This movie requires the viewer to have a lot of patience. The pace is like a typical art film - slow dialogue with long drawn out scenes of nothingness. There are some stand-alone scenes where the protagonist, Sister Rose, dream sequences have pretty awesome effects but the horror doesn’t connect. As soon as it reeled the audience in, giving us a sense that something terrible is about to happen, the scene ends, and we are left feeling high and dry. If you have watched the 1 minute trailer above, all the best bits of the movie are in there.
Some people love movies like this. Most viewers expecting an adrenaline fueled horror movie would find this movie lacking in expectation. Whenever I see a movie getting nominated for film festival awards, I can already guess that the film has all the excitement of watching paint dry.
The only reason you would keep watching is out of curiosity for how it would end for the tormented protagonist, Sister Rose.
From the point of view of a paranormal investigator, The Dawn plays out closer to how an actual diabolical possession would take place: First, it would come through dreams. The recurring nightmares wear the victim down, creating random but brief moments of odd behaviour.
The victim starts doubting herself but finds it hard to share her experiences with anyone because she doesn't want people to think that she's crazy. Sometimes she isn’t sure if it's all a figment of her imagination and trauma from her childhood experience. Her faith in her religion starts to waver.
When Sister Rose odd behaviour started escalating, the priest said that she must be exhausted and recommended more rest. That’s generally the common response people have for those who are afflicted. We rather assume that such behaviour is due to fatigue or stress than to confront the possibility of the supernatural; and when the affliction and hallucinations got worse the priest told her it must be a test from God and read her verses from the bible.
Another scene that many people who have had supernatural encounters will find familiar is that they get attacked in their sleep with bruises, like finger marks, appearing on their body in places they couldn’t possible inflict upon themselves.
The Dawn reveals itself at the end to be a prequel to a famous horror movie based on real life events. The GIF below is a hint. Fans of horror movies should be able to recognise this iconic house.
I give the movie a 2 star rating out of 5. If you would like to reach me, the best channel to do so is via Facebook.
Confession by G.T. (Writer has requested to remain anonymous)
My supernatural experience happened 6 years ago (2014), and it goes like this:
I had to travel to Jakarta, Indonesia for a long term project work. I rented a small room in a hostel for the duration. My work place is in a University town, so most of the people staying in the hostel are university students, and only a couple of working adults.
The place is nice and clean, I stayed on the second floor, and I got a room with a private bathroom. There is a window next to my bed, and there were no trees outside my window (disclaimer for the later part).
On the first night, I slept early, around 9 p.m. if I remember correctly. In my dreams, I heard a voice calling me by my nickname (only my parents and brothers call me by this name, nobody else knows about this nickname).
I woke up with a start, goosebumps all over my arms, and saw the clock - It was 3:33 a.m.
Then I heard scratching sounds on my window... right next to my bed. The scratching sound was coming from outside the window... and like I said, my room was on the second floor, and there were no trees outside. So it can't possibly be the wind blowing the tree branches against the window.
Fear gripped me suddenly and I remembered praying immediately calling upon the name of Jesus Christ.
When I started uttering the first 2 words "Dear Lord...", there was immediately 3 loud banging sounds on my window. Almost like someone punching against my window in anger.
The scratching stopped. The room was so quiet I could hear the sound of my own heartbeat.
Spooked but exhausted, I tried to go back to sleep. That's when the scratching started again.
The fear I experienced at that point was piercing, I can remember; a gripping chill that shot right up my spine. I don't think I have ever felt that sort of fear, ever, in my life. It could be just my fight or flight response or God was trying to warn me of the danger, because I know whatever that is outside my window is definitely something that isn't normal.
I started to pray again, but this time, the scratching kept on going as I prayed. My prayers were simple, but I don't remember everything that I prayed, only the last few words: "Dear Lord, let no evil harm me!"
After I uttered those words, the scratching stopped, followed by three banging sounds on my window again. The banging was so strong this time that I thought the glass was going to crack.
After the scratching and banging stopped, the rubbish bin in my room suddenly shifted itself and toppled.
I pulled the blanket over my head and started praying. I shut my eyes tight and prayed for whatever it was in my room to leave me alone. I was breaking out in cold sweat and just kept praying over and over again.
