The seventh lunar month may be ending tomorrow, but sometimes it errs to be on the side of caution. Especially, you know, when it comes to the supernatural stuff. Here are 7 places in Singapore that might be super haunted because of their dark past. You’ve been warned…
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Text: Benson Ang
Photos: The Straits Times and The New Paper
A three-room flat on the seventh storey of this block is the site of one of the most horrific murders in Singapore’s history.
In 1981, medium Adrian Lim, 39, conducted rituals involving blood, drugs and sex in this flat, killing a nine-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy with the help of his wife and his mistress. The trio were said to have also drunk the blood of their victims.
News reports say the girl was drugged, sexually assaulted, strangled and her body dumped in a large bag at the foot of a block. The boy was reportedly drowned and his body was found near a hedge.
A trail of blood led to Lim’s flat, which contained crucifixes, blood- stained Hindu and Taoist idols, and a book on witchcraft. Another report said there were also pills and hypodermic syringes, and a newspaper article on human sacrifice.
The trio were found guilty of the murders and hanged on Nov 25, 1988.
In 1987, a Catholic family bought the flat for $28,600 and moved in. They were aware of its dark history, but considered it lucky as they struck 4-D the month they moved in.
One of the family members, Mr Desmond Tan, said in an interview in 1993: “My mum said this house was lucky. Basically, we don’t believe in ghosts or things like that.”
Property records show the unit changed hands again in 2005. When this reporter visited, no one came to the door.
Mr James Ng, 67, who lives next door, says the current owner had rented the unit out to foreigners in recent years, but it is now vacant.
The retired shipping clerk, who was living there at the time of the murders, says: “Even though we share a wall with the unit, we are not affected by what happened there. What is over is over. Life goes on.”
This is the site of Hotel New World, which collapsed on March 15, 1986, and killed 33 people. It was one of the worst tragedies in post-war Singapore.
The six-storey building at the junction of Serangoon Road and Owen Road collapsed due to structural faults and sub-standard construction. The hotel occupied the four upper floors, and a nightclub and a bank were on the lower floors.
News reports say that at about 11am that day, some occupants heard loud sounds and felt a few tremors, but continued going about their business. At about 11.25am, the building fell, shrouding the area in plumes of dust. In less than a minute, it was reduced to rubble and not a single wall was left standing.
A rescue operation with more than 500 staff from the Singapore Civil Defence Force, Fire Service and Singapore Armed Forces, as well as foreign experts, lasted four days, and 17 survivors were pulled out from the rubble.
In 1994, the seven-storey Fortuna Hotel opened on the site and still stands today. Its website says it has 104 rooms and houses an Indian restaurant and a branch of Western Union. Previous reports say the hotel was owned by property company Chng Holdings, which is understood to be defunct.
Property checks show that the hotel is now owned by Fortuna City, a hotel operation and management company.
Ms Aisha Naz, 20, who works at Star Tours, which is located in the hotel building, says she knows about the site’s dark past, but is not bothered by it.
“It doesn’t affect us. Most of our customers are foreigners and don’t know what happened.”
The reservoir saw an unprecedented spate of deaths in 2011 and 2012 and it was labelled online as a “suicide destination”.
The first death was reported on June 20, 2011, when the decomposed lower half of Chinese national Lin Xiao, 23, was found.
News reports said the apprentice mechanic was depressed after coming to Singapore and had told his mother he would die by jumping into the river.
On Sept 22 that year, the bodies of Madam Tan Sze Sze, 31, and her three-year-old son Jerald Chin, were found floating there. She was said to be distressed over a custody battle with her estranged husband.
Over the next year, at least five other bodies were reported to have been found in the reservoir.
Representatives from the Inter- Religious Organisation held a prayer session at the reservoir in 2011, initiated by former foreign minister George Yeo, who was a Member of Parliament for the area.
In January 2012, PUB installed four CCTV cameras at the reservoir, which is surrounded by a park. It also stepped up patrols, ensured that the lamps were fully lit throughout the night and installed signboards with helpline information for the Samaritans Of Singapore .
The reservoir is a popular spot for water sports such as wakeboarding, sailing, canoeing and kayaking. It was also a venue for the 28th Sea Games in June last year.
Software solution architect Ranjith Vijayan, 37, who trained at the park thrice a week for last year’s Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore, says: “I run alone, sometimes after midnight. I’m not afraid. I like that it is calm and quiet and I can reflect on my day as I run.
“I’m not scared of ghosts, only of stray dogs.”
The site of Changi Beach Park is believed to be one of the first massacre sites during Operation Sook Ching, a military operation against those in the Chinese community who were anti- Japanese during the Japanese Occupation.
