Places in Singapore with a dark past

ORCHARD ROAD

The Chinese cemetery in Orchard Road had 25,000 to 30,000 graves which were cleared in the 1950s. PHOTO: ST FILE

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.”

 

BISHAN

The graves at Peck San Theng (above) cemetery were exhumed in the 1980s to make way for the development of Bishan New Town. PHOTO: KWONG WAI SIEW PECK SAN THENG

This is one of the most sought-after residential estates, associated with million-dollar HDB flats and some of the top schools in Singapore, including Raffles Institution and Catholic High.

But before the distinctive red-brick housing blocks sprang up, Bishan was the site of a 155ha Chinese cemetery called Peck San Theng (jade hill pavilion in Cantonese), which was founded in 1870as a burial ground for Hakka and Cantonese immigrants.

The graves were exhumed in the 1980s to make way for the development of Bishan New Town. The area now has a bustling shopping centre and is a public transport hub.

Mr Rickson Chng, 45, a bachelor who has lived in Bishan for 31 years and is the director of food company Ally McBean’s Food Supply, shrugs off Bishan’s past. He says: “I’m not superstitious. If you’ve done nothing wrong, what’s there to fear?

“When I was younger, there were some areas in Bishan that I’d avoid at night. But now I don’t. I’m so used to this place already.”

 

FORT CANNING GREEN

This regular concert venue was a burial ground for Europeans here in the 19th century, according to Singapore Infopedia.

Used in the 1820s, the cemetery was located on the lower slopes of Fort Canning Hill.

More than 600 burials – a third were for Chinese Christians – took place there between 1822 and 1865. The last burial was in 1868.

Prominent people buried there included Sir Jose D’Almeida Carvalho, the Portuguese consul- general and one of the earliest European merchants here, and Irish architect George Drumgoole Coleman, who designed many roads and buildings, including the bridge named after him that links Hill Street and New Bridge Road.

In 1953, the Committee for the Preservation of Historic Sites here announced that the cemetery would be turned into a park.

By 1954, most of the gravestones, memorial and inscription plaques were removed and set in the cemetery’s walls. A number of the tombstones and statues were set in the garden of St Gregory’s Armenian Church nearby.

Today, the area is part of Fort Canning Park and regularly hosts concerts, outdoor film screenings, plays and carnivals.

 

SENTOSA

Pulau Blakang Mati (above) was the previous name for Sentosa. It meant “behind death” in Malay and could refer to the early piracy and bloodshed nearby. PHOTO: ST FILE

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.”

 

PUNGGOL BEACH

Punggol Beach. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE

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.”

 

PULAU TEKONG

The island is used by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for training. Recruits who have trained there would have heard ghost stories about the island.

One puzzling incident took place on May 24, 1983, when 18-year-old private Tham Wai Keong was found dead after a 16km route march.

A news report said his platoon was at the tail-end of a 136-strong contingent which started its march at 4pm the day before. They returned to camp at 8.10pm and Tham was reported to be missing an hour later.

His body was found the next day about 5km from camp and 20m from the route march track. His full pack and uncapped water bottle were found in a nearby bush. There were no signs of a struggle.

A coroner’s report said he had died from a ruptured stomach.

An open verdict was recorded, but investigators did not rule out the possibility that he might have been hit by an object such as an entrenching tool, which was found near the body.

There have been other reports of soldiers dying from causes such as viral infections, during or after military training.

The island houses the Basic Military Training Centre, which was inaugurated in 1996. Comprising four schools, it trains most SAF recruits.

Mr Jonathan Ng, 22, who did 19 weeks of military training on the island in 2013, says he was aware that people had died there in the past, but he did not know the details.

Now a part-time sales adviser, he says: “Personally, I feel it is better for the past to be kept secret as some people might be more sensitive to freaky or unexplainable events and may start imagining things when they are staying on the island. The past may affect them mentally.”

 

CHANGI

The Old Changi Hospital in Halton Road, left vacant since 1997, is reputedly one of Singapore’s most spooky spots. PHOTO: ST FILE

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.”

 

BEDOK RESERVOIR

Bedok Reservoir. PHOTO: ST FILE

 

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.”

