Photo via Lianhe Zaobao
Disclaimer: It is important to note that the beliefs expressed in this article are based on superstition and not necessarily grounded in fact or logic. I am in no way insinuating that block 640B is haunted and in no way should this article reduce the value of that estate. This article is to educate and share local superstitious beliefs passed down from previous generations.
Written by Eugene Tay
Block 640B of Tampines North Street 62 GreenVines made headline news this week when netizens shared a photo of the new Build-To-Order (BTO) flat that looks like it’s a set for a horror movie.
Initially I thought it was just a design feature thought up by someone who isn’t chinese and approved by someone who isn’t superstitious. I didn’t think much about it, until I received a text message from a contact who knew something about the history of the land the estate was built on.
A Bit of Backstory of the Plot of Land that GreenVines Sits On
The place was a heavily forested area untouched by urbanisation until recent years when the land was cleared to make way for housing development projects. Back in the days, the area was a popular spot for spiritual practitioners to discard cursed items, trap spirits inside of trees, or release them into the “wild”. There are a few places like that in Singapore but the numbers have been significantly reduced now. Another famous place for discarding spirits was in Bedok South. The place is also taken over by another BTO project (Hori-cough-cough-zon). That’s a story for a different time.
Tampines North was the last part of Tampines to be developed, and over the years it has accumulated a lot of spiritual energy enough for some practitioners to believe that the place has opened up a rift for spirits to travel freely between two worlds. From the late 90s to the early 2000, there was a movement amongst young thrill seekers to spend the night in this part of Tampines North to test their courage and mettle against the spirits. Stories of possession and spiritual attacks were plenty, but to be fair, it was hard to verify the authenticity in many of these experiences.
In the late 2000, I suspect the Housing Development Board must have stepped in to invite some spiritual masters to intervene, and the place was gentrified, spiritually speaking. Yellow cloths were tied to certain trees and the process of “herding” lost souls begun.
Chinese Culture and Feng Shui View of Red
In Chinese culture, while red is often associated with good luck, prosperity, and happiness, when used sparingly (decorations, clothing, and accessories only), it can also be seen as a bold and aggressive colour that can bring bad luck or misfortune when it becomes overwhelming.
In Feng Shui, the colour red is generally not recommended for use in homes because it is believed to be a very strong and fiery colour that can create an overwhelming or unbalanced energy in the space. The colour red is associated with the fire element and is believed to be “too hot” for a home environment.
According to one Feng Shui master, he said that buildings that are painted in red are likely to create these two scenarios.
If you or someone you know is living in 640B Tampines Street 62, and have a supernatural encounter to share, please reach out to me (+65 94594931).
Note: Regardless if you are a believer or a skeptic, most people will agree that the red was just a tad too much. Repainting work started on 1st March 2023, and the place doesn't look like it did in the photos.
In a CNA article, Housing Development Board (HDB) feedback that the GreenVines estate was inspired by tropical fruits, and block 640B reflected the colour of dragon fruit.
Confession by Haye
Eugene: For some background information of the confessor, she is 'gifted' with the psychic ability to sense things that people cannot see. She had plenty of encounters growing up. This confession is one of the scariest she had encountered. This experience took place on a ghost walking tour that she attended with her uncle, auntie, cousin and her husband. There were five of them on this trip.
We started off the tour at Kent Ridge Park, it wasn't too bad, I did see a few fleeting shadows and smell the sweet scent that is often associated with a specific type of supernatural but the main part of this story starts at Labrador park. We were going to be walking through a forest. The tour guides told us to switch off our phones and they gave us candles to help us see in the dark.
I could already sense there were spirits there, but I felt it was normal since it is their home. we walked into the forest for about 400-500m when my cousin said, 'Hey, we need to wait for our aunt and uncle!'. So I turned around and waited.
I was the only one facing my aunt and uncle, so when they were walking towards us, I noticed my cousin's husband was behind them, standing slightly further back and staring at the ground. I thought it was strange that he would be that far behind when he had been walking with my cousin and I this whole time. There was this feeling in my heart telling me there was something off about him.
Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was my cousin's husband; he had been standing next to me the whole time. "Let's go," he said.
So what was that taking on his form? I turned back to look at the doppelgänger but it had vanished
I was seriously freaked out but it was too late for me to turn back now, and I didn't want to scare the others as well. So I kept this incident to myself and continue walking the forest trail.
When we passed by a toilet, my cousin's husband and uncle said that they needed to go "take a piss" in case their bladder gets full later and they are forced to piss on a tree. In our local superstition, pissing on a tree might attract spirits to follow you back. The toilet lights were activated by motion sensor. At this time of the night, it will remain dark unless someone or something large moves in the proximity. A moment after my cousin's husband and uncle came out of the toilet, the lights turned off on its own. We continued the journey but a few seconds later the lights turned on by itself again. I turned to look at the toilet; I had a nagging suspicion that there's something looking at us. I kept turning around to look at the direction of the toilet until the lights turned off again. This time I saw it - a white shrouded entity - a Pocong - was standing right at the spot where my uncle was. I quickly turned away and hurried in front.
This time I saw it - a white shrouded entity - a Pocong - was standing right at the spot where my uncle was.
But here is where things got crazy for me. The tour guides stopped in the middle of the trail as they wanted to share a story about World War 2. We were gathered around in a semi-circle, and the guide started sharing with us what happened during the war in Labrador park. Suddenly I felt someone tap my shoulder three times.
I assumed it was one of my relatives but when I turned I came face to face with someone I did not recognise. That's when I knew I had messed up big time. Suddenly everything around me amplified: I could feel the air around me thicken and grew heavy. I heard footsteps crunching on the gravel around me. There was a scream coming out of the forest. Then a strange mechanical buzzing sound from overhead - much like an old propeller plane flying by. Then the intense feeling of sadness set in. I could feel the tragedy of this place; the deaths, the suffering, the souls trapped in time. Everything.
it's not uncommon for me to be able to sense whether a place has good/bad history. sometimes when i walk into a person's house I can tell whether they're a tight-knit or a dysfunctional family just based on my senses, but the psychic imprint of this place was extremely strong.
The tour guide stopped talking at this point. He said he sensed a sudden change in the atmosphere. He pulled out a radio box that supposedly allow for ghosts to communicate through it. He asked a few questions such as, 'who are you, are you a foreigner or a local' etc. The spirit didn't speak, but instead communicate through another device - a K-II Electromagnetic Field meter - blinking once for no and twice for yes. The answer the tour guide got from it was it was a female.
When it was my turn to hold on to the device, the light on the meter went straight up to the maximum number of dots, meaning there was a presence, or multiple presence, around me. We decided to move away from the spot. The red LED light stayed at the maximum reading all the way through the rest of the forest trail. Even the guide commented that he had not seen such a strong, persistent, reading before.
Sent by a member who wishes to remain anonymous.
About nine years ago in 2012, my 15 years old daughter was having major depressive disorder. Her condition was very severe at that time. I won’t go into details about her condition, but because of her condition, she used to sleep on the same bed with me so that I can watch her.
On a particular night, my hubby was overseas and my older daughter decided to crash in with us sleeping on a mattress on the floor.
Sometime past 4am, I noticed that my younger daughter was not by my side and I left the room to look for her. I found her crying and bleeding in her room. She had even written a note to me to say that she thought she had really gone crazy that time and she was scared.
I hugged her and after assuring her that everything was gonna be alright, asked her what had happened. What she related to me would send chills to anyone, but it did not occur to me to be afraid then.
She said that when she awoke in the middle of the night and turn to face away from me which was a half wardrobe, she saw a mesmerising meadow. After looking at it some more, she saw a girl being carried on a stretcher coming towards her and then the girl came off the stretcher and tried to attack her. That was when she ran to her own room.
She saw a girl being carried on a stretcher coming towards her and then the girl came off the stretcher and tried to attack her.
She was planning to do some reading when she noticed a woman (ghostly) standing behind her sister’s room door (their doors are adjacent to each other). She freaked out and closed her door. Later, she saw from the reflection of her wardrobe that some of her soft toys were breathing. All these freaked her out so much, she thought she was going crazy that she slashed herself and left me the note.
Luckily, I found her in time. After tending to her wounds and praying with her, she managed to calm down. By this time, my older daughter has also awaken to help in praying and calming her. She even sent text messages to her church members to activate prayers for us ASAP.
At about 6am, the clock in our living room crash landed onto the floor. This is something impossible.
At about 6am, the clock in our living room crash landed onto the floor. This is something impossible.
It’s a steel nail and metal hook that secure the clock. We checked the hook. It was intact. How did the clock fly off the wall? Is it related to what has happened in the wee hours to my girl? * Additional Notes: The daughter is doing will now and she’s now a psychologist herself. She remembers the incident and she wants to use her own experience to help others now. As for the paranormal experience, she experienced it more than once and she still remembers them as well. But as a Christian, she puts them down to demonic attacks.
Eugene's Notes: The daughter is doing will now and she’s now a psychologist herself. She remembers the incident and wants to use her own experience to help others now. As for the paranormal encounters, she experienced it more than once and she still remembers them as well; but as a Christian, she puts them down to demonic attacks.
The line being crazy and hantu-afflicted is a fine one. In the field of parapsychology, we believe that when a person is physically or psychologically weak, as in the case of having illnesses or depression, the person is more prone to being supernaturally attacked.
How then do we say with certainty that it is only one problem (medical) and not the other (supernatural)? Denying a person of medical help is foolish, to say the least; debunking the existence of supernatural elements at play, to believers like me, is equally foolish.
For more of such confessions, you can join us in discussion on our Facebook Group.
Written by Eugene Tay
Peace Centre, situated in the Bugis Bras Basar district and at the arse end of Middle Road, is one of Singapore's oldest surviving mall that has not been upgraded since it was first built.
The floor tiles, wooden hand rails, and faded pastel green coloured walls are all reminiscent of the 70s decor. Back in its heydays, Peace Centre was home to an eclectic mix of shops selling anything from bespoke tailored outfits to Kachang Puteh* . Over the years it housed dodgy businesses that catered for all manner of vices - sex trades, alcohol, gambling, drugs; and these are the ones that I personally know about. I'm sure there might be other more nefarious and darker deeds going about that place that are only privy to those in the industry.
*Kachang Puteh literally translates to White Nuts. These are roasted nuts covered in white sugar. It was a popular snack that one would buy to eat in the cinema. Peace Centre might be the only place left in Singapore with a Kachang Puteh seller.
I was a tenant of that building from 2007 to 2012, and had forged very close friendship with the neighbours. Even the lady boss who was in-charge of property management would sit with the tenants at the third floor cafe to chat during the slow weekday afternoons. Ghost stories, especially in Asia, is the one conversational topic that creates an immediate bond between the different races and cultures, and for an old building like Peace Centre, the stories were endless. Many of these tales, though as scary as they are when narrated, often times were urban legends - someone who had heard it from someone who had heard it from someone else.
The 7th Floor Haunted Management Office
This story is slightly more believable because it came directly from someone who worked in the management office herself. T is not known to be someone who joked a lot. Besides my mother, T is the only other person I know who can smile with a frown. I have a love hate relationship with T. She's my landlady and each month when I see her, it's usually to pay rent, but there are also times where she and I would just sit down and gossip about the events that took place next building at Peace Mansion.
