Friday, February 28, 2014

Ghost Of Difficult Labour (難產鬼)

Different cultures have different superstitions concerning a woman died during childbirth. In Malay culture, a mother died during childbirth may turn into a ‘pontianak’ or ‘langsuir’; both are a type of Malaysian vampire. In Chinese culture however, the dead mother will become the ‘ghost of difficult labour’ (難產鬼). This type of ghost always manifests in the form of a woman hanging a small bamboo basket with some joss paper inside on her left arm.


Below is my late grandpa’s story that happened during the Japanese occupation period which is about 70 years ago. During that time, people lived in remote places far and sparse to avoid harm from the Japanese Imperial Army. My grandpa built a small hut inside a jungle where he spent most of his daytime there and only to return to the house late at night to sleep. He was in his 20s then and if the Japanese army discovered him, grandpa would be sent to build ‘the bridge of River Kwai’ (死亡鐵路) in Myanmar. Labourers were urgently required at that time.


As late grandpa was also a member of resistance force against Japanese invasion, he had a rifle for his protection and hunting. It was quite a distance between grandpa’s hiding place and his house proper; since he had to travel late at night and at dawn, he has had many encounters with ghosts and spirits. Hence, I owed most of the ghost stories from grandpa.


Our story begins when late grandpa returned home from his hiding place somewhere just past midnight. As when he passed the front door of a ruined old cottage, grandpa heard the screaming sound of a woman giving birth, it seemed that this mother to be was in a lot of pain.


Well, my grandpa was a nosy person, due to curiosity; he stopped and peeped through the door seam and found an old lady was standing beside the mother who has a small basket hanging on her left shoulder. This old lady was holding a bloody meat ball and continuously squeezing the meat ball with all her strength. Every time the old lady squeezed the meat ball, the mother to be in bed would scream with great pain.


Grandpa felt extremely annoyed by the old lady’s behavior so without much thought at that time, he lifted his rifle and pull the trigger. It was a loud bang followed by a scream and everything was silent again. At this time, grandpa thought he was in trouble so he immediately flees the scene.


Next day, grandpa asked his neighbor concerning the mother and her child. To his surprised, not only the mother was perfectly fine; the baby was also safely born following the loud bang.


Grandpa asked the identity of the old lady who stood beside the mother’s bed but no one could give him the answer until the mother told grandpa that the figure was her mother; who was incidentally died in childbirth. No wonder old folk say that ghosts of untimely death don't have any compassion towards their kin.


More info on langsuir:

More info on Pontianak:

I am Waiting For Your Return (我等着你回來)

The place where I stayed when I was doing my diploma course was quite haunted. It was a 4 rows 4 stories apartment just off Kuala Kangsar Road, behind a primary school in Ipoh. That was about 20 years ago and I was staying in an apartment on 4th floor together with 4 other friends, one of them was a girl name Joanne. She was amongst 4 female students taking engineering course then.


There were many strange noises in the midst of the nights: sound of small marbles dropping on the floor making sound such as: ‘tick, tick, tick…’ as well as the sound of people moving furniture. No one gave that too much thought as to why kids like to play marbles in the middle of the night; or why people moving furniture at 2am every morning. Well, those sounds were just child’s play until I heard this eerie melody during the bewitching hours:



“I’m waiting for your return… I’m waiting for your return…”


At first I just thought someone in the block play this oldie as he/she just couldn’t fall asleep and nothing strange thus far. At times it seemed that someone has sang the song at a far; while at times it seemed that the person just sang it beside my ears…


I did tried to trace the where about the song came from many times just to satisfy my curiosity, but after I managed to walk throughout the flat compound; I just couldn’t find the mysterious singer.


This was just one of those nights after my exam and after I had a late night supper with some friends, I went for a walk at the apartment’s playground. There were some benches for the residents to rest. There, I saw a girl sitting on a bench towards the southern end of the playground. At this time the familiar lyric started in the air:



“I’m waiting for your return… I’m waiting for your return…”


To tell you the truth, my curiosity overwhelmed my fear at that time. So, I approached the girl and to my surprised that she was Joanne! At that time, Joanne also noticed my presence and she gave me an eerie yet cold smile and said: “Let me sing a song for you…”


My respond was then: “Singing in the dead of the night? You must be kidding!”