 

FORTUNA HOTEL

The collapse of the six-storey Hotel New World building (above) in 1986 killed 33 people. PHOTO: ST FILE

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.”

 

 

 

 

Source :

http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/entertainment/places-in-singapore-with-a-dark-past

 

NAM KOO TERRACE


Stairway to Nam Koo Terrace Building

Being heard of the most haunted places such as Nam Koo Terrace better known as Wan Chai haunted house locates at 55 Ship street and Star Street Air Raid shelter which inspired me the most when I first went to HK and Macau in 1980s and recently there at the end of 2013, so I decided to head to this place which I explore the historical building of the past.

It was a winter season at that time in Dec, it was cool day for my hubby and I decided to walk down the memory lane in HK and the time went pass quickly.

There is a long concrete steps leading up to the building just beside it and I stood there as if it prevents me from going up and the ‘installed’ surveillance camera at the end of the steps where the gate is locked and barricaded.

Overlooking the Nam Koo Terrace in the city

As we headed to one of the haunted places to see the abandoned building – Nam Koo Terrace that has a long history in the past, is located at Ship Street and it located along the commercial/residential building. I was able to locate the building after I alighted from the public transport in Wan Chai in HK.

We walked along old Wan Chai district along the road and noticed there are not many Hong Kongers around in this district. I looked around the building and it was just in front of us and there was lot of construction on going at that time and it didn’t tear Nam Koo Terrace down, was once called it – Wan Chai Haunted house to local residents in HK for many decades. Built in 1915 in single storey and in 1921 when it built in two storey red brickwork house, I presume. Almost a century old of the old building sits in a forlorn and dilapidated. Was once use as brothel house or ‘comfort’ home to the women used by Japanese during Occupations till 1945. Nam Koo Terrace was also as a suicide house that over 30 ‘suicidal’ people would end their lives there until it was discovered over the years. It is now currently owned by Hopewell Holdings, a major property developer which is building a hotel complex next to the house. Although it was stated that Nam Koo Terrace was not specifically featured in the development plan approved by the Town Planning Board in 1994; the company has pledged to restore the historic site together with the new Hopewell Centre project. Mr. Thomas Wu, Co-Managing Director of Hopewell Holdings.

As my hubby was walking in front of me to look for the building and he stood there still and stared at the wall of the building up the slope. I walked up to him and asked him what happened. He said “I found it and there it is” as he pointed at above the hill where the construction going on, is going to build a hotel complex next to the abandoned house, just besides the construction and there is the stone concrete path steps to walk up and I could look to the right of the house. I felt thrilled to see the dilapidated house. But then I didn’t feel anything at first as it was in the daytime and in the evening soon there were a few people walking pass just outside the road.

When I was about to walk up the concrete steps on the hill slope to face the Nam Koo Terrace and there was a maid and a dog also walked up the steps. But before I felt tingling sensation when I saw a dog looking up at me as I was a few steps above a dog. I turned around and looked at a dog as if I was seeing ‘something’ about him. The maid didn’t notice at all as she was busying on her phone. There was a cool breeze blowing direction on my left when I stood facing the camera where my hubby took.

A ‘Shih Tzu’ dog stood besides Hopewell Holdings written on a banner

It stared straight blankly as it couldn’t hear me when I called out to him as if it saw something above the hill and I would not make out what it was. Because it wouldn’t look at me in the direction where I stood and took a photo just beside it! It was in the evening passed at 6pm and it was getting dark sooner or later.

A Maid and Shih Tzu dog on the concrete steps

Gosh! I was seeing an image of a person at the slope of the hill as if I was in the middle of nowhere after I turned around from the dog. Right after I composed my strong will and the image of a person was gone in seconds. I thought it was due to the cool weather that made me felt about this thing. And it wasn’t. So again, I called out a dog that stood beside the wall of the banner written “Hopewell Holdings”, stood right beside me, it stopped on its track still and it made a sound like ‘argh’ and I thought it was tired because of its running around the place earlier. The sound ‘argh’ and who could think a dog would make a human sound. Sound strange, right? The ‘foreign’ maid told me that they live just behind the abandoned building where the residences live nearby.

