Sunday, December 4, 2016

Garley Building Fire (嘉利大夏火灾)

Almost every country would have one sort of haunted building or another. In Malaysia we have the Highland Towers, in Taiwan we have the Hua’guo Cinema and in Hong Kong there was once a Garley Building. However, on November 20th, 1996, a fire took place in the 16-story building located at 232-240 Nathan Road, Jordan, Hong Kong which has taken 41 lives and 81 injuries. The Garley building was demolished and a new building was built.

Before the fire:

Before the Garley Building fire, A music recording company, PolyGram (宝丽金) was at the 10th floor of Garley Building. This company served many of those famous Hong Kong singers such as Alan Tam (谭咏麟), Priscilla Chan Wan Han (陈慧娴) etc.

Before the fire incident, Priscilla Chan went to the recording studio to record her songs. Strangely, the lift which was supposed to stop at the 10th floor failed to stop. Instead it went up to the 15th floor. When the lift door opened, the scene was total pitched blacked as if being burnt by fire. So, Priscilla Chan felt very awkward and she just attributed what she saw as the work-in-progress of renovation work. And she subsequently returned to the 10th floor.

However, the lift could only reach 9th floor and stopped. Priscilla had no choice but to walk up to the 10th floor. During a casual conversation, she asked her colleagues if the 15th floor was on renovation but the answer was negative. Priscilla was not convinced so she returned to the 15th floor and to her astonishment, a few companies on the 15th floor were in normal operation.

At first, Priscilla thought it was her mind that was playing the tricks. Three months later, the fire broke out and the 15th floor was the hardest hit area which caused 20 odd lives. Believe it or not, the above story was told during an interview before the fire incident and there are many audiences too.

During the fire:

A singer was recording his song on November 20th as usual in the recording studio with other stuffs. They were oblivious about the fire outbreak. Suddenly the singer claimed to have heard the voice of a boy saying to him: “Fire! Run for your life!”

The singer looked around but there was no one around. So, he continued to do the recording and the voice came up again: “Run for your life! Fire outside!”

This time, this singer thought he should go out to investigate and he hinted the recording crews to go out to investigate. And to their horror, they found the walkway was filled with smoke. All of them immediately wet themselves with water and use wet towers to cover themselves and ran down the building using the emergency exit.

Luckily, all of them were saved. Even until today, the singer kept wondering who or what had saved their lives.

After the fire:

There are many classic ghost stories from Garley Building:

Right after the tragic fire incident, the Police received many prank calls where ladies who lodged police reports were yelling for help frantically shouting there was a fire. But when the fire department and police personnel arrived at the Garley Building, there was no one and no fire incident. in the Garley Building. After the police traced the lines used to make prank calls, they found that the phone number was cancelled for quite a long time.

Other than that, many people living nearby claimed to have seen a total of 20 to 30 shadows lingered by the windows at night. Yet someone claimed to have seen many human faces appeared with agonising expressions surfaced on the building wall.

After the Garley fire, the property prices around the building fallen drastically because of those ghost stories. Mr. Yu was not a believer in supernatural things and he was attracted to the super low rental charges at that time. So he rented two office units in a commercial building just opposite to the Garley Building: one for his stuffs accommodation and dwelling and the other as his office.

One night, a plum lady stuff felt her body was lifted into the air during her sleep. When she opened her eyes, she slowly returned into her bed. The lady thought she was just dreaming and she continued to stay on. Then one night Mrs. Yu visited the washroom in the midst of the night and she heard a crowd was crying pitifully and shouting for help, she immediately returned to her bed and dared not investigate further.

Within a period of 3 years, Mr. Yu, his family and stuffs had experienced more than 10 strange incidents. The most unforgettable one happened at the beginning of 2000 where Mrs. Yu was being hag ridden and she couldn’t move her body or talk. After a while, her Buddha locket suddenly exploded and only after that she could move again. As recalled by Mrs. Yu, maybe the Buddha has prevented the spiritual attack.

In another incident, an alarm clock in Mr. Yu’s bedroom suddenly rang. The clock continued to rang even he had repeatedly pressed on the stop button. So, he decided to remove the batteries. In any logical circumstances, the alarm clock should immediately stop. Instead, it continued to ring for quite a while.

Finally, Mr. Yu decided to move out from the building because the Garley building was about to be demolished.

A night watchman, Chan claimed to have seen a young couple entered a lift compartment to flirt from CCTV in his control room. He thought the couple didn’t disturb anyone so he just left them alone. The next morning, When Chan was off duty, he met the couple again. So, he casually asked them the reason that couple went into the lift. Surprisingly, the couple replied that they were in their apartment the whole night. Disbelieved, Chan returned to the control room to check the CCTV recording. And to his astonishment, he couldn’t find the clip showing the young couple in the lift anymore. Until today, Chan still wonders if the couple he saw previous night was real or…

During the demolition work:

The fire incident in 1996 in Carley Building has taken 40 lives and injured another 80. Naturally that area was very much feared off after the tragic incident, and the building was touted as a haunted building. It was abandoned until 2003 when the building was demolished to make way for a new building. At first, people thought with the demolishing of the Carley Building; old tragic memory could also be removed. However, strange things continued…

One week after the commencement of demolition work, a worker was seriously injured by a sudden explosion of a hellion fire extinguisher. Frankly speaking, a worksite accident can hardly be linked with the supernatural. But the over 100kg steel vessel that was first exploded first injuring a worker and then flew from the 3rd floor of worksite towards the 16th floor of the opposite building; and then rebounded back to the worksite; in the process created some debris which in turn injured a by passer did cause some concerns to the site personnel.

Following the demolition of Garley Building, gone are those spooky tales as the witness of a piece of modern day Hong Kong urban legend.

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