7 Types Of Ghosts You Might Bump Into In Singapore
In case you haven’t been tipped off by all the burning of incense paper and joss sticks, the Hungry Ghost Festival is in full swing. It is believed that during this month, the gates of Hell open and its residents (aka the hungry ghosts) roam amongst us in search of food. Or victims. Or both.
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Anyway, Singapore is a multi-cultural city, which is also reflected in our folklore and, uh, the types of ghosts we have here. Jialat. Scroll through the gallery below for some examples of ghosts that you might bump into here.
This is one that most of us are familiar with. Believed to be the spirits of women who died in childbirth (or during pregnancy), Pontianaks are vampires that devour the organs of their victims. Apparently you can tell one is nearby if you catch a whiff of frangipani…
The Orang Minyak strikes terror by virgins in their sleep. Its name literally translates to “oily man”, because this ghost looks black and shiny, like a naked man doused in oil. Fun fact: there were actually news reports back in 2012 about a village in Selangor, Malaysia, that was being terrorised by an Orang Minyak.
They’re the reason why you see the first row of getais left empty, and food being left around sidewalks during the seventh month. Avoid kicking or stepping on incense and food offerings while you’re walking on the streets, or risk the wrath of hungry ghosts.
Certain spots in the east, like Changi Beach and Tanah Merah, are believed to be haunted by the restless souls of massacre victims who died during the Second World War. Not surprising, considering the belief that people who died violent or unjust deaths tend to return as ghosts to haunt the area, or those who have wronged them.
It’s believed that you can call on the spirit of a dead human fetus using black magic, and the spirit will do your bidding. If you suspect that some creep has let a Toyol loose in your home or whatever to steal stuff from you, you can distract it by leaving toys around. It’s a child, after all.
Those who are superstitious would avoid swimming during the Hungry Ghost Festival out of fear of pulling pulled under by water ghosts. They are the ghosts of people who died of drowning, and it’s commonly believed that they’d be at the site where they had originally drowned. So yeah, not a good time for a dip in say, Bedok Reservoir.
The urban legend goes that there’s an elderly Malay woman who would go around HDB estates, knocking on door to door to sell – you guessed it – keropok. While the thought of having a delicious, crunchy snack is tempting, it is said that the makcik will then release a ghost or a Pontianak into your house when you open the door. Better not risk it lah.