When I opened my eyes, it was already morning. I must have fallen asleep again in the middle of my prayers or the entire experience was just a dream.
The second night, as I slept the same dream came to me again: A voice called me by my nickname and I sat up from my bed. I saw the clock, 3:33 a.m. The whole ordeal repeated itself - the scratching, the praying, the banging. It happened again on the third night. This time, I took a pen and drew circles on my arm.
When I woke up the next day, the drawing on my arms were visible. Whatever had happened I had just confirmed it wasn't a dream. I called my dad and related the experience to him. Instead of pushing it aside as just my imagination, he listened to me intently and said he would pray with me over the phone. We did this every night for the next week or so, long distance phone call with him and me just praying together.
The encounter stopped. I continued staying in this hostel and in the same room for 2 years.
A month before my project ended, and before my move back to Singapore, I took a weekend off and flew back to see my family. It is always nice to be back home.
But on my first night back to Singapore, while I was sleeping... I had a very scary dream. In my dream, I woke up and saw the clock, it was 3:33 a.m... then in the corner of my room, I saw a dark figure. I can't see his or her face, but I saw it lifted a finger to point at me, and spoke in a raspy, screechy voice: "Don't you dare leave that room. Come back... come back...."
I woke up, shocked, and soaked in perspiration. The next day, I called the company and told them I'm extending my leave till the end of the project and arranged for a colleague to pack my stuff and courier it back.
It has been 6 years since and I haven't gone back to Indonesia or had that dream again.
Edited by Eugene Tay for grammar and story flow.
Illustration by Syed Wilson.
If you or anyone you know have a supernatural confession to tell, submit your stories via our website.
The Invisible Man (2020), while not strictly a horror movie per se, has all the elements of what spooks us out when we are alone. Are we being watched? Is there an entity in the corner staring at us that we can't see? When we witness something being moved by an invisible force and we question our sanity because no one believes our stories. These are the similarities that The Invisible Man shares with your standard ghost stories, except in the case of The Invisible Man, the monster is a real person who can pretty much stab you with a knife. This gives new meaning to the Chinese saying, "Humans are scarier than ghosts."
The Invisible Man, originally written by H.G. Wells and published in 1897 has had many movie reincarnations over the years. The 2020 remake takes a different approach from its predecessors: The Invisible Man (1933) and Hollow Man (2000) show the antagonist's downward spiral from man to monster, but the 2020 version skips all that drama and tells the story from the perspective of the victim. This gave what would have been a suspense-thriller genre a dash of horror.
The first half of the show is a solid case study for anyone who wants to learn how to write and direct suspense: Wide shot of room, and empty hallways, letting audience’s imagination fill in the rest of the blank. The anxiety builds up to a pay off that is cleverly done without giving too much of the climax away too fast, too soon. The movie also didn’t waste time in trying to establish characters and backstory with lengthy exposition. The relationship between the protagonist and antagonist is revealed throughout the movie, giving the audience just enough information to understand the relationship without breaking the pace of the story.
The scream lead, Elisabeth Moss, looks like an aged Drew Barrymore but for what she lacks in looks, she make up for it with superb acting. We see Moss soloing in most of the scenes switching through different levels of fear - Fear in an abusive relationship; fear from psychological trauma; fear from chilling realisation, fear from self-doubting of mental capacity; fear from isolation; fear from direct invasion of personal space; fear of captivity; fear from seeing people getting murdered in front of her eyes. In some scenes, there was no dialogue and Moss had to emote only with her face. Imagine how different this movie would have been if they had cast that girl from Twilight (Kristen Stewart) for the role.
What If The Invisible Man Was Given an Asian Horror Make Over
Now this is where my creative juices kicks in. If I were given the task to adapt this to Asian horror, this is how I would have done it. (Note to producers: I’m available for hire.)
There are two mythologies that would work really well together which would give The Invisible Man (2020) the Asian twist it needs.
We fear ghosts because we cannot see them but they can see us. They can be in the same room with us, standing openly in the corner leering at us with malicious intent and we would be none the wiser. In the Asian version of The Invisible Man, I would bring the vengeful spirit back on the 7th day to haunt the living. The spirit would do all the things that was done in the Hollywood version of The Invisible Man except the haunting would take place in a tiny apartment befitting of Asian dwellings instead of a sub-urban American home.
