People come to Melaka just for two things: to eat till the cows come home (satay celup and chicken rice balls anyone?), and do some touristy sightseeing (A’Famosa and Jonker Walk anyone?). But beneath the sunny exterior, there is another side of Melaka. The dark, hidden and undiscovered. When the sun sets, something else comes out to play… And it’s not the kind of games you’d wanna mess around with.
According to some, the town is a gateway for other things which are, lets say; not so human. The good old scary stories circulated by older folks as the young are too busy playing with the latest version of Candy Crush or taking selfies of themselves on their smartphones.
See, Melaka is one of the oldest towns in Malaysia. Throughout the centuries, its vibrant history has witnessed many past wars, battles and historical events from the invasion of the Portuguese, Dutch, British and even to the regime of the Japanese occupation. Through it, urban legends, myths and tales of the macabre were formed.
We spoke to several orang Melaka who lived and worked around these six places to know their spooky stories.
1. Oriental Cinema, Jalan Tengkera
Femes for: Headless ghost, pregnant lady ghost, movie watching ghosts…etc.
Now, if you’re a foodie, you’d have heard of ‘Oriental Cafe’ on Jalan Tengkera (famed for its sinful lard-filled popiah and kick arse fish ball noodles). But opposite the cafe, across the street, stands an old cinema building which has been defunct for some time now.
This very cinema is haunted and, trust me, as a Melakan myself, the whole town knows about it. A middle aged uncle by the name of Frankie Cheng said that previously, it was used as a base for Japanese troops during World War 2 where many, many prisoners of war were tortured and killed. An interesting note is that Cheng claims he has ‘the third eye’; which means the 57-year-old restaurant worker can see dead people.
As soon as business started its operations, all kinds of spooky things went about in the cinema, some too terrifying to be mentioned. Cheng, who used to work at the Oriental back in the 70s as a ticket collector in his youth, told us that a headless male ghost was often seen in the men’s bathroom. Those who have encountered it will say that it would suddenly appear and tap on the person’s behind, asking back for its lost head. The effect? The unlucky fellow will be scared out of his wits that he/she would be down with fever for 2 whole weeks.
At the women’s toilet, Cheng adds that the lights turned on and off for no reason and a long haired, pregnant female ghost would loiter in the last cubicle. The cubicle was locked for obvious reasons but sometimes, female users would accidentally enter and come face to face with it. Clutching its torn and mutilated belly, the ghost will give a long terrifying shriek before vanishing.
Toilet stories aside, even cinema-goers weren’t spared!
The cinema has two levels. On the upper level, it is said that there were two haunted seats. “Those who accidentally sit on it would experience scratches on their bodies,” Cheng added on by relating on the many incidents he used to witnessed as a former worker at the Oriental. “People would often come out of the cinema bloodied, with scratches on their face, both legs and hands.”
Soon enough, a medium was brought in to ease the ghosts. He performed a ritual to bless the cinema and red cloths were draped on the haunted seats. Since then, they were never to be seated again. Neither have the toilet ghosts made its presence to anyone.
In the early 80s, the cinema had ceased its operations. Now, the building is used by enterprising folks to breed swiftlets for prized bird nest.
2. Meng Seng charity building, Jalan Bendahara
Femes for: Sobbing ghosts, ghosts of little children, even ghosts of previous caretakers…hmmm
The Ming Sing charity building at Jalan Bendahara was also once occupied by the Japs. It’s notorious for being used as a torture house. The suffering and deaths at Ming Sing are far more gruesome compared to the occurrences that happened in the old cinema building at Jalan Tengkera. Here, prisoners held captive by the Japanese were tortured badly.
It has been said that the pain they suffered were so excruciating that their screams could be heard echoing throughout the night. Those who were found guilty for committing treason towards the Japanese were executed in the most horrifying way: having their heads chopped off with a single swift from the samurai sword or, die a slow painful one by being bludgeoned to death. Shivers up your spine yet?
In the present, the building is still standing and is used for another purposes. It is now a charity house, but the eeriness that envelops the whole place remains. (Check out this rare, creepy YouTube video that shows what’s in it!) Even in broad daylight, it looks dark and gloomy. Those who enter the premise will feel an unmistakable feeling of death, as if the building is aware of the evil that contained inside it.
Caretakers of Ming Sing tell us that they’ve seen and experienced all sorts of weird things, so much so we reckon it could even rival The Exorcist. When night falls, whimpering sobs from the unknown could be heard from the main stage inside the hall. The cries will go from soft to a loud, heart-wrenching sorrowful one. It was downright creepy. Some say that these are the restless spirits of the ghosts that have died under the hands of the Japanese.
In the corner, right in front of the main entrance are several toys of sorts displayed on the floor. The rocking horse especially, would move by itself, rocking hard and vigorously as if a maniac was riding on it. When it stopped, little footprints could be seen imprinted on the ground, following sounds of children giggling and laughing. According to the older folks, little children from as young as five years old were also taken away by the Japanese from their parents. After that, they were never heard of again.
Strangely, the caretakers are not bothered by the disturbing. They said that both ghost and man have learned to co-exist together as the years passed by. It has also been said that the old caretakers have all died and became among the ghosts that haunt Ming Sing.
