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They See Ghosts
By: RSS/News FeedsHungZai Team

Yap Kok Sun, 70, retired civil servant

“In 1992, as we were coming down from Gunung Tahan, Pahang, we came to this bamboo grove. From there, out came this Orang Asli with a very clean white robe and a staff,” recalls Yap, who has been an avid trekker and nature photographer for the past 15 years.

“He didn’t respond to any of us. I went into the grove, thinking that it was a trail. Suddenly, the trail disappeared! Everything went dark!”

Luckily, one or his friends saw him going in.

Yap Kok Sun

“I could hear him shouting ‘Turn left! Turn right!’ as he guided me out of there,” says Yap.

“The guide told us not to speak about the incident until we got back to Kuala Tahan (the National Park headquarters). Only then, he told me that I was lucky someone spotted me, otherwise I’d be gone.”

His other encounter with the supernatural was at Kenong Rimba Park, Pahang in the early 90s. There, his group of four people had decided to clean out and stay in some abandoned chalets instead of pitching up tents.

The door was open as they retired for the night. Yap slept right in the doorway with a mosquito coil smouldering nearby.

“Suddenly, there was a very loud roar,” he says.

“We all got up and shone our torches. But there was nothing. When I woke up next morning, the door was closed. Unless something lifted me and moved the mosquito coil, there was no way the door could have been closed.”

In 2002, Yap was looking for begonias to photograph for a book project at the base of a hill on Pulau Tioman.

“Suddenly there was this fragrant smell, like jasmine. Another one in the group saw two figures coming out of a rock towards us. I felt a chill then,” he remembers.

Earlier, when they had tried to hire some local guides, none were willing to go up that hill despite generous fees. The hill was supposedly spiritually kotor (dirty).

“Anyway, we just could not find the path up the hill even though all four of us looked all over. It was then that I washed my feet in the stream and I said quietly to whatever it was: ‘We come in peace. We don’t want to disturb you. We are just looking for flowers’.”

Another group member then suggested that they leave some offerings, such as sweets and chocolates, for the spirits.

“I don’t know how, but it was only after that that we saw the trail up. It was there all the time,” says Yap.

Zahid Jali, 39, ex-jungle guide

A group of 12 Malay ladies were camping on Gunung Tahan at night. One of them was menstruating.

“Suddenly she got terrified and felt that the spirits wanted to take her away,” says Zahid, who guided treks up this mountain for 10 years.

He got everyone into the big tent and asked them to say their Bismillah prayers 11 times.

“Then the spirits could not lift her and everybody could go to sleep,” he continues.

“I stayed up the whole night as a sentry. I was afraid she would wander off and we would have to get a bomoh to find her.”

Zahid Jali

After some health problems, Zahid has since retired and now does agricultural work at his kampung in Bukit Betong, Kuala Lipis, Pahang. But in his guide days, he came across ‘many cases’ like this.

“Usually it happens to women. When they get tired and fed-up, lose their spirit, that’s when they get disturbed,” he adds.

There have been cases of people getting lost because, as he puts it, “Dia punya semangat kena lokap (Their spirits have been locked up).” In such cases, one needs a good bomoh to “open the jail”.

He also remembers a case of a kampung man in Merapoh, near Gunung Tahan, who was lost in the jungle for three years.

“When he came back, he said he had been away for only three days. If you don’t have the longing to go home, you might never return. That’s why it’s more difficult to kacau married people as they have a home,” he explains.

There have also been stories of people getting lost as they hear voices calling them. Or they end up following a big fly or beautiful bird.

“The spirits know how to disguise themselves,” he quips.

And yes, he has seen “them”. Ghostly apparitions in the jungle.

“I only get fleeting glances. They are usually behind bushes,” he says. “The white ones are all right, you can talk to them. But the jahat (bad) ones look yellow, green, red . . . any colour but white.

“But I know it’s difficult to believe me because only one in a thousand have the power to see.”

His unique ‘ability’ may be because his grandfather is a bomoh. “But as the grandson, saya tak dak power dah (I have no more power),” he claims.

“According to old folks, Gunung Tahan is a place where people used to buang hantu (discard their ghosts). There was another trip when my whole group heard the sound of laughing, like a pontianak (banshee/vampire), the whole night. No one got any sleep,” he adds.

Nevertheless, that has not stopped him from going up Gunung Tahan “more than 130 times” over the years, says this ex-president of the Sungai Relau Tourists Guides Association.

For him, the most important thing before entering the jungle is the niat or intention.

“It’s about respect. The forest is their place. We go into the forest with a silent prayer: ‘We don’t want to disturb you, please don’t disturb us’. Don’t go into the forest saying: ‘Oh, I want to see ghosts’. That’s asking for trouble.”

Loh Foh Seng, 31, technician

His father is a medium, so is that why he has seen apparitions?

For Loh, it all began when he was 17. “We were camping for the night near Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands. My friend went off to ‘use the loo’ and I said to him, ‘Eh, don’t go too far away’. But he kept walking off into the jungle and I wondered why,” he recalls.

Loh Foh Seng

“Then I followed him with my torch. I only saw his back and I shouted: ‘Ah Tong, where are you going?’ Then my friend suddenly answered from behind: ‘Are you looking for me?’ Apparently he was back at the camp zipping up his tent!

“When I shone my torch toward the spot where I thought he was, there was only a tree. After that, I felt feverish.”

On another trip to Gunung Stong in Kelantan, Loh told his three friends that when they were in the jungle, “Don’t simply talk”.

“They said, ‘Where got all this one?’ And that night, they too ended up seeing three headless spirits,” he recollects.

