In the world of paranormal, nothing is scarier than the ghost of an Apsara dancer. The legends, movies, and even the thought of it scares me to death.
Apsara dancers are known for their elegance, grace, and beauty. Each of their dance moves holds intricate meanings, ranging from the growth of a flower to an abundant harvest to blessings. People don’t normally associate bad things with those dance moves, let alone the dancers. In fact, those girls are a source of entertainment for the nobles, especially during ancient times.
Which is why I find them scary. Something so unearthly beautiful and gracious can also be deadly and horrid. Behind the scene, the girls who become Apsara dancers are just like normal citizens of art. They are entranced by the beauty of traditional music, the slow, yet powerful movements of other Apsara dancers as well as the beautiful carvings honoring Apsaras on Temples.
However, when they are dead some of them carry their passion with them. Whether it be because of murder, accidents, or illness, a woman who still holds her enthusiasm and love for Apsara dancing would carry it with her. Of course, this goes the same for other spirits, but what makes Apsara dancers’ spirits scarier is how they make their entrance.
To make this easier to connect to, imagine you are alone in your home or in a building. The electricity is cut off and you are struggling to find a light source. Fortunately, your phone holds plenty of battery so it can provide you with light long enough for you to do whatever business you want to do. You plan to go to the upper floor, but as you take three steps toward the stairs, you hear the sound of bells ringing. You freeze in spot and wonder where on earth did that sound come from. The bells continue to chime in a soft but fast tone, as if announcing the entrance of a noble…the way you sometimes see in ancient movies. After a few seconds, the sounds of bells fade and you are able to breathe again.
Your happiness is short lived however, because as you take the fourth step towards the stairs, the sound of slow music starts to ring across the room. If you had ever listened to Khmer traditional music, you will know what it sounds like…the sounds of flutes, drums, and many other instruments drown together to form a slow, elegant but powerful beat. You look around wondering if somehow someone had left a recording of their music on, but then you feel a chill tingling at the back of your neck. First off, your nose will pick up the smell of incense, then comes the smell of flowers and perfume. The hair on your body stands up as you slowly turned back to look up at the stairs…and there she is.
A beautiful lady dressed in Apsara clothing with face painted white and lips red as roses smiling brightly as she folds her hands and moved around. It is as if she is in her own world, smiling, enjoying her dance. Her fingers bend around in angles that is impossible to achieve by normal people, unless you have a lot of flexibility. Her arms drift up, down, and around like snakes and her head sways to the slow rhythm of the music. You too are captivated by her beauty and dance. You ignore all of your instincts that keep screaming at you to run because who on Earth would run away from such an angel? Then both of your eyes make contact and she smiles at you. The smile takes your breath away, you are so entranced that you don’t realize that the dancer is dancing her way down the stairs.
Her smile is wavering, and her eyes no longer shine with light. Blood seep from both of her eyelids and her lips become blue and swollen. You gasp, but no matter how much you try to move, you can’t. The smell of dead body overtakes the smell of flowers and incense and the lady in front of you is nothing more than a rotten, dancing corpse.
But no one hears you. She already has her hands around your throat, demanding the justice that you don’t owe, accusing you of the crime you didn’t commit, and blaming you for her misfortune even though you are innocent.
It is too late for you. The only thing you can do is pray that someone will find your body in one piece in the morning so you can at least have a proper burial.
And that is why elders used to say if you smell incense burning without a source, you might as well run for your life. The dead leaves the world of the living with incense and they will come back carrying the smell of incense.