Confessions by Yang Guang
Yang Guang was an 18 year old student from Singapore Poly when he first ventured into the Matilda House.
I was in the photography club and I remember it was quite the norm back then for female models - the rocker and goth chicks type - to take photos in old buildings. Old Changi Hospital was a famous spot and the Matilda House was the other. My coursemate, Jo-An, who needed some photographs for her portfolio asked if I could help and I said okay.
Jo-An and I went down after school in the late afternoon, early evening. There was still ample light coming in. While the place did look eerie, to be honest, I was more focused in looking for the best spot to take the photos before we lost the last light. When I was busy snapping away, I just got this funny sense that something is in the room with us and wasn’t happy.
You know how sometimes you get to a place and it feels very uncomfortable like you just want to leave? I felt that.
The feelings suddenly just came. I wasn’t thinking about anything. I suddenly got the goosebumps and a chill ran through me. It was a strange sensation but not intense enough for me to react hysterically, lah. So I shrugged it off and just continued looking through the viewfinder. I saw Jo-An kept turning and looking over her shoulders acting quite agitated and distracted. I took a few more shots until the film roll ran out then we packed up and left.
It was only after we left the place that we talked about what we felt and confirmed each other’s experience. Since nothing major happened, we just brushed it aside and the conversation went back to photography. The horror only came after the photographs had been developed.
Some had a tall black shadow figure standing behind Jo-An, right at the spot where she kept turning to look,
The batch of film from the final roll of film came out looking very strange. Some were totally black as if a black translucent figure was standing right in front of my cam, some had a tall black shadow figure standing behind Jo-An, right at the spot where she kept turning to look, some photographs looked like it had a handprint across it - clearly visible with the shape of five fingers and a thumb. We were very spooked when we saw that. There are many things that can possibly go wrong especially with film photography but quire frankly the effects that I saw were not something that we can explain away with light seepage and faulty film.
Unfortunately, we were too scared to keep the photographs and negatives and Jo-An suggested we burned them to be safe. None of us wanted to die under mysterious circumstances from having a ghost mark us in photographs.
I live in Hougang but my family and I do travel to Punggol very often, especially on weekends. Till today, everytime we pass by Punggol Walk, I will automatically turn to look at the direction of the Matilda House and think back on my past. The memories are still as clear as yesterday. I haven’t shared this story in so many years but since I know you are doing a confessional piece on Matilda House, I feel it’s time I get this off my chest. Thank you, Eugene for listening to my story.
Confession Journal is a collection of stories and reviews submitted by the public.