In the minimum 11 years that Malaysians have spent in school, most of us would be able to share at least one story of some spine-chilling incident or schoolmate that just seems a little… off. In fact, these stories are so universal that based on the amount of hantu stories we got, every school would have been a hospital, cemetery, or Japanese interrogation prison at some point in time!
So can you imagine being in a school where weird stuff happening was…. normal?? That’s the premise of 20th Century Fox’s (Ohai sponsor!) upcoming movie Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which opens in Malaysian cinemas on September 29th 2016. Check out the trailer:
Based on a bestselling novel by Ransom Riggs, this dark yet awesomely captivating movie tells the story of Jake Portman (Asa Butterfield), a teenage boy who comes across an orphanage for children with peculiar abilities run by the mysterious Miss Peregrine (Eva Green). We can’t begin to explain the multiple levels of weirdness involved, so you should check out the trailer above if you haven’t already.
If this isn’t enough to convince you, the movie’s directed by one of the most intriguing movie minds of all time – Tim Burton – and also stars everyone’s favorite snake hater Samuel L. Jackson 😀
That being said, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children isn’t a horror movie but its super ingenious way of explaining why regular people rarely see these strange occurrences (shhh spoilers) might be enough to make you wonder if there’s something else out there… kinda like the following cases told by CILISOS readers:
Case 1: The Tunku Abdul Rahman mural that “merdeka” at night
When it happened: Standard 6 (1999)
One thing that we expect to see in every Malaysian school is that large hand-painted mural on the main wall, either with some muhibbah or educational message in case you weren’t aware it was a school. However, Azzan’s school is a little different because…
“We used to have a Merdeka mural with Tunku Abdul Rahman on it. The problem is that during night time, Tunku’s figure is everywhere EXCEPT on the mural itself. Sometimes Tunku appears on the second floor, sometimes on the toilet wall, on the canteen wall. It creeps the hell out of the night guards.
The principal eventually decided to cover the mural with white paint, which ended the haunting. To this day the white wall remains because no one dares to paint anything else on the walls.” – Azzan
You may have heard of an old superstition that photographs imprison a small piece of a person’s soul and, as it turns out, it happens to paintings as well. There’s a well-documented case of a painting called The Crying Boy that causes mysterious fires to burn everything except the painting itself. The legend is that the boy modeling for the painting was so traumatized after watching his own parents die in a fire that his negative energy “stuck” not just to the original painting, but even in reproductions and reprints!
Perhaps this is a reason why some families refuse to have any dolls or artwork resembling a human being in their homes….?
Case 2: The girl with the million-dollar smile
From: Nur Hafeezah Mohamad Helmee
When it happened: Heard about it in Form 1 (2013). Case happened in 2009 at Tunku Kurshiah College.
If there was ever a single type of room that would cause any Malaysian’s hair to stand on end, it’s the toilet. Known for being both literally and metaphysically dirty, even people you meet in the toilet may not be who they seem to be…
“One of my seniors in a boarding school woke up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet. When she got there, she saw a girl brushing her teeth with shards of glass… without hesitation she ran back to her dorm in panic. After she told her dormmates, the whole dorm went to the toilet with her and…. saw their friend brushing her teeth. Slightly relieved she asked her friend, “Did you see anyone else?”.
The “friend” smiled, revealing a bloody mouth. Everyone ran away.
From that day onwards, everyone in that year slept early and, if someone wanted to go to the loo, the whole dorm will go with her.” – Nur Hafeezah
Creepy occurrences of the hantu kind are actually quite common across different cultures… there are at least 6 different types of toilet ghosts in Japan, and even in the open-minded west haunted toilets are a pretty common thing – like this British bar owner trying to get his “toilet ghost” back after it was stolen by a Chinese tourist (seriously).
A common explanation for this is that, psychologically speaking, we’re always feeling the most vulnerable when doing our toilet business, a trait that also exists in animals as well. If you believe in the idea that spirits are attracted to negative emotions like fear or anxiety, well, the toilet would be a very good place to hang out la. Just try to avoid looking into the mirrors.
Case 3: The princess who loved her bed
When it happened: Form 5 (2005), student at Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Integrasi Jempol.
