A dedicated space for anyone who’s ever had a supernatural experience.
Let’s demystify the world unseen. We learn a little more with every story shared. Increase the knowledge repository by telling your story here.
Confession by Q
My grandfather was a rag and bone man, a karung guni man, who claimed he made his fortune through sheer sweat in an era where hard work paid off.
Back then, being a Rag and Bone man wasn't a bad career option. Singapore was going through a period of great change. There were as many rich people around as there were poor people, and if you knew where to look, there was lots of business to be done. During the period from the 60s to 90s, the economy picked up and people were buying things, which also meant, there were people getting rid of things. By then, when more and more people started going into the trade, my grandfather was doing it for leisure. He had already made his fortune in investments but you wouldn’t have known he was filthy rich. He had not changed his lifestyle or outlook one bit throughout his living years.
He had three children with my grandmother, and managed to put two of three of them to higher education. My dad who was the oldest had to skip school to help with the family business. My grandma was extremely smart at her job. Grandpa would find the items, grandma would sort them out and price them. One of the places she would go to supply her finds was at Sungei Road Market. Later on it earned the reputation as the Thieves Market. If you had ever been pickpocketed or had something stolen from you, your best bet was to come to Sungei Road and buy it back.
If you were discerning enough, one man’s trash could be your treasure. And that’s how my grandparents ran their business.
He said in the early days he used to take discarded idols left under trees and bridges but those he said were sometimes more trouble than they were worth. You can’t tell if there were really gods inside or something evil. Also they had no resale value. Mirrors and old beds were things he also avoided. Mirrors because they trapped negative energy, and beds because they had very distinct and unique energy that could be in conflict with yours. So to be safe, don’t take it.
The more he talked, the more curious I got. I asked him a cheeky question: had he picked up any haunted items and brought them home? He replied with deadpan seriousness.
My grandpa doesn’t joke; my grandma, on the other hand, was the jovial one of the two and I guess that’s why they say opposites attract. Though grandma had defended grandpa on many occasions saying that his joke was high level: “You need degree to understand.” My grandpa would nod, and my grandma would laugh and say, “see, isn’t he funny?”
So anyway, I digress. With regards to haunted items, he said there were many. But they can’t do anything. “What can they do? At night turn on and off the fan, the lights. Bang door. Then what? One haunted barang is scary, but when you got ten of them at home, just let them sort themselves out. Ghosts are like children. You have to treat them the same way.”
That’s my grandpa for you.
The items that he looked out for were discarded family heirlooms. According to grandpa, heirlooms had spirits. When people threw them away unwittingly, grandpa would take care of them and gave them a home. In return, whatever luck that was to go to that family would instead come to him and his family. Some heirlooms chose to leave the family when the spirits disagreed with how the family were doing things or they were being mistreated.
I asked him how he knew which were heirlooms? His reply was, look for anything that’s made of wood, gemstones or natural rocks, and gold. The more normal looking they were, the higher the chance that they were home to something ancient.
I then asked if he had rubbed any lamp to ask for any wish before.
He paused for a moment and nodded. It wasn’t a lamp. It was a ring. The spirit was unhappy with its current owner and left. It found its way in my grandfather’s stash.
“So grandpa, what did you wish for?” I asked.
“Just that we always have food on the table, clothes to wear, and good health.”
That last line always got to me. It sounded innocent enough, and quite frankly I’m not even sure if grandpa was pulling my leg, with his serious face, I really can’t tell. But grandpa was a shareholder to a large, renown, department store, a restaurant chain, and I don’t ever remember him falling sick, ever. He died close to a hundred years old, peacefully in his sleep.
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