The month of the Hungry Ghosts


The month of the Hungry Ghosts is nigh. Come August 15, the gates of Hell will be thrown open and the hordes of hungry ghosts will roam the human realm to satisfy their hunger. Or so they say. It’s a Chinese belief dating back to hundreds of years ago.

Although I cannot say whether this is true or not – Ive had my fair share of close encounters of the unworldly kind.

My family home in the small town of Segamat used to be fringing a rubber plantation. I can still recall my younger days where I’d wander for hours in search of rubber seeds. Then I’d drill a hole into it using a nail, thread it with a string and voila – I’d have a nifty weapon in my hand.

Years later in my early 20s, the rubber plantation was cleared to make way for some residential development. And in no time at all – a double storey house face my family home – in place of green rubber trees.

One morning before 5am, I was awakened by the sounds of ghostly yelling and singing. There were 3 distinct sounds altogether. The first sounded like a female speaking in a very high pitch voice. The second was singing. The third was a young child crying loudly. My hairs stood at ends and amazingly, the sounds disappeared when the Muslim morning prayers from nearby mosques reverberated all around.

This charade carried on till about 4 – 5 months until the construction workers fell ill one by one. Some even claim to have seen strange incidents happening at night.

So the management decided to hire about 6 Taoist priests to conduct a “cleansing” ceremony. Amidst the prayers and sounds of gongs and cymbals; the Priests went to the four corners of the land and dug deep into the soil. They unearthed a bowl from each of the four corners – sealed with a talisman. Inside the bowl were bones (probably human remains). And the story went back to the time where the rubber plantation was still around, and where a squatter and his family were residing there. This squatter had a Thai wife who dabbled in the arcane arts. Forcibly evacuated, she put a curse on the land.

Today, I don’t get to listen to the eerie charades anymore whenever I am back in my hometown. But the residents of the housing estate say they still can experience ghostly happenings.

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