Seeking aliens & spirits

03 May 2016 / 16:46 H.

ACTOR, director and musician Josiah Padilla Hogan can now add a new feather to his cap – as host of Strange Encounters, a series on GoAsean (Astro channel 737) that premieres on May 10 at 6pm.
Josiah explained that he got this job after his then-manager sent his resume to TSAR Asia, the production ­company shooting the series.
The pilot episode was shot in Thailand and revolves around alien encounters.
Josiah, who also goes by the name Mohamad Musleh, said: “I don’t really believe in aliens. I am a Muslim and I believe they are ­actually jin, or demons.
“I wanted to see what the people of ­Thailand think about aliens. They claim that aliens talk to them telepathically.”
Josiah described his hosting skills as amateur at best, and said he was lucky TSAR Asia gave him the chance to continue.
He also liked the idea of travelling to different countries. He has previously gone from Malaysia to Thailand, then to Cambodia and Vietnam, both on his own and as part of a travel show called Four By Four which was aired on 8TV.
For Strange Encounters, only six episodes were shot, ­featuring Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia (two episodes).
In Malaysia, the show visited Batu Pahat to investigate the pocong (the soul of a dead ­person trapped in a shroud); in Vietnam, Josiah explored an infamous haunted house; and in the Philippines, he ­investigated a type of ­shapeshifter called an Aswang.
In Indonesia, he ­visited ­different regions, one to ­investigate a scary doll called the Jenglot, and another to study the ­phenomenon of raising the dead.
“I do believe in ghosts,” Josiah said. “I have seen a lot of things but I don’t have a sixth sense.
“In Surabaya, we met this doctor who studies energy. When he asked if I wanted [a sixth sense], I said no, I did not want to see anything.”
In Malaysia, Josiah stayed ­inside an abandoned house in Batu Pahat all alone for 10 minutes, surrounded by cameras.
“You know, when you are home alone and someone walks in, you can sense [their] energy. That is exactly how I felt in that house.
“I’m glad that I don’t have the gift to see anything. Even in Vietnam, you can feel some sort of energy in that haunted house.”
Josiah has yet to see the final edit for the show, but hopes that the cameras captured ­something.
He said that for each episode, they get opinions on both sides of the story – the believers and the sceptics.
“What I am happy with is that I got to learn many things. I learned more about life and how things are in the world.
“[For ­example] I never thought I would see a Jenglot. It really freaked me out. When it started moving, I was like ‘whoa’!
“Jenglot vibrates energy out of its body. You can’t see it vibrating but when you touch it, you can feel it and feel the energy coming out of it.
“I start to understand why in the Quran, God said: ‘I personally made a lot of people of different races and different cultures so that they can meet each other and get to know one and other’.
“When you go to another country and see how they live and how they think, it is very interesting.”

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