ing dis­com­fort in my eyes.

“Sud­denly, I felt the eerie pres- ence of sev­eral un­in­vited guests in my room. I strug­gled to open my eyes, and watched in horror as a male stranger walked slowly past by me and across the bed­room. He headed straight out of the win­dow. He was car­ry­ing a small bag in his hand and looked emo­tion­less. Then, sud­denly, an­other stranger did the same thing and jumped out of the win­dow. My hair stood on ends and a shiver ran down my spine.

“I kept the lights on out of fear and couldn’t sleep that night.

“My con­di­tion wors­ened the next day and I was ad­mit­ted into hos­pi­tal. I was put on drips. Then, to my horror, I saw strange be­ings min­gling with the nurses as helpers in the ward.

“When the nurses left, two of the be­ings, both males, walked over to my win­dow and leaned and looked out. They looked like western­ers and were dressed in white.

“I just stared at both of them un­til I be­came very tired and fell asleep. When I woke up, it was just be­fore dawn. The strangers were no longer around.

“That was the last en­counter with such un­ex­plained be­ings be­fore I woke up to a com­pletely dark world. I had be­come blind.”

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