asian ghost story


Ugetsu Monogatari | 1953 | Kenji Mizoguchi | Japan

So many things have happened. You’ve finally become the man I had hoped for. But, alas… …I am no longer among the living. Such is the way of the world.

Two Roads

Recently I visited my friend’s hometown in Penang and she told me of an urban story surrounding that area. At night while driving down a road, sometimes you would see two road instead of one, usually the road would turn off slightly but the second road would continue on straight. If you drive down the second road you would crash into a lamp post. Some people said that when they slap themselves and snap out of it, the second road disappears and would only see the original road again.

For those who have already watched the amazing Furious 7, you would already know by now (hopefully) that the director of the movie is the same person that was behind the most well-known Hollywood horror movies of the Conjuring, Saw franchise and Insidious - yes, it’s no other than the Sarawakian-born Australian, James Wan

In an interview by TODAY Online, James Wan gives credit to his early upbringing in Sarawak: 

“I love Asian ghost stories in general. It has an interesting flavour to it culturally than to what we’re used to in Hollywood. And that’s the case with any other culture around the world, everyone has their versions of what their ghosts are like. For me, growing up in Malaysia, when I was much younger, my aunties and uncles and grandparents would tell me ghost stories and I loved that. I can’t help but be fascinated by that world. As I got older, I thought, ‘Hey, I want to make scary movies and scare other people as well’. It’s fun! When I was growing up, my mum used to work in a hospital in Malaysia, and she would tell me these stories about what happened in the hospitals she worked at, and in some ways I’ve put them into Insidious, I’ve put them into The Conjuring. In a lot of ways, the stories that I’ve heard have found their way into my films.”

When asked if he has any upcoming plans to visit Malaysia:

“I haven’t visited Malaysia in a long time, and I really want to. My mum and I were talking and she was hoping that after I finished Insidious 2, I could go back and visit my family, and go eat the food. I miss the food so much. But in the middle of Insidious, Furious 7 came along, and that’s gonna keep me working for a long time.”

Ghostly Buffet

In Asian countries, especially in Chinese communities. Every year we would have a week where we must place food for our ancestors as a tradition. It is considered very disrespectful if you touch or eat the food and may sometimes fall sick if one angers the spirits.

This is a story from my friend X,

I had an Indian tuition teacher who told us a story about when he was a student. Nearby his college dorm was a Chinese graveyard. During the ‘festival of the dead’ he saw that there was many good food placed at the graves unattended. Roasted chicken and pork amongst the feast. As he was a poor student he decided that instead of leaving the food out to go bad, it would be better if he ate it instead to save money on dinner. It didn’t make much sense that the dead still needed to eat food. He continued to do so for a few days and nothing unfortunate happened to him.

One night as he was having dinner at the cemetery, there was an old man wearing white sitting near the graves. The old man came and told him that it is not good to eat the food and explained to him why. The old man then took out $100 and gave it to him to buy dinner. He looked at the money and when he looked back at the old man, he was gone. He saw that the grave that the old man was sitting at had a photo of the exact old man who gave him the money.

Needless to say, he never ate from the cemetery again.

Sealed Classrooms

My friend C shared this story with me

In my hometown, there’s a government school which is famous for its supernatural events. I frequently hear from friends who studied there that either their classmates or teachers getting possessed, etc.

At one of the school blocks, the top floor was sealed away by the principal because it was “extremely haunted” and has affected many students. Classes were not allowed to be conducted in that floor for years.

When the new principal came to know about the top floor, he did not understand why and therefore unsealed it for classes to be conducted there.
My friend said many students felt uneasy whenever they had a class on that floor. She claimed that a student who often wore a charm around her neck for spiritual protection even found that her charm is “spoiled” after she entered the top floor. It proved that the spirits on that particular floor are strong.

Put it back

Another story from my friend M (Who was able to see the supernatural)

My house next door has no children in the house but at night you can hear children running through the house really quickly. The house next door is very haunted.

One night I put a small pouch on my table, I left my room and when I came back the small pouch was gone. I knew something took it away, I went out to the living room and told my sister that they are playing with my stuff again. She just said “Can you not tell me these things“. I went back into my room to scold the spirit and told it to put it back and left the room. When I wanted to go to sleep, I went back to my room and saw that the pouch has been returned but it was on the floor.

Another friend asked M why the spirit doesn’t put it back on the table. She said it might be because she said to put it back but didn’t specify where.

Rolling Clay Jars

A friend tells us a story from Sabah, Malaysia. She comes from a village where they would bury the dead in large clay jars.

The kids likes to play with the jars, the grandfather always tells them not to play with it. It was near the riverside so one day they decided to turn the jar over and roll it down to the river. They were so excited about it being gone. The next morning they went down and saw that the jar had returned back to its spot. So they wondered how it had happened and that it was very interesting. So they turned it over once again and rolled it down into the riverside. At night one brave cousin proposed to go take a look and find out how it returns to its spot.