“It was as if those things were saying, ‘OK, you don’t believe, hah . . . we will show you!’ As for me, when I see spirits, I want to see more of them.”

And so he has kept on going to Stong. On another trip, he saw a lady in white with long hair running behind a tree. Then she disappeared.

“She was barely 20ft (6m) from me. It was a small tree. There was no way that she could have hidden behind it completely.

“When I walked over, there was nothing. Then I shouted to my friends to get out of the river where they were bathing,” he says.

Loh believes that Gunung Ledang in Johor is another hot spot.

“Guides have told me stories about how people have seen strange ladies bathing in the waterfalls. There is even a place called Kolam Puteri (Princess Pool). After all, the legendary Puteri Gunung Ledang was a magical princess living up the mountain.”

Haunted sites include waterfalls, jungles and even campsites. — Starpic by SAZUKI EMBONG

His personal encounter there involved his friend ‘seeing’ someone she ‘knew’ calling out her name from the other side of the waterfall.

“She walked over and ended up falling about 200ft (61m) down the waterfall. Later, she told us that it looked like a track.

“It was a miracle she survived with only a broken leg. In Chinese, we call this hou dai mang (very big life). More than 10 people took turns to carry her out.”

But why have thousands of people enjoyed Gunung Ledang without incident?

“It also depends on your luck. If your wunn sou dai (bad luck), you will kena these things.”

In Cameron Highlands, a group of his friends were celebrating a birthday at some chalets. Soon he saw a spirit.

“ ‘Lei chorlah (it has arrived)’, I said to my friend. He saw it too. We didn’t say anything to avoid scaring the others,” says Loh.

“While I was into my second lamb chop, the dogs started howling just in front of the chalets. The whole mood just changed. I began to leem keng (chant mantras) and eventually the spirit went away.

“The next morning, we saw that a bunch of fresh roses which we bought had turned black. There is no way that roses can wilt so fast.

“When I went home and consulted my father (the medium), he said that it was a female spirit – they like flowers.”

Darren Wong, 32, medical sales executive

Maybe it’s because he grew up living next to a haunted house in Kuala Lumpur that Wong has the ability to see phantoms.

“They look whitish and transparent, like diluted barley water. I can’t make out the face but I can tell it’s an adult or child. But I never see the legs,” he describes.

Wong has only seen “white spirits”, though he has been told that the green ones might “fool around” with you while the red ones are the most dangerous.

“Those are real devils, the kind that want to kill you and take over your body.”

When he first saw these things, he would freeze up.

“My whole body would be paralysed, my legs felt like they weigh one ton. And there was always this cold feeling. Not like cold wind, that’s just skin cold, this is cold from within,” he says.

“Nowadays, when I see one or two I don’t feel so scared. But when I see a group of them, it’s still scary.”

For this medical sales executive, each time starts out like this: “I feel something watching me. Something is bugging me. I want to identify its location so that I can avoid it. Then when I concentrate more, I start to see it.”

Wong has seen ghoulish spirits on various jungle treks including in Kenong Rimba Park (near Kuala Lipis, Pahang), Cameron Highlands and Gunung Korbu, Perak.

“I usually see them behind bushes. At campsites, they usually move in a sort of surrounding perimeter. Then they start to move in following a zig-zag pattern. As they get closer, they will stop and crouch.”

It is the Gunung Stong area of Kelantan, which has been ‘spooks central’ for him, with sightings on every one of his trips there in 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2005. The motherload was in 2001 when he saw at least seven apparitions.

“We were at Baha Camp at Stong. I went to the river to collect some water. Then I saw a white spirit there and told my friend about it,” he recollects.

“He beat my hand and scolded ‘Don’t point!’. I told him I didn’t feel good and returned to where the group was.

“Somehow I saw another female spirit and took a wrong turn. Luckily my friend shouted at me and I got back on the main path. Then I could see more and more of them all over the place.

“Even when I returned to the group, the yun hei (people’s energy) was not enough, they were still around.

“When it was time to sleep, I felt like a kid. I just wanted to zip up the tent, zip up the sleeping bag and hide. Even when I heard someone outside asking me whether I was OK, I kept quiet. It may not have been my friend.”

On another trip to the Stong area, they started out late and were still trekking when night fell. Wong was mystified when their Thai-Chinese guide from Kelantan only switched on his torch occasionally.

“He said ‘if somebody comes to your house, would you be happy if he constantly shone a light everywhere?’,” recalls Wong.

The guide, who turned out to be a part-time medium, explained that the Stong area had many spooky sightings because businessmen use bomohs to bela toyol or rear spirits and the area was a kind of “storehouse”.

Wong’s supernatural contacts began when he was living next to a house in Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, where a girl had hung herself.

“I used to be mysteriously drawn to that house for years. I would stare at it at night. One day I even went inside. I didn’t see a ghost but I felt something. After my mother did some prayers, the house was sold and cleaned up. ”

What does he do during sightings nowadays?

“Usually the advice from spiritual masters for people like us who can see things is to pretend like all is normal. Don’t let the spirits know that we can see them. Because we don’t know whether they have good or bad intentions.”

He has been told that a sifu (master) can “close” his eyes so that he stops seeing these spectres. But others tell him it’s a gift.

“For me, it’s self-defence. At least I have a sensor and won’t bang into them directly,” he says.

Is he sure he isn’t hallucinating? He doesn’t think so. Besides, he has a few friends who also have this exclusive ‘vision’.

“Some believe me. Others don’t. It’s like a vegetarian who has never eaten meat, they won’t understand.”

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