I remember in one conversation where I was due to renew my rental agreement and I asked for a cheaper rate, she offered her 7th floor office as an alternative. It had bigger floor space, and she was practically giving it away for free. So I asked her what's the catch.
"It's haunted," she said. Just like that. No set up, no preamble. "Things can move around. Cupboards can open and close by themselves."
"But you were in that office for many years, aren't you afraid?"
"This place quite common. You can see spirits walking around the corridors at night. It's not harmful. They are like our tenants. We are used to them. That's why you see some offices will leave packet drinks and sweets outside their doors."
"Then why move out?"
"Last month the haunting in the office started getting violent. Got one new staff said he don't believe in all these nonsense. Around 5pm, before we knock off, he heard the office chair rolled around. He went to check but most of us had already left for the day and there's no one in the adjoining room. He decided to scold the spirit.
He went to check but most of us had already left for the day and there's no one in the adjoining room. He decided to scold the spirit.
That's when the glass partitioned shattered and a large piece of glass cut his neck. He didn't die of course but since then, many of us in the office don't feel safe anymore. The energy got a bit darker. So we moved to third floor."
"Any ghost there?"
"Yeah have, That one quite interesting. The room used to be rented by a church for their congregation, but then they moved out already and we used it as a store. There's a timid child spirit there, and I think over time, the place attracted other children spirits to that place. The shifu [a holistic movement practitioner] on the fourth floor said that these are aborted child spirits. They got no where to go. But the mood is a lot better than on the seventh floor. They like music. Anytime of the day, our office radio can turn on and play on its own. Sometimes they even change the channel on their own. If you walk past and you hear music, that's not for us; it's for them."
Do Not Deny The Beggar
This one was shared with me by the security guard who swore that he got the story from the father of the kachang puteh seller. This urban legend started in the 80s when Singapore still had beggars that sleep at street corners. As the story goes, there's a old indian man that would only appear during dusk to ask for food and money. There was one young man who would often take pity on this beggar and bought him food and offered him money. Though this young man wasn't wealthy himself, he had a kind and generous heart.
One evening, when the young man had delivered food to the old beggar, the beggar reached out for his hand and asked him to stay. The young man did.
"Young man," the old beggar said. "You have a kind heart. It is my turn to return you a gift."
"It's okay, uncle, you don't have to give me anything," said the young man.
The old beggar just chuckled and palmed a dirty old coin in the young man's hand. "Keep this in your pocket at all times, you will never be lack of money," the old beggar said.
In that instant, the young man saw a shift in the old beggar's face, for a split second, but in that time the young man thought he saw the form of Bhikshatana. Bhikshatana is an aspect of the goddess Shiva in Hindu mythology.
In that instant, the young man saw a shift in the old beggar's face, for a split second, but in that time the young man thought he saw the form of Bhikshatana.
That was the last time that the young man saw the old beggar but he did remember to keep the coin in his pocket at all times. In fact, the young man prospered during the decade and owned a few business that operated out of Peace Centre. The rumour about his unnatural success was cemented when his businesses outlived his competitors. In the later part of 2000s, most of his businesses folded and he moved out of the building. No one has heard of him since.
This led many of the neighbours to believe that he must have lost his magic coin.
To this day, the older tenants would advice their staff who are working late to never deny the beggar asking for food if they met one at Peace Centre.
Now the next bit might be entirely a coincidence but I cannot help but think back on this urban legend and wondering many times later in my life if I had indeed came face to face with the aspect of Shiva.
I knocked off around 10.00pm one night and I was taking the side stairs down towards middle road, The only light illuminating this stairwell was the light from the street lamp nearby. As I walked down towards the second floor landing, I met an old Indian man making his way up. At this time of the night, there is no reason for anyone to be going into the building, and for us tenants, we pretty much knew most people by face. This man however, was unkempt, clearly hadn't showered in a while, and I think he might have been drinking. He curled his fingers and brought it to his mouth in an action that most people would interpret as "eat". He rubbed his stomach with the other hand and repeated his actions.
I fished out for my wallet and as luck would have it, for him, I only have a ten dollar bill in my wallet and no smaller change. Remembering the urban legend shared by the security guard, I did not hesitate to part with my money even though that would mean I would have to skip dinner. The man took my money and happily made his way upwards. I walked away feeling conflicted. Half of me feeling stupid, and the other half consoling myself that I've done a good deed.
Later that night, I found a folded fifty dollar bill in bus number 65. How would you explain that?
The Girls of Peace Mansion
Come evening time, that place is a sight to behold. Many fine ladies in the tightest and tiniest of dresses, tottering around on the highest of heels would make their way down to have their meals before starting work at their respective nightclubs and karaoke bars in the vicinity. Danny and Anthony were two well known characters who would hang out everyday at the foodcourt area of Peace Mansion. They consider themselves entrepreneurs who truly understands what customers want, namely vices. The drinking and smoking tables at the food court are limited so we always end up sharing tables. As regulars, it is inevitable that bonds are forged and especially over common interest like booze and girls.
That was how I got invitation into house parties and saw the human side of Peace Mansion. It is easy to look at these working girls, pimps, and colourful characters and pass our high society judgment upon them, but when you had the opportunity to speak with them as a person as I have, I found that they are no different from my conversations with investment bankers, the traders, and the get-rich-quick "coaches". They all just want to make as much money as they can. Greed is the name of the game; It is a cut throat industry and respect is measured in dollar bills.
And with greed, especially in Asia, spirituality comes into play. I have heard stories of magic needles/beads that were surgically inserted under the skin in necks, cheeks, foreheads, and genitals, all in the name of business improvement. The ticket out for some of these girls were to snare a rich man who would keep them as a mistress. When that failed, magic is also used to take down a rival; and this was what, in my opinion, led to Peace Mansion having the haunted reputation it did.