Have you ever come across a big, fluffy, inviting bed in a shopping mall, where the only thing between your bum and dat fluffy goodness is that stupid sign that says “PLEASE DO NOT SIT”? Well, some of us do it anyway, but if you’re ever in a historical palace, you might really wanna think twice, as Nadirah found out during a visit to Istana Menanti in Negeri Sembilan:
“When I was studying in boarding school in Negeri Sembilan, I got to represent my school for a history quiz, so my history teacher took me to Istana Meranti to prepare for it. Nobody was around when we got there… just me, two of my friends, and my teacher. We went in and explored on our own.
In the princess’ room, there was a “Do Not Sit on the Bed” sign, but being a teenager, I sat on the bed of course! Suddenly I got chills and goosebumps.. I jumped out of the bed and stormed out.. I felt like something was behind me. I got out from the castle immediately. My teacher (who was already outside) asked if I had finished exploring the place, but I was too spooked and begged her to go back to school.
When I showered after that, I felt burning pain on my neck. I went out from my shower cubicle and asked my friend to see was there anything on my neck. Guess what she saw? Three long scratches down my neck!
We learnt one important lesson that night…Don’t mess with a princess – Especially a dead one!” – Nadirah
You wanna know what’s really creepy though? A 2013 report by Utusan Malaysia reported that caretakers at Istana Menanti have regularly found lights being turned on and windows opened in the middle of the night, and…. you guessed it, the bed looking as if it had been slept in.
As a rather sad footnote, we got in touch with Nadirah and she added the following:
“Sudahlah kena kacau dengan hantu… tak menang pula. Got participation cert only”
It’s okay Nadirah. We give you tickets to watch Miss Peregrine 😛
Case 4: The coin spirit that told students how she died
From: Vivien Poh
When it happened: Form 1 (2003). In SMK Tawau.
For centuries, people have been trying to figure out ways to communicate with the spirit realm, whether to contact dead relatives or ask for lucky 4D numbers (usually both). The Ouija Board would be the most popular example of a “spirit-communication” tool, where messages would be spelt out on a board with alphabets and numbers on them.
This would all be very scary if it wasn’t for the fact that the Ouija Board is made by the same company that makes Monopoly.
However, the idea of channeling spirits has been around for much longer and can be done with anything from coins to cups, though the risk of talking to dead people is that you sometimes find out a little too much:
“The teacher did not come to the class as we have already finished our year end exams. I still remember that it was about 6pm, when one of my classmates suggested that we play the “Coin God” which in Chinese means the spirit inside the coin. We can ask the coin anything we wanted to know.
I was a coward as usual so I only watched them play. Two of our Malay classmates joined as they claimed that they knew how to play it, so they wrote A-Z and 1-10 on a white paper and started to play. At first the coin didn’t move, but after my two Chinese friends pulled out, the coin started to move (maybe the coin did not like Chinese). It said H-I at first, and started answering the questions asked by my Malay classmates. What I remembered was that “it” was a 80-something year old lady, and when we asked what happened to her, the reply was – D-I-B-U-N-U-H…..
We all knew our school was once a Japanese camp and hospital. We didn’t dare touch this game again.” – Vivien
To add to the mystery, Vivien tells us that their classroom (where they played the game) has a permanently-locked room where no one knows what’s inside.
Some scientists have since debunked these “spelling games” as an unconscious movement made by the people playing it – basically that you’re unknowingly answering your own questions. But if you wanna know for sure, here are instructions to make your own Spirit of the Coin board.
Case 5: The hantu yang terlalu hensem
When it happened: Form 5 (2009)
Other than textbooks, exams and the supernatural, schools are also a great way to socialize and check out hot guys and girls. However, the guy who caught Hanis’ attention made her a feel a little more than hot under the collar:
“When I was in Form 5, during math class I saw this really cute guy by the window. It was weird because he was not wearing a school uniform so I though that maybe he was the teacher’s son or something. I kept staring at him (while the teacher was teaching btw) until I found out none of my friends could see him.
I freaked out and pretended to concentrate, but all of a sudden he was standing next to me! I didn’t have the guts to look at him, but when he walked by, I could see that the back of his head was dripping with blood and his feet didn’t even touch the ground! I fell sick for three days with a high fever, and my math teacher told me not to tell anyone else because she didn’t want the students to panic.
I kept my mouth shut until now, but I never forgot my encounter with the hot looking ghost.” – Hanis
One thing we have to point out is that we actually received a lot of these types of stories (face outside the window, feet not touching the ground, etc) but we picked this one because really, have you ever heard of an encounter with good-looking ghost? Except maybe Demi Moore la.
