A conversation with Dr. Tess Perez: There are ghosts at the Manila Observatory

Yesterday, Dr. Tess Perez and I met at the Manila Observatory’s lobby.  Dr. Perez is with the Environmental Science Deparment which holds office at the MO’s basement.  We both talked in Ilonggo: she is from Iloilo; I am from Bacolod.

“Hi, Ma’m Tess,” I greeted her.  “You are still doing some research?”

“Yes,” she said. “I came here to check our set-up.  We are extracting oil from algae.”

“Really?” I asked.  “Does the algae die when you extract oil from them?”

“Yes, of course,” she said.

Her cellphone rang.  She tried not to answer it, but I asked her to answer it.

We were sitting on lobby benches in front of the porter’s cell.  She was sitting beside the door; I sat on the other bench perpendicular to hers.  Through the open door I can see MO’s garage, the trees with shrikes, the carless road, and the silent football field.  Ateneo is empty this Christmas.  It’s a ghost town.

“You know, Pope,” she said after closing her phone.  “My student and I were having an experiment December 31 of last year.  We were trying to monitor the ambient temperature.  Our set up is a flask with distilled water.  The flask is covered with a rubber stopper and the thermometer is inserted through it.  When we came back the next morning, the rubber stopper is gone and the thermometer was broken on the floor.  I cleaned up the Mercury spill.”

“How can rubber stopper pop?” she asked.

“A gas must have accumulated in the flask,” I said.

“I know,” she said.  “But I checked its properties: tasteless, odorless.  I know if it is another chemical.  I asked the staff if it is really distilled water that he gave.  He said yes.”

“This thing is giving me the creeps.  There are already many unexplained happenings here at the Observatory.  I have heard many stories from the staffs and the guards.  There was one time that we placed a book in front of us.  We are sure that it was in front of us.  And the next thing that we knew it was already on the shelf.  Are these the souls of Jesuit priests?  I must talk to Toni about this.”

“There are only two possibilities,” I replied.  “Fr. Jocis Syquia, an Exorcist of the Diocese of Manila, said that these may be either souls of the dead or demons.  If they are souls, they will not harm you; then they only need prayers and mass.  If they are demons, they will really harass and harm you.”

“So what do we do?” she asked.

“Maybe it is time to call an official ghostbuster, an exorcist,” I said.  “Fr. Syquia has a team.  Some of those in his team can sense spirits.”

“Maybe we really need to have the Observatory blessed.” she said.

“Blessing is not enough,” I said.  “There is a rite for exorcism of places.  Exorcised salt must be placed on the corners of the rooms.”

“I will not be surprised if there are ghosts or demons in the Observatory.” I said to her.  “The neighboring building is the Mass Communications Building.  I heard that a group of Spirit Questors opened a portal there.  Once a portal is opened, through it spirits come and go.”

This is only my theory.  A year ago, a Mass Comm teacher told me about some ghost stories in the Mass Comm building.  She mentioned something about a portal.  About three years ago, I also met a youth asking me one night where the Spirit Questors are.  I was walking near the Ateneo Blue Eagle gym then.  My guess is that it is the Spirit Questors who opened the portal.  According to Fr. Syquia, occult activities like trying to communicate with spirits leaves a mark on the place, which attracts demons.

A student came out of the Observatory’s basement and Dr. Tess called out to her.  Dr. Tess greeted each other a Happy New Year and we parted.  I went back to the Ionosphere building.  Some staff said there are ghosts, too, at the Ionosphere building, but I haven’t experienced any manifestations, even if I usually leave 8:00 to 9:00 p.m.  My guardian angel is taking care of me.


About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

4 Responses to A conversation with Dr. Tess Perez: There are ghosts at the Manila Observatory

  1. blackshama says:

    A scientist like me will have to look for a natural explanation first. But why would ghosts be attached to the MO? Ghosts must like scientific stuff. Even the new buildings (some still unfinished) at UP’s National Science Complex is believed to house ghosts. The joke is that the Chem Institute building (still under finishing touches) has been first occupied by spectres before the PhDs could!

  2. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:


    There may be some other scientific explanations, but it appears that this is not an isolated case. Maybe I have to collect these ghost stories among the staff and guards, and see if the ghosts meant harm. If they meant harm, we may have to call an exorcist. If not, maybe a mass for the souls would suffice. We have a first Friday mass at the observatory. I shall ask the presiding priest to offer the mass for the souls of Jesuits and staff who once worked at the Observatory. I have a copy of the list of dead Jesuit priests and seminarians who worked at the Observatory.

  3. Enbrethiliel says:


    Wow. Jesuits are spookier than I thought! ;-)

    PS –Happy New Year, Quirino!

  4. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:

    Happy New Year, too, Enbrethiliel. Or better: Happy “Mary, Mother of God” Day.

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