Initially the bulk of the working girls were from China, but Thais, Vietnamese and even Mongolian girls started flooding the scene. Each bringing with them their own spiritual beliefs. Some of these fights can lead to bitter ends and if these tales were to be believed, magic was responsible for some of the suicides and sudden death cases. While the law could not catch them, it is said that blood debt requires blood sacrifices. These girls would use the lives of their unborn fetus as payment.
Any place with a high concentration of negative energy will attract spirits and entities from around the place, and over time, I was told, portals will form. For those dabbling in vices, they welcome such portals in their place of operation.
"The more spirits, the better. Then we can bind them to our will and ask them for favours," said Danny.
"The more spirits, the better. Then we can bind them to our will and ask them for favours," said Danny.
"But don't get us wrong. We don't use these spirits to do bad things. We also dedicate merits back to them. So everyone wins," Anthony added. "You think these KTV places all don't play with such things? I tell you this entire block has more ghosts than humans ah."
"So it's haunted?" I asked.
"Everywhere also got ghost lah," Danny replied. "You don't disturb them, they don't disturb you. But if you need help you can ask, but then you need to give them something too."
"Like that, isn't it easy to get rich? Just ask ghosts for help can already," I asked.
"It's that easy. The more greedy you are, the more you ask, the more you have to pay back. For me, I just ask for small blessings. Make me better looking so people will like my face and want to do business. Anthony here always asking for bigger cock. That one need miracle. Ghost also cannot help."
The table erupted with raucous laughter and exchange of generous expletives.
Danny continued: "But seriously, making money is not hard - if you dabble in the spirit world - it's keeping your money and knowing how to keep your promises that's."
This is a featured story based on my interaction with some interesting characters in Peace Centre. Personally, the scariest thing about Peace Centre is the toilets. The area around Peace Centre also have pretty interesting stories - Mount Sophia, Park Lane and the Old Cathay Cinema. Perhaps you might have some confessions of your own to share. We would love to hear from you.
Confession retold by Eugene Tay
This story was told to me in 2009 by a close family friend. This incident took place during the late 80s, early 90s era at Kaki Bukit estate, Singapore.
Kaki Bukit had a new HDB development that was built upon old kampong grounds and cemetery for those who can recall it. Our house faced a hill which leads up to an old mosque. Currently you try to find that place on the map, it would show just a cluster of new HDB blocks. No more hill, no more mosque, and apparently no more news of a Nenek Kebayan roaming the area.
I stayed there for 12 years before moving out to Seng Kang. I had 2 miscarriages in that house and the final incident is the most painful memory I had to bear. So to many people, my husband included, the legend of Nenek kebayan is a myth, but to me I believe that’s who was responsible for those deaths.
I had 2 miscarriages in that house and the final incident is the most painful memory
My husband was working in offshore marine line and I was a full time housewife. We were wedded for about three years and living with his parents in that time before getting a place of our own at Kaki Bukit. So naturally when the new home came we tried to start a family.
It didn’t take long for me to get pregnant with our first child. My husband would work shift so that would mean there was about 2 weeks to a month, sometimes, he will be out at sea. My mother would come by to help out during those times. So what I’m about to tell you is not just the ramblings of a pregnant woman, my late mother, bless her soul, was able to corroborate my experience.
I was in my third trimester, I remember. We were ready to welcome the arrival of my first born. That’s when I encountered this Nenek. Back in those days it was common for us to leave our doors open. All the neighbours pretty much knew each other and in the afternoons the Malay neighbours from downstairs would come to door to door to sell gorang pisang (fried banana fritters). We knew all the maciks (middle aged malay ladies) there so when the Nenek* appeared we were quite puzzled.
*Nenek literally translates to "grandmother". A polite term to address an elderly malay woman.
She wasn’t selling anything, she just wanted to come in to our home to congratulate us on the pregnancy. Although I remember feeling very uneasy at that time, I didn’t want to appear offensive so I let her in. She was quite unkempt and smelled stale like someone who had not had a shower in a while.
She placed her hands on my belly and smiled. Talking to my unborn kid in Malay. I didn’t understand all the words but It really made me uncomfortable. My mom was asleep at that time. She usually takes her afternoon nap and would wake up around dinner time. This took place around 6pm, I recalled, because I was secretly hoping for my mom to get up soon so I have an excuse to disengage.
She placed her hands on my belly and smiled. Talking to my unborn kid in Malay.
Eventually, I made an excuse to go to the kitchen to make her a cup of coffee. She smiled at me, her teeth were in terrible condition. That’s what made her so memorable. She merely nodded at me and kept that grin plastered on her face as I went to the kitchen.
From the kitchen I could see the main door. So if she had left my home, I would be able to notice her leaving; and she’s quite old and walked with a shuffle, so even more so it would be easy to spot her leaving. When I went back to the living room with the coffee she was no where to be seen. I checked the rooms, but no sign of her. I shrugged it off as probably something that I might have missed and was glad that she decided not to stay around.
That night I woke up with a terrible cramp in my abdomen. The contractions were excruciating but I knew it was too early for delivery. I bled all over the bed; my mom called for an ambulance but by the time I was taken to the hospital for check, the baby was gone.
By the time I was taken to the hospital for check, the baby was gone.
I did not see the Nenek anymore and didn’t tell anyone about it either. My husband and I decided to try again the following year and again in the third trimester, the Nenek appeared at my door again.
All the old memories came flooding back. This time I did not let her enter and I quickly closed the door on her. She was outside hurling insults and curses, demanding to be let in.
I went to the room to wake my mother up. My mom went to the peephole to look at the Nenek and immediately told me to stay in the room and start praying.
I’m not a very devout Catholic. I was introduced to the religion by my parents but besides going for the occasional Sunday mass, I was mostly Catholic by name. But that day I poured my heart into my prayers. My whole body was shaking in fear. I could sense whatever outside was evil. In my heart, I had always suspected the Nenek was behind my first miscarriage but now I’m sure.