Case 6: The girl who became invisible
From: Khairul Bariyyah bt. Mohamad
When it happened: Form 1 (2012)
So, some of us may have heard stories of people who suddenly became invisible… some of us may have seen people who suddenly became invisible… but Kairul Bariyyah…. she… she… she actually became invisible!!! 😯 😯 😯
“I was in a boarding school when this bizarre thing happened to me. It was a norm at my school when other girls had been possessed. [Writer’s note: That’s the norm???!]
There was one night when all the students were in prep class. I was having a stomachache that night and couldn’t concentrate on my studies. My friend who was sitting next to me decided to have a group study at her friend’s class. Since I couldn’t bear the pain, I decided to take a nap, telling my classmates to wake me up when they wanted to head back to the hostel.
But, when they went to wake me up, they couldn’t see me. It was like my seat was empty at that time. So they left, thinking I went back to the hostel. But when they got back, they realized I wasn’t at the dorm either. They looked everywhere, like literally shouting my name in case I was there. But nothing. Nil. Nada. Because I was still in the classroom!
They asked permission from the warden to go to my class just to have a quick check. It was such a relief for them (and me too!) when they found me sleeping soundly on my table. I don’t know if it was something hiding me from my friends, but I am so lucky that I didn’t wake up after all the students had back to the hostel. Can you imagine what that would be like, alone in school, in the dark? Phewww~
Initially, I was treated like a VVIP when I got back to the hostel. Then I became known as the girl who sleeps a lot. D’oh 😐 ” – Khairul Bariyyah
Invisibility ranks pretty high among superpowers that people wish to have, taking the top spot in the UK this year. In fact, the idea of invisibility is so popular there’s an invisible boy in the Miss Peregrine movie (Ohai sponsor) too! Although the idea was first popularized by H.G. Wells’ science fiction novel The Invisible Man, the idea of turning completely invisible by choice has been the goal of many a shaman, yogi, alchemist, and pervert.
The key word here is “choice”, because what happened to Khairul Bariyyah may have been caused by an unexplained phenomenon called Human Spontaneous Involuntary Invisibility, where people have suddenly become invisible for a short period of time – sometimes with other people around. So if people are ignoring you, perhaps it isn’t because they’re rude. You might have just turned temporarily invisible.
Case 7: The drooling library portraits
When it happened: Standard 6
As we’ve mentioned earlier, there’s always something unsettling about looking at pictures or portraits at night… did the PM’s eyes just move? Is he watching me?
Thankfully, science (yay!) has shown that many of these effects can be explained with a combination of math and your eyes playing tricks on you. Unless you’re in a Scooby-doo cartoon, in which case you’re totally being watched. However, science may have a slightly harder time explaining this:
“My primary school’s library wall was painted with fairy tale characters like Snow White and the 7 Dwarves while pictures of our previous ministers and Malaysian historical figures were hung from the ceiling. But today, the wall is painted white and the pictures have been taken down.
Apparently someone noticed that all the pictures had drops of water around their mouth area, which after much investigation, the teachers concluded smelt like saliva. It didn’t help when we also found out that our school was in a “kawasan keras” area. WALAOWEHHHHH SCARY MAAAAN!” – Sarah
Like many other stories here, there have been similar incidents that have happened elsewhere; in this case paintings or, more commonly, statues crying. These are usually in a religious context, and the objects have been found to weep anything from herbal oils to blood. On that note though, the Vatican (because many of these “weeping statues” involve Catholic statues) apparently tests these claims, and many have been found to have plausible explanations. “Many”, not “all”. Dun dun dun~
We weren’t able to find any other accounts of photos salivating, so unless someone took the trouble to spit on all the pictures, we can only conclude that perhaps these portraits – much like the students going into libraries – were literally thirsting for knowledge.
So… are there really things that go bump in the night?
Well, this is something that no one’s been able to prove either way. In surveys that have been conducted, a pretty sizeable percentage of people still hold a belief in ghosts and the supernatural regardless of which country they’re from. However, it’s also been noted that people are more willing to attribute certain events to the supernatural if they’ve been “cued” to the idea, like being told that a place is haunted for instance.
So whether you believe these stories or not, what can’t be denied is that there’s a certain fascination that we all have with the supernatural, the strange, and the magical because these stories are kinda a trigger for something way more powerful – the imagination. We like getting scared, and we like being mesmerized by the idea of a world where people are able to do things that we ourselves can’t.
And for many of us, the safest place to indulge in this fascination is in the cinema 🙂