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Monday, November 05, 2018

Who is the White Lady of Balete Drive?

 (Variant Cover from our TRESE Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
Learn more about it at: 
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/trese-comics-1-global-edition/x/19244495 )

It seems like every generation (and some cultures) have their version of the Lady in White – that ghostly figure that haunts certain crossroads (as well as your usual haunted house).

In Manila, one of the most popular urban legends is the White Lady of Balete Drive. Balete trees line either sides of this long road. According to folklore, these trees attract elementals and spirits. 

The story of the White Lady of Balete Drive has many variations, depending on who’s telling it. Since the 1950s, people have talked about a lady in white that would be seen hitchhiking on that road. If a driver does stop and let her in, she would direct them to a particular house and would vanish soon after arriving . Somehow, the driver later discovers that the lady did live in that house but supposedly died many years ago. 

In other stories, the driver would not stop for the lady in white, but when he glances at his rear view mirror, he’ll suddenly the see the pale passenger in his backseat. This would supposedly cause the driver to panic and get into an accident. 

Another story I read mentioned that the White Lady is supposed a diwata, an fairy-creature that dwells in balete trees, and is the protector of that land. 

And the other stranger that usual origin story I heard was that the White Lady was a C.I.A. experiment designed to distract the public from more important political things that was happening in the country at that time. (Although, now that I think about it, it might be more interesting to think about the possibility that the C.I.A. developed a way to use ghosts as spies in other countries.) 

Growing up with all these different stories about the White Lady of Balete Drive made me want to write my “secret origin” of this infamous phantom lady, which is what made me write this TRESE story. 

A trivia about the title of this story is that “13thStreet” actually does not intersect with Balete Drive. Although it’s in the same neighborhood, Balete Drive intersects with streets 3rdthrough 11thand 13thStreet is found on a parallel street. I just though the title would not have been so cool if the crime happened on the corner of “11thStreet”. 

There is another supernatural story connected to 13thStreet – supposed if you walk down that street during the day, you won’t be able to find House #13, but if you go there at 3am, you’ll be surprised to find the 13thHouse on a lot which wasn’t there in the morning. 

There have also been stories about mailmen and delivery men who had the misfortune to bring a package to that house. The owner of the house would supposedly invite them in and by some weird coincidence, the food being served on the table would be their favorite dish. If they took one bite of food, they would somehow be compelled to never leave the house. And when people tried to look for missing delivery men, their log book would say that they went to the 13thHouse on 13thStreet, which, of course, would not exist if anyone tried to visit that place. 

These are the stories that helped inspire the writing and creation of this particular TRESE occult case. What’s your unforgettable White Lady or haunted house story?


(The artwork above is the Variant Cover from our TRESE Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. Learn more about it at: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/trese-comics-1-global-edition/x/19244495 )

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