Conquer your darkest fears when you try ghost-hunting, Singapore style
By Lee Li Ying
For such a tiny metropolitan state, we are a nation obsessed with the supernatural. Singaporeans share in hushed whispers their creepy encounters and stories of ghastly Tekong hauntings, elaborate on how to thwart attacks from terrifying vampiric demons like the pontianak and the penanggalan from Malay folklore, and debate the veracity of unexplainable sightings during the Chinese Seventh Month Ghost Festival.
For some, these are merely exaggerations and fabrications birthed from a superstitious mind. Others, however, hold fast to the belief that there are alternate forces that exist outside the realm of human understanding.
No matter which you belong to, you’ll have to admit that the paranormal does raise interesting questions about the world that are impossible to ignore, and are a tonne of fun to explore.
Do ghosts really exist? Can they really communicate with us? Why do they appear to some and not to others? Are they the form we take in the afterlife or entities separate from mankind? Or are they figments of our imagination?
It was a thirst to find the answers to this plethora of questions that led Kenneth Jee, Metaphysics Advisor of Singapore Paranormal Investigators (SPI), to pick up ghost-hunting.
“I have always had an interest towards the paranormal since I was young as I have had several unexplainable encounters etched deeply in my mind. Over the years, I have been doing my own research on supernatural phenomenon,” he shares.
“I was seeking a systematic, logical and scientific explanation for the supernatural, and the SPI’s professional methodology offered me a conclusive way to explore interesting supernatural manifestations and the unknown.”
The SPI take their ghost-busting seriously. They are armed with a whole arsenal of equipment and gadgetry capable of capturing signs of an otherworldly presence in the form of electromagnetic interference and Class A Intelligent Electronic Voice Phenomenon (the equivalent of getting a voice message from the grave from your deceased grandmother).
It is not about the quantity of evidence they are able to garner, but the quality. The SPI spare no expense to ensure that all the evidence they gather during their investigations is not “contaminated” by factors such as hand phone signals or other light or sound sources, and are “genuine” instances of supernatural manifestations.
Photographic evidence with an inordinate amount of orbs (suggesting the possibility of a hantu near you) goes through rigorous testing in the SPI’s IT department before being awarded a stamp of approval (or not). This is no mere child’s play.
This unique hobby provides experiences that are three times more thrilling (and ten times more heart-attack inducing for a scaredy cat like me) than your average excursion.
“We embark on missions to different places in and out of Singapore rumoured to be actively haunted to find out the truth,” says Kenneth.
Kenneth recounts almost getting stuck in the jungle when the group attempted to seek out the abandoned Japanese shrine in MacRitchie Reservoir.
Rumoured to be haunted by the spirits of vengeful Japanese soldiers who committed mass suicide in the aftermath of Japan’s defeat during World War II, it is believed that the spirits will create trouble for nosy-parkers.
“We were trapped in the jungle with threatening hornet hives above the trees, sharp thorns from tree branches and only half an hour to get out of the forest before last light. Our main obstacle was to cross a small river nose-deep and rumoured to be infested with crocodiles. Using natural resources like chopping down trees with small knives and creating a mini-stilt, we managed to guide the group safe and sound across the river,” he says.
“Using my knowledge, I am able to help others understand how different cultural groups or religions see the supernatural, and how these different perspectives may complement each other, increasing understanding of each other’s belief system,” he says.
I’m glad to say, my scariest encounter was having a spider cling on to my jeans. Despite not catching a glimpse of the pontianak, I had gained interesting cultural insights.
If you possess the guts to traipse in the dark and the curiosity to find out more about the unknown, join the SPI as they investigate supernatural hauntings.
Find out more at www.spi.com.sg