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Forty Days


In 2006, my parents rented a house near the high school I was going to attend. Luckily, a friend of theirs knew someone renting out space. We were renting the front half of the house, and an old couple (landlord's parents) lived in the back half of the house.

When you enter through the front door, you will immediately be in the living room. Straight ahead is a long hallway. At the beginning of the hallway, you will find my parent's room to the left. Towards the end of the hallway is my room to the right, and another door at the very end of the hallway. The door at the end of the hallway leads directly to the old couple's bedroom. Since the washing machine and dryer is in their room, we often used the hallway door to their bedroom as a shortcut to access it. Although this set up may seem weird, the 80+ year old Filipino couple had to be among the sweetest people I know, often coming over to bring food. Considering that my family is Filipino as well, we immediately felt at home.

Unfortunately, the old man was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008. A week after he passed away, his wife followed. It was a shock to us all, because the old lady seemed like she was in good health. She suddenly fell ill during the last few days of her husband's life. When my mom visited her at the hospital, the last thing she told my mom was: "Rebecca is such a sweet girl, you are very lucky". I didn't know about this until after she passed away.

The house became quiet after the couple passed away. Going over to their side of the house was never the same. There were a few strange things that have occurred a few weeks after their passing.


My dad was out of the country so it was just my mom and I at home, and no one was living behind us anymore. One morning, we decided to wash my dad's car. It was laundry day, so my mom put a load of laundry in the washing machine before coming outside to help me. I was about to wet the car when my mom suddenly called out to me.

I headed inside, straight to the end of the hallway, and stopped short in front of the open hallway door (remember the washer and dryer where in the old couple's room). My mom saw me and before she could get a word out, the hairs at the back of my neck stood, and I took a step back the moment I saw what she was holding. "Wait, I was just going to ask if you put this here?" she asked while holding up a heavy steel pasta strainer. She found it placed perfectly in the middle of the washing machine, faced up as if someone had purposely put it there. I quickly answered "NO" and then ran outside.

Since the shelves extend well over the washing machine, falling objects would've landed directly on the floor instead of the washer or dryer. If it was possible for things to fall on the washer, it would've created a loud bang, since most of the stuff on the shelves was heavy steel, aluminum, or glass kitchenware. The last person to touch those shelves was the old lady. I knew this because a few days before she died, I offered to get up on a step stool, and place the heavy pasta strainer on the top-most shelf against the back wall. She also had me place a dozen of stacked up glass bowls and steel pots in front of it. Oddly enough none of them fell or moved when my mom found the steel pasta strainer out of place.


Ever since the landlord moved the washer and dryer out of his parent's room, we stopped going through the hallway door to their bedroom. Instead, we went around the back door to get into their side of the house and into the kitchen where the washer and dryer were moved.

In Filipino and other cultures, a ceremony is held forty days after a person's death. It is believed that during those forty days, the deceased person's spirit continues to roam the earth, visiting familiar places. On the fortieth day, the soul is expected to leave this world in peace.

The Forty Days celebration for the old man came first (since he died about a week before his wife) and was held in the backyard. Before my parent's and I headed out back, we locked all the doors and turned off all the lights.

While everyone was in the backyard, the deceased couple's grandchildren (ages 9, 12, 14 and 28) were hanging out in their grandparent's room. The oldest grandchild Chris came out to the backyard with a concerned expression and approached my mom. He said that they heard someone walking around our side of the house (the wooden floors under the carpet creak a lot even at the smallest step), as well as opening and closing doors. Of course, this alarmed us thinking that someone had broken in while everyone was out back.

My parents, the landlord, Chris, and I headed over to our side of the house to inspect. We checked every room but nothing was amiss. The doors were still locked and the lights were still off. The landlord came to the conclusion that it was his father going through the house (maybe for the last time?).


A week later, another forty days celebration was held, but this time it was in honor of the old lady. The old lady's sister flew in from Chicago with her son to attend the party. I overheard that they planned to stay the night after the party. They stayed in the deceased couple's room since that was the only decent room with a bathroom. My room was on the other side of their room. So I could basically hear everything, from bathroom noises to creaking floors, and muffled conversations.

Ever since the couple died I started sleeping in the living room, because I was a bit uncomfortable being so close to their room. But on this particular night, I felt confident enough to sleep in my room since I knew that there were guests occupying the deceased couple's room. As I lie in bed, I listened to the sound of the sink running, toilet flushing, and the guests walking in and out of the bathroom.