Joanne didn’t answer me but her head just dropped and the familiar lyric was in the air again:



“I’m waiting for your return… I’m waiting for your return…”


Suddenly I realized that that was the lyric that has haunted me for months! Joanne sang with such a sad rhythm that the more she sang; the feeling of under siege by the lyric was so immense that a feeling of chill rose from my spine. My legs started to shiver vigorously. At the same time, the street light beside the bench was flickering profusely. It is only now that I realized Joanne was possessed!


I wanted to flee from the scene but my legs seemed to be glued onto the ground. So, I have no choice but raised my voice and asked Joanne:


“Who are you? Why do you possess my friend? Is there anything I can do for you?”


Joanne remained with her head dropped to her chest, said without looking at me:


“My name is Chui Lan, I stayed here with my husband during WWII. I was sick and my husband went to town to get some medicine for me but he never returned! There was nothing I could do with my fragile body but lying in my sickbed and sing the lyric repeatedly until today…


I couldn’t be reincarnated because I have missed the light. I will leave your friend alone if you promised to deliver me so that I can be reincarnated to be with my husband in my coming reincarnation... ”


I promised to bring the lady ghost Chui Lan to see a Tibetan lama in Tambun so that the spirit can be delivered before I leave Ipoh. After hearing my promise, Chui Lan leaved Joanne’s body and I could heard some yelling from afar:


“Liew, remember your promise!”


At the same time, Joanne was herself again and she was bewildered as why she was sitting in the bench and dozed off; I couldn’t tell her the truth, of course! My friends thought Joanne and I was having heart to heart talk, but I could only smile bitterly frankly speaking.

Dead Soul Returning (回魂)

While the Malay believes about ‘hantu bangkit’ * or ‘the risen spirit’; the Chinese believes that when one died, his/her soul will return home for a final visit. It can be calculated from a set of rules as to the height of this returning soul, the day and time of its arrival and departure and from which direction that this soul is coming from.


For example the below description describes when a person died on day of wet metal (甲子):


“The dead soul will be around 18 feet tall: the male turns into green chi and landed on the southwest, the female turns into green chi and landed on the southeast. The corpse will not harden with opening eyes and shut mouth. This spirit will affect its relatives and three households in the east. His/her soul will return 18 days after his death. The spirit will come around 7pm-9pm from the east and leaves around 9pm-11pm to the north. It will stay in the kitchen during its visit.”


Armed with the above information, the deceased’s kin will prepare some food offerings on the 18th day in the kitchen. The windows or doors on the west and north sides must be opened before 7pm to let the soul in and out. Most important of all, the house deities must be covered with a piece of red cloth otherwise the soul may find difficulty in entering the house.


Some people believe the dead soul will be accompanied by the ‘cow head and horse face’ (牛頭馬面) and in some circumstances the soul may be chained. I have heard stories about people hearing sounds of chains dragging on the ground during the ‘soul returning night’ and people even swear that they have spread flour on the floor around the food offerings and found footprints and traces of something dragged through the flour. Whatever case it is, the elderly normally forbids the children to stay around the altars for the fear of interfering with the returning of the soul.


My friend, Alice told me that her mother fell asleep in the living room during the soul returning night of her father. She thought that her mother was just too tired so she just left her alone and continued to play with her iPod. After a while, voice came from Alice mother’s throat: “Ah Lin… Ah Lin… (Alice’s mother)…”


Alice got the shock of her life as the sound wasn’t like that of her mother’s; in fact it was her father’s voice! Without giving the situation too much thought; Alice started to shake her mother’s body vigorously and slapping her mom’s face with the intention to awake her mother. After some time, her mother finally awakened from her slumber and she totally unaware of what had happened.


As recalled by Alice later: “I was worry about my mom’s health really. But after that, I started to regret of what I have done. I should have taken the opportunity to ask the voice if it was my late dad visiting; and what he wanted or if he has any last words.”

In other cases, Mrs. Lim said that she actually‘ saw’ her late hubby returned but she was so scared that she hid behind the bedroom door so that the soul cannot find her. While Mr. Chan said that his late grandmother stood in front of his front door but he was too scared to open the door although he loved the grandma very much.


