This happened to my father when he was in high school. He decided to go with a friend to a local temple for the first temple visit of the year on New Year’s Eve. Being that the temple was so big, the place with packed with people that night.
The temple had a bell located a short distance away from the main building. To get there you had to go up some stairs close to the edge of the grounds. These days if you pay money you can go up and ring the bell, but in the past people didn’t really go near it. But on this day my father and his friend went over, and what I’m about to tell you now is their story of the bell ringing temple.
The bell ringing temple could be found at the top of some stairs. Now it’s well-maintained and the area around it is a nice grassy lawn. My father and his friend climbed the stairs without thinking much of it, and when they got to the top, a man came walking towards them from the grassy mountains on the other side. Despite how busy the temple grounds were, they were the only ones near the bell, and they didn’t sense anyone, so they found it strange. They reasoned that maybe a couple had a fight and the man wanted to be alone.
So, when they saw him, they didn’t think too much of it. The man dragged his feet and swayed as he walked, creeping them out, so they stopped on the spot. As the man approached them, this time he stopped in front of them. He swayed on the spot, staring at them.
The pair stared back at the man as he swayed left and right. It was creepy, but they couldn’t move, so they stood there frozen, looking at him.
“Hey, he’s looking at your, right,” my father’s friend said to him.
“Yep, he’s looking at me.”
“And now he’s looking at me, right?”
“Yep, he’s looking at you.”
My father thought that perhaps the man was a little crazy. They didn’t want any trouble, so they decided to run.
“This guy’s not right in the head, let’s get outta here,” he said to his friend.
“…Yeah, let’s go,” he agreed.
They agreed to hold hands and run. That way when they both turned around, they wouldn’t lose each other.
“Listen, don’t let go of my hand. As soon as we turn around, run,” my father said. They turned and ran down the stairs, gripping each other’s hand. A wind blew behind them and rustled through the grass like a wave, creeping them out further. But they man didn’t follow them, and they got away safely.
But then this year, 40 years later, the story continued.
That friend still comes to our house every year like clockwork to play mahjong with my father to see in the new year. This year, as always, he came over again.
“We used to visit that temple when we were in high school, huh?” my father’s friend said.
“Yeah, we went every year.”
“Do you remember the bell ringing temple?”
Then, all these years later, they learnt the truth.
“Yeah, I remember,” my father said. “That sure was creepy, huh? Seriously. Ah, to change the topic for a sec…”
“Hang on,” his friend interrupted him. “Every time I try to talk about it you try to change the subject. Can you let me talk about this time?”
“What? Uh, sure…”
“So, we went to the bell ringing temple that right, time?”
“Yeah, that guy looking at us sure was creepy. Man, that takes me back. He was just staring at us.”
“Yeah, I remember,” my father said. “He came down from the mountains. He was walking strangely and I think he was a bit funny in the head. After that, we held hands and ran, haha! And then that creepy wind blew…”
“Ah… Did you see him?” his friend asked.
“Huh? Of course I saw him.”
“No, you’re not listening. I didn’t see him.”
“Huh? What are you saying? He came wobbling towards us from the back of the temple. He was creepy, so both of us stopped, right?”
“Yeah, we stopped. But I just felt like something was wrong and couldn’t move.”
“Huh, what do you mean?” my father continued.
“As soon as we reached the top of the stairs, I felt like something was wrong. It was like the moment I stepped over the line, I felt something dangerous up there. You stopped at the same time, so I thought you sensed the same thing.”
“Yeah, because that guy was staring at us,” my father said. “We both confirmed that he was looking at us, right?”
“Yeah, we did. But I could only feel something looking at me.”
“Huh, so you’re saying he wasn’t human…?”
“I never said there was a person there. Do you remember when we ran? What did you see then?”
“I didn’t see anything. Just the wind blowing creeped me out.”
“So you didn’t see it then. Well, I didn’t either, but when we were running, I sensed his presence. It was like he was holding us under his arms, looking at each our faces in turn. That whole time the wind was blowing he was looking at us, first you, then me, then you again, over and over. Then, suddenly, the wind stopped.”
“Yeah, now that you mention it, it did.”
“When the wind stopped, he was gone. I thought we were safe. But I soon realised that you thought he was just a normal person.”
He thought it was strange that my father always brushed their strange experience off so easily. At first he thought that maybe he just didn’t want to remember it, but then as more time passed he started to think that maybe my father hadn’t seen anything after that, so he wanted to find out once and for all.
As for my father, he thought that his friend kept bringing it up because it was simply a scary experience they both shared. Hearing the full story now, he was shocked. It had taken him over 40 years to learn that he’d seen a real ghost!