For some reason or other, many of my readers whom I met always asking me to tell a ghost story despite some of them adamantly profess they don’t believe in the existence of ghosts. Yet they like to hear a ghost story. When I asked them what kind of a ghost story, they will say any kind so long as its a personal experience and must be true. Honestly I have not seen a ghost and I don’t think I would like to see one either. My personal experience were mainly those of paranormal, something beyond human comprehension where science refuse to entertain. Strange events take place that provide no logical explanation for their occurrence. I’ve seen things moved by itself, moving human shadowy firgure on the wall of my bedroom, lights went off by itself complete with its clicking sound, a fresh leaf falling from a concrete roof and few others. I’ve even seen people being possessed by evil spirits but I have never seen a real ghost standing right before my eyes and I must reiterate that I do not wish to see one.
It is quite amazing to note that my blog statistic reveals that the views on my entry of Creepy Tales of Muar town posted quite a while ago keeps on coming, in spite of the fact that I have posted a number of other new entries. Since many of my readers truly love reading ghost stories, I wish to share with them some ghost stories that I have heard. I have heard many stories that are supposed to have happened in many parts of the country, but I will not tell stories other than those that happened in my home town in the early fifties and late sixties or earlier, otherwise it will defeat the purpose of my blog. One thing is most definite, I can never authenticate its truthfulness because they are stories told to me.
THE MYTH OF HANTU BUNGKUS
According to some old folks, Hantu bungkus is rather peculiar in nature. Unlike most ghosts that walk or can fly, hantu bungkus on the other hand just lay itself on the ground and in most cases warpped in a white cloth, just like a deceased Mulsim before burial. It will roll itself and as it rolls, it will grow bigger and bigger.
Three young brothers were sitting on the tembok of their house one evening when they saw from afar a white figure of about five feet rolling itself towards them. Othman was the eldest of the three and it was him who saw the figure first and he alerted his two younger brothers, Mahmood and Omar. When the three of them noticed the figure approaching nearer, they decided to wait and see for themselves what on earth was this peculiar white figure rolling itself on the road? Mahmood was more braver than the other two and instead of just waiting for the firgure to approach nearer, he attempted to walk towards the figure to find out for himself. While he was walking while the other two waited behind, suddenly the figure rolled faster and became bigger and bigger towards him. He stopped immediately then he noticed the head stood up while the body kept rolling. Without further hesitation, Mahmood ran back as fast as he could while his two brothers watched in great amazement and the three of them ran towards their house while shouting for their father. At the house they stopped and looked back to check the whereabout of the that firgure and there it was at the tembok of their house. This time it was stationary and seconds later it just disappeared. It was hardly 7.30pm that evening while they were waiting to be called for dinner.
It was my uncle Othman who told me first of this happening and later I asked uncle Omar and he related to me exactly as what uncle Othman said. Later when I was much older, during one conversation with uncle Mahmood I remember this story and asked him and his reply was exactly the same as told to me by the other two uncles. The three of them told me the same story exactly as it happened and therefore there must be some truth to their story.
This event happened when the three of them were in their early teens sometime in the mid-thirties. According to uncle Omar, few days or weeks later of that event, similar encounters of this hantu bungkus were reported by the neighbours giving the same description.
Rumours began circulating that before the sudden appearance of this hantu bungkus, an evil bomoh died leaving behind scores of the jinn beings under his control. Many Malays believe as based on the Quranic verses the existence of the jinn beings, another of God’s creations unveil to the human eyes. Some of these jinn beings could be tamed and put under your supervision and to do all the necessary responsibilities assigned and in all cases it was for evil purposes. Those who sensed that their death is coming nearer, must let these jinn beings loose or to look for them a new master. Failing to do this will result in the jinn beings straying in the neighbourhood. As this indulgence is strictly against the Islamic principle, it is believed that those who died will not be accepted by the soil it was buried with. During the night the deceased will raise itself purportedly looking for some other acceptable soil to rest. While it rolls looking for its suitable resting place, these jinn beings followed and so the reason it gets bigger.
Tell this story to your scientist friends and they will not only laugh at you, they will have no qualms calling you nuts.
THE LEGENDARY PONTIANAK
Hawa and Maimunah were sitting at the front stairs of their house one night when they heard something flying on top of the roof. It was a bright night with the full moon boasting its brightness to signify the middle of its lunar calendar. They just had their dinner and after cleaning the kitchen they sat at their front stairs of the house as they usually did. Beside the stairs where they stood was a tall coconut tree nearby the roadside. After hearing it, they looked at each other silent and wondering what could that be? Few seconds later they heard it again and what they saw was a white figure with a long black hair flying and stopped at the top of the coconut tree. It was clear to their eyes and they could do nothing except kept on gazing at the white figure as it crouched in between the coconut leaves. They were too scared even to stand up and just sat holding together tightly. Hardly a minute later, the figure flew away and disappeared into the thin air. It was only then they got themselves composed and ran inside the house to inform the others.
It was only the next morning when I visited them that the story was revealed to me. The way they told this story like it was a world war two just happened infront of their house. Each and every visitors that came, they would begin the story over and over again. Hawa and Maimunah were sisters of my father, belonging to siblings most hilarious in their characters. Hawa would begin the story complete with her facial expression and her hands moving about like as though she was dancing a joget lambak. Maimunah kept on nodding in agreement and she would continue the minute Hawa stopped talking to grasp for air with her own facial expression and likewise both her hands would imitate the way the pontianak flew in complete agreement by Hawa. Then Hawa would again continue and the story was repeated and repeated until they forgot to cook for lunch. By now the whole neighbourhood had been informed and some came to verify from the horse’s mouth. Even while cooking they would relate the story again, in fact very happy to repeat whenever requested. After lunch they were too tired of talking that they just dozed off while in the midst of telling the same story with some new visitors. The new visitors need not worry for my uncle Wah Chad would take over and continue the story and the way he told this story like as though he was right there when the pontianak paid his two sisters a visit last night. His style was even more convincing that could encourage a movie director the inspiration to film a great horror movie.
A pontianak is quite similar to that of the European vampire in description. It is widely believed that a pontianak came into being as a result of a dead woman having just delivered her newly born baby. She will come back from her grave to see her baby and to stop her from coming back is to stick a nail onto her neck. She will scream and run away and disappear forever except who is going to nail her? I wouldn’t, would you?
THE LONG TALL HANTU GALAH
It was almost 2am in the early hour of the morning when two lad were cycling home after some chattings with friends at the Tanjung near the bank of the Muar River. As they passed by the Kebun Tuanku situated along Jalan Joned, they began to remember many eerie tales that had happen at this very site. Both mouths suddenly began chanting some verses of the Quran while their eyes kept watching toward every direction to ensure no exceptional spooky item would suddenly appear. When they passed through the road, their mutterings changed to grinnings and very satisfied that their Quranic chants managed to sheild them from any horrendous onslaught. Now they were whistling happily and home was just a minute or two away but their happiness was short lived. Two lamp posts away they saw a small swirling figure like a tiny tornado, black in colour and as it kept on swirling it began to grow taller and eventually into a human shape. They immediately stopped and gazed with great fear. One of them thought it was an alien being from outer space but the other one was not too convince and strongly believed that it must be a ghost. Suddenly the tall black figure changed its position and this time they were facing face to face. Then its two hands began to spread longer and longer like refusing the two to pass by its path. The two immediately cycled back towards their friends in Tanjung only to realise that they had likewise gone home.
It was around 2.30am in the morning when I heard a knock at my bedroom door. This was obviously unusual for me to receive visitors at the wee hours of the morning. When I opened the door, there were my friends Adam Tompok and Hussein Kecut standing with their faces as white as a piece of white cloth. I knew immediately that they must have seen something weird. “Din, do you have any lardos?” asked Adam as he entered my room (Lardos is cigarette in my days). At Form Five, I was already smoking about five sticks a day. As I passed the cigarette to him, Hussein told me what they both had just seen. I have heard about this hantu galah quite often but this time it came from the mouths of my two friends. After listening to their stories, I told them to stay for the night and return home the next morning.
The following day in the evening their story had been transimtted throughout our groups of friends at a pace maybe slightly slower than today’s internet. This time the story was further exaggerated with others telling the head of the hantu galah had two horns, some even added it with a very long tail and few others even said its eyes were as bright as the morning sun.
Spooky tales are always good to hear particularly when told at night. I have heard many more of this kind of horror stories in my early days in Muar town but I have never encounter with one. I have seen weird happenings but without any physical structure for its occurences. Maybe I was just having some form of optical illusion or hallucination but in most instances I was convinced that I was not in a state of denial to observe such happenings.
We all like to hear ghost stories but why are we sacred to view a real ghost? My friend Halim Bond once cycled with me to many spooky places in search of ghosts. We peddled our way inside a Muslim graveyard in the middle of the night, we passed throught the supposed haunted Kebun Tuanku and stopped for a while to see whether we would be greeted, we took a ride at the Muar Rest House by the river when everyone was in a deep slumber to rectify for ourself how true that stories of the water ghost always swimming along the shore at night and few other spooky tales. Somehow we never encounter with one. I guess these ghosts must have thought that we were likewise another ghosts like them. So there wasn’t any need for them to appear before us.