Many people believe that the dead soul may return in the form of butterfly, bird or giant moth. So, old Chinese folks forbid people to chase away giant insects during funeral services and the soul returning night.

* Link about hantu bangkit:


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Heard The Owl Call My Name

“I Heard The Owl Call My Name” is a novel by Margaret Craven in 1967. It is believed that when one hears an owl calls his/her name; death is near. Likewise in Southeast Asia regions, any disembodied voice calling one’s name also brings death.


Local folks believe jungle and mountains are haunted places and they should be paid with due respects. There are some taboos that whoever wanted to venture into a jungle or mountain must observe. Whoever breaks these taboos may find him/her trapped in jungles for a long time and this person may not return to civilization again. Ali, my retired local forest ranger friend once told me rules of engagement once I followed him on a jungle tracking trip:


·         One must not horseplay on entering a jungle. If one doesn’t respect the jungle, then the jungle will not respect the person.

·         It is good to bring some offerings such as tobacco, pop rice or burn some coconut husk.

·         If a person smells fragrance or foul smell, he/she must keep silent as this means there is a spiritual presence around. If one speaks out, then the spirits of the wild may play a trick on this person and cause him/her to lose his/her ways in the wilderness.

·         Likewise if one sees an apparition he/she should also keep quiet. Ali and I had seen a white figure with long hair flown across our tents while we were camping in jungle at night. When I wanted open my mouth to ask Ali about the creature, he just gave me a stare and hinted that I should not ask about what we have just seen.

·         If the person is in a group, he/she must address his/her partners by the partners’ nickname only. For the mountain spirits once learnt of a person’s real name, they may steal the person’s soul by calling his/her name; with the condition that the person responded to the call.


My late grandpa was a rubber tapper in Kuala Kangsar, Perak after migrating from mainland China in the 1940s. His first house was situated in the middle of a rubber plantation at the edge of virgin jungle about half a century ago. I can barely remember that it was up to the early 80s, there were no electricity and water supply; so you can imagine how remote his house was then. Besides tapping rubber trees, my grandpa also helped people to chop down trees as firewood.


Whenever I visited grandpa and grandma, I like to sit beside them as they would tell me their own experiences living in the jungle like environment after dinner. Well, there weren’t too many things to do under the candle lights but to listen to the grandmother’s stories.


Grandpa gave me many advices concerning old Chinese taboos and amongst one is as the above last point:


“Don’t answer to any voice that calls your name at night, in the open!”


Below is grandpa’s story:


There are many tree spirits around the old house. These tree spirits wanted to get rid of grandpa because grandpa has chopped down many trees. So, one night one of the tree spirits came to the front door and call, “Grandpa, grandpa! The mountain god is calling you!”

Apparently grandpa didn’t dare to answer his call as he knew that was the tree sprit seeking revenge. Had grandpa answered the call, grandpa would die soon…


Likewise, people believed that a hospital is another place that one shouldn’t answer to any disembodied call as there are too many dead souls in any hospitals that want to seek a ‘replacement body’ (替身). Similarly, that explains why all those who committed suicide by falling from buildings would fall to death at the same spot.


Mrs. Wong is one of my customers and she has told me her own experience after surviving the enchantment of death:


My hubby, Wong was in debt for a few millions after a bad business investment. At the same time, I had fallen ill and bedridden in a hospital. The living of the whole family depended on my daughter alone. I wanted to die in the hope to relieve my daughter’s burden.


One night, I was flip and turn in my bed and just couldn’t fall asleep. Suddenly I heard a voice calling my name. I answered and I automatically got out of my bed and walked towards the direction of the call where I saw a young lady was waving her hands at me. So I just walked straight at her.


At the same time, the scene of debtors, daughter crying, voices scolding me and blaming me for causing difficulties to my family; if I die, then their burden would be alleviated and they would also get a handsome payment from insurance…


I could only feel that there was a cold breeze indicating that as if I was at a certain height. The young lady as if floated in the mid air continued to tell me, “If you jump down, all your problems would be solved. Only if you jump down, all the troubles would be gone; only if you jump…”


Though I wasn’t myself, I continue to walk forward…


Suddenly, a cleaner yanked me down from the edge of the roof, at that time I was just a step away from falling to my death!