From the room I could hear her growling outside and cursing. Then there was a foul stench so strong it was like the the sewerage had burst or something. Very foul smell and it seem to come and go.
Outside my door I could hear my own mother calling upon the Lord’s name. This went on for sometime and finally all was quiet. I continued staying in my room. My mother came in and comforted me. She didn’t want to elaborate much on it but many years later my mother revealed that through the peephole she was able to see the Nenek’s true form and it was hideous. She knew about such creatures from her growing up years in kampongs but that was the first time she has seen one up close.
Through the peephole she was able to see the Nenek’s true form and it was hideous.
I did not feel good the entire week; worried that I might bump into her if I went out so I just stayed home.
The following week when my husband came back, we left home only for my regular Gyne check up. That’s when we found out that my baby’s heart had stopped beating.
My husband does not believe in all these stories and attributed the miscarriages to me being stressed or purely biological. But to me, I’m going to my grave with the belief that it was that Nenek that took my both my children.
When I had my third child, we stayed at my in-laws place and there was not trouble at all. We moved back after the baby was born despite me being hesitant to do so but living with the in-laws weren’t very convenient. In the first five years that we returned home, I would sometimes smell that same foul smell at night and hear nails scratching on my windows, but no outright knocking or appearance.
We moved out of that house as soon as we could and thankfully till today I’m glad to say I had no other further encounters like that.
The legend of Nenek Kebayan has been passed down from ancient times to the present in the Malay community, with the most recent sightings reported in Perak in 2019. She is described as a hunchbacked old woman walking with a stick. She is believed to be a human woman who had acquired her powers through occult practices or making bargains with spiritual entities such as Jinns or Orang Bunians.
A video of what looks like a hunchbacked creature walking with a stick fits the description of a Nenek Kebayan.
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About 3km away from Matilda House, through a long and dark stretch of road, is a jetty that connects to the site where the Sook Ching Massacre took place on February 28, 1942. Records state that 400 victims were killed and abandoned on the shoreline of Punggol Beach but some historians believe that the unrecorded numbers could be much higher. Even as recent as 1997, people could find skeletal remains from the mass killing on the beach or in the nearby forests.
The area of Punggol is one of the oldest known settlements in Singapore. It existed even before the founding of modern Singapore in 1819. That’s more than 200 years ago. Who knows what secrets are buried beneath the land especially since it’s common for people of that era to dabble in animism and shamanic practices. In the book, Malay Magic, author Walter William Skeat details the beliefs and folklore that was popular in Malay Peninsula during that time.
The area of Punggol is one of the oldest known settlements in Singapore. It existed even before the founding of modern Singapore in 1819.
The older generation who remembers Singapore during its kampong days still hold onto the memories and the superstitions that were passed on to them. These knowledge are not found online; and you can only listen to them through oral traditions. Sadly, many of these beliefs are slowly being forgotten, and it is easy to understand why such wisdom no longer seems relevant today when everywhere you look are high rise buildings and pristine parks. But just because our eyes cannot see what’s there doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. After all, things like Jinn and the souls of the restless dead are known to be able to anchor themselves in a place for hundreds of years.
An elderly woman I spoke to who claims to be a descendant of a family line of practicing shamans recalled the story that her grandmother had told her. Near the spot where Punggol Point is today, there was a very big tree that the kampong residents believe to be the home of an ancient Jinn. Back then this place was not even called Punggol yet. It was known as Tanjong Rangon. Lightning struck the tree one night and all that was left was its stump. People from other kampongs would come to this tree to give offerings. She suggested that was how Punggol got its name. Ponggol in malay means, “a tree stump”.
Raymond, 49 years old, recalls the stories that his father told him when he was a teenager. Raymond’s father used to drive the bus service 82, which was one of the only two buses plying the Punggol Jetty route. This was around the late 80s to the early 90s. It was well known amongst the drivers there that the place is unclean. In fact, the drivers pooled their money together to set up an altar near the drivers’ resting point to appease the wandering spirits so that they will not be harmed. There was a story of a new driver who did not believe in such superstitions and scoffed at Raymond’s father’s belief. He went to rest between his shift and when he woke up, he found himself in the forest and couldn’t get out. He kept walking around in circles and came back to the same red altar over and over. It was only after he lit the joss sticks and begged for forgiveness that he managed to see the rest stop.
Confession by Meng
Meng, a 55 years old property agent, enjoys fishing during his free time. He recalls a fishing experience that left him spooked till today.
“I remember this was the time I just finished national service. Bunch of friends and I were looking for jobs but haven’t been able to find any, so during the ba-long-long time (lull period), we would go fishing. Usually the jetty area would be quite crowded, so my buddies and I would go further down the left side to where it's more secluded.
It was late in the night, we don’t really know what time it was. The seafood restaurants around the areas were closed already so I think it was probably past midnight. One of our fishing rods caught something and started tugging. The small bell made the ding-ding noise and from the pull of the rod, it seemed like we caught a big one. The more we pulled, the harder the fish fought back.
Suddenly we saw something emerging from the water. It was quite dark. We had camping lanterns but it wasn’t enough to illuminate what we had caught. Also, it was quite weird, why would the fish float out of the water. This thing was black and rounded. It raised up of the water slowly. My first thought was that we got our line caught in a floating debris covered in seaweed.
But from the way it floated towards us, it seems to be somewhat alive. There’s a difference when something is moving at you and just randomly floating. This thing was moving towards us. When it got closer to us, it floated even higher and this time it was above the water level. That’s when I felt something was very wrong already. I told my friend to drop the rod and run.
It was quite weird, why would the fish float out of the water. This thing was black and rounded. It raised up of the water slowly.
