Ready to follow us on a ghost tour in Melaka, Malaysia?
The city has a tormented and painful history that chases its inhabitants, still today… The stories of violence, deaths, and suicides never stopped haunting Melaka. Under the modern, shiny face of the city – skyscrapers and shopping malls are everywhere – the ghosts of the past hide between the old shabby buildings of the historical center.
It sounds scary, doesn’t it? We’re gonna show you what we saw during our tour of haunted Melaka. We’re gonna reveal to you the true ghost stories that people are afraid to tell or even remember.
History of Melaka
Malaysia is one of the most magical and mystical places in Asia. Ancient stories and beliefs still survive even in the capital city Kuala Lumpur, where it seems that everything is focused on money and business.
That’s wrong. Many people believe in ghosts, spirits and they follow ancient traditions; traditional medicine is still very common. Melaka, or Malacca, in the southeast of the country, has one of the longest and interesting histories in all South East Asia. Since 1500 AD colonists, traffickers, pirates, and raiders pillaged the city and its people. The harbor of Melaka was one of the most important ones in Asia, so it has always attracted people from all over the globe.
Those visitors weren’t always friendly. Quite the opposite. How many violent deaths Melaka had to face throughout the centuries? Thousands.
Early times: Sultanate of Malacca
Before the arrival of its first Sultan, called Parameswara, Melaka was a fishing village inhabited by local fishermen. The city was founded by Parameswara itself in the 15th century, and from the beginning it was clear that Melaka was located in one of the most strategic places of Asia.
The city started to become an important stopping point for the fleet of the Chinese empire. The relations between the Sultanate and China rapidly improved, also thanks to a marriage between a daughter of the Ming Emperor of China, and Sultan Mansur Shah. But this “golden age” didn’t last long.
Invasions and colonial era
Probably the first invaders were the Vietnamese, that in the year 1469 attacked the Malaccans, not just killing many of them; they also castrated the young and enslaved them. That was probably the beginning of a violent story. How many colonists conquered Malacca?
- First the Portuguese: In April 1511, Alfonso de Albuquerque sailed from Goa to Malacca with 1200 men. They conquered the city 4 months later. After seizing the city, the Portugueses spared the Hindu, Chinese, and Burmese inhabitants, but the Muslims weren’t so lucky. Alfonso decided to massacre them or sold them into slavery.
- Then, the Dutch: they attacked Melaka for many years, and in the end they defeated the Portuguese in 1641. The Dutch ruled Malacca from 1641 to 1825, and the rulers weren’t exactly kind and pacific.
- Finally, the British: The city was ceded to the British in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824. Until 1942, Malacca was under the rule of the British. Due to a strong dissatisfaction with British jurisdiction, Dol Said, the local chief, and the East India Company had a war from 1831 to 1832, which resulted in the decisive British victory.
After the dissolution of this crown colony, Malacca became part of the Malayan Union on 1 April 1946. “Finally some peace for the city!“, you must be thinking. Well, you’re wrong. Because after the colonists were gone, someone else came – or maybe something?. They didn’t want to leave the place, but they weren’t happy to stay neither. Who are we talking about? Ghosts, of course.
Haunted Malaysia: Ghost tour in Melaka!
We spent 3 days in this beautiful city, and we just couldn’t resist following our Ghostbusters instincts.
We tracked down the most interesting stories, and we went to check some places in order to find out more about them. A suicide building, a haunted theatre, a cemetery full of ancient spirits, and much more… Would you dare to follow us?
Ghost tour in Melaka: The suicide building
We started in Jalan Bendahara, where the infamous Nine Story building lies. It’s not just awful from the outside, there is really something wrong with its “soul”. It’s well known to Malaccans since it’s probably the most favorite place for those who are feeling suicidal. During its history, many people went up to the 9th floor and jumped down to the street below.
Of course, when deaths started to happen more often, newspapers began to publish photos and articles more and more. The story became kinda viral, due to our human inclination for the “gore”. Who’s responsible for these deaths? A “lady in red”, with long, dark hair, has been seen many times by people. Is she a ghost?
But she’s not the only one. Residents have reported weird appearances, like dark figures and scary individuals. Of course, they always stand on the balcony on the ninth floor. Ancient Chinese traditions are full of stories that tell about violent deaths. According to them, whose who die in a violent way, can’t find peace afterlife. Then, they’d come back as angry souls, wandering around the place where they died: And scaring the hell out other people, certainly. We didn’t see any lady in red or scary figure, honestly. But the building has some really creepy atmosphere that we couldn’t stay there long!
Meng Seng charity building, Jalan Bendahara
Our ghost tour in Melaka continued not far from the suicide palace, still in Jalan Bendahara (what’s with this street, people??), where another creepy place was waiting for us: The Ming Sing charity building. In the old times, it was occupied by the Japanese, and it was used as a torture house. Here, prisoners were tortured and killed in horrible ways, such as beheadings or beating to death. It’s no wonder why today it is haunted to its very foundations. People reported screams and mournful voices coming from the building, during the dark Malaccan nights. Some say that they keep hearing whiny sobs and cries from the main stage inside the hall.
Nowadays, the place is a charity house. Is it scary? Yes, it is! All these kitsch items, old toys, and neon-lights icons, surrounded by an unreal silence… In that sticky, humid afternoon, suddenly a fresh breeze twisted among the shelves and its cold touch climbed our backbones…
Was it a ghost? Maybe. Was it a fan? Probably.
Before entering the premises, we heard the story of a rocking horse. The old guardians of the place sworn that the horse sometimes actually moved by itself as if someone was riding it. Then, they saw some kind of little footprints on the ground and heard sounds of children giggling and stumbling. They say that it’s the ghost of a poor kid, taken away from his parents by the Japanese when he was 5, and missing since then. We didn’t see anything moving, nor anything strange. But the air in there is thick and kind of heavy, and we were happy to leave after some time!
Bukit China is a hill just outside the city center, the last stop of our ghost tour in Melaka. You can reach the place by foot, in around 30′. What’s so special about a hill? Well, it’s also a graveyard. A Chinese graveyard. A Chinese haunted graveyard. The graveyards are really old, more than three centuries, while the oldest is from 1622. You know what they say: Look for a graveyard, and you’ll find a ghost.
There is a story about a princess and her ghost, that is said to be hanging out at the place. The Princess’s name was Hang Li Po, the fifth (!) wife of the famous Sultan Mansor Shah during the 15th century. The hill was a gift to the Princess from the Sultan himself, and it became their residence. When Hang Li Poh died, her body was probably buried in that hill, though there are no proven records about that. Still nowadays, no one knows the location of her tomb.
Nowadays, the hill is one of the best places to go jogging. Many people say that until some years ago, it was quite easy to spot a figure of a young female dressed in traditional Chinese clothes. She used to appear like an angel, with the most beautiful face in the world and a warm smile. People think that she was the ghost of the Princess. We didn’t meet any ghost or angel, but the cemetery is well worth a hike up there.
Do you know any other ghost stories about Malaka and Malaysia? Tell us in the comments below!