Like all other towns, Johor Bahru town has its fair share of spooky tales. Some of its paranormal stories deserve a good horror movie; sightings of strange figures, events occurred that cause puzzlement and peculiar experiences keep on outwitting us. Johor Bahru town is my second home and I have few eerie stories that can send shivers down your spine. Stories that defy logic and beyond human comprehension. Whether these stories are true or make up tales is for you readers to judge and decide.
4th December 1977, Boeing 737 belonging to Malaysian Airline Systems (MAS) crashed at Kampung Ledang, Tanjung Kupang, Johor. Flight MH653 was carrying 93 passengers of various nationalities and 9 crews and this horrific incident did not spare any survivor. All dead were beyond recognition. This was perhaps the first fatal incident recorded in the history of the Malaysian airline. As none of the dead could be recognized, the State government and MAS authorities agreed to have them all buried in one common grave with honour. During the burial ceremony all religious imams, priests and monks carried out their own rituals and sermons accordingly. Where is this common grave?
In the heart of JB town there is a housing area called Kebung Teh. It was perhaps named after the road Jalan Kebun Teh. Towards the south is this housing area while towards the north is another housing area called Majidee Park. In between these two housing areas is where this common grave is situated which apparently is right beside Jalan Kebun Teh. A few months later, chilling tales, weird sightings and horrific encounters were reported and told from mouth to mouth. A lorry driver once used this road in the middle of the night and as he was about to pass where this common grave is, he suddenly saw a few people crossing the road. Applying the brakes of his vehicle to avoid collision, he stopped right in front of the grave but the people that he saw just disappeared into thin air. A lone driver was frightened to death when he saw two white figures flying just above the grave in the wee hours of the morning. Neighbouring residents often hear of human wailing and cries after midnight. All these stories could be conjectured but the one experienced by my close friend cannot be one.
Karim Bin Mohd. Amin (now a Dato) was having his usual night out at the Johor Civil Service Club one evening. It was almost 1.00am when he decided to retire and drove home. It was 1982 and was the beginning of his business venture. He told us that he was completely sober and what he was about to experience could not be unreal. Driving at the speed of approximately 50 mph, he suddenly saw a man crossing the road. Instinctively he applied the brakes but it was too late. He had knocked a man and being sober he stopped by the road side to ascertain whether he did knock a man? He looked at the rear mirror and there he saw a man lying on the road. His mind worked fast and decided to take a look at the man. Apparently he noticed that his car was parked right in front of the common grave.
He walked slowly and approached the man who was motionless. The man seemed unconscious but there was no blood. He slapped softly the man’s face just to find out whether he was alright but there was no answer. Karim had to think fast what would be his next action. The best was to call the police and since his house was now very near (He lived in the housing area of Kebun Teh) he’d better hurry home and called the police. What he did next was to carry the man and placed him on the grass by the side of the road. Having done so, he rushed to his car and started to drive home so that he could make call to the police. As he was on the wheel, he looked at the rear mirror to check whether everything was alright but to his horror, the man he had just knocked and placed on the grass was inside his car at the back seat. Too horrified to look again, he screamed out loud and pressed the accelerator. All the way to his house he was screaming of fright but managed to drive home.
The next morning after having composed himself, he called his good friend who was a high ranking police officer in the state and related the event. He requested his friend to check at all the police station whether there was any report of a man being knocked down by a car and placed on the grass along the road. There was none. Karim felt ill after that and had to stay indoor for a week.
Was what Karim experienced a mere hallucination or other form of optical illusion? I believe him because he is always known among our fraternity as an honest person. Furthermore what good can making up stories be of any benefits to him?
In late 1973 I started working with an Insurance company based in Johor Bahru. I was 24 years old. Before I settled down on my own, I stayed in the house belonging to my second cousin Ungku Yusof Abdul Rahman (now a Dato). He was married to another of my second cousin, Zaini Abdul Jalil, who was a government officer. She was entitled for a government quarters and the house was situated along Jalan Pahlawan. Being related and close to each other, Ungku Yusof offered me to stay with them and I took no time to accept his generous offer. The house in question was a single-storey bungalow with a spacious living room. The master bedroom was at one end of the house while two other rooms were at the other end close to the kitchen. In the middle was the living room where the exit door was. As they were a young couple with a newly born baby boy, the two rooms were never used until I moved in.
Nothing happened on the first and second night of my stay but on the third night the spirit that dwell in the house decided to have some fun. I was in raised in a house shrouded with mystery in my hometown of Muar. Therefore I was accustomed to many strange happenings in that house and as I grew older, these weird feeling did not seem to bother me much. And so on this third night of my stay at Ungku Yusof’s house, the fun began at around 3.00 in the morning. It had to be around this hour of the night that I must woke up. As I opened my eyes, I saw a black figure standing beside my bed. It was so vague that I could not recognize its real image but it was in a form of a man with very long hair. I tried to stand up but I couldn’t move like as though I was tied to something. I struggled hard to get released but to no avail. My inner thoughts began to recite some relevant verses of the Quran but that didn’t work either. Maybe the spirit was giggling at my recitations. It was about a minute that I was like a log when I quietly said to the spirit to let me go as I just wanted to sleep after a hard day’s work. When I was fully recovered I could see vaguely the figure walking away from me. I then slumbered peacefully until the call of azan woke me up. I tried to compromise with myself suggesting that what I experienced was nothing extraordinary, just that I was perhaps too tired. Maybe the spirit knew what my thoughts were when suddenly I saw right before my eyes the same dark figure coming out from the wall walking straight to me. This time I was extremely scared but pretended to be brave. The figure kept on walking until it even passed through my body. I could feel the chilly cold air as it passed through me. As I turned back to see where it went to, the black figure went through the other side of the wall and disappeared. Maybe the spirit wanted to send me a message..”mind you, I am for real so don’t you ever forget that”.
I told Ungku Yusof about my ordeal the next morning and he said that this house had a guarding spirit what we Malays called “Penunggu”. There were few other incidents but I just chose to ignore.
In 1982 when I was already married with two small kids, I encountered the most horrifying experience of my life. I had a face to face dialogue with a young girl being possessed by a terrible jinni. I will tell you in my next posting.
If any of you readers don’t believe in my stories or don’t believe in the existence of ghosts, that’s not my problem. Maybe I should tell the spirit that once dwell in Ungku Yusof’s house to pay you a visit one of these nights.
Watch out for my next posting on “The Spooky Side of Johor Bahru Town (Part Two)”
Have a good day guys.