The Pasir Ris Tower can be a scary place to be at night. (Photos: Christopher Chitty)
Singaporeans continue to be fascinated by the spiritual world despite the country’s modernity and rapid urbanisation. Almost everyone you talk to from schoolchildren to taxi drivers has a ghost story to share. In this issue, we visit five locations that are believed to be the most haunted in Singapore.
By Romesh Navaratnarajah
The Ghost Month, which is traditionally an inauspicious time to buy property or get married, just ended on 19 September. The Chinese believe that ghosts roam freely on the earth during this period, and you may have seen families making food offerings and burning paper money to appease the spirits.
There are many places in Singapore with a grisly past, and one reason for this is due to the atrocities committed by the Japanese army during World War II, said one paranormal investigator who wanted to be known only as Mr Chan.
He added that while ghosts tend to be stuck to where they died, spirits and other supernatural entities can attach themselves to people or objects and therefore “migrate” to other countries. “As a hotbed for immigration, Singapore is always open to supernatural invasions,” he said.
Hanging out with spirits
Chan has over five years of experience in this field and a few scary stories to share. But his most memorable experience was the time he and a group of friends spent the night on Pulau Ubin with a spirit medium.
Recalling the incident, he said: “Our spirit medium was temporarily possessed by Tua Pek Kong (Chinese deity) who then proceeded to speak to us for a few hours at his temple.
“I’ve encountered ghosts, but that was the first time I ever encountered a deity. I can’t quite recall what was said, just that it was surreal.”
But you don’t have to go to a remote location such as Pulau Ubin to have a haunting experience. Homes and offices can also be haunted. “Common occurrences such as cold spots, missing items and furniture being moved are tell-tale signs that something might be going on,” said Chan.
He noted that in more serious cases, people can be troubled by nightmares, see shadowy figures and hear voices in their homes.
Who you gonna call?
So, what should you do if you suspect your house is haunted? According to Chan, homeowners should always seek professional help and should not attempt to handle the matter themselves.
“Paranormal investigators are happy to help and they won’t accept payment, just permission to film and document the process,” he said.
“Let them help identify if you have a haunting and then get their advice on how to proceed.” He added that religious authorities and genuine spirit mediums can also provide help.
Meanwhile, with Halloween coming soon, the PropertyGuru team decided to compile a list of the five most haunted places in Singapore based on extensive research and feedback from the public.
1. Amber Beacon Tower
East Coast Park
The observation tower is believed to be haunted by the spirit of a young woman who was murdered there one night in May 1990 after she and her boyfriend were stabbed by two attackers whilst out on a date. Despite his wounds, he managed to stumble away but she died. To this day, the case has never been solved as the perpetrators couldn’t be identified.
One paranormal investigator who visited the tower told PropertyGuru that he saw a shadowy figure believed to be of the woman, and even communicated with her using an electromagnetic field meter (EMF). He claimed she was receptive and friendly, but there was a sense of sadness.
2. German Girl Shrine
A small shrine erected in the 1970s at the western side of the island reportedly houses the remains of an unidentified German girl, the daughter of plantation owners who lived there in the 1910s. Shortly after the First World War broke out, the British military detained her family, but she escaped. A few villagers discovered her body several days later.
Today, she is revered by some people who call her Lady Datuk, and there’s even a Barbie doll used to represent her. Gamblers have been known to make offerings to her for good luck. A few years back, a local filmmaker made a documentary to try and uncover her identity. More details at: www.frische-medien.de/kunden/fgg/
3. Old Changi Hospital
Halton Road, Changi
The disused hospital is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Singapore. Built in the 1930s to support British troops, the Japanese army later used it to house more than 50,000 prisoners of war. Many of them are believed to have been tortured there. It was closed in 1997 and is now under tight security to stop ‘ghost hunters’ from trespassing.
A former national serviceman, who declined to be named, told PropertyGuru that his unit was once made to do a confident walk through the hospital at night as punishment. “That was very scary,” he said.
4. Pasir Ris Tower
Pasir Ris Park
Located within a mangrove forest, the three-storey bird-watching tower is sometimes called the ‘Suicide Tower’. One urban legend is that a boy jumped from the tower after seeing a ghostly figure. Before he died, he told his friends that something pushed him. There have also reportedly been sightings of a pontianak (female vampire in Malay).
When PropertyGuru recently visited the site during the day, several people mentioned that they had heard the stories. One elderly man walking his dog said that he didn’t believe it, while a teenage boy shared that he had been there at night and felt something sinister.
5. Pulau Tekong
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Many Singaporeans who have gone through National Service have heard lots of stories about paranormal activities on the island. Used as a military training camp for recruits, the most famous tale is about a recruit who went missing during a route march and was later found disembowelled. Several online forums have also mentioned numerous pontianak sightings.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one former national serviceman recounted hearing voices of a little girl in his bunk. He also shared that his platoon mate was often airlifted to hospital after becoming violently ill, which he believes was due to spirit possession.