Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Chamorro Paranormal Terms - "The White Lady"

Alright, this is not a reference to Caucasian women whatsoever in case any of you are wondering :P This is a commonly used term to reference a particular type of ghost known in the Mariana Islands. There have been many accounts on the various islands of this specific ghost appearing in the form of a woman dressed in white that is considered to be, for the most part, an ominous sign.

While I was living in Guam, being both Chamorro and a military brat all in one, I often heard stories of the Maina Bridge (above) being haunted by a white lady of sorts. In this particular story, a woman was waiting for her fiancĂ© who never arrived due to a tragic accident. Supposedly this woman, while alive, was so heartbroken that it took her to her own death. It is said that around nighttime she waits by the bridge and may be seen standing at the side of the road as if she were waiting for her fiancĂ© and there have been accounts that she’ll appear in the car with you as you drive through that same road. If you’re a male traveling alone, you’re purportedly even more susceptible to a “visit” by the white lady on this road. In other accounts, it is said that she was a battered wife who drowned here and is known to be a shape-shifter.

In other accounts while living in the naval housing in Santa Rita called “Lockwood,” neighbors of ours would tell us of seeing a beautiful woman dressed in white walking around their homes at night. It was an interesting neighborhood and being that a lot of families who have lived there never experienced anything paranormal until living in that neighborhood. To those families who already believed in spirits, these frequent occurrences were still quite a surprise. Carla, a woman who lived down the street from us, told us that she would see this woman anytime she stepped outside at night to smoke. She didn’t make anything of it until she tried to peek around the corner of her house to see where this woman was headed as she always came and went in the same direction each night she saw her. When Carla peeked around the corner as the woman passed, she was gone. Needless to say, Carla didn’t care for those late night smokes as much as before. However, she did note that when this lady passed by, she seemed to have carried a particular smell that resembled a lemon or flowery scent.

As I’ve heard this type of story before told by relatives and friends, regardless of the white lady’s appearance, her pleasant scent and appearance seem to be the common factors in this type of sighting. The scent is actually closest identified to that of the ilang ilang tree that grows in the Marianas, which is commonly used in various cultures for perfume or forms of aromatherapy.

In other stories, she is said to lure men into the woods with her lovely scent and enchanting beauty only to have them disappear or found dead later. In few cases, she appears to children with the same purpose, but duendes seem to be a much more frequent apparition amongst children. It's difficult to pinpoint if the white lady was one person or several, but perhaps she's a type of ghost that is in constant mourning and seeking some sort of vengeance or fulfillment. Some say this type of spirit may never have been a person at all. Who knows?

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