28 May 2014

A true Malaysian ghost story

Most of us who're born - more so bred - in Asia will tell you how hard it is to completely detach ourselves from the supernatural.  In our culture where the "ghost psychology" is so deeply-ingrained, any strange occurrence that cannot be scientifically or plausibly explained is almost always attributed to the paranormal.

I was born into a church-going family.  So when it comes to ghosts, ghouls, goosebumps and everything else in-between, a quick recital of The Lord's Prayer always does the trick for me.  But while I believe in ghosts, I'm also educated (and experienced) enough to not indiscriminately blame every bump in the night on spectral intervention; that's just being plain foolish.  However, there is this one incident which I struggle to logically explain to this day.  The story I'm about to tell you is true; it happened.  To me.

August 1995.  I was a young banker at the time.  A colleague (I'll just call him "Mr T") and I were in Kota Kinabalu to attend a one-day course.  We were accommodated at this reputable hotel which, because of a full house, was only able to offer us a double room instead of a twin-share.  Tired from the course and as our morning flight home was a mere ten hours away (we'd checked in late), we took the room without complaint.

3:00 a.m.  I was woken by a sound not unlike that of someone weeping.  The tone - unmistakably female - was sorrowful; mournful even.  More disturbingly, it came from within our room; of that I'm certain.  I was spooked.

"Did you hear that?", Mr T suddenly asked, startling me.  Too frightened to say anything, I took a swipe at his hips in acknowledgement.  "The lights!", he exclaimed.  In a flash, we'd switched on both bed lamps and were sitting up with our backs against the headboard, shaken - or rather, sha-king.

"Is she in the room?", I asked.  Pale-faced, Mr T nodded, confirming my fears.  The sound seemed to emanate from the foot of our bed.  There wasn't an apparition - nothing of the sort; just the weeping.  I found myself reciting The Lord's Prayer.  No good, not working.  As the weeping had become noticeably louder, I tried The Nicene Creed instead.

That was when the perspiration began.  Despite the airconditioning, I suddenly felt sweat streaming down my ears, face and neck onto my chest and back.  Even though we were both wide awake and the room fairly well-lit, the weeping went on unabated - all the time growing more and more intense and melancholic which lent to its eeriness.  By now, the sobbing had hit a crescendo and I was sweating so profusely the colour of my sky-blue tee turned navy from my perspiration.  A quick glance at Mr T told me that he too was drenched in sweat.  We felt helpless.  We were helpless.

The sobbing must have gone on for about fifteen minutes before it gradually weakened to a snivel.  And then, silence.  The both of us were so shaken we just sat there, frozen and unspeaking.

When we finally gathered the courage to get out of bed, there was only one thing on our minds.  We quickly changed, packed our gear, checked out and headed for the airport.  We didn't mention a word about our harrowing experience to the deadpan receptionist (neither did he volunteer even the smallest of gestures to ask why we were leaving in the wee hours).  We guessed he knew.

Nineteen years on, Mr T and I still talk about the incident whenever we meet up for tea.  Was it a ghost?  Someone crying in the next room?  A sick prank?  I guess we'll never know for sure, but suffice to say we both agree the experience was beyond natural.  Having said that, we are both Asian.


  1. Well done Vincent. Yes, t's hard to explain for a non ghost believer like me though the sweating was an autonomic reaction to fear. Good ditty.

  2. Nice story you have share. The ghost story has been developed as a short story format, within genre fiction.

  3. Nice story. You may like these really scary ghost stories from India:

    1. Here are some more ghost stories: