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bukit brown cemetery
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The creepiest haunted places in Singapore

Gather the gang and head out to these creepy haunts for some paranormal activity spotting. By Ben Lim

By Delfina Utomo
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In a land-scarce city that hardly sleeps, even the dead can’t always find a proper resting place. We wander across the island in search of the most haunted places. Take note, while some are free and easy for you to explore, some of these spots are located on state land or private property so we wouldn't recommend checking it out – lest you get caught by something scarier than the ghouls: law enforcement. Happy hantu-hunting – and remember to wear a mask while you're at it.

RECOMMENDED: 10 local myths and superstitions that every Singaporean should know 

Sembawang Park
Photograph: Clara Ann / Shutterstock

1. Nee Soon Rubber Estate

Haunted by Pontianaks – waiting on residents’ balconies and doorsteps, calling out to those fishing at the canal, or staring at people crossing through Sembawang Park.  

The story behind it Sembawang is where the Nee Soon Rubber Estate used to sit. Yup – that’s a whole field of rubber trees, which are known to be the favoured residence of these restless female vampire ghosts. They sure love those trees – their spirits apparently still remain even though the estate has since been cleared to make way for flats and industrial buildings.

Accessibility The rubber plantations covered a vast area around Yishun, Sembawang and Seletar, but your best bet is to take a night walk in Sembawang Park if you dare.

Pulau Tekong
Photograph: Tunafish1990 / Wikimedia Commons

2. Pulau Tekong

Haunted by Among many others, the ghost of a disembowelled recruit, a white, long-haired figure at Jacob’s Ladder and a grandma and grandson duo who wander the bunks at night to disturb sleepless recruits.

The story behind it There’s no saying if the ghost stories have roots in the early history of the island when it was inhabited by a majority Chinese population, or if they sprang up after Tekong was taken over for military use. But these spooky stories have become something of a rite of passage for fresh recruits – just ask anyone who’s gone through National Service and they’ll have a tale or ten to tell you about Tekong.

Accessibility Fall in recruits, there’s no escaping this one. The rest of us might have the chance to visit if we’re sending a family member off for Basic Military Training.

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Old bus stop
Photo: Dickson Phua/Fickr

3. Old Tampines Road

Haunted by Pontianaks (yup, more than one apparently!), the vengeful spirits of women who have died during their pregnancy or childbirth that continue to linger in the area.

The story behind it While there is no official recorded history – as with most ghost stories – many riders and cyclists have said to feel 'extra weight' when passing through the long and quiet stretch late at night. On top of that, there is always a sweet, floral scent lingering in the air during these incidents. 

Accessibility The road has been upgraded and a lot of the spooky trees have been cut down but you can cruise through at 2am if you dare.

Matilda House
Photograph: Wikimedia

4. Matilda House

Haunted by No one actually knows! There were rumours that there was a lady with long hair in the trees in the surrounding area and that some workers actually died while working at Matilda House.

The story behind it Matilda House was built in 1902 by Irish lawyer Alexander Cashin for his wife – and was named after his mother. The house stayed in the Cashin family for a while until it was left abandoned before the government acquired it. Legend has it that the house 'refused' to be demolished with stories saying unexplained forces would always get in the way of tearing down the house or any major renovations.

Accessibility In the end, Matilda House was incorporated as the clubhouse of a private condominium in Punggol. We haven't heard any spooky stories... yet. 

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School
Photo: RIchard Lee/Flickr

5. Every Singapore school

Haunted by Spirits of girls who committed suicide in toilets, shadowy figures (especially in the Design and Technology block), Pontianaks with a penchant for education. 

The story behind it There really is no science behind it but every school in Singapore seems to have its own spooky stories. Just ask your friends about their own school horror stories and you'll notice there will be some parallels. 

Accessibility You won't walk into someone else's workplace so don't be dropping by other people's schools. 

6. National Museum of Singapore

Things to do City Hall

Haunted by The wandering spirit of former museum director, British doctor and naturalist Carl Alexander Gibson-Hill whose death was regarded as suicide. 

The story behind it We don't know the exact tale but many have claimed to have seen and felt unnatural forces at the notorious Victorian-style spiral staircase which has a reputation for being the most haunted spot in the century-old museum. 

Accessibility Visit the museum all you want but the staircase are closed off to visitors. We wonder why.

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Bedok Reservoir
Photograph: Allan Jarina

7. Bedok Reservoir

Things to do

Haunted by The restless souls that took their lives at this infamous reservoir.

The story behind it Considered a suicide destination, Bedok Reservoir has met six suicides between 2011 to 2012 where the sixth body was found on the morning of an inter-religious blessing ceremony. The blessing ceremony was organised to rid the evil that surrounds the area.

Accessibility Still a popular jogging spot, with a bunch of suicides to its name.

Kubur Kassim
Photo: Shahril Azlan/Kubur Kassim @ Siglap

8. Kubur Kassim

Haunted by The 'Orang Bunian' – a supernatural human-like creature from Malay folklore. It's also said that a Pontianak resides here and was the inspiration behind the Malay classic film Pontianak.

The story behind it If the name doesn't strike you as uncanny, get this: 'Siglap' literally means 'the dark one'. Aptly named after an incident that involves a solar eclipse in 1821, the quaint neighbourhood has a dark, creepy past and is home to Kubur Kassim, a 90-year old Malay cemetery. And if you look hard enough, you'll be able to spot grave plots dedicated to the 'Orang Bunian'.

Accessibility We recommend sticking to visiting hours.

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Palawan Beach
Photograph: Shutterstock

9. Sentosa Island

Things to do Sentosa

Haunted by The ghostly soldiers that are seen at quieter spots on the island.

The story behind it Sentosa was formerly known as Pulau Belakang Mati which translates to 'Back Island of Death'. Many executions took places on the island's pristine beaches during World War II when Singapore was under the Japanese Occupation which explains the sightings.

Accessibility It's the State of Fun, how can we resist.

woodneuk house
Photograph: sunriseOdyssey/Flickr

10. Woodneuk House

Haunted by Creepy sightings that include random shadows, spirits, poltergeists and even phantom scents.

The story behind it Previously known as Istana Woodneuk, this now-abandoned house is located in the deep woods of the Holland Road and Tyersall Road area. It was once occupied by a Sultan of Johor, but now remains empty and covered in vegetation and decay. What's creepier is the fact that the spot is not charted on the map of Singapore and is, therefore, out of bounds. Unless you've got stellar hunting skills, of course.

Accessibility Don't do it, the house is state property and you can (and will!) be caught for trespassing.

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Changi Hospital
Photograph: Supplied

11. Old Changi Hospital

Haunted by The restless souls of those who were tortured to death or executed by the Japanese during World War II, as well as a security guard who used to work there.

The story behind it Used by the Kempeitai (Japanese military police) to hold more than 50,000 Allied prisoners-of-war and as a torture chamber during the Japanese Occupation, it was vacated in 1997, four decades after it was first built, when the new Changi General Hospital was opened. The abandoned building still stands and occasional ghost tours are held there, which has added to its reputation of being one of the spookiest places in Singapore.

Accessibility Don't get caught for trespassing! But you can still observe from afar or from Raintr33 Hotel (which used to be part of the hospital). 

Amber Beacon @ East Coast Park

12. Amber Beacon at East Coast Park

Haunted by The restless spirit of a young woman who was supposedly raped and murdered there still lingers on the steps of the spiral staircase.

The story behind it A local couple was stabbed by two unknown assailants while chatting on the steps of the tower in 1992. The woman, then only 21, died before the police arrived, although there was no evidence to suggest that she was raped. The murder remains unsolved to this day. 

Accessibility The tower is still there if you want to check it out.

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13. Bukit Brown Cemetery

Things to do

Haunted by Pontianaks, Singapore's favourite female spirit.

The story behind it Bukit Brown Cemetery, otherwise known as Kopi Sua, is one of the oldest Chinese cemeteries in Singapore and is home to over 100,000 tombs. So it makes sense that this place will give you the heebie-jeebies. 

