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Home > Horror News > Local Horror News > Are Ghost Grounds For Divorce?
Are Ghost Grounds For Divorce?
By: RSS/News Feeds

The Electric New Paper :
Woman claims husband using spirits to get divorce. Will her claim stand up in court?
MY husband has used supernatural means to get me to divorce him.
By Teh Jen Lee

21 August 2006
MY husband has used supernatural means to get me to divorce him.

He unleashed a spirit at me.

That’s what Madam Tan, 45, a receptionist who lives in the Lakeside area claims.

We are not using her real name because she doesn’t want her two sons, aged 18 and 20, to be affected by her case.

Madam Tan says she is not planning to start divorce proceedings now, she is gathering evidence just in case. She even called the Singapore Paranormal Investigators (SPI) to verify the presence of ‘evil spirits’ in her 4-room flat.

Will her case stand up in court?

Lawyers who spoke to The New Paper on Sunday said they had not come across legal cases here involving paranormal activities before.

But some do say she may have a case, though not in the paranormal sense.

Mr Lim Kim Song, a lawyer with 15 years’ experience, said: ‘Whether or not the flat is haunted, if Madam Tan can prove that her husband’s actions relating to the occult are threatening and intended to cause her harassment, alarm or distress, she can sue him under Section 13A of the Miscellaneous Offences Act.’

The penalty is a fine of up to $5,000.

Mr TU Naidu of T U Naidu & Co said that if Madam Tan can prove that she’s affected and fearful of the spirits in the house, then that is a form of mental abuse by the husband who is leading her to believe that there are spirits there.

He said: ‘But proving it will be difficult. I don’t think she will succeed. Even if the guys from SPI detect spirits in the flat, is the court going to accept that?’

Mr Mahmood Gaznavi of Mahmood Gaznavi & Partners said there could be a case for mental abuse, but Madam Tan has to prove that her husband’s actions has led to her distress which has in turn affected her mental condition adversely.

He added: ‘She would need to show medical, not paranomal, evidence.’


If she were filing on grounds of unreasonable behaviour, he said she may not have a case.

He said: ‘Suppose her husband thinks there are spirits in the house and lights candles in the middle of the night and starts jumping and chanting, that can be a form of unreasonable behaviour.

‘But the unreasonable behaviour comes from those actions, not the fact that he is doing so to exorcise the spirits.’

So he said her situation here falls outside the scope of ‘unreasonable behaviour’.

He said: ‘It’s very difficult to prove that her husband is using supernatural means to force her into divorcing him by giving evidence of the presence of ghosts. The court only gives credibility to scientific evidence.’

But in the US, one woman citing supernatural causes actually took her landlord to court and won.

The tenant who broke her lease claimed to have had spooky encounters in an old Victorian house.

The doors and windows opened on their own, the tenant heard footsteps on the second floor at night although she was the only one in the house. The last straw was when she found a pair of scissors embedded in the floor.

She moved out and demanded her security deposit back from the landlord. When he refused, she took him to court.

The tenant alleged she had pictures of foggy shapes in the rooms and the testimony of two ghost-busters who had investigated the house.

The judge ruled in her favour.

Associate Professor Catherine Tay, a law lecturer, touched on the topic of hauntings and the law in her 1992 book Hotel & Catering Law.

She wrote that hotel guests may be able to sue for compensation if they think their room is haunted.

‘The guest may suffer from lack of sleep, mental distress or annoyance resulting from ghostly encounters.

‘In line with a hotel’s duty to provide reasonable and suitable accommodation, it may be implied in the contract between the guest and the hotel that the hotelier is obliged to provide ghost-free rooms,’ wrote Assoc Prof Tay.

She made this conclusion after seeing how ghostly tales have been elevated from campfire circles to courtrooms in the US.

Lawyers said that allegations of hauntings are quite common in property disputes.

One lawyer with 16 years’ experience recalled a case a few years ago involving a contractor who failed to complete his retrofitting of a building.

‘I was acting for the building management that wanted to sue the contractor for breach of contract. The contractor said one of his workers had seen a ghost in the toilet and went crazy after that.’

The management later decided not to pursue the case for fear of bad publicity.
- Additional reporting by
Ng Hui Hui

He wants to be with mistress

MADAM Tan believes her estranged husband and his lover are behind this because he couldn’t find a good reason to divorce her.

Madam Tan is so sure of this that she wants to gather scientific evidence of this alleged haunting that she hopes can be produced in court later.

She called the Singapore Paranormal Investigators (SPI) for help.

Not surprisingly, the SPI’s probe has uncovered nothing.

Despite this, Madam Tan remains convinced.

‘I want to prove that he intended to harm me,’ she said.

‘He wants grounds to divorce me, but he can’t find any. So he brought the mistress to my home to jinx me.’

Madam Tan’s problem started last year when her husband, 51, a purchaser who works in a hotel, allegedly started having an affair.

She claims that one night in March last year, she saw a ‘a white figure’ in her kitchen.

‘The rest of my family was sleeping. I had just finished hanging the laundry when I saw something between the two refrigerators.

‘It looked like a woman in a long dress. I could only see half of her body, the rest was misty. I was so shocked, I couldn’t move,’ said Madam Tan.

Adamant that she was not hallucinating, she told her husband about the alleged encounter.

According to her, her husband suggested she get help from his colleague’s wife, whom he claimed had ‘experience in exorcism’.

The woman went to their flat three nights in a row.

Madam Tan said: ‘Together with my husband, she boiled some rice, made some tea and burnt some hell money.’

She later discovered that this woman was her husband’s alleged lover.

Madam Tan said she had ‘no problems’ in her marriage until her husband met the woman. The couple were married for 22 years, after a nine-year courtship.

Last October, her husband left home and came back only for short periods of time, she said.

Said Mr Kenny Fong, 37, founder of SPI: ‘It’s common for us to check house hauntings, but her claim that it is caused by her husband’s mistress is the first we’ve come across since SPI was started in 2000.’

About six SPI volunteers went to Madam Tan’s flat over three nights and spent a few hours there each time. They used night-vision monitoring cameras to record two hours of footage.

‘Everyone had to evacuate the house, leaving no human presence. We also had a gadget to monitor air flow and collect atmospheric data, such as temperature and humidity,’ said Mr Fong.

However, SPI’s equipment did not detect anything unusual. Nor did they find any strange object that could have caused any paranormal activity.

Madam Tan, however, believes they did not scan her flat fully.

Hallucinations? Possible, says psychiatrist

COULD Madam Tan’s supposed ‘sightings’ be a hallucination or even due to an illness?

After all, it seems as though no-one else has seen the apparitions.

Dr Ang Yong Guan, a psychiatrist with 20 years’ experience, thinks it is possible.

‘She could have been stressed. A stressed person can experience hallucinations. A depressed person can also see things or think negatively of others,’ said Dr Ang, who heads the Action Group for Mental Illness.

The possibility of a brain tumour or serious mental illness causing these ‘sightings’ is less likely, as the former causes repeated hallucinations, while the latter would have been diagnosed earlier, she said.

When we told Madam Tan what Dr Ang had said, she stood her ground.

Repeated hallucinations? No. Mental illness? Also no, she claimed. But she admitted that she had seen a psychiatrist twice last year at the advice of her gynaecologist.

She said: ‘During a menopause check-up with my gynaecologist, she noticed that I was very emotional so she asked me to see a psychiatrist.

‘I was prescribed muscle relaxants to help me sleep. It’s not unusual to see a psychiatrist.

‘It doesn’t mean I am crazy.

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