Here’s a Halloween read if scary movies is not your thing
Horror, paranormal, and slasher movies can surely give you your share of scare this Halloween season. While it is nice to just click the play button, sit back, eat some popcorn, and let the movie take you to that dark place, wouldn’t it be great to just let your imagination run wild and give you all the creeps?
A good thriller and mystery book can also give you that on-the-edge-of-your-seat scare, the kind that makes you want to hold your pee for a while. And if you’re looking for a spooky story to read while in quarantine, with the classic Victorian-era mystery vibe mixed with the weird side of Philippine history, then self-published horror author Wincy Aquino Ong might have the answer for you.
Wincy has written a blood-curdling short story “The Ophthalmologist’s Case,” which centers on Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson in 1888 during the height of the Whitechapel murders. Late one morning a client arrived at their doorstep on 221B Baker Street—the future national hero of the Philippines himself, Dr. Jose Rizal.
“The idea came to me in 2015, when I was on my honeymoon in London. I had a day to stroll around the city and I ended up at the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street, Jose Rizal’s lodgings in Primrose Hill, and a tourism office offering Jack the Ripper walking tours,” the 38-year-old author says. “I then connected those three dots, did my research, and in about 12 months, completed this detective story.”
‘Strangely, Jose Rizal’s name was on the list of possible suspects made by Ripperologists.’
A lifelong Sherlock Holmes fan and Filipino history buff, Wincy carefully studied how the fictional detective and the polymath from Calamba could possibly cross paths in history.
“It’s one of those weird history tidbits they don’t teach you in Araling Panlipunan or HEKASI. Strangely, Jose Rizal’s name was on the list of possible suspects made by Ripperologists,” Wincy tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “What’s truly unsettling is the stamps on his London passport matched the beginning and the end of the murders. It’s a local urban legend that should warrant more attention than the White Lady in New Manila or the Snake Man in Robinsons Galleria.”
Much like an investigator, Wincy also uncovered a lot of similarities between Rizal and the author of one of the most famous detective stories in the world along the process.
“Like, I only discovered recently that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the writer of all the Sherlock Holmes stories, was a practicing ophthalmologist himself, who wrote detective stories during off-hours when there were no patients in his clinic,” he reveals. “I also learned that Rizal had a dozen other talents that most of us didn’t know about. He had a stint as a Stephen King-like horror writer, producing a story called ‘Junto Al Pasig’—where during a Pasig River procession, a bunch of kids saw a vision of Satan himself. Truly creepy stuff!”
“The Ophthalmologist’s Case” is one of the 11 horror stories written by Wincy for his Amazon Kindle e-book Tales For A Rainy Season. It includes stories about a merman found during Typhoon Ondoy, a fantaserye actress who goes missing in the Devil’s Mountain in Laguna, and more chilling tales.
“The book is a collection of stories in the vein of Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes and Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man,” he says. “I’m a big fan of collections of short stories by a single author—that format. Reading the book feels like you’re watching a season of The Twilight Zone, only all the kooky things that happened in the Philippines.”
Tales for a Rainy Season is now available for download at the Amazon Kindle Store for P193.