Accessibility Overgrown and hidden, it's not easy to get to most parts of Bukit Brown. If you're game, download the self-guided trail from Singapore Heritage Society and get exploring. 

Neo Tiew Estate

14. Neo Tiew Estate

Haunted by A pontianak (a spirit of a banana tree – one of the scarier supernatural beings in Malay folklore) who has been trapped there since a gambler refused to remove the seven pins placed in the tree to coerce it into helping him win the lottery.

The story behind it Named after the businessman who helped develop the Lim Chu Kang area in the early 20th century, the abandoned estate – comprising a trio of three-storey blocks, a wet market and a playground – was built in 1979 and is currently used for urban warfare training by the Singapore Armed Forces after being sold en bloc in 2002.

Accessibility The area is now restricted but you can still look at it from afar. Still creepy, we admit.

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Macritchie
Photo: Kodomut

15. Syonan Jinja

Haunted by The spirits of the Japanese soldiers who committed mass ritual suicide via seppuku (literally ‘bellycutting’) to preserve the shrine’s sanctity.

The story behind it Built in 1942 by British prisoners-of-war and Japanese soldiers, the shrine was dedicated to the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu and used to commemorate fallen Japanese soldiers. It was demolished following the Japanese Imperial Army’s surrender but legends persist that a massive treasure – most popularly believed to be the fabled Yamashita’s gold plundered during the South-East Asian campaign – remains hidden there.

Accessibility This area is also closed off to the public now.

SMRT

16. Bishan MRT

Haunted by Phantom passengers who do not cast any reflections on the windows and, according to construction workers who built the station, a funeral procession on the train tracks with a headless ghost.

The story behind it The station and the surrounding housing estates were built on the site of the former Kwong Wai Siew Peck San Theng, one of the largest Chinese cemeteries in Singapore before it was exhumed in 1982.

Accessibility Some of us go through the station every day.

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17. Haw Par Villa

Things to do Kent Ridge

Haunted by As if they weren't scary enough during the day, the wax statues depicting condemned souls are said to come to life at night, filling the infamous Ten Courts of Hell exhibit with tortured screams.

The story behind it The Burmese Aw brothers, who made their fortune selling the Tiger Balm heat rub, lent their first names Haw (‘tiger’) and Paw (‘leopard’) to the theme park, where children could learn about traditional Chinese myths through the vivid wax dioramas. It’s truly one of the more bizarre corners of the island – no wonder people think it’s haunted.

Accessibility It's still a popular and interesting place to visit if you like exploring offbeat Singapore.

The Devil’s Bend @ Old Upper Thomson Road

18. The Devil’s Bend @ Old Upper Thomson Road

Haunted by The spirits of drivers who were killed while trying to navigate this tricky hairpin bend.

The story behind it Part of the race route of the original Singapore Grand Prix – which was held from 1961 to 1974 until it was discontinued due to its high fatality rate – the poorly-lit stretch is still a favourite haunt for illegal street racers and thrill-seekers. The most recent accident claimed the lives of two passengers when the car they were travelling in plunged into a ditch in 2008. 

Accessibility Sure you can drive through the area but please be alert and careful.

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MRT train

19. Novena MRT

Haunted by Numerous sightings of headless apparitions have been reported at the underpass linking it to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore building.

The story behind it Another MRT station built on the grounds of a former cemetery. In this case, its history is tied to its name, which originated with the weekly Catholic novena prayer sessions held at the nearby Church of St Alphonsus (also known as the Novena Church). It was used as a Jewish cemetery until its exhumation in 1985. 

Accessibility Ride all you want through this station. 

20. Changi Beach

Things to do Changi 

Haunted by The screams and cries for help of the civilians executed by Japanese soldiers during World War II.

The story behind it In one of the first massacres carried out during the infamous Sook Ching operation (literally ‘cleansing purge’ in Mandarin), 66 Chinese men were executed by firing squad at the water’s edge on February 20 1942. 

Accessibility A popular spot for families, the picnic crowds and just to chill out. There are several beach areas to hit and parking lots if you're driving.