Residences building above just behind the Nam Koo Terrace

I walked up to the top of the steps (see above pic) and looked around the terrace and noticed there is a surveillance cameras installed around the house to prevent intruders. I stood still and looked observably at the building and it stopped me from going further up the steps and stared closely as seen in the photo above. It sent chills down my spine as if I was seeing double.

Again my mind was spinning sensation in my head as if someone stood in this building. So I just brushed it off and looked down the dog and the maid who were moving around the steps. When I get down the steps and saw the dog hovering down and not to look at me! The grilled window (pic below) where the ‘opened’ old fashioned grilled gate which I saw the ‘dark’ image stood inside as if the ‘thing’ was lost in space.

1st Level of Nam Koo Terrace

Later, I saw the grilled window of the 1st level where there is a signboard on it indicating that “No Trespassing…” and there are surveillance cameras one at the 1st level and the other one at 2nd level of the building facing the construction from where I stood earlier. Before that, there was no surveillance cameras and many people went in despite of the dangers on the slope of the hill and it was barricaded later that year after a series of incidents have taken place. I noticed the red-brickwork wall was painted in yellow as if it ward off the spirits away!

Banyan Tree next to the building going cut down soon

It was cool weather and I could hear the ‘rustling’ of the bushes and the leaves above the roof of the building as if there was ‘present’ inside the building. I felt goosebumps on my hand.

The Banyan tree that stood next to the abandoned building and the residences’ building and it was going to cut down because there was a mark in yellow pasted onto the tree. Heard from the locals that during at nights, there was eerie sound coming from the tree!

I quickly walked down the steps to where my hubby was just stood at the bottom of the steps because he couldn’t walk up, he would say it’s eerie to walk up the steps facing the abandoned building and there’s lots of surveillance cameras around as if it could capture the sightings or intruders lurking around the building. The last thing I could hear the ‘faint’ voices calling out “Good bye!” echoed in the air while I hastily walked down the steps! I thought it was the residences’ voice above the hill but it was weird voices then.

Such a beautiful red-brickwork villa was once stood away from busy traffic and yet it left abandoned for years till now and it has no future plans announced since 2008. There is a Wan Chai Heritage Trail that was launched on 27 September 2009 by the Old Wan Chai Revitalisation Initiatives Special Committee (OWCRISC) if you would like to explore or you believe it is haunted.

Complied by: Lina

Singapore Paranormal Investigators (SPI) – Vidcast Episode 10 – German Girl Shrine

‘Ghost doctor’ spotted stalking the corridors of abandoned hospital

Once a proud medical institution, Poole Hospital sanatorium originally opened in 1932 and shut its doors in 1989

Poole Hospital and Grey Towers Hall

Visit: Can you see “a man dressed in all white” at the end of the hallway?

Is this the figure of a ghost stalking the corridors of an abandoned hospital?

Taken in the 1990s, the picture of a deserted sanatorium is enough to send a shiver down your spine.

After the pictures of Poole Hospital were published in the Gazette, readers claimed they could see “a man dressed in all white” who looks like a doctor at the end of the hallway.

Posting on Facebook, Jo Griffiths said: “Just looked through the photos and on picture 20 it looks like a man dressed all in white at the end of the corridor!”

And others soon agreed, with Jo Savage replying: “Spooky”, while Brad Allen said: “I’m convinced.”

Bob Murray added: “Was spooky, few experiences. After Poole was closed Cleveland Police used Grey Towers for dog training.

“No dog would go into the chapel would not go past the door the police handler could not believe it.”

Read more: Spooky ‘ghost particles’ spotted on Earth: Trillions of neutrinos bombard humans every second, scientists say

And Keith Shorten said: “I done security up there on permanent nights when it closed down and believe me I did not look forward to my shifts.”

The main building was demolished around 2002 for housing. Grey Towers Hall has now been converted in to flats.

Source :
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/ghost-doctor-spotted-stalking-corridors-6839365

Online supernatural figure, cited in relation to a number of real-life incidents, is heading to the big screen

Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 LuxAmber
A movie based on the mythical online figure Slender Man is reportedly on the way.

