On the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, the gates of Hell open and ghosts roam freely among humans. Welcome to the Hungry Ghost Festival! Not to worry, though: they’re after food, not us. In the name of journalism, we did some digging to uncover the favourite haunts of ghosts (geddit?) when they’re not searching for offerings. Warning: this list of haunted places in Singapore is not for the faint-hearted… or tiny kids! But your teens might enjoy a slice of spooky action… if you can handle being chaperone!
1. Old Changi Hospital
The vacated colonial-style building, constructed as part of a military base where more than 50,000 prisoners were detained during the Japanese Occupation, is definitely not for the faint of heart: crying and moaning sounds in the vicinity and fearsome sightings of shadowy figures have been numerously reported. Little wonder it’s been named as one of the most notoriously haunted places in the world.
2. Neo Tiew HDB Estate
This small public housing estate situated in Lim Chu Kang was vacated in 2002 under the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme, but it remains empty and deserted. Currently used by the Singapore Armed Forces for military trainings, these low-rise HDB blocks were gossiped about as being rife with vengeful banana-tree spirits, and residents in the area have claimed to have seen pontianaks (female vampiric ghosts in Malay mythology) outside windows.
3. Haw Par Villa
OK, this one isn’t so much haunted as just a bit strange. The former theme park, also known as Tiger Balm Gardens, is just as freaky in broad daylight as it is at night. The site is full of weird and wonderful statues that depict Chinese legends and folklore. Probably the spookiest spot on the property is the Ten Courts of Hell, which describes in gruesome detail the torture and punishments for sins committed in one’s lifetime. There had been rumours that Haw Par Villa was the location of the gates to Hell, and security guards have spoken about how the place would come ‘alive’ at night.
4. National Museum of Singapore
Beautiful as it looks, the Victorian-style spiral staircase at the century-old museum is where the wandering spirit of the former museum director, Carl Alexander Gibson-Hill, has been seen. Others have reported cold spots as well as sightings of a priest-like figure, plus there have been several reports of people being stopped and tripped by an unseen force when they attempted to climb it. Little wonder that the stairway is currently sealed off from the public.
5. View Road Hospital
A secondary mental health institution built to ease the overcrowding problem at Woodbridge Hospital in 1975, and later a foreign workers’ dormitory named View Road Lodge, this now-unoccupied property is said to have trapped both the living and the spirits of past patients within. A strange watchman, phantom scents, poltergeists and bloodstains have also been reported.
6. Yellow Tower at East Coast Park
The spirit of a rape-and-murder victim supposedly lives up at the Amber Becon Tower near Carpark C. Paranormal investigators, as well as some passers-by, claim to have seen a female apparition and heard cries for help.
7. The Coloured Houses
Endless horror stories have surrounded the Red, White and Green Houses for decades – though all three properties are currently off-limits to keen explorers due to redevelopment, so don’t get any ideas. In the Red House at Pasir Ris, a doll on a rocking armchair has been spotted inside, and the pair of eerie-looking stone lions marking the entrance have been said to turn their heads to stare at trespassers. The White House in Punggol, also officially known as the Matilda House, is said to be home to evil spirits, and a long-haired woman has reportedly been seen sitting on the branches of surrounding trees. Then there’s the supposedly haunted Green House, or Hillview Mansion – an unfinished property on Bukit Gombak said to be haunted by its previous owners who were killed in a fire.
Top image: Old Changi Hospital; Haunted Changi