You've probably heard of one story where someone you knew was haunted or spooked by a supernatural entity. If you are a Singaporean male, your entire army life would have been one ghost story.
But Singapore, despite all the bright lights and high rise flats has a deep and dark history. Many atrocities were committed here and the worst of the lot was World War 2 where the Japanese massacred and brutalized so many people. Some have been laid to rest over the years but others lay hidden in unmarked graves or buried under homes, obscured by the passages of time.
And we hear other stories sometimes; an accident during the construction of a school in Tampines where a worker was sealed up in plaster behind a wall. Or that old lamp lighter in Joo Chiat who had his head decapitated by the Japanese.
The stories of their spirits haunting the vicinity of their deaths are numerous.
There are even more stories of Pontianak sightings in and around Bedok and of a woman in white in East Coast. There are stories of a little boy in a flat in Jurong mischievously scaring family after family.
And who could forget Old Changi Hospital which could be the most terrifying place yet in pristine Singapore.
If you are a thrill seeker, we recommend spending the night in Old Changi Hospital (and brave the authorities!). Otherwise, you can sit in the safety of your home and let us take you through metropolitan Singapore into some of the darkest and freakiest place on this tiny island.
Jurong: A one-time swamp and marshland, it is now the biggest town in western Singapore. And since the relevant MP failed to issue an eviction notice to the tree hugger ghosts and spirits that call Jurong home, they've taken to hanging out in the HDB flats.
Residents have complained about being woken up in the middle of the night by voices belonging to dead relatives. Some were pushed repeatedly while they showered and others recall in silent horror of a pair of eyes staring at them from the television, even after they've turned it off and unplugged the cord.
See kids, television is bad for you.
Sembawang: In the early days, Sembawang was where the Nee Soon Rubber estate existed. You know what they say about rubber trees don't you? No? Grow one and find out.
Apparently, pontianaks (banshees /female vampires) live in rubber or banana trees. An entire estate of such trees would allow the entire family plus relatives to move in and set up a scary shop.
Even after the plantations were cleared and flats and industrial buildings were erected, the spirits remained.
Where else could they go?
Residents in Sembawang have spotted Pontianaks on their balcony. Others hear their name being called out while they fish at the canal or hang out at Sembawang Park. There are also stories of a woman in white telling people that she's been ‘waiting for them' when they bump into her at the door step of their homes!
These femme fatales have also been known to stand at the edge of the park and stare creepily at people who walk through alone.
Suffice to say, there must have been numerous 'staring incidents' there.
Bishan: Like Novena, Bishan MRT station was built over former cemetery grounds. In Southeast Asia, we know it's a really bad idea to build over hallowed ground but in land scarce Singapore, our options are limited.
Considering how ridiculously crowded the trains are, these restless spirits have decided to haunt the HDB flats instead. Reports of spirits driving feeble people to suicide occasionally pop up as well as the token wandering spirit walking through walls.
Maybe they felt listless when they were alive?
East Coast: While most of East Coast had been under water and the estates now reside on reclaimed land, there are nonetheless some weird happenings in this popular part of Singapore.
Because East Coast encompasses Marine Parade, Katong and to an extent, Joo Chiat, the occurrences are spaced out and varied.
In East Coast Park, many people have claimed they saw a woman in white rising from the sea. There were also stories of a haunted underpass where supposedly an old woman and her grandson were killed nearby.
There is also the Yellow Tower where a girl was raped and murdered. The tower is said to be haunted. In fact, a group of paranormal investigators had made contact with the girl using powder to capture her footprints and an electromagnetic field meter to communicate with her. According to them (and the video), the girl acknowledged that the footprints belonged to her and she was indeed raped and murdered there.
UPDATE: This author was invited to go along on a second visit to the Yellow Tower and can with certainty vouch that the ghostly girl exists after having spent about an hour chatting with her.
The paranormal activity does not stop there though. Around Katong, specifically in the area encompassing 112 Katong and Roxy Square, there used to be a police prison. More than a few deaths had occurred in that vicinity. People at some of the pubs there have reported feelings of unease and strange shadows while working late. Why do these ghostly convicts haunt the place?
Maybe they heard of the Yellow Ribbon Project and are merely trying to re-enter society.
Bedok: There's a reason why Bedok is last on the list. There are just too many stories here to choose from! As far as being haunted goes, Bedok is like a ghost town with an emphasis on the word ‘ghost'.
There is a story of a resident who was shutting his windows late at night after watching TV and came face to face with a Pontianak floating just outside his window.
Another family living somewhere in the vicinity were plagued by a spirit which was determined to not only traumatize their young sons, but send their father, quite literally, to his death. The gentleman only managed to narrowly avoid leaping off the window ledge thanks to what he considered as ‘divine intervention'.
But the most horrifying had to be the urban legend about the man whose jilted wife wore red purposefully, wrote in blood, ‘It's not over darling,' and then took her life and the life of their young son. The husband had been a gambler and a philander. Soon after his wife took her life, his mistress moved in and they had a son a few years later. The haunting began in earnest then with the boy saying he was being bullied by someone claiming to be his 'older brother'.
It culminated with the boy taking his life by leaping out the window.
Regardless of whether it is fact or fiction, this particular apartment has been left abandoned and even then, neighbours have reported hearing a woman crying and the laughter of both a woman and a young boy.
Besides this however, there are many abandoned flats in Bedok and some have been used as temporary homes for construction workers.
Yet, the question remains; why would there be, in land scare Singapore, abandoned flats capable of housing thousands of Singaporeans?
Or maybe, those flats are not truly ‘abandoned' after all. Still, it could be nothing really. There could be no ghosts and all stories merely began as figments of someone's imagination.
But sometimes, the proof is infallible. Like those investigators who caught evidence of a spirit at the Yellow Tower. They used technology which professional ghost hunters employ in their own investigations.
Do ghosts exist? Going by stories alone, it's hard to say. Yet, if the video and recorded evidence matches up, then it would be hard to dispute either, especially if care was taken to rule out all other possible explanations.
Still, one thing is for sure, if Hollywood is ever going to get serious about their horror industry, it's high time they investigate Asia and adapt our spooks to the silver screen.
Say what you will but Asian ghosts are scarier.
For more images on abandoned and haunted locations in Singapore, do check out our Pinterest board!
Written by: Christopher Chitty
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