No one seems to move. Everyone was confused. And that’s when we all heard it. A ear piercing scream. We all heard it same time and we ran. That voice was human sounding but at the same time it was nothing like I have ever heard from a human throat. We just left everything behind and made a dash for the main road. I took a glance backwards and I saw - I know this is going to sound crazy but I know what I saw - I saw a floating head. Just the head. No body. Flying around our fishing spot. Screeching.
We ended up at the small bus terminal area and quickly prayed to the altar there. Our hands were shivering and the fear was very real, but at least here there were more people and we felt safer. I have had strange occurrences during my army days and other fishing sites before but so far, those were just sounds and weird feelings. This was too real. It’s one thing to not be able to see them, but the sight of a flying head is not something I can try to rationalise and lie to myself that it’s an animal. I know what I saw. I can tell the difference between a head and a bird.
Because there was really no way to walk back out and our barang barang (equipment and belongings) were still there, we waited till day break before going back. We spoke to some of the regular anglers there and they told us that there’s a reason why no one goes away from the jetty even though there’s a possibility for a better catch there. Flying head sightings were common at that spot.
When we eventually went back to our fishing site in the morning, we found our items ransacked and the fishes that we caught all had their heads bitten off.
Punggol Point Park looks nothing like what it did before and the forested spot has been cleared out. I actually still go there to fish sometimes, mostly for old times sake. Many people don’t remember what Punggol Point was before but this memory will live with me forever.”
Matilda House is one of the oldest houses in Singapore located at Punggol Walk in Punggol. It was built in 1902 by the late Mr Howard Cashin’s father Alexander Cashin, and named after his paternal grandmother - Josephine Matilda Cashin. His grandfather, Joseph Cashin arrived in Singapore in the 1840’s and made his fortune investing in legal opium farms and later in real estate. Cashin Street, next to Bras Basah Complex, was named after him.
The Matilda House was a single-storey, tropical-colonial style, sea-front bungalow with four bedrooms, servant-quarters, a horse-stable and a tennis court. A large garden surrounded the home where the Cashins grew various kinds of fruit trees.
The Singapore government acquired the land that the Matilda House was on for redevelopment in 1985 and the estate was left abandoned and unoccupied ever since until a residential condominium, A Treasure Trove, was built on the exact grounds in 2015. The façade and interior of the Matilda House were restored and converted into the condominium’s clubhouse.
Mr. Howard Cashin who had the chance to see his old home in October of 2002, said he was quite shocked and confessed to being “a little shaken” to see his childhood home at the state it was in.
The state that Mr. Cashin was referring to is one that many locals who grew up in the 80s and 90s are familiar with.
Due to decades of disuse, The Matilda House looked like a dilapidated haunted house right out of a horror movie which inspired rumours of haunting to spread amongst the local community.
Due to decades of disuse, The Matilda House looked like a dilapidated haunted house right out of a horror movie which inspired rumours of haunting to spread amongst the local community.
It was known by a few names such as Ghost House, Istana Menanti (The Waiting Palace), but most notable, it is referred to as The White House and is one of the three infamous coloured haunted houses in Singapore’s paranormal folklore. The other two are the Red House and the Blue House, in Pasir Ris and Hill View respectively.
One of the popular urban legends is that the place had a very powerful spirit that prevented the place from being torn down. During the redevelopment phase, the land around the area was cleared but the ruins of the Matilda House clearly stood out against a backdrop of brown desolate land.
Some of the rumours abound was that there were evil spirits in the house and would kill anyone who entered and disturbed the sanctity of the place. Some even claimed that the place was protected by an ancestral spirit, and likely to be that of its namesake.
Naturally it became a haunt for many thrill seekers, budding paranormal investigators and avid photographers. Harrowing ghostly encounters from the White House spread like wildfire with many different variations, each even more dramatic than its predecessors. Matilda House soon developed a reputation as one of the most iconic haunted places in the annals of Singapore’s Paranormal Folklore.
According to A Treasure Trove developer, Sim Lian Group, the only reason that they kept the Matilda House as it is was because of the sale agreement that the building must be conserved. It has nothing to do with the rumours, they claimed.
A Treasure Trove resident Mr. Saradetch, who was born with the ability to sense spirits, claims that the clubhouse is indeed still haunted and it’s one of the reasons why the lights are never off.
However prayers have been done during the development phase and spiritual masters have been brought in to ‘negotiate’ with the entities.
However prayers have been done during the development phase and spiritual masters have been brought in to ‘negotiate’ with the entities. Certain promises had to be made to appease the spirits. This No-Haunting Pact will stand for as long as this promise is maintained.
Which is fact, and which is fiction?
Is the URA’s Conservation story just a convenient cover-up? I guess some secrets will remain a mystery and become fuel for the imaginative mind.
There are however some confessions provided to us, first hand, from people who had once dared ventured into the Matilda House and lived to tell the tale.
Confessions by Ad T
Hi, I've only recently started listening to your live shows on Fridays and now your previous podcasts on Spotify when I'm driving. Love your show and hosts! I think I am a little sensitive to spirits and energy. Used to see things with my mind's eye especially when I am at hotel rooms etc.
For years, I suspected there was something in my house, especially my room. Also had an weird incident during a trip to Thailand which apparently involved a minor demon (or 妖 in Chinese). I would like to share a particular incident that I believe something had followed me home. It happened a couple of years ago during the 7th month. I was out with some friends till late and was on my way home from Tampines to Marine Parade. Was driving on the ECP at that long straight stretch between Tampines and Bedok. I've driven many times on this stretch before but this time, it seemed like I had been driving on it for a longer time than usual.
I was feeling uneasy and was having goosebumps.