The next night was the same, and I wondered how long the guests were staying. I'm not sure why I did it, but I got up in the middle of night and looked out the front window. I noticed that the guest's rental car was gone, so I assumed that they parked it somewhere else. So I just shrugged it off and went back to bed.

The next morning, I asked my mom how the guests were doing. She said that she wasn't sure if they stayed over, because she hasn't really seen or heard from them. I was confused and insisted that the guests did stay over because I heard them. She called the landlord on the phone and asked about the guests. Every hair on my body stood on end when I heard the landlord say:

"They never stayed the night."

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, iambec, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

RedWolf (31 stories) (1292 posts)
9 years ago (2015-08-11)
AugustaM & iambec
About a month after my father in-law died my mother in-law asked my husband and I to look at dads photography equipment because if we didn't want it she was throwing it out. We were checking lens containers and found a rolled up bunch of cash. My mother in-law told us to count it. There was over 4,000 dollars in one of the lens containers. My mother in-law started crying. My father in-law was paid part of his salary under the table and she realized he was saving the money to take her to Hawaii for a vacation. She started to cry but we calmed her down fairly quickly. Thenshe gave us $1500.00 as a finders fee. We didn't want to take it but she insisted we take it.
Regards Red
iambec (9 stories) (30 posts)
9 years ago (2015-08-10)
AugustaM. Wow! Thank you for sharing that. It is truly a blessing to have our loved ones still look out for us 😆 great story! It gave me chills (in a good way)
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
9 years ago (2015-08-10)
I really love the idea of the 40 Days Ceremony - what wonderful closure.

My mother had a similar experience to the follow up you posted regarding the hidden stash. After her parents passed away (within 4 months of each other) she cleared out their house to put it on the market. As she was finishing off her final walk through, about to hand over the keys for the last time, she went to lock the front door and suddenly heard her mother calling her name. Her mother's tone was the tone that all mothers use when their kids are doing something wrong. So she went back inside to look around - unable to imagine what could be wrong, the house was empty, she hadn't forgotten anything. The only thing she had decided to leave in the house was a collection of paint cans under the sink that matched the interior colors in case the new owner might need them. So, she went over to the kitchen sink, brought out the cans and checked them over - when she got to the last one, she found an envelope taped to the underside with ten thousand dollars in it that her parents had been saving for a second honeymoon. Twenty five years later, it was that money that paid for my wedding and honeymoon - had her mother not spoken up, it would have been lost to us forever.
iambec (9 stories) (30 posts)
9 years ago (2015-04-29)
Winipu4, Sam222. I truly admired how generous they were even when they didn't have much to spend for themselves. Thank you
for reading! 😁
Sam222 (8 stories) (461 posts)
9 years ago (2015-04-29)
Iambec, all I have to say is that I loved your story and I was not expecting that ending!
Thanks for sharing!
WiniPu4 (207 posts)
9 years ago (2015-04-29)
THAT is a very nice conclusion to the story! I do love a happy ending. I'm glad the money they saved for the grandchildren was found since they probably scrimped and sacrificed for a long time to save it.
Nice story. Thank you for sharing it.
Warm Regards,
Hecate0 (4 stories) (418 posts)
9 years ago (2015-04-26)
A stash of money not yet found! Yep. That would keep someone's spirit hanging around. I am really glad it was found, and that things have settled down a bit. I completely understand the unnerving part, even if it doesn't feel like there is danger. It is always freaky to hear and feel ghosts around. Just nice when it is positive.
iambec (9 stories) (30 posts)
9 years ago (2015-04-26)
Hecate0, lafido. I agree, I also believe that they don't really leave after the 40 days ceremony, but it's still kind of nice having friends and family over all together celebrating instead of mourning. I knew that there was no danger but I still couldn't help but freak out lol. Something that I forgot to mention in the story is that a few month later, the family discovered that the couple had a hidden stash of money meant for their grandchildren. After they found it it quieted down.
lafido (3 posts)
9 years ago (2015-04-26)
I godda say it was a preety spooky one, if the guest did'nt stay that then the old woman must be responsible for the toilet flushing but what I could not understand is that why don't she cross over there is nothing holding her back or is ther?
Hecate0 (4 stories) (418 posts)
9 years ago (2015-04-26)
I think they didn't leave after their 40 Days Ceremonies. I really love that tradition. It makes sense to give them time to say good bye. None of it sounds like anyone is in any danger, especially since you all got along well in life. As long as nothing escalates, it sounds like they are just not ready to go yet.

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