Get ready for a good scare this Sunday.
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.”