The air in the car seemed stuffy even though my aircon was on. There were no cars in front or behind me. I just focused on the road and kept driving. Finally I managed to reach the end of that stretch and just shrugged it off. Even when I got home, I still had an uneasy feeling. That night I had a very weird dream. I dreamt that I was in a bus and on the way home. When I got off the bus, I felt that someone was looking at me and looked back. Behind me, standing probably about 15m away was, you guessed it, a lady in white.
She was looking down and just standing there. Feeling the creeps, I started walking back. In real life, my block is just across the road from the bus stop. But in the dream, there was a open field between the bus stop and my block. As I cut across the field, I looked back a couple of times. Each time I looked back, she was closer and closer to me. I never saw her walk, she was still standing in the same position; but every time I turned to look she got nearer and nearer. By then I was panicking already, and picked up pace.
I took the lift to my house and when I was putting the key into my gate, for some reason I turned back. I live in a HDB point block, so there is no corridor and only 4 units per floor. Behind me should be my neighbour's gate, but now I saw a long corridor instead. And standing about 2m away from me, was the lady and this time, she was pointing at me.
Then she said in a creepy slow manner, "I know where you live now."
I lost it then.
I rushed to open the gate and just shouted at anyone in the house to get pomelo leaves or holy water or whatever to cleanse myself before I go in. I woke up after that and felt like there was still something behind me in my room. I finally managed to turn around and there was a dark shadow at the corner of my room.
I freaked out, turned around to face the wall and tried to ignore it. Until now, I am not sure if I encountered something on the way back, or just had a bad dream coincidentally. But I will never forget her voice when she said "I know where you live now".
Sorry if this story is kinda anti-climatic and long-winded. I just wanted to share as I felt that there was something with me that night.
Editor's notes: Most real supernatural experiences are "anti-climatic" because such encounters, unlike a Hollywood movie, don't have a beginning, middle, and end. Still, stories like this are extremely creepy because it could happen to anyone of us.
Written by Eugene Tay
There have been many stories surrounding the Pasir Ris Suicide Tower. Many of these Urban Legends have evolved into multiple variations since the late 80s until we can't really tell fact from fiction anymore; but such is the nature and thrill of ghost stories that keeps our imagination going.
Budding investigators have attempted to gather evidence of haunting and many claimed that it is one of the easiest spots to elicit a paranormal response. Personally, I have been a witness to multiple events in this location that defies logic. I am as strong a believer as there are others who are as strong a skeptic. This experiment that we have conducted is perfect in highlighting that dichotomy.
Just because someone is fortunate enough to not experience any haunting doesn't mean that the place isn't haunted.
In this two-part video, we attempt to record experiences from multiple perspectives - A psychic, four commoners, and one spiritual practitioner. Without the use of fancy western-influenced gadgets, what can each of these people sense when tasked to sit alone in what is reputed to be one of Singapore's most haunted location?
The results are varied and interesting. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the psychology of fear fueled by horror stories and odd sounds in the night can spur our imagination to see and feel things that may not be there.... or are they?
12:17 - 15:17 - Guru Murali Cleanse the Place
Guru Murali chanted a prayer to ease the lingering spirits towards the light. Does this mean the place is no longer haunted? Unlikely. Prayers help to bring whichever entity that is present at that time to the light but in a public area, and one that is isolated at the edge of a mangrove swamp, there will be other spirits to take its place in time to come.
Written by Eugene Tay
In such modern times when material gains and tangible evidence are valued greater than the fear of the supernatural instilled in us from our grandparents, most of us have grown to become quite skeptical of the metaphysical.
What's metaphysical? It comes from the word metaphysics
Metaphysics is a major branch of philosophy. It concerns existence and the nature of things that exist. In layman speak, that's Feng Shui.
Feng Shui, unfortunately, has the bad reputation of sounding like hocus-pocus. Which is why modern spiritual masters are forced to reinvent their image to sound more "sciencezy" to fit the modern perspective. We are at an era where people will say "It's 2020 already and you still believe in ghosts" as if time has anything to do with the existence of the paranormal.
So it comes as no surprise that a circular that had made its round at Farrer Court, especially during the time of a bitter en-bloc battle, was largely ignored and debunked as a scare tactic to force residents to sell their units out of fear of pantang (superstitions).
The time in which the circular was distributed was unfortunate, and to be fair, it made me doubt its authenticity and question the motivation of the person behind this act. During the mid 2000s many people got rich overnight from the sale of their old homes. We are talking about million dollar deals here and greed will drive people to do just about anything. That is why it makes it hard to take this Feng Shui treat seriously.
However, many of those who are familiar with feng shui or have the third eye, they believe beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Farrer Court is sitting on bad land. By bad land, we mean land that has a high Yin energy. The Chinese believe that there is both Yin and Yang energy in this universe and they must be balanced to achieve harmony. Too much Yang energy and you will have high tension, flaring temper and restless unbound energy. Too much Yin energy and you will attract the negative entities, which in turn will bring about depression and suicidal thoughts. Balance is the key.
But when a place is unbalanced, like in the case of Farrer Court and even some specific blocks in Admiralty, Eunos, Ang Mo Kio and Yishun, just to name a few, you will find a higher level of suicide cases in these areas.
Because such cases don't have a clear supernatural distinction, many people are able to chalk all that figures down to pure coincidences and live peacefully with the mentality that "it won't happen to me."
A few cases that I have attended to personally started off with what seemed like a spat of bad luck or maybe some mild paranormal haunting. Many masters tried to cleanse these homes, but try as they might, there seem to be an over-abundant of bad energy in the area that just can't be cleared. Like trying to scoop water out of a sinking ship with a soup spoon.
That's when we expand our search to the surrounding area and more often that not, we'll find a new structure built around the neighbourhood that has affected the flow of energy.