Had it not for the cleaner, I would have been the 3rd person falling on the same spot!”


Saturday, February 22, 2014

An Unforgettable Night On Maxwell Hill

Maxwell Hill is situated in Taiping, a district in the state of Perak. It is said that during Colonial time, the British planted some coffee plants on the slopes of Maxwell Hill, so local Chinese calls it ‘kopi sua’ (咖啡山) or literarily ‘coffee hill’. This name is still prevalent amongst the Chinese until today.


Other than the above historical background, Maxwell Hill is also famous as a recreational area. Taiping folks like to exercise a lot; we can see people hiking Maxwell Hill early in the morning and during late afternoon. Since it has a cooler climate, Maxwell Hill is also a place to escape tropical heat. There is a resthouse about 7.5 miles from the base and more bungalows further up for those who prefer to spend some time on top of the hill.


Besides Maxwell Hill is known as a tourist spot, it is also renowned as a pretty haunted hill. There is a particularly haunted bungalow half a mile away from the mentioned resthouse. This is the story of that bungalow:


Mr. Wong who has settled in USA returned to his hometown, Taiping for visiting his parents and relatives. His relatives booked the said bungalow for the family reunion as they thought Mr. Wong wouldn’t be able to withstand the extremely high local temperature that may reach a height of 95oF in the afternoon.


After a whole day’s fanfare, everyone was tired and retired to their rooms to rest leaving Mr. Wong who was still sitting in a sofa in the living room thinking of next day’s activities… He just wanted to make the most of his visit this time. Perhaps it was due to his excitement; Mr. Wong just couldn’t sleep so he just closed his eyes and rested in the sofa. Suddenly footstep sounds was heard from the outside corridor. It was ‘thub, thub, thub…’ at first from afar and gradually the sound reached the front door.


“Who could that be at the dead of the night?” Mr. Wong thought.


Without giving much thought, he opened the door to investigate as he worried that someone may have urgent issues ore needed help. To Mr. Wong’s surprised; he couldn’t find a single soul along the corridor. Indeed, not a single sound except his own breathing would be too loud comparatively speaking.


Finally Mr. Wong decided that it was his own mind that was playing the trick on him. So he closed the door and went back to his sofa for a rest. As when he thought everything was over, the sound ‘thub, thub, thub…’ repeated.


Again, Mr. Wong found himself opening up the door more due to curiosity this time but didn’t give it too much thought. Well, again, there was nothing there and it was dead silent.


Suddenly Mr. Wong felt a chill came up from his spine and shivered. It was as if he was stripped off all clothing at once. As recalled by Mr. Wong, the feeling was as if he was dipped into icy cold water.


“I felt a gust of cold air approached me inch by inch. I had goose bumps all over my body and as if even my hairs had stood up like a porcupine! I was frozen with fright and couldn’t move.”


Now the familiar sound ‘thub, thub, thub…’ was heard approaching Mr. Wong until his intuition told him that ‘something’ was at his back and a whisper was heard: “Jump down from the balcony and all your worries end there…”


“I was at a dilemma as whether to turn my back and find myself face to face with an ugly demonic face, or to follow the voice by jumping down the balcony which was about 50ft high. Well, though it was cold, sweat started to flow down from my forehead to my eyes and cheeks; and you wouldn’t believe that it took me quite an effort just to turn my back finally.


It was indeed to my surprised… there was nothing there! Even the chillness and the pressure were gone.”


After the ordeal, Mr. Wong half walk and half drag his body to his room. As when he was about to shut the door, he heard the familiar sound of ‘thub, thub, thub…’ reverberated along the corridor accompanied by the shrieking laughter of a young girl. It was more like a cry and far from joyous.


In Mr. Wong’s own words:


“I can never forget that shriek, it was more like the howling of a dog; that was the most awful and yet paralyzing laugh I have ever heard. I thought I was hallucinating due to too excited or I have mistaken the wind as the laughter…


Next day, my wife asked me in the morning if I have heard some sort of Banshee laughter at night; I just kept silent but hasten her to pack up to leave the bungalow as soon as possible.”


