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 paranormal and try to put 10 of the best-known supernatural tales to rest.
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.
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.
Haunted by Pontianaks, spirits of females who have died during their pregnancy or childbirth that continue to linger in the area.
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.
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.
The area is now restricted but you can still look at it from afar. Still creepy, we admit.
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.
Like the Neo Tiew Estate, this area is also closed off to the public now.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.