3. Pulau Besar, coast of Melaka
Femes for: Djinns, ghosts of mischief, demonic figures and all kinds of spiritual entities
Pulau Besar is an island located off the coast of Melaka. Besides having many legends, malevolent djinns and mischievous ghosts are rumoured to inhabit it. People who visit the island have witnessed all kinds of strange happenings. Many have complained that they were gripped by an invisible being while walking along the shores, only to turn around seeing nothing. There are also some who have seen a demonic figure standing near the huge rocks facing the sea. It has a menacing look and will quickly disappear out of sight into the crashing waves.
The resorts at Pulau Besar are also not spared. Guests who have spent the night have said to experience tugging at the bedsheets while sleeping. The rooms would also have an unusual chilly sensation, even if the air-con wasn’t turned on. The scariest part? When one is lying on the bed with his/her body facing the right, he/she would feel something breathing heavily onto the neck. 😯
The mystical Pulau Besar also has a number of rules as the ground is considered sacred. If one disobeys, a bad omen will befall him or her. Sometime ago, a boat capsized nearby the waters of the island. Luckily, no one drowned. Locals say that the people on the boat were cursed as they induced the wrath of the supernatural beings on the island. So guys and gals, be on your best behaviour if you intend to step foot as you have been warned.
4. Nine Storey building, Jalan Bendahara
Femes for: Ghosts of those who have committed suicide, and maybe other spiritual entities???
The nine storey blocks of apartment in Jalan Bendahara is notorious as the place of last resort for those who are feeling suicidal and depressed. At the very top of the building, they’d jump straight down like Superman and fall to their death.
Since years back, many suicides have occurred at Nine Storey so much so that people have lost count. Chinese newspapers in Melaka often reported about these deaths along with horrific, graphic images plastered on the front page.
It is a Chinese belief that those who die violently would come back as angry lost souls, wandering around aimlessly at the place where they first took their life. The same goes for the ghosts of the Nine Storey building. Residents who reside there have plenty of spooky encounters that would scare you for a lifetime. Figures and apparitions often appear along the apartment corridors and hallways. For example, a long haired female in red is often sighted standing on the ledge of the balcony on the ninth floor.
Buddhist monks and taoist priests have also often been called by the community members of Nine Storey to bless the place and exorcise the spirits. During Ching Ming, residents will offer and burn all kinds of offerings at the ground floor of the apartment to appease the ghosts of the suicide victims.
With the advent of modern development in Melaka, many of the younger residents have moved out into newer and better places. But the older ones stayed behind and remained with the wandering spirits of the old apartment.
5. Bukit Cina, Jalan Bukit Cina
Femes for: Ghost of princess Hang Li Po and other ancient ghosts from long time ago…etc.
Bukit Cina at Jalan Bukit Cina is a hill that is completely surrounded by old Chinese graveyards. You know what they say about graveyards and ghosts… If there’s a graveyard, you gonna find a ghost.
The graveyards at Bukit Cina are so old that they date back to at least a few hundred years. According to grandfather of two, Mr Tan from Jalan Semabok, an ancient ghost from a royal lineage is said to wander the hills. Her name is Princess Hang Li Po. Those who study history will know that she was the consort of Sultan Mansur Syah, the ruler of Melaka during the mid 15th century. When Hang Li Poh died, her body was said to be buried amongst the hills of Bukit Cina. But till today, nobody knows the exact location.
As centuries passed by, the hillside was no longer used for burial grounds. Now, it is a joggers’ paradise. But 82-year-old Tan and other old people say that back in the day, the sight of a young female figure draped in ancient Chinese clothes wasn’t uncommon. She is likened to a beautiful celestial being with the most stunning face that can melt even the coldest of heart. The eldery Tan and many have said that, perhaps… could that be the ghost of the Hang Li Po?
6. Jetty at Portuguese Settlement
Femes for: Spirits that dwell inside the sea waters, underneath the jetty
Unlike the other stories we’ve highlighted, the jetty at the Portuguese Settlement situated not far from the Portuguese Square seafood stalls was initially not haunted.
Joseph, a Eurasian fisherman and Portuguese Settlement resident, said that the horror hid in the waters surrounding the jetty. At daytime, the jetty seems normal under the bright sun. It is the perfect place to hang out and enjoy the view of the straits of Melaka. The 42-year-old Joseph said that by nighttime, locals would avoid it liked the plague. You see, there are deadly water spirits lurking in the waters, below the jetty.
The seasoned fisherman adds that people have seen the water spirits at night. They’d rise up from the sea and manifest themselves in huge dark shadows, and within seconds, they’d vanish back and disappear out of sight. Joseph continued by saying that local fishermen on their boats would be so terrified that they’d scramble back to the shore, even if they hadn’t caught anything.
But don’t worry – Joseph said that so far, the water spirits have not harmed anyone. Neither have they dragged any unlucky person’s soul and pull them right into the watery grave. 😯
Wah! Why Melaka so scary one??
But whether or not you believe it, or if you’ve experienced these spooky incidents yourselves, one thing’s for sure – Melaka is truly a historical place with a million stories to tell, regardless of whether or not they make your hair stand on ends.
Because a lot of old buildings mah. And you know what they say, old buildings means surely got ghosts.
So the next time you visit Melaka, we hope you’d be daring enough to visit these places. Not just for history, but perhaps for a little glimpse into the underworld. *cue Ju-On music*