 So, next time when you want to spend a night on Maxwell Hill, remember to get a company and please don’t wonder outside alone after night. I am not sure if you would be so lucky to get the same bungalow as the above, but no harm of being careful.

Taboo On Entering A Tunnel

It is an unwritten urban taboo that whenever one drives through a tunnel at night, one should keep his/her mouth shut. This is especially true for those who are having bad lucks or sick. People believe that there are many spirits wondering about the tunnel and if anyone say things they shouldn’t have spoken; these good brothers and sisters will possess the unlucky ones.


Penang folks must know that there is a tunnel near Green Lane that is pretty much haunted as there were many serious car accidents that happened during the bewitching hours, i.e. between 12 midnight to 4am.


Kenny was my colleague in a MNC in Penang and he told me about his true experience with this haunted tunnel. Now, Kenny was staying in Fatty’s Park in Tanjung Bunga and the MNC where we all worked in is situated in Bayan Lepas. Everyone knows that it takes hours if one is to go from Bayan Lepas to Tanjung Bunga during peak hours during working days. In fact, it is better to travel at off peaks to Tanjung Bunga as it would only take around 45 minutes or so.


So, Kenny would rather spend time moving about after work and only to return home after 9pm. Well, that was normal working days; Kenny would stay back and only to return way past midnight especially on Fridays. Those city folks would understand what I meant.


The fact is that Kenny was a Casanova; he seldom drive alone and he always accompanied by a few female colleagues after work to disco, night clubs and bar hopping. To make long story short, this was just any other Friday night and Kenny was about to drive through the Green Lane tunnel with his lady friends.


Before entering the tunnel, Kenny suddenly open his mouth and warned his female counterparts: “No one should open the mouth on entering the tunnel!”


Well, since Kenny was a joker; no one really treated him seriously. Amongst the ladies, Catherine who was sitting in the front seat suddenly lean against Kenny and said: “Oh~ I’m Soooo scared!”


At this time, another finance lady Joan interrupted: “Oh, yeah! I see a beautiful ghost cuddling against Kenny! Hahaha!”


Kenny seconded and said: “Ah! Now I see her! She is sitting just beside me! I am feeling sooo warm. Hahaha!”


As soon as Kenny has finished his sentence, everyone felt a cold breeze entered the car and there was a presence as the pressure in the car suddenly increased. That was indeed a very strange undesirable feeling.


Now that the car has safely arrived back at the company car park; the group dispersed.


On the next Monday when the office reopened; Kenny was absent. The reason was that Kenny had an accident on his way back to Fatty’s Park. A truck suddenly appeared from nowhere and rammed into the back of Kenny’s car while he was entering the tunnel.


According to Kenny, even after months later that he has this headache and occasionally momentarily loss of memory. According to a Taoist, Kenny’s soul was lost during the last impact and it would be difficult to recall his soul because a lady ghost has caught hold of it.


Well, as a bystander, there was nothing I could do but to advise everyone to stop talking on entering any tunnels; especially at night. My take is: try if you dare… Hahaha!

Magical Use Of A Toothpick (牙簽)

You will definitely laugh at me if I ask you this question:


“What else can a toothpick do besides picking at food residues that stuck between teeth seams?”


Before I go on, I am sure that you must have this type of experience:


Some of your friends like to pay you a long visit where they just drop in your house and chat for hours. Perhaps they are over enthusiastic, or perhaps they are too talkative and these folks have perhaps forgotten that their good intentions have interfered with your daily life.


I can bet that you would be in a dilemma when visited by such a longwinded friend. On one hand you want to keep he/she company; you want to go about with your daily chores on the other. More so if you have taken your annual leave in order to settle a long delayed task.


No worries, we can make use of the below fairly simple Taoist ritual that can make a visitor leave your house fairly quickly.


When you feel that a person is disturbing your daily routine and wanted he/she to leave quickly you only need to excuse yourself for a short while, get a piece of toothpick and quietly go to your shoe rack.


If the visitor is a female, then pick up her right shoe and use the pointed end of the toothpick to inscribe the word ‘’ on the bottom of the shoe. If the visitor is a male, then take his left shoe and do the same. After you are done, arrange both shoes in such a way that the shoe tips point outwards. Immediately return to the visitor and pretend as if nothing has happened.