The most haunted places in Singapore: according to the experts

ghost
Photo: MontyLov/Unsplash

Seekers Paranormal Singapore

Ghost hunting isn’t exactly your usual pastime but these guys take it seriously. 

Singapore is haunted. And it must be true – with volumes upon volumes of books published about schools inhabited by dark shadows, long-haired female spirits that flag down taxis and the souls of those who died a violent death... the list goes on. We reached out to Seekers Paranormal Singapore, established in 2011, to find out more about Singapore's spookier side. They are a group of individuals who have more experience (and guts) than us with the other world. Whether you take this as a ‘to explore’ list of places to avoid at all costs, here are the most haunted places in Singapore according to the experts.

lim chu kang
jnzl/Flickr

Lim Chu Kang

FACTS Following a fight between a couple, there was a murder here in July 2016. Clumps of hair, pieces of burnt fabric and a burn mark on the ground were found at the scene, but the full body of the female victim remains to be found till today.

ENCOUNTER The Seekers Paranormal team state that the burn mark is still present on-site and its surroundings are quiet and spooky. They also found a banana tree with its blossom – known as a heart – intact. It is believed that banana trees with its heart attached are a favourite haunt of pontianaks, or vengeful female spirits.

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Neo Tiew Estate

Neo Tiew Estate

FACTS There are many abandoned buildings in Lim Chu Kang including Neo Tiew Estate, a cluster of uninhabited HDB blocks. The whole area underwent en-bloc in 2002 and its residents moved to Jurong West. Once it was vacated, the estate fell into disrepair. It is currently used as training grounds by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

ENCOUNTER Before the SAF took over the grounds, the team dropped by to investigate the hauntings. While they were there, it was a hotbed of paranormal activity. They heard a baby crying, sounds of someone cleaning up the area and things dropping on the floor. These days the location is protected by the SAF so don't even try to sneak in.

Jalan Kubor Cemetery
Photo: Delfina Utomo

Jalan Kubor Cemetery

FACTS Jalan Kubor Cemetery is the oldest Muslim cemetery in Singapore. It contains the graves of many prominent Malays and Muslims from the 19th and 20th centuries. The cemetery is made up of three sections: one plot reserved for Malay royalty, an adjoining site for Muslim burials that came under the care of the Aljunied family, and a third area originally designated for Indian-Muslims that became popular with Bugis and Banjar merchants.

ENCOUNTER At first look, the cemetery is not that big. Still, the team didn’t manage to enter the premises as there was a huge python on the cemetery gates. They tried to shoo the python away but it wouldn’t budge. Because snakes feature a lot in dark magic and the occult, the team believe that it was not an ordinary python but a guardian of the cemetery, forbidding them from entering as the grounds are sacred.

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Pulau Ubin
Photo: Dewi Nurjuwita

Pulau Ubin

FACTS If you didn’t already need know, the famous Pulau Ubin summit is called Puaka Hill – which translates to haunted hill. There’s also the mysterious German Girl Shrine, creepy mangrove swamps, abandoned kampong houses and more to be discovered. With more wildlife than people on the island, there's bound to be ghostly tales and sightings, especially after the sun sets.

ENCOUNTER While mainland Singapore only has one last remaining kampong (Kampong Lorong Buangkok), Pulau Ubin still houses multiple kampong clusters. The team investigated an abandoned kampong, which the local residents claim to be haunted. As soon as they entered one of the houses, they heard the voice of an old lady telling them to go away in Mandarin. Most of the houses are still furnished although

scary
Photo: Enzo B/Unsplash

Ghost hunting tips by Arai, head team operations of Seekers Paranormal Singapore

1. At all times, we don’t call each other by our real names when we’re on location. We go with a call sign pre-assigned to each person.

2. Minimal light or no light is better unless there is an accident during the exploration or if someone is possessed.

3. Communicate via walkie-talkies because there is a high chance the group will separate or break up to explore different areas.

4. Don’t run if you hear or see anything during the exploration as it could be dangerous.

5. It’s going to be dark and you can’t see your surroundings clearly. Always have one person stationed at the base or have a location assigned for when accidents occur or when things go awry.

More paranormal activities

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