Malaysia is a lively cultural crossroad where Malays, Chinese, Indians, Orang Aslis and various other minorities from Sabah and Sarawak interact with and to a certain extent assimilate each others societal customs. This long history of cultural collaboration has created a rich inter-cultural heritage which has inevitably adopted each others belief in ghosts and the supernatural.
There's a common belief among Malaysians in the existence of certain categories of ghosts such as, poltergeists, vampires and spirits that bring ill fortune and disease. Another belief is that ghosts or spirits often reside in animals, trees, rocks, empty dwellings, swamps and rivers. These beliefs led to the custom of making material offerings to these ghosts and spirits to either appease them or to resist and neutralise their influence by, for instance, the use of pomelos, iron and salt, which are said to be effective ghost and spirit repellents.
Drum, gongs and other musical instruments are commonly used by Malaysians when invoking spirits, propitiating them or in the rites of exorcism. Meanwhile, all communities have relied on ritual experts, such as priests, witch doctors and mediums, to appease or exorcise harmful ghosts and spirits.
The Indians, for instance, believe that ghosts congregate at crossroads. The Bidayuh community of Sarawak consult Malay healers or Bomohs to dispel the harmful spirits. The Chinese refer to the earth deity as the ‘Datuk Kung’. Food offerings made to the Datuk Kung are different from the offerings made to other ghosts and spirits in the Chinese community, as the Datuk Kung does not feed on non-halal food.
Consulting spiritualists such as shamans, healers and witch doctors is common among the ethnic groups in Malaysia. Apart from consulting their own ethnic spiritualists, the different communities in Malaysia also consult Siamese spiritualists.
One anthropological study suggest that the vampire or pontianak was originally a healing spirit of the aboriginal Semelai. The Semelai who live in the jungle invoke the Matianak (death of a child) in their healing rites. Malay folklore have however transformed this benevolent spirit into the frightful pontianak. These evil connotations have then influenced the beliefs of the other communities.
The Malay term “datuk’ is used to address spirits respectfully. The Chinese have adopted the term in referring to the earth deity, Datuk Kung (kung means grandfather in Hokkien). This earth deity is a friendly spirit of Malay origin. At its shrines, prayers are offered in Malay as it naturally does not understand Chinese dialects. ‘Datuk Musang’, a type of Datuk Kung, has its shrine in Penang. The Datuk Kung is renowned for his miraculous cures. At its birthday celebration, the halal food offered at its shrine, may include chicken curry and yellow coloured rice.
Whist there is some integration of cultural beliefs in the supernatural, there are also some differences. However, not much research have been conducted on this as well as on the specific rituals themselves.
A list of common Malaysian ghosts and spirits:
* Pontianak - vampire in white dress seeking revenge.
* Polong - unseen ghost that can be used by a black magic practitioner to harm someone.
* Toyol - ghostly children used by the owner to steal other people's money.
* Pelesit - ghost in grasshopper shape. Used by Black magic practitioner to possess someone.
* Hantu Demon - an evil spirit or demon. There are many different types.
* Hantu Air - water ghost in rivers, lakes and swimming pools.
* Hantu Raya - ghost that acts as a double for a black magic practitioner.
* Hantu Bungkus or Pocong - ghost jumping around wrapped in a white shroud.
* Langsuir - variation of the Pontianak.
* Bunian - good ghosts or jinns living in the jungle. They like helping humans.
* Hantu Jepun - World War II Japanese ghosts. They wear WWII army attire and carry samurai swords. Most are headless.
* Hantu Bukit - ghosts that haunt the hilly areas.
* Hantu Kubur - ghosts that haunt the cemeteries.
* Hantu Pari-Pari - fairy ghosts.
* Jelangkung - closet ghost.
* Hantu Laut - sea ghosts.
* Hantu Galah - very tall ghosts. As high as coconut trees.
* Jin Tanah - jinns living underground.
* Hantu Kum Kum - a female ghost carrying a tombstone as a baby asking for milk.
* Orang Minyak - the "Oily Man". Loves to rape virgins.
* Orang Halus - literally meaning small or invisible person, are elves or fairies that live in the forests
* Hantu Penanggal - heads and intestines flying without a body. Loves to suck the blood of a newborn child.
* Hantu Tetek - big-breasted ghosts that loves to hide small children inside her breasts.
* Harimau Jadian - huge tiger ghosts.
* Jembalang Tanah - underground ghosts.
* Hungry Ghosts - Taoists believe that hungry ghosts are ghosts of people that did not find everything they need to survive in their after life. If a ghost passes on, but does not have enough food, water, shelter, etc., it will come back into the world of the living to feed off of the living. They will scare you, and then they will feed off of your energy and fear.
Some hunted places in Malaysia:
Georgetown - The Deadly Junction - it is a T-Junction, located beside the Union High School, it is said that if you ever drive across it late at night, your car will go out of control and crash. Some people say that there is a tiny unknown tree which looks like a lady carrying a child beside the road, they saw her figure and the child screaming, some old folks say that she was once a "bomoh"(witch doctor) who kidnapped her sister's son, somehow they never reappeared after being seen beside this "Deadly Junction".