And in the second part of The Invisible Man (2020), we see that in his non-invisible form, he looks very much like another popular Asian horror called the Orang Minyak. The term “orang minyak” literally means oily man in Malay. It is named as such because it is covered from head to toe in black oil-like substance.
Putting these two elements together, we can have a proper adaption that would work very well for the Asian audience. Is there any movie house out there who would like to take me up on this challenge?
Check out The Invisible Man trailer below. I give the movie a 4 star rating out of 5. If you would like to reach me, the best channel to do so is via Facebook.
Review by Eugene Tay
The Deceased is a speakeasy bar that is not for the faint of heart. Typhoid Mary greets guests from a wheelchair at the base of a long flight of stairs, and depending on how diligent the bar owner is in lighting up a kemenyan* that day, Typhoid Mary can be an unwitting host to wandering spirits. On my second visit as I was walking up the stairs, I swear honest to goodness, the wheelchair creaked as if the mannequin moved under its own weight. I sensed something in the narrow staircase with me that wasn’t there the day before.
*Kemenyan are incense cups that are burnt as offerings after sunset to appease spirits. Kemenyan incense is not the same as the "yang" incense that is used as offerings to deities of higher realm. The kemenyan is more suitable to appease beings from the "yin" world.
I dashed up the stairs in dim light and hoped that unlike in horror movies nothing will reach out to grab my leg. I made it to the door safely and stepped into the bar where I’m safe amongst the living. I told the owner Steve about what I had encountered and he said he knew about it and that the stairs, a place constantly shrouded in darkness, is a popular spot for spirits to linger. The bar was crowded that evening and he hadn’t had the time to light a kemenyan yet.
The deco of the bar has an asian horror theme, complete with funeral regalia, paper dolls, and hanging heads. The back of the bar is an authentic floor-to-ceiling wooden chinese medicine cabinet that was once used to store herbs. Steve put the furniture together from pieces of old wood he salvaged from the original place; some were almost a hundred years old. The place had been a disused upper floor unit in a colonial era building that was too dilapidated for normal businesses but perfect for an establishment like The Deceased. Rent is cheap, which allowed the establishment to operate profitably even with the limited seating capacity and niche customer base.
“Some nights, especially weekends, it can get crazy packed,” said Steve, the founder and the creative brain behind the signature cocktails. “Large crowd can ruin the ambiance so we rather keep the numbers low so that customers can enjoy the place.”
The drinks were named after Asian occult practices and popular legends. The first drink I had was the Pontianak which came with a horrifying face mask and a straw sticking out of her mouth. Supposedly, the drink has a frangipani scent but I couldn’t taste or smell any of it. I finished the drink in a single drag and felt rather underwhelmed. The next cocktail I tried was the Da Xiao Ren, one of the bar’s popular drink with the working crowd.
Office ladies would come here after work to order this drink because it’s their way of letting off steam and getting back at someone in office who had pissed them off,” said Steve.
The Da Xiao Ren is a popular Chinese occult belief that you can hurt your enemies by casting a spell on a straw effigy and hitting it with a wooden slipper. This practice was popular in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore from the old days up to the 90's.
While it is unlikely that buying the drink and hitting the straw effigy will have any effect on anyone, it does provide a good outlet for one’s imagination. The Da Xiao Ren was a much more refreshing drink compared to the Pontianak. It’s slightly sour and bubbly with a hint of gin. This one hit the spot for me.
The next day I went back to the bar again and this time I gave the bartender the creative freedom to make me a drink that's off the menu. He made a modified Billionaire served in a skull shaped glass lit eerily from the bottom. That was some strong shit!
Somewhere between my first drink and last, were a series of shots. There was one special drink served in a tiny metallic cup that looked like a miniature joss-stick urn. After taking of shot of that drink I had to chase a line of white powdery substance with a straw that looked suspiciously illicit. My fear of ending the night like Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction was pleasantly dashed when I learned it was only lime powder.