Believe it or not, your friend will naturally bid you goodbye soon. The good thing about this spell is that there is no side effect what so ever, and most of all; your visitor still thinks you are a very kind host.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Auditing Feng Shui With Face Reading (面相風水)

Common folks first audit Feng Shui by going to the site; experience ones audit Feng Shui by first looking at customers’ faces and ask simple questions. There are many telltale signs that we can pick up from customers before even venturing into Feng Shui proper.


Whenever a customer says that his/her house was visited by snakes, dogs howling in the mid of the night, or personally seen ghostly apparitions in the house; those are the indicators that the household is not at peace.


If the customer comes personally, we should observe his/her face carefully for if the visitor’s face is bright and shiny, then the Feng Shui of the house should be good. Although there may be some hiccups, things will sort out by themselves. The most that person will face is just a shock out of his/her wits. No big deal. On the other hand, if the aura of the person is black or grey, then the Feng Shui is definitely not good.


If a Feng Shui master is also well versed in face reading, then he/she will also look at the person’s ‘property palace’ (田宅宮) and the ‘grave area’ (墓壕) of the visitor. The ‘property palace’ refers to the current dwelling place and if this place is dark then the house Feng Shui would be a problem. The later refers to the Feng Shui of a person’s ancestral grave; if this place is dull, it indicates that the person’s ancestor may be cremated instead of burial. Or the person’s ancestral grave is destroyed or cannot be found.


In the event that the person cannot come and a representative is sent instead. We can also judge the visitor’s Feng Shui from the representative’s attitude. If the incomer is polite, then the owner should be sincere and honest. In that case, the Feng Shui would not be a big problem. However, if the incomer is fervent and instable; then the owner should be of the hot tempered and cruel. Likewise, the Feng Shui of this person would also reflect accordingly.


I would say that the above judgments are 80%-90% accurate. It is only when we have decided that there are indeed problems that we may proceed to perform a Feng Shui audit. In such a way, people would respect a master more and this is also to avoid wasting everyone’s precious time too.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Empowering Five Ghosts (五鬼運財局)

An example of Feng Shui 5 ghost setting
Five ghosts (五鬼) refer to infamous demonic forces of east, south, west, north and center in Taoist magic. There is another version of five ghost system known as the ‘five legionnaire armies’ (五營兵) and this is the most powerful Taoist ritual concerning spirits. The ordinary five ghosts and the five legionnaire armies only refer to those spirits worshipped in a temple or in private altars for personal or business gain.


Normally these militia spirits are empowered with five types of meat: chicken, duck, pork, fish and eggs together with offerings of incense and candles on the 2nd and the 14th of Chinese Lunar calendar. Some folks in special kind of businesses such as gambling or social escorts will feed the spirits with raw meat, blood and intestines. In that case, a special room would be needed specially to house them. Only designated people may enter the room as per rule.


What I have mentioned above works fine but lacks the kick. I meant by feeding incense and food will only bring the spirits thus far, the best nutrition the spirits need is the earth’s magnetic field and energy. There is a way to boost up these five ghosts especially the five legionnaires so that these good brothers and sisters can do more things to satisfy our demands. Well, we don’t just ask the spirits to sit in the altar for nothing correct?


Naturally, the best way to let the spirits work for us is to provide them with a ‘comfortable’ home. In order to serve our purpose, we must now make use Feng Shui principle to make them comfortable and to draw in energy from the environment. The method is as shown above:


·         First, one must find a house facing a lake, pond, ravine or a rice field that satisfies the following condition: the house direction must be a yang direction between two yins; or a yin direction between two yang directions.

·         Now, through calculation one must find the best place to open a door for the good brothers and sisters to bring in the fortune.

·         After that, one must choose an auspicious date to set up an altar for the five ghosts or five legionnaire armies.

·         Start offerings to the spirits as per norm.

·         This method can only be used for 11 years or disaster will fall upon the owner on entering the 12th year.


Needless to say, the above method is for those who are confident that they can control spirits or demonic forces. This method is also best suited for business premises that require customer mass such as a restaurant, hotel, casino etc. For decent folks like you and me, we would be contented with the normal ways of course. I might be wrong, but let me know if you’re one of those more ambitious ones; then let’s talk something more serious… Hahaha!