MALAYSIA: Tomorrow is the start of Hungry Ghost Festival, this month-long period is actually called “Ghost Month”, it starts on the first day of the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar when the door to the netherworld, or hell’s gate, opens.
This year it takes place from 15 August to 14 September.
To the Chinese, it is the month of the haunting as they believe that the gates of the underworld will open and allow spirits to roam the world of the living.
The Ghost Month is the time the netherworld rewards well-behaved disincarnate entities; they are allowed to return to human world to visit their loved ones and to enjoy the entertainment and foods arranged for them by humans.
The Hungry Ghost Festival is also a celebration to honour ancestors and relatives.
Gutzy Asia spoke to a Malaysia-based medium and exorcist, Gao Tian Ba, also known as Golden Dragon King, for advice on do’s and don’ts during the Ghost Month and why some places are haunted.
Gao said it is best to avoid places where spirits converge. For example, avoid going to accident-prone places, travelling interstates or internationally, avoid outdoor activities at night, and more.
Various rituals and prayers are observed during the festival, which climaxes on the 14th day of the month. Some devotees follow the rituals in their entirety and to-the-letter, while others are less traditional in their observance.
“Some spirits remain at the place of death even though religious rituals are performed to send these spirits off after their death. This is why some places are haunted.
“Some spirits are reluctant to leave or some unable to leave, because they are waiting for replacement or they have yet to fulfil their last wishes.
“In Chinese culture, we believe every living being has a ‘reincarnation license’. Without this license, one cannot reach the realm of rebirth, making them a stagnating spirit, trap at the places of their deaths.
“Some spirits lost their reincarnation licenses because they were the replacement of other souls.
He said people with low or weak ‘Qi’ (life energy) were often targeted by these restless spirits. This is why people are advised to follow the general do’s and don’ts
“It explains why some people (with low or weak ‘Qi’) are followed or possessed by spirits during the Hungry Ghost Month,” he told Gutzy Asia.
Mimaland Park (1971-1994)
Gao said this recreation park was full of earth and mountain spirits due to its surrounded by forest. He said people could visit the now deserted park but have to be mindful with their conduct.
“When visiting, visitors are advised not to litter, kick or take home stones, flowers, leaves, wood, and anything found in Mimaland. Visitors are as well as are advised to speak with low voice and don’t be noisy.
“When it was still in operation, many accidents happened. Some tourists were suffocated and some died from broken neck when playing in the slides because the land used to belong to the Orang Asal (Indigenous People). There are spirits living in the forest area near Mimaland Park.
“People with weak ‘Qi’ were targeted by spirits, that was why accidents happened. Other lighter symptoms were vomiting and headache. It was not possible to clear the spirits, this was the reason it was closed.
“I was there for a documentary I saw many spirits there including earth spirits and mountain spirits,” he said.
Mona Fandey’s Bungalow
Gao said Mona was a bomoh (witch) and she would keep unborn baby spirits, mountain spirits, and spirits of those she had killed in her former residence.
“Bomoh practice from 8pm to 5pm daily, this is the best time to cast dark magic spell. After Mona’s death, these spirits can never be sent off.
“She raised many types of spirits and used baby spirits to carry out tasks for her. The spirits she had kept there have no one to control them, thus, they are roaming this area since her arrest.
“It is better to not go near this place, normally, white and black witches cast spell to surround their houses to protect themselves.
“From what I understand, Mona killed people and controlled their spirits. She locked their spirits inside mature coconuts or glass bottles to keep them in a realm where spirits are unable to reincarnate,” he said.
Gao said victims of Highlands Towers had experienced bewildering, traumatic, and sudden death, hence, would not immediately cross over into the spiritual realm.
“They are left in the physical world because they do not understand their own death. The collapse of the building happened so fast. The residents there died a perplexed death because they were conscious before the tower collapsed, and probably still have awareness before they died,” he said.
He said that even though religious rituals were performed time and again to send these entities off to the spiritual world, but some spirits still linger.
“It is difficult to gather these souls in whole because they are in ‘scattered’ form. These entities were terrified before their death; when a person is terrified before they die, their souls will leave their bodies in scattering form,” he said.
He advised people who visited places like Highlands Towers to bathe with water with glutinous rice, white rice, and cypress leaves.
Jalan 222 Federal Highway
Gao said spirits died from accidents along this stretch, are still wandering around at the roundabout and the junction.
“For many years, this road was busy and accidents happened frequently. Those died from accidents were unable to reincarnate, hence, mystery cases happened at this area.
“Some motorists have seen spirits of adults and children crossing the road while some just stand at the same spot as if they were waiting for someone,” he said.
Bungalow at Jalan Turi Bangsar (where a gruesome murder occurred in 1992)
In spite of the dreadful nature of the crime, the atmosphere in the community, Gao said, the road surrounding the property is safe to use.
“Motorists have to lower the speed of their vehicles as they drive on this road because it is a place where negative energy accumulate,” he advised.
On 23 April 1992, a tragic incident occurred at Jalan Turi. The incident is both eerie and disturbing, involving a gruesome crime and its aftermath.
It is clear that the place holds a haunting and chilling aura due to the horrifying events that took place there.
It involved the murder of the Talwar children and their maid, followed by the conviction and execution of the relief security guard, Ariffin Agas.
The motive behind the crime remains unclear, and suspicions of Ariffin suffering from a psychological disorder add another layer of mystery to the story.
Over the years, the house on Jalan Turi seems to have gained a reputation for being haunted. Passersby claim to have heard the screams of the children and even seen their ghosts.
The alleged difficulty in purchasing, renovating, and rebuilding the property, as well as the house’s eventual demolition, adds to the eerie atmosphere.
Gao said Bukit Tunku has many unoccupied bungalows and roads there are not well-lit, thus, attracting spirits.
“Bukit Tunku is a high-end residential area and a relaxing place. But why it is haunted? Because many bungalows there are unoccupied, many second generations left the bungalows they grew up at. That’s why many bungalows are vacant.
“In addition, many murdered bodies were dumped near the foothill of Bukit Tunku because of the area’s dark and shaded surroundings, it is not a vibrant neighbourhood.
“The properties are build on a hill at Bukit Tunku, it is a place with strong ‘Yin’ (negative energy) element because the dead bodies fluid and blood were absorbed but the plant and earth at the foothill.
Pudu Jail (Pudu Prison)
Gao said evil spirits converge here because the place was a prison where death sentences carried out.
“Although it is now demolished and new buildings are constructed, spirits will always linger here. Normally, Taoists rituals will be performed to cleanse the place, if not perform well by masters with limited knowledge, the place will influence many aspects of tenants and residents.
“Better still, the developer can build a gravestone for them or install several Taoist Gods statues on the top of the roof,” he said.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Don’t lean against the wall, do not walk against a wall, or rest against a wall.
- Avoid buying a house or a car during the Ghost Month
- Don’t hang clothes outside of your house throughout the night
- Don’t ride the last bus or last train
- Avoid going to the hospital
- Avoid swimming activities