On Feb 20, 1942, Japanese firing squads killed 66 Chinese male civilians at the water’s edge. They were bound by ropes in rows of eight to 12 and instructed to walk towards the sea, according to the National Heritage Board’s website.
Japanese soldiers mowed them down with machine guns as they reached the shallow waters. Many died on-site, but some managed to swim away or hide underwater as the ropes binding them loosened.
A memorial plaque has been placed at the site in remembrance of the Chinese massacred in Singapore during the Japanese Occupation.
Changi houses the Old Changi Hospital in Halton Road, which has been named on the Web as one of Singapore’s most spooky spots.
Built in 1935, the hospital was used as a prison camp during World War II. The Japanese secret police, or Kempeitai, were rumoured to have used it as a torture chamber.
Left vacant since 1997, the one- time military hospital has long had a reputation for being haunted.
But not every part of Changi has a dark past. The area is home to the world-class Changi Airport, which serves more than 100 international airlines flying to about 250 cities in 60 countries. It has been consistently voted the world’s best airport.
The Changi Business Park at Changi South hosts companies, software enterprises, and research and development institutes.
Professor Brian Farrell, 55, head of the history department at the National University of Singapore, says: “Changi has a rich history. It is not surprising that beliefs and folklore have developed around it. In general, a place’s dark past has a lingering effect on the present, but it really depends on who you talk to.
“In the case of Changi, a historian can see it as an important site where sad events once took place. But to a young person, it could just mean a nice beach and a ferry ride to Pulau Ubin.”
This quiet beach at the end of Punggol Road, near Punggol jetty, was one of the killing fields during the Japanese Occupation.
So many people died there that it was described in the newspapers as “Singapore’s slaughter beach”.
On Feb 28, 1942, about 400 Chinese civilians were reportedly shot there by Japanese auxiliary military police.
Since then, human remains have occasionally been found on the beach. A 1998 article reported that a skull with two gold teeth, and parts of an arm and leg, were found by a man digging for earthworms to use as fishing bait.
Punggol Beach is on the National Heritage Board’s list of historic sites. The area is known for The Punggol Settlement, a two-storey food enclave opened in 2014 that features restaurants such as House of Seafood and White Restaurant.
Mr Francis Tan, 40, owner of Thai restaurant Trunk At Bay at the enclave, says: “As a kid, I came to the beach with my family to look for clams and collect sea-shells. I heard people had died here, but it was only when I became an adult that I understood what had happened.
“I don’t let the dark past get to me. I chose this place for my res- taurant because it has a beautiful view of the sea.”
Did you know that parts of Singapore’s most famous shopping belt sit on former graveyards?
Where Ion Orchard and Ngee Ann City now stand was a cemetery called Tai Shan Ting. In 1845, it was acquired by Ngee Ann Kongsi, an association representing the Teochew community, according to newspaper reports .
Bounded by Orchard, Paterson and Grange roads, the cemetery had 25,000 to 30,000 graves which were cleared in the 1950s.
Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, built in the 1980s, sits on the site of a former Jewish cemetery.
Today, the 2.53km Orchard Road, which got its name from the fruit orchards in the area until the turn of the 20th century, is a major tourist destination and retail hub, boasting glitzy malls.
Ms Lu Minru, 44, managing director of public relations firm 37 Communications, whose office has been in Ngee Ann City for the last six years, says: “I chose this place as it is very convenient to meet clients and media partners, who are mostly located in town.
“I’m not affected by the area’s dark past as I’m not superstitious.”
The resort island, one of Singa- pore’s star attractions, used to be called Pulau Blakang Mati, which means “behind death” in Malay.
Singapore Infopedia, the National Library Board’s electronic encyclopaedia, says the name could refer to the early piracy and bloodshed nearby. Another account says the island was the “paradise of warrior spirits”, whose bodies were entombed on an adjacent island.
Serapong Golf Course was previously a beach, where about 300 corpses were washed ashore during the Japanese Occupation, according to newspaper reports.
These were reportedly Chinese civilians hurled into the sea by Japanese soldiers and shot as part of Operation Sook Ching, to eliminate people in the Chinese community who were anti- Japanese.
In the 1970s, the Government started developing the island as a tourist attraction . In 1972, it was renamed Sentosa, which means “peace and tranquillity” in Malay.
It is now home to 17 hotels, two golf courses, a 3.2km-long beach, and attractions such as Fort Siloso, Siloso Beach, Madame Tussauds Singapore and integrated resort Resorts World Sentosa, which runs the theme park Universal Studios Singapore.
In the financial year of 2014/ 2015, a total of 19.4 million people visited the island.
Says businessman Arthur Loh, 47, who has played at Serapong Golf Course for the last eight years: “I know about Sentosa’s dark past. But when you are playing golf, which is in the daytime anyway, you are so focused on the game that you don’t think about such things.”