In one home at Bukit Timah situated behind National Junior College, we found that the series of death and illnesses that plagued the family in recent years were due to three flag poles that were erected on the school grounds. In the evening when the sun sets, the shadow of the three poles will be directed at the house. The erection of the 3 flagpoles serves to invite death as in feng shui, such a set up resembles 3 jossticks at the altar for the dead. That was the negative energy that then plagued the family ,unfortunately.
A similar case we encountered was a home at Siglap. A newly constructed roof top by a neighbour across the road blocked the flow of energy to the home and the owner claimed that he suffered from an uncanny level of bad luck during that time. His thriving business failed spectacularly and he was involved in three automobile accidents that year.
The old Spottiswood Park condo was apparently built on Yin land and faced a direction that did not help its position. For years, that condo was notorious for suicides and divorce. The spiritual master attending the case said that he could only help to shift the flow of energy but it's only temporary.
In all three cases, the solutions weren't as simple as just putting up a mirror or swap the position of your dining table.
The examples are plentiful, but the point I'm trying to make is that for those who believe in the supernatural, Feng Shui is a very real thing, and because the effects of bad Feng Shui is not as immediate and obvious, most people prefer to be masters of their own fate than to depend on ancient Chinese books telling them where to place their furniture and what colour they should wear.
Feng Shui, to modern people, is an inconvenience and unproven by science.
I've taken the liberty to type out the content of the circular so that it would be easier to read. You can also click on the image to see the original content. Once you are done, head on to Part 3 of the Farrer Court Saga - Farrer Court: Place for Murders and Suicides to read another confession sent in by a resident who had lived in that estate and who has the ability to see ghosts. Or read Part 1 of the Farrer Court Saga - The Red Ghost of Farrer Court for an ex-resident's confession.
Another Farrer Court Suicide - Why?
Dear Residents and Friends,
We are writing to you to share with you something critically important to the health and well-being of you and your entire family.
Have you or your loved ones been experiencing:
1. recurrent ill health or even death?
2. bad luck at work and at home?
3. inability to make or retain wealth?
4. poor family relationships including divorce?
5. have only female children or grandchildren?
6. poor studies in school and exam results?
We have long asked why such problems have plagues us and our neighbours since we moved into our home in Farrer Court.
We have also noticed that our estate has had its fair share of suicides, and have personally witnessed the ones that happened in Blocks A, B, and C since we moved in. We have also heard that there was a bizarre murder case in Block F involving a maid killing her employer. On Tuesday 6 Mar 2007, a maid jumped to her death in Block B in the wee hours of the morning. Why?
At first, we attributed these problems as being part and parcel of life. But when things got worse, we went to consult not just 1 but 4 different Feng Shui Masters from different schools, because we desperately needed to know why so many things are going wrong.
We are going to share with you what we have learnt.
Farrer Court as, through the years, accumulated an excess of Ying energy, which is the female or dark energy. This energy is in the very land that our homes are built on.
So the homes built on this land will experience too much Ying energy and this is very bad.
These homes that have this type of bad Feng Shui will lead you and your family to suffer from bouts of illnesses with bad luck and multiple troubles. You may either find that you can't make much money, or even if you do, you will be unable to retain the money, because you will have problems that will lead you to spend it all away.
Someone more sensitive to this dark Ying energies will actually fall critically ill or even die. You may notice many funerals occurring, even during the recent Chinese New Year. The Ying energies also attract people who want to kill themselves to die here (proven by the three non-residents who committed suicide in Black A, B & C)
Furthermore, the MRT tunneling has disrupted the energy roots of our land, leading to even more poor luck for our descendants, because the foundation of our homes have been rocked and weakened stirring up more Ying energy.
Having underground tunnels is like having rivers below ground which will carry away all our wealth so you can expect to lose more money or spend more ("lou chai"). Big canals around the perimeter also carry away the good luck and wealth of the occupants in the blocks.
Some of you may say that you have lived here for so long and things have been fine. But why are things worse recently? Based on one Master, any family can only live in their Farrer Court house for 10 years. After the first 10 years, things will start going downhill and worsen with each passing year. True enough, our troubles started after we passed the 10 year mark and we have had problems non-stop.
The occupants of the Type A slab blocks also suffer from having their front and back doors in line and this causes double "Sha Chi" or "Killing Energy" entering the home. This leads to increased ill health, disease, disability, bad luck and even death. The main "Chai Wei" or "Wealth Seat" of these Type A flats also occur in the extreme diagonal, which happens to be in the toilets of the master bedroom! That's why your wealth gets flushed and washed away every time you use that toilet or bathroom.
We also asked why we had girl children rather than boys. The Ying energy causes more female children to be born to families in Farrer Court. Ask and look around, and you will find it to be true. This is bad for the family name is Chinese tradition.
The Feng Shui masters all agree that there is only one solution for our home and this land: "Ta Tong" or "Big Move". This is the only way to get rid of the accumulated Ying energy of the land.
Any other Feng Shui remedy is temporary and not able to counteract this Feng Shui disaster. All the Feng Shui Masters strongly advised us to move out as soon as possible.
So we will be moving out soon. We can't stand our kids falling sick, us working hard and getting nowhere, our cars getting into accidents, our kids doing badly in school. We have had enough.
We really like the facilities around here and are sad to go. We enjoy the convenience of this location but we really have to go so that we can have better health., peace and harmony in the family, and maybe a boy child. We are really hoping the en bloc can go through because the en bloc occurs and they dig and move the land around, maybe we'll buy back the new flats they build. Hope they build it according to good Feng Shui this time round.
We are sharing with you before we go.
If you are not bothered by this, then ignore our crazy ranting.
But if you have been plagued like we have, if you had just about up to here with bad luck, money problems and ill health, now you know why.
Your fellow residents of Farrer Court.
Confession Journal is a collection of stories and reviews submitted by the public.