My overall experience at The Deceased has been out of this world. The staff working behind the bar and on the floor were very friendly. In just two nights, we forged a friendship that felt like a lifetime. I guess people who believe in the supernatural are more appreciative of life and the living.
I had a great time exchanging stories with Steve. He told me about the haunted places he visited but till date he hasn’t seen any ghosts with his own eyes.
“What about this bar? Is this place haunted?” I asked.
“There are spirits here. If you are sensitive you can feel them. But they never harm anyone or tried to chase us away,” Steve said.
“Even Typhoid Mary?”
“She’s just lonely. If you are respectful of her, she won’t disturb you.”
“I think she doesn’t like me very much.”
“Later on your way out you try talking to her lah,” Steve laughed.
As I made my way out of the bar and down the stairs, even in my near drunkard state I could feel the presence from Typhoid Mary radiating; she was in her wheelchair waiting for me.
I squeezed past her, trying my best to put as much space between us, and pressed the door release button, but for some reason the door wouldn’t budge. The wheelchair started creaking again. I tried the button over and over but the damned door wouldn’t unlock. The hair on the back of my neck stood as I imagined the mannequin slowly getting out of the wheelchair.
“Mary, Mary, please ah don’t disturb me, maybe next time I take you home, tonight is no good for me,” I muttered under my breath.
Thankfully the door buzzed open and I stumbled out into the streets, momentarily blinded by the bright lights. The metal door clicked shut behind me and I thought I heard a woman’s voice whispered, “see you.”
See more pictures, get the address, make a reservation via The Deceased Facebook page.
Tarot with Zoei inaugural meetup in Singapore with guests from Supernatural Confessions. We decided to meet up, picnic style, at one of Singapore’s most spiritual site - Fort Canning Hill. Once known as Forbidden Hill back in the 18th century. It was home to many dead kings and royalties. Some of the tombs still remain visible on site today.
The reading was done by the light of tea candles and a handphone torch. Proving that iPhone 11 low light capture is simply amazing.
It was a beautiful place, surrounded by ancient monuments and trees right in the heart of town. And it’s free! The skies were too cloudy to see the stars but the weather held up and the wind made it bearable to be outdoors in the usually humid Singapore.
We started off with yoga, got into a brief introduction about what tarot is and isn’t, and Zoei did a complimentary reading for three guests as promised. We ended the night with a round of meditation led by Zoei and breath work by Murali.
This is our #NoSpoiler #MovieReview of the Grudge (2020) by Eugene Tay.
Grudge is a reboot and also a sequel of the Ju-On series, which was originally in Japanese, first released in 1998 on video. Ju-On is NOT the name of the ghost boy that we, at least amongst my friends in Singapore, commonly refer to him as. That pasty faced, throaty growl boy is called Tashio Saeki. Ju-On means Curse Grudge in Japanese.
Those watching this latest one might get confused with the constant jump in timeline and talking about seemingly unrelated incidences, it's because the movie is trying to stay true to the original style which does the same. So purist would like it, non-fans might find it unnecessary.
I feel that there is a legitimate reason for the non-linear timeline. It was revealed in Ju-On: The Grudge (2002) that time in the paranormal world does not function the same way it does in our reality. In Grudge (2020), there was a line spoken by a character that goes like this: "Places like this feels like the walls between this world and the next has been torn down. Time flows differently. Anyone who enters here, we are all bound together." This is a concept that many of us in the metaphysics field believe in and I think it's a deliberate move by the writer to portray the movie as such.
In the original, due to the lack of budget, the movie had very little sound effects, often times just relying on ambient sound, which Grudge (2020) emulated. So at times, it can feel a little art house, but know that it was intentional, once again, to try to pay tribute to the original.
On the internet, critics slammed the movie real bad. Many citing the lack of originality and overuse of jump scares as the main reason for this movie’s failure to scare. I don't agree with those points. I liked the familiarity of the horror tropes without trying too hard to be new and different. It stayed true to source material which, back in 1999, it was probably considered ground breaking. So how inventive can they get for a remake without pissing off at least one demographic of audience? Fortunately for me, I enjoyed it. So screw you, angry internet ranters!
