Thursday, October 20, 2016
Three Headless Datuk (三个无头拿督)
Perhaps I should first explain that ‘datuk’ is a title honouring a person; but the ‘datuk’ in this context refers to local spirits almost synonym to the Chinese earth god. Datuk worships are specific to Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese mainly. There are many forms of datuk and I have also posted some writings about the datuk. As you have guessed it, the datuk spirits are normally wandering spirits of a place.
My pal bought some pretty old buildings around when Penang was being announced as ‘world heritage’. One of this buildings is situated in Tanjung Bungah and it was formerly the Haishan (海山) headquarter but later turned to be the Japanese Imperial Army headquarter during WWII. After the war, it was taken over by another underground society member and after changing hands for a few times; my pal bought it as long term investment.
When he just took over the place, he converted this old mansion to house his Indonesian workers. But strangely speaking, none of the workers could stay very long in that mansion. After a while, news of the mansion being haunted spread to my pal’s ears. So, he called one of his more senior worker and enquire about the haunting incidents.
According to his worker, many people saw the ghosts of three headless men wielding machetes in the dead of the night yelling: “Return our heads to us…” These headless ghosts normally being seen rose from a well located at the back of the mansion. Some of those workers even sworn that these headless men chased after them when they visited the toilet at night. At times too, noises of marching could be heard in the front yard.
Later, my pal asked a spirit medium to the haunted mansion and invoked those spirits into the medium’s body in order to pacify them. Unfortunately, when the headless spirits possessed the medium, they couldn’t talk. After the session ended, the medium told my pal: “These ghosts have no head, they cannot talk.”
So, the following day, my pal called me for help.
I visited the haunted mansion with my pal, after meditating for a while; I told my pal to set up a small datuk shrine at the north-eastern corner of the compound. In addition, he also need to setup the 5 heads of the 5 legionnaire armies (五营兵). Since there are also some spirits of Japanese Imperial Army, it would take a battalion of soldiers to iron out the disputes between the headless ones and the Imperial Army.
Now with the 5 heads in place, the medium is invited again so that those headless spirits could speak through the medium. This time, the headless one was able to talk. According to the narration, the three headless ghosts were once resistance force members being executed by Japanese Imperial Armies. Their heads and bodies were being thrown into the well… Now that the shrine is setup; the spirits promised not to disturb the workers again. And indeed, they did keep their promise.
The mansion was sold last year. Of course, I am not sure what happened to the three headless one next.