Image: Sarah DeReamer
We have just entered October, a.k.a. Halloween season – the season of ghouls, evil spirits and campfire ghost stories. As we step into the thrill of Halloween, we found some of the top haunted spots around the region with spine-chilling tales that may linger for days.
Warning: Please proceed with caution.
1. First World Hotel, Genting Highlands
If you’ve been to Malaysia’s coolest spot, Genting Highlands, for its theme park or (cough) casino, or just to pretend that you’re in a winter country for a while, it's likely that you would have spent a night or two at First World Hotel. However, many of us know that behind the colourful façade of this hotel lies numerous stories of paranormal activity.
Rumour has it that the entire 21st floor of the building is closed and elevators are programmed to bypass the floor altogether. Some rooms are also said to be cursed and never available for guests even when the hotel is fully occupied. Given the active casino operating here, many believe that the hotel is haunted by ghosts of gambling-related suicide victims. Stories of translucent figures and faceless apparitions continue to haunt the corridors of First World Hotel. The next time you plan to stay at Guiness World Record’s largest hotel in the world, make sure you bring a friend.
2. Chibichiri Cave, Okinawa, Japan
Image: Ryuko Shimpo
Okinawa is well-known for its haunted caves left behind during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II. At the end of the war, Japanese soldiers were instructed to commit suicide rather than surrender to the US army. Many civilians also killed themselves for the same reason. These soldiers and civilians chose to do so in various caves across Okinawa.
Today, you can find skull sculptures as a memorial to the historical yet tragic events. It is said that you will also see bones belonging to children, who were most probably killed by their parents themselves to ‘save’ them from the American troops. Visitors often go to the caves to offer prayers to their family members who died there. So if you’re looking for an adventure or two, plan a trip to Okinawa. It can be pretty exhilarating travelling through these caves.
3. Bhangarh Fort, Rajasthan, India
Image: Famous Places
This 17th century fort is nicknamed India’s most haunted location. One of the legends speaks of a forsaken black magic tantric who cursed the people residing within the fort to death and for the fort to be inhabitable. After the curse, enemies invaded the fort and killed everyone within it. Located on the hillside in a deserted town, Bhangarh Fort has become a popular tourist spot due to the legends tied to it. By day, the fort appears to be a beautiful and serene landmark. But by dusk, visitors are banned from staying in the premises.
The Archaeological Survey of India has even placed an unconventional notice mentioned by the government in the fort stating that it is haunted and entrance is prohibited after sunset. People who have actually tried entering after sunset said that they found themselves in the middle of nowhere when they woke up in the morning with no recollection of the previous night’s events. Locals believe that adventure junkies who attempt to have slumber parties at the fort will be trapped there forever.
4. Clark Hospital, Philippines
Clark Hospital was previously a US Army hospital based in the Philippines with a tragic history. During World War II, many people died a brutal death at this place. This hospital also served as an asylum for injured and dying American soldiers at the peak of World War II and the Vietnam War.
It is said to have the highest number of supporting information and testimonials about hauntings and sightings here. Paranormal activity reported by visitors and guards include apparitions, screams, eerie voices, and mysterious footsteps. Apparently, the spirits at the hospital are actually deemed violent. Objects have been thrown at visitors, clearly sending a message that their presence is unwelcomed. It is no surprise that this hospital is considered one of the most haunted places in Asia!
5. Lawang Sewu, Indonesia
Lawang Sewu is a historic building tied to colonialism in Indonesia. At the end of World War II, the Indonesia army fought Japanese troops right in front of the building. There are also stories of people being tortured within the walls of the premises. Without a doubt, its gruesome history brought about tales of hauntings and paranormal activity.
Built by the Dutch in mid-19th century as the headquarters for the Dutch Indies Rail Company, there are stories of headless ghosts wandering about the corridors and sightings of a young Dutch lady who apparently committed suicide in the building. Lawang Sewu has a long history and many tales to tell, but it, unfortunately, stands abandoned and dilapidated till today. A 2007 Indonesian horror movie, Lawang Sewu: Dendam Kuntilanak
, was also filmed here to depict the eeriness and spooky tales of Lawang Sewu.
6. Penang War Museum, Malaysia
Image: Heritage Malta
The war museum, dubbed Bukit Hantu
or Ghost Hill, has a dark and cruel past. The British built this fort to defend the Japanese back in the 1930s. During World War II, Japanese forces have been said to hold public beheadings at this site and terrorised locals.
The spirit of one particular Japanese officer responsible for those events is said to be haunting the hill. At night, locals and guards have also witnessed apparitions of Japanese soldiers roaming around the premises. The museum is now a popular tourist spot for historical and educational purposes. There is also a night tour and overnight dormitory stay open to public. So are you daring enough to spend a night here?