For those of you who feel that a horror movie is boring because it’s predictable, I’m willing to bet that the scary but predictable scenes still got your heart pumping. Part of what makes horror, horror, is that you as the audience knows what’s coming and you mindfuck yourself in the process. And after the scare is done, you start talking smack about “how you saw that a mile away” probably to downplay your fears.
The biggest difference between Grudge (2020) and the Japanese version is that Asian horror are often subtle. Our ghosts are classic white-gowned-long-hair apparitions or a version of such. Grudge (2020) attempts to add a layer of scare with gore and zombie-eque ghosts. It's got Sam Raimi's Evil Dead vibe all over it. I reckon this sort of horror is more in line with the Hollywood audience it was intended for.
There was also a nice tribute to one of the two original Ju-On prequels titled 444444444. In Grudge (2020), the detective received a distress call at 4.44 am. 4 means death in Japanese and Chinese folklore. Usually Hollywood would use 12am or 3am as the witching hour. So this 4.44 timing for an American movie is definitely a nod towards the Asian source content it appropriated.
So how close to the truth is The Grudge based on?
Death based curses, according to asian mythology, are one of the strongest. When someone trades their life to place a curse, it can last through many generations and lifetimes.
In the case of tragic deaths through brutal murder, it is bound to leave behind an extremely strong imprint of negative energy. This is what causes a place to feel haunted and for sensitive folks to feel uncomfortable. That’s the part where the movie got right. In the movie, the spirits of the dead can come back as apparitions. This is also true. That’s your standard ghosts and vengeful spirits variant. Such entities are often times tied to the location of their death. They can’t follow you around. They can affect they way you feel when you are in the haunted house but not outside of it.
A house with such tragedy, if left un-cleansed can and will affect the new occupants, and cause a string of recurring unfortunate events. In the Ju-On movie franchise, the evil entity follows you around after you have come into contact with the house and cause you to commit murder elsewhere. This evil entity, I believe is no longer just the vengeful spirit of the dead. Houses with gruesome pasts have such strong negative energy that it attracts demonic entities to the location. These demons can take the form of the deceased and use that as a mask when interacting with the living. I believe this is what The Grudge really is. Demons don’t always kill their pray outright. They torment you mentally and lower your defences. Then it can either take over you or whisper thoughts into your mind making you commit the crime by your own will.
What’s scary about such haunting is that without intervention, this curse/demon can just keep going on and on for years. The less people believe in the paranormal and the more people rely on medical science to explain unnatural behaviour, the more likely these demonic entities can run rampant.
A recent case I attended to was about couple who were happily married for nine years. Within a year of moving into their new home, they began to feel a sense of aggression towards each other. A sense of pure hatred for each other. They filed for divorce and moved out. During their time apart from the house, they began to realise how different they had been behaving during their stay there. For this case, the haunting was only in the house itself and the thing did not follow them around.
Why this is one of the better horror franchise, in my opinion, is that unlike other haunted houses portrayed in American horror, a curse simply cannot be beaten by burning down the house or running away from the place. Once you are marked, death is probably the only way out.
Reading about the recent Peranakan painting story reminded me about this experience I had back in 2014.
I have always had this thing for scouring or photographing flea or vintage markets. As Sungei Road was closed, I heard about this huge antiques market near Turf City (don't really want to mention the shop name, but it is easily googled) and made my way there.
I remembered it was a long warehouse with compartments - they had everything from old vending machines, phone booths, horse carriages, vintage carts and tonnes of paintings. To be frank, most of them were in dusty or rusty conditions, but still very fun to look at. I came to this room, and for some reason "locked eyes" with this big Balinese style painting on the wall. It was a portrait of a Balinese lady with her back turned to the camera (I think she was topless) with a long green skirt and an almost alluring facial expression. The moment we "locked eyes", I felt very light-headed and really giddy. I think was a little unsure of the feeling though, and kept glancing back at her but the light-headedness remained. I was with my husband, and told him that I really needed to leave. At that time, I sincerely thought it was because of the dust or even spores from the antiques and that I may have even breathed in some - anything supernatural did not cross my mind.