Ipoh - St. Michael's Institution - A group of Catholic missionaries arrived in 1912 and began to build a school next to the famous Kinta River. It did not take long for the missionary brothers who ran the school to have enough funds to erect a huge school building with unique French structural designs. When World War II broke out, the school was used by the Japanese secret police as their headquarters. Lots of torturing were carried out there. In this unique building, there were many tunnels which had since been sealed off. These tunnels were believed to be used by the Japanese to torture prisoners and to store food. Most ghostly sightings occur at the Chapel on the fourth floor of the building. People have spotted a headless Catholic brother dressed in black robe, holding prayer beads sitting facing the door which opens towards the brothers' quarter in the early morning. Those who had witnessed this incident were asked to keep it a secret so as not to scare people fearing that no parent would register their children in the school. A real skull displayed in the school biology lab was found in the school back yard.
Kuala Kangsar - Malay College Kuala Kangsar is said to be a former site of a Japanese occupation camp during World War II. Students were sometimes awakened by an entity that stares down directly at them. An invisible marching platoon can be heard in the field. So can the sound of chains. A tree on campus which stands right beside a lamp post produces a shadow of a man hanging from the tree. These ghostly sightings are typical sightings reported at old colonial administration buildings that were used by the Japanese during the World War II as 'executions' took place. These buildings include the Victoria Institution (school) and the Bukit Bintang Girls School in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Kubu Bharu - Mara Junior Science College Kuala Kubu Bharu - In various parts of the building a white flying apparition has been seen.
Kuala Lumpur - BukitTunku (Kenny Hill) . This an elite residential area in Kuala Lumpur. This is not your typical residential area as it is situated on top a hill with large old colonial bungalows surrounded by large ancient trees and green vegetation. The residences here are link only by a narrow winding road. This place evokes an eerie feeling at night and even during the day. It is said that a few years ago one of two youths who embarked on a high speed motorcycle chase on this road crashed at a dark stretch and died. Since then, there were sightings there of a young man riding a motorcycle at high speed, who will mysteriously vanished in the dark.
Kuala Lumpur - Cheras Polyclinic. This used to be a government clinic but has since been abandoned without reason. It is believed that this place is haunted by dead patients seen loitering around the area.
Kuala Lumpur - Genting Highlands Resort. This is a famous hill resort and casino. Many people who have incurred gambling debts have committed suicide here. Some visitors leaving the hotel lobby of the casino have reported seeing a man in red jump from the rooftop, just to disappear in midair. Certain rooms in the casino hotel are not available to guests no matter how occupied the hotel is. Those who have been the inside these rooms have reported that they are occupied by old Chinese ghosts. Those who witnessed this would subsequently fall ill for days.
Kuala Lumpur - Highland Towers. This is where a condominium block of Highland Towers in Ampang collapsed and killed many people in the building. This tragic event will forever live in the minds of Malaysians. It is claimed that voices of the dead can be heard at night and ghostly figures are said to have appeared at the scene. There is also a story of a taxi driver who picked up a woman passenger in the middle of the night and after dropping her off at this place, the taxi driver found her bag left in the taxi to be full of blood!
Kuala Lumpur - Pudu Prison. This old prison was abandoned after the area around it became commercialised. There are reports of a strange thin Indian man walking the prison hallways and disappearing around the corner. Screams can also be heard from the room where hangings executions took place. There were also many cases of in-prison acts of violence that led to deaths of inmates. Certain cells and holding chambers were far colder than others. The authorities are proposing to turn it back into a prison (for low security prisoners) as no one will take it up for commercial purposes. There were once plans to turn it into a hotel where guests can stay a night in the cell of the most notorious criminals.
Kuala Lumpur - Victoria Institution. This is very famous school in Kuala Lumpur. This school was a Japanese base in KL during their occupation of Malaysia. Many British soldiers and locals were brutally tortured to death at its basement and at some of its older buildings. It is said that not only are ghostly apparitions common at the night but during the day as well. There were also cases of students being possessed by spirits. The possessed boys would behave strangely, even violently, harming other students and teachers only to snap out of it a few hours later and remember nothing. Even when they were forcibly restrained, their bruises would disappear when they returned to normal.
Perak - Ipoh - Tambun. There were sighting of an old lady on the roadside.
Perak - Ipoh. Tambun Inn - Lights were reported to turn on and off and there are sounds of whispering.
Perak - Kellies Castle. It is said that sometimes doors opened by themselves and lots of scary screaming voices can be heard.
Puchong - A hunted house. It was reported that evil drawings appear on the walls. Some say it is occupied by the ghost of a woman who used to reside there.
In the end, despite our cultural beliefs in the supernatural, I suppose that stories of spirits, huntings and ghostly attacks on people in Malaysia, whilst may be real, have not and cannot be verified by any objective measurable standards.
I apologise for any spelling, grammatical or any other errors in this article. Despite my best efforts, I suspect that my concentration was impaired by an "entity" called laziness (while writing this article) resulting in my not able to identify errors and thus correct them.
Ok folks, please post stories of your own experiences or stories that you have heard about the paranormal - you have my permission to "make up" these stories. You are also encouraged to posts comments about this article for the benefit of other readers who are too shy or afraid to comment.
Please note that comments by ghosts and spirits (or aliens) are not welcome.
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