So when they went to take a peek, the heavy clay jar by the river slowly started to roll back up the hill and back to its spot. The kids quickly ran to the grandfather and told him that the jar is alive. The grandfather scolded them and told them not to roll the ancestors down to the river. From then on, they didn’t play with the clay jars again.

National Library Elevator

Story from my friend E

The National library has a haunted elevator. Everyone would rather walk.

When it was being built, the top floor was not finished. Mum supposed to go down, but it took her to the highest floor instead; the 5th floor.

She knows 5th floor is empty, and thought that the maintenance people were there.

When the door open it was pitch black. She closed the door and it opened again. A black void.

It was only later on she heard that the elevator is haunted. When they were constructing the building they had to stop because they discovered a grave.

They have to move the old library to the new building. So all the old equipment was put into the new building’s store room. So all the movers (from moving company) were in the old equipment filled store room. Then they ran out with pale faces. Because the typewriters started typing/moving on its own.

Colleague went there as well. She usually takes the stairs but she was rushing so she took the elevator. She wanted to go down to the first floor as she was on the 2nd) and the elevator took her up instead.

It opened and she saw lots of people busy with work. But there wasn’t anybody waiting by the lift. So she closed it.

When it closed, the elevator had a  blackout.

When the light came back, she pressed on the first floor button and it opened again immediately still on the same floor. She saw a guy approaching the lift but the door finally closed and took her to first floor. Until today she doesn’t know if the people she saw even existed there.

NS camp

My friend M told me a story about the time she was in National Service
(In our country it is compulsory to attend National Service if you are selected)

One night she was sleeping in the dormitory, she had a dream that there was a tall and short shadow men circling the room, passing by the windows and casting their shadow across them. The next day, the other girls in the dorm started to cover the windows with blankets and cloth. M deduced that they must have had the same experience as she did not tell anyone else. The situation did not improve and a medium was called in to deal with the problem. The girls were asked to wait at the bottom of the hill while the medium went up into the dorm. After a while he came back down and told them that the problem has been resolved. M and the rest went back into the dorm and saw that the beds and lockers were all messed up and the room was in a mess.

What do you see?

A story from friend A

There was once I was with my friend in front of the school stationary shop after closing time, I pointed at the 2 small windows at the side of the shop where you could look inside and curiously asked her if she can see ‘anything’ inside. She replied “Yes, one over there; behind the bookshelf”. I looked at the spot behind the bookshelf and didn’t manage to see anything.

I asked if this friend could see ghosts, and was replied with a yes. She received this ability as her grandmother was a medium and it needs to be passed down, therefore her grandmother gave it to her. Her grandmother could see the ‘gods’, however after passing it down to her granddaughter, unlike her grandmother she could only see ghosts instead.


This story is from my friend M whom I hang out with. As a child she used to have a third eye. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, listening to her stories will really change your perspective.

She tells us that we think of harpies as old ladies with wings and clawed feet. Even the legends depicts them as winged and bird-like. However M tells us that harpies look exactly like humans, they just carry with them the sounds of hundreds of birds screeching.

When M was younger, she was sitting in a car one afternoon traveling with her parents. She saw three ladies standing in the middle of the road, what accompanied them were the sounds of hundreds of loud birds screeching. The car passed right through the ladies and M was shocked. She told her self to not look back. Do not look back. She looked at the sky and there was not a single bird in sight.

What it might sound like

Red Heels

Story from friend J

When I was in my rented apartment when I was 4-5 years old, I remember playing in front of the store room. The door was left open and it was dark inside.

In the darkness I saw a lady’s legs wearing red heels. The rest of the body was in darkness or was missing.

Also, in my mother’s bedroom, the door doesn’t open fully because they said that a girl died behind the door and her presence is there forcing back on the door.

Karaoke Series Part 3

Latest by 2am

We have to leave work latest by 2am. The manager once told us that he worked overtime with another person. When the person left to go to the washroom, the manager heard coughing, inhaling and the sounds of the wall being scratched outside the room. The manager thought that it was the other person making the noises and asked him to stop but it would not stop. The manager went out to the counter and saw that nobody is outside. When the person got back from the washroom, the manager was packing up and told him that overtime is done for today. Before he left the karaoke, he would turn and say to the place “Here, the place is yours for now!“

Art Teacher

A story from my friend A

There was this art teacher of mine, she was a bit of a nut job to her students. She would return your artwork and get you to redo it, she expects everyone to do really well. She also had bad family relationships with her daughter who is also a student at school. The teacher could not walk properly and said that she was pushed down a flight of stairs by a toyol. The students spread a rumor and said that it was the Form 4/Grade 10 kids who didn’t liked her and pushed her down. But the teacher still insists that it was a Toyol. The teacher passed away when I was in Form 4 or 5/Grade 10 or 11. But she was a nice lady if you got to really know her.