So we drove home. The same night though, I developed a very high fever (I seldom fall ill, and even if I do, I usually recover in a day). The fever came and went for 2 weeks with extreme chills and headaches (again, something rare as I don't get headaches!) and even lost close to 5 kg (again...another rare occurrence for me, lol). I visited the doctor thrice during that period, and he did not find anything wrong. It was during the tail end of the 2 weeks did it occur to me that it may have been something "dirty". I couldn't recall exactly what happened that had me cured, but I think I told my mum in desperation and she advised me to go to a temple to pray and bathe with flower water. I think I did that, and recovered pretty quickly thereafter.
Confessed by Rachel Y
SC: Although Rachel didn't point out the shop name directly, it really wasn't hard to guess which. Junkies Corner is a really beautiful, one-of-a-kind place that contains a certain mystical charm you simply cannot create through thoughtful planning.It is not uncommon for shops selling pre-owned items to somehow be housing haunted artifacts unknowingly.
Some of these items may not be haunted in the traditional sense (like in our last story about the item bought on Carousell), they may just have some negative energy attached to it. Which can be easily cleared using home brewed methods like bathing in flower water or putting the object under direct sunlight.
I wonder if the owner would like me stay a night in their shop. Imagine the amount of stories we can collect from a night of investigative lock down.
I would like to share with you guys my personal experience that I've encountered recently for you all to be more careful with what you bring into your household.
Recently, I bought a 2nd hand item from Carousell. The next day, the seller decided to contact me saying that she wanted to give me a few beauty items that she has for FREE. So i thought, why not? I then informed her if i could collect it a few days later, seller seems to be very abrupt to hand it over to me and she wanted to hand it over the night itself. Puzzled with the urgency, i said she can hand it over to my mom in law the next day. She said its okay if I am busy, she can bring the items over to my house, at 10am in the morning the next day. Thinking to myself WOW, what a blessed thing to have, free items yet seller wanted to send them over right at the doorstep!
The next night, for 2 nights straight, I had bad nightmares, I dreamt that something was "following me".. ( at this point i haven't touch the items at the house yet)
At 1am, my mom in law texted and said, "can you return all of these items back to the seller?"
I was confused and asked why, she said...This whole time the house was okay, right after the items was brought into the house, she felt a presence of something watching her alone in the house.. One night, she was watching TV alone, she heard noises coming from the room where the items was at.. She brushed it off, yet it happened repeatedly (even though there was no one in the house).
The moment i heard that news, i had goosebumps all over my body. My heart was at unease, maybe God was trying to protect me, from direct contact of the items with my busy schedule. But i almost.... had it....
Now it may be coincidental, but yeah i am having fever and falling sick, may Allah protect us all from evil eyes and heart.
Here is some of what i had.....
Confessed by Nadie Othman
My supernatural encounter started when my son brought back a painting from a play that he had performed in. Cast and crew were allowed to take a piece of the set or a prop from the stage as keepsake. He chose to keep the vintage portrait of a lady. The stage manager bought it from a garage sale from an expat family who were moving back to their home country. The painting, held in place by a simple wooden frame, depicted a Peranakan styled woman staring blankly in front without smiling. The history of the painting and the identity of the woman remained a mystery. Whoever painted it, took effort, you can tell. This wasn't just one of the mass printed art piece.
According to my son, some crew members reported seeing an old lady wandering the stage during setup when there should be no one, other then the workers, around. Cast members would complain that the air-con was too cold in the room even though the air-con was off. Some said they can see shadows moving from the corner of their eyes or just an overall unnerving feeling of being watched.
My son didn’t believe in ghosts or other superstitious things. He said that there’s always some ghost stories floating around in theaters and that it was “normal” for people to react in such ways. He himself wasn’t affected by any of these stories, he said.
The first day the painting entered my house, I didn’t like it already. It was almost as if my sixth sense was trying to warn me. My son tried hanging it in his room but for some reason the 3M hook wasn’t strong enough to hold it up. It would fall in the middle of the night. This happened consistently over the next few nights at exactly 4.44 a.m. My son suggested drilling a screw into the wall but since we didn’t own any drill, we just left the painting in the storeroom in the interim until we found a neighbour with a drill we could borrow. As this wasn't a priority, life got on as usual and the painting got left in the storeroom.