The meme, which originated in 2009, centres on a supernatural character who abducts and stalks others, especially children. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Sony division Screen Gems is set to produce the film, with the script by David Birke, whose credits include Paul Verhoeven’s upcoming thriller Elle.

The figure originated on website Something Awful as part of a Photoshop contest. Eric Knudsen submitted images of a man with long arms and featureless face, and the character spawned a mythology and various games as well as a low-budget film in 2013. TV shows such as Supernatural and Law and Order have also used the character as inspiration.

In 2014, Slender Man also made headlines when the character was connected to a number of real life incidents. In Wisconsin, two 12-year-old girls stabbed a classmate to allegedly please the character, while later that year a 14-year-old girl set her house on fire, with her family inside, citing a similar motivation.

News of a film follows rumours that the next series of American Horror Story will also focus on the character, while a HBO documentary called Beware the Slenderman recently premiered at SXSW.

How a 15-year-old discovered an ancient city

What was your biggest achievement at the age of 15? Well, a Canadian teenager may have outshone the experts after discovering a lost Mayan city. William Gadoury, from Saint-Jean-de-Matha, Quebec, made the discovery by comparing star charts with satellite images. The new city, discovered in a Mexican jungle, is thought to be the fourth biggest Mayan city, and has been named ‘Mouth of Fire’ by the teenager.

William Gadoury

William has been fascinated by the Mayans for much of his childhood, ever since a Mayan calendar predicting the 2012 apocalypse sparked his interest.

His hobby eventually turned into serious research. The imaginative youngster theorised that the locations of Mayan cities might correspond to stars in Mayan constellations. He analysed 22 Mayan star maps from ancient books (known as the Madrid Codex), and overlaid the star positions onto Google Earth images of the Yucatan Peninsula. He was able to show that the 117 Mayan cities did indeed match the star positions, with the brightest stars representing more major cities.

A Mayan pyramid in the ancient city of Comalcalco

A Mayan pyramid in the ancient city of Comalcalco

William then overlaid a 23rd constellation, finding a discrepancy; three stars but only two known ancient cities. The location corresponding to the third star was on the Mexico-Belize border. But the as-yet undiscovered city was covered in thick vegetation, making his findings inconclusive.

Thankfully, the teenager had a close relationship with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) – he had won a science competition a year earlier for his theory – and they had already been providing him with images from their RADARSAT-2 satellite, which has cutting-edge terrain mapping abilities. They gave him images of the new location.

Canadian Space Agency satellite images showing the lost Mayan city

A radar image taken by RADARSAT-2 shows a square, man-made structure in the Yucatan Peninsula jungle

He also scoured the internet for other satellite images from 2005, when a fire had engulfed the area leaving it more exposed – and any remains more visible.

Armed with his images, he then collaborated with Remote Sensing expert Dr. Armand Larocque from the University of New Brunswick. By studying the satellite images and applying digital image processing a fascinating discovery was made; LaRocque concluded that the 15 year old had found a major city with 30 buildings and an 86 metre pyramid.

His findings have been met with widespread praise, with scientists from the Canadian Space Agency describing his work as ‘exceptional’. They also presented him with a medal of merit.

William named the city K’ÀAK ‘CHI’ which means Mouth of Fire.

So what next for William? He plans to go to the International Science Fair in Brazil in 2017 to present his findings. He also hopes that archaeologists will visit the site very soon. On the possibility of an archaeological dig, Rocque is realistic, telling The Montreal Journal “It’s always about money. An expedition’s costs are horribly expensive”.

Regardless, William’s legacy will almost certainly be etched into history. According to reports, the findings are soon to be published in a scientific journal, and it is thought that methods similar to his could lead to the discovery of more lost Mayan Cities.

Update: Since publication of this article some other experts have expressed scepticism at William’s findings. Dr. David Stuart, an anthropologist from The Mesoamerica Center, University of Texas posted a response on Facebook claiming ‘ancient Maya didn’t plot their ancient cities according to constellations’. Stuart – an expert on the Maya Civilisation – described the square feature as an ‘old fallow cornfield’.