7. Changi Beach, Singapore
Changi Beach is a popular spot for locals to enjoy picnics, fishing, jogging, and other weekend activities. However, despite its peaceful surroundings, Singaporeans list is as one of the most haunted spots in the city state due to its grim past.
This beach was a popular execution site for the Japanese during the Sook Ching massacre in World War II. Dozens upon dozens of innocent Chinese were tortured, beheaded and killed here because they were suspected to be involved in anti-Japanese activities. Due to the terrible events that happened at this beach, ghosts of the people who were executed are said to roam this place. Locals have reportedly heard mysterious cries, screams and seen bloody stains appear on the sand. Heads of Chinese bodies have also been spotted flying over the beach with headless bodies walking along the beach. How spooky is that!
8. Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
This abandoned psychiatric hospital is famed to be one of the most haunted places in the land of Kimchi and K-pop. It was a fully functioning asylum until 1995 when patients started dying mysteriously and the government eventually ordered the facility to shut down. Investigations were made but there were no actual reasons given for the deaths that occurred. Some believe that the owner tortured and held the patients prisoners, which led to it closing down after investigations. However, the actual reasons were related to economic and sanitation issues of the hospital.
Since its closure, the building, together with the hospital beds, equipment and fixtures, have been neglected, as though everyone left it in a hurry. Its ash grey walls, shattered windows and layers of rust will send a chill down your spine if you ever walk through its corridors. Claims of apparitions and disembodied voices have been brought up over the years, not surprising coming from an abandoned building that was once filled with psychiatric patients. The hospital ground is closed to the public now and tourists are not encouraged to visit. However, thousands of people break into the building every year for the sake of thrill and adventure.
9. Tak Tak School, Hong Kong
Image: Charlie Lanyon & Vanessa Yung
Located in Ping Shan, Hong Kong, and surrounded by graveyards, Tak Tak School is the perfect example of school horror stories we hear about so often as students. The most common scary tales coming from this school include sightings of a ghost lady in red, who reportedly committed suicide in one of the bathrooms. Some claimed to have been possessed after seeing the woman in red. The mass graveyard on the school grounds is said to house local residents who were killed when the British attempted to evict them in 1941. The place is so eerie that even taxi drivers wouldn’t drive up the road leading to it! Can the ghost stories from your school top this one?
10. Chaonei No. 81, Beijing, China
Image: NBC News
Situated on a crowded street in Beijing, Chaonei No. 81 is known as the city’s most haunted house and has become a popular destination for daredevils. The local Chinese believe that this Baroque-style mansion was left abandoned for over five decades because it is a house inhabited by the dead. Legend has it that a high-ranking official who lived there with his mistress fled to Taiwan after the Kuomintang government fell in 1949. The abandoned woman lost her mind in desperation and sorrow, and ended up hanging herself in the luxurious home.
Locals believe that her spirit has been haunting the house since then. Reports of wailing screams and mysterious disappearances have been linked to Chaonei No. 81. A group of construction workers who broke in for fun were reportedly never seen again. People passing by the mansion would also speak of a feeling of dread and unease. During summer days, it is said that the mansion’s doorway is strangely cooler than any other shaded entryways nearby.
If you are particularly intrigued by this lovelorn ghost story, you don’t have to travel all the way to Beijing to explore this haunted house because you can now experience it in Sunway Lagoon in UV3D!
From 7 to 31 October, Sunway Lagoon’s ‘Nights of Fright 4’ (NOF4) will open its doors for thrillseekers to experience “Frights, Fear and Fun” through the best horror themes surrounding Asia, Modern Dystopian and Hollywood, among others. NOF4 brings a frightening total of eight haunted houses, six scare zones, and 11 after-dark settings of the theme park’s signature amusement rides for those who dare.
Apart from the Chaonei No. 81 mansion, visitors will also get to experience ‘Diyu – Journey of Judgment’, ‘Malaya High School’, ‘Kevin Hill’, ‘The Ghostbusters Adventure Live’, ‘Zombie Apocalypse’, and many more! Also watch out for your chance to get take some spooky photos at spots like ‘Ah Wing’s Butcher Shop’, ‘Tanah Perkuburan Bukit Lang’, ‘The London Fog’, ‘The Clown Collective’, and others.
NOF4 takes place from 7.30pm to 11.30pm every Friday to Sunday. Tickets are priced at RM58 (normal price) and RM50 (student price). There are also exclusive promotions going for RM120 (one admission Sunway Lagoon pass, and one NOF4 ticket), and RM80 for two tickets (entry dates only on Sundays).
For more details, visit www.sunwaylagoon.com
or the Sunway Lagoon Facebook page
Disclaimer: This event is recommended for guests above 12 years old. Visitors dressed in cool and spooky costumes are welcomed. However, face masks are not allowed during event nights.