Everyday for the next two weeks since the painting arrived, I had nightmares. I dreamt of an angry old lady standing outside my room door trying to get in. She would try the doorknob, and failing to budge, she would then hover towards the storeroom and disappear. The nightmare would replay itself night after night at around the 4 a.m. hour.
My husband would sometimes sit out in the living room to watch football till late. He would get this sense that someone was standing behind the couch and watching him. It would affect his mood and agitate him. Generally the whole house felt very “hot”. I remember the family arguing a lot during that month but I can’t recall what we argued about. Everyone was just very irritable.
Being the more superstitious one in the house, I decided to remove the painting from our home and see if it made any difference. I had half a mind to dispose of it but I felt that might just anger my son and bring the already strained relationship to another level. So I found one afternoon when my husband and son was out of the house, I removed the painting from the frame, rolled it up in newspaper and left it by potted plants outside. Just as I closed the door behind me and had taken a few steps in, I heard knocking on the door.
I turned around and waited. I didn’t see anyone outside just moments ago, how can there be anyone knocking on my door now? Then the knocks came again. More urgent this time. I looked at the peep hole and saw an old woman outside staring back at me.
I ran to my bedroom and prayed. The knocks came a few more times but eventually just stopped.
That night my son’s girlfriend came by to stay the night. She does this occasionally so it was nothing out of the ordinary. What was strange though was that she came in with the wrapped painting and said, “I think you left this outside.”
I asked why she brought it in but she just shrugged and said that while she was standing at the door she heard a voice telling her that I had left this wrapped item outside. So instinctively she just picked it up.
That night, I finally broke down and told my husband about the experiences I had. I thought he would debunk whatever I said but instead he listened intently and shared what he had experienced too. It was clear that there was something in the house with us and the painting was the trigger. That night my husband and I took the painting out, drove to a nearby park and left it under the tree. We didn’t know what else to do. We just hoped that we dump it far enough so that it won’t come back to us. We thought about burning it or throwing into the dustbin but I was afraid that that might just anger the spirit and cause it to harm us even more.
Now after all these years when I retell the story, my husband would joke that the knock on the door I heard might actually be a live old lady asking for help or one of the PA community members making their rounds and I just scared myself unnecessarily. I really want to believe that is true but somehow in my mind I still can’t shake out the feeling that what I saw was the spirit of the woman in the painting. These days I still do wonder who might have found the painting and if the new owner is haunted by it.
Confessed by Sally Y
SC's Note: And that is why you should never pick up things left under trees. It's quite a common reaction for people to buang (throw) cursed items under trees in public area. We are trying to trace the location of the painting now - so if you or anyone you know who is haunted by a vintage painting please reach out to us with your confessions.
About Painting of Oei Hui Lan (the woman in the cover pic above)
She is the beloved daughter of the famous sugar businessman from Semarang, Oei Tiong Ham whose wealth is well known throughout Asia to Europe. Oei Hui Lan is married to Wellington Koo, one of the Chinese ambassadors and sociable with European noble families ranging from Queen Victoria to Queen Belgium. Oei Hui Lan died in 1992 at the age of 93. Before she died, Oei Hui Lan had written and published a book titled No Feast Last Forever which recounts the journey of her extraordinary life. One of the relics of Oei Hui Lan is this painting which is located in Hotel Tugu, Malang. No one knows who the painter is, but clearly the appearance of Oei Hui Lan in this painting is pretty creepy.
I used to stay in a haunted executive HDB at Teban Gardens. It belonged to my aunt who left it empty for 5 years as she was working abroad. We used it as an interim flat while waiting to move into a second hand unit that we had bought. My aunt's flat faced the Pandan Reservoir. When I first stepped in, I felt an instant chill and tickling sensation on my spine - like the presence of something watching me. Initially, I thought I was being too sensitive because it was after all a new and unfamiliar place. It also didn't help that these old units had huge rooms and were very spacious. Large empty spaces to a nine year old child can play all kind of tricks on the imagination. My mum, two siblings and I slept in one room. There were two other rooms - one with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with old musky books - and a large storeroom that contained a mirror, a rocking chair and single hanging lightbulb, but was otherwise empty. Aunt said the stuff were left behind by previous owners. The items were old but in good condition so she felt it would be a pity to throw them away.
Strange things started happening almost immediately. My mum was cleaning the house and when she got to the storeroom, she suddenly felt her goosebumps rising. Instinctively she looked up at the mirror and saw in the reflection the single light bulb started swaying even though there's no wind. She looked closely in the reflection and saw the light bulb was twisting itself out of the socket! She turned around in time to catch the lightbulb just as it was falling.
Subsequently, my belongings started going missing. The peculiar thing was that the items that went missing were all white in colour - a tee, girl shorts and white velcro sandals. At first we thought maybe it was blown away by strong wind (SC's comment: When something supernatural happens, it's always easier to blame the wind). So my mum started securing my clothes with raffia and tape when she hung them up to dry in the kitchen. Again, some of them went missing. Here's the other weird thing: only my items were targeted. None of my siblings had their stuff go missing even though they were hanging on the same pole.
One night, my older sis’s boyfriend stayed over. We didn’t tell him anything about the strange occurrences. At that point, none of us rationalised any of these incidents as supernatural encounters yet. We just thought we were rattled by the sudden move and having our lives disrupted unexpectedly. We just didn’t put two and two together to think of these encounters as hauntings.
My sis's boyfriend slept in the spare room; the one with the old bookshelves. Around 3 a.m., he was rudely awoken with slaps to his face. He opened his eyes and saw an old lady standing over him, asking, " ni chi zhuang le mah?" Which translates from Mandarin to, “Are you awake or not?” He rubbed his eyes and the apparition was gone. He got out of the room to look around the house and saw no one. None of the other family members fit that description of the old woman. He thought maybe he had dreamt it and went back to sleep.
In another incident the following week, I locked myself in that same room after a fight with my sister. I can't remember what the fight was about but It was probably something lame that children, especially siblings, usually fight over. I sat in the farthest corner of the room and cried. To my surprise, through the sound of my sobbing, I heard the "tock" sound (It's the sound of the typical HDB bedroom door with a push button lock unlocking)! Then the doorknob turned and the door crept open slowly.
My first thought was - "those idiots found the door keys", but no one was there, and when I went out again, I found my siblings glued to the TV. I guess they could have faked it, but the time lapse between the door opening and me looking out the door was too short for them to have pulled that prank. Later, we found out that no one had the keys to the bedroom door, not even my aunt.
From that day on, I started feeling a sense of crippling fear. I can't explain why or what made me feel that way. Maybe it's my intuition trying to protect me: I was beginning to feel scared for no apparent reason. I wouldn't want to be on my own. Even when I was taking a shower, I would force my sister or mother to sit with me in the toilet to accompany me. Also, I witnessed, on multiple occasions, the rocking chair in the storeroom would move slightly at times, though to my naive kiddy brain, I always just thought it was the breeze.
Then my dad came back from an overseas deployment and stayed in the house for the first time. The next day he suggested to mom that the kids should stay over at another aunt’s place for a couple of weeks under the convenient excuse that it was the school holidays and we can spend our days playing with our cousins. It was only after we had moved out of the haunted flat that my parents told us what had really happen.
Dad always could sense "such things" his whole life. The first night he stayed with us, he was already able to sense an angry entity in the house. Although he couldn't see ghosts, he was able to feel them or catch glimpses of them from the corner of his eyes. The following morning when he came back from breakfast, he couldn't unlock the door with the keys. From the gap between the door and the floor, he could see a shadow moving behind the door, but the strange thing was that there's nobody home! He got angrier and angrier and scolded the “ghost”, demanding to be let in. He then stuck his talisman, the one that carried with him all the times, on the door. He felt the entity retreated from the door and then suddenly his keys could work again.
For the three months that my family stayed in that house, my dad and mum knew about the haunting but kept it from us because they didn't want to scare us. My two older siblings didn't really seemed to be affected very much. Perhaps I have inherited some of my dad's ability to sense spirits. Ironically, this experience increased my passion for anything ghost-related.
Confession by Rachel Y
These are stories that were shared on the Supernatural Confessions Group or with permission from personal sources.