During the season that is the seventh month of the lunar calendar, spooky tales abound. And most of us lap it all up with a mix of macabre fascination and giggly scepticism.
Even those of us who aren’t convinced of the existence of the supernatural listen to these stories, usually with arms crossed and a bemused expression, as if to say, "You actually believe in this nonsense?"
But still, they listen. Because, well... it couldn't hurt to know. You know. Just in case. Insert nervous laughter here.
Here, five winsome celebrities regale CNA Lifestyle with spooky tales of their own. Make what you will of them.
Warning: The last story features an image that might be disturbing to some. CNA Lifestyle has not doctored the image in any way. Do not continue beyond this point if you are easily spooked.
TAUFIK BATISAH AND THE DRAIN OF TERROR
This happened about five years ago. I was driving my friends home after supper at about 2am. We were at the junction of Bukit Timah Road and Eng Neo Avenue when one of my friends said that she felt nauseous and wanted to get out of the car. So, I turned onto a smaller road headed to Turf City.
She got out and went to the side of the road, where there was a small drain that led to a bigger drain. My friend and I stayed in the vehicle and chatted for a while before we noticed that she wasn’t puking... just sitting by the big drain.
Worried she might fall in, I went up to her and got her to move to the small drain. But she returned to the big drain and said, "So poor thing, that girl in the drain. She’s puking there all alone". There was nobody there. And my friend didn’t look nauseous at all.
I’d heard stories from my grandma and aunties about how everything gets really quiet and still in the presence of a ghost. You’ll feel like you’re in a vacuum before you hear a sound like a duck quacking. At that moment, those stories came true for me.
When I looked back at my friend, she was lying on the ground. I scooped her up and put her in the car. She sat, looking down, with her long hair hanging as she bobbed forward and back. When we started saying some prayers, she squirmed and either laughed or cried – I couldn’t tell which.
When we got to her block, I said more prayers and somehow, that got the "thing" out of her. When she came to, she seemed lost and asked, "Why didn’t you stop just now? I told you I really wanted to pee". I was like, "OK, have a good night". I didn’t even want to walk her up to her door!
But I called her sister to tell her what had happened. Later that night, her sister called me back and said, "She keeps telling me to go back there because that girl is all alone and asking for help."
I’ve always respected the supernatural but now, I have a greater respect for it. I have heard stories about the Turf City area because it’s really old and I think there might have been a cemetery there. My hair always stands when I tell this story.
YASMINNE CHENG AND THE GHOSTLY GIGGLES
This happened a few years ago when we were on the set of The 5 Show at the old Mediacorp campus. There was a green room just behind the set, and it was not very soundproof. So, everybody had to be very quiet during recording as it was a live show.
Once, when we were live, I heard two girls in there murmuring and having a bit of a laugh. I was like, "Just shut up! Do you not know that we are live?" When we cut to a commercial break, I exclaimed, "Who’s talking so loudly in the green room? Can you tell them to pipe down? This is a live show".
Somebody went in to look, came back, and said, "There’s nobody in there".
All of us went quiet.
CARRIE WONG AND THE PHANTOM FRAGRANCE
I heard this from our on-set makeup artist. It happened just a few days ago while we were filming a night scene at East Coast Park for You Can Be An Angel 3.
She was walking to the restrooms when she saw two beautiful women, all dressed up and wearing very strong perfume.
After spending about five minutes in the restroom, she walked back towards the set. Again, she smelled the strong smell of the same fragrance. And she continued to smell the perfume on our set and even on her way back to Mediacorp.
It was creepy to me because I didn’t smell anything at all.
EBI SHANKARA AND THE SPORTS DAY FROM HELL
When I was 16, my school held the sports day heats at one of the stadiums in the west. During the last event, the women's 400m heats, the girl who was leading the pack suddenly started hopping instead of running.
When she reached the finish line, she collapsed in a fit. Someone started crying... and then another, and another. We had to clear the stadium.
It didn't end there. While at a coffee shop next to a McDonald’s, we saw a girl from our school dash out of the McDonald’s and run towards the main road. People were shouting, “Ebi, grab her!”
I wrestled her down to the ground. She was two heads shorter than me but she was so strong. She started speaking to me in Malay but her voice was different: “If you don’t let me go, I’m going to go after your family”. I told one of my friends, who ran after her with me, to recite prayer verses into her ears. She fainted and we carried her back.
That was my closest encounter with someone whom we thought was possessed. My friends who were there with me still talk about it from time to time. It’s the kind of thing you see in the movies and never expect to happen to you in real life.
VIOLET FENYING AND THE HEADLESS MAN
This incident took place back at the old Mediacorp campus in 2016. I had wanted a photo of myself in my sponsored outfit to credit the sponsors. So, I put the camera on timer mode and posed for a few shots. While I was doing that, a friend who was with me, remarked, “Why is it suddenly so dark outside?” I didn’t think much of her comment then.
The next day, while on my journey to Genting with my family, I started going through the camera's images to delete the unwanted ones. When I saw this photo and zoomed in on it, I was scared speechless. My husband, who was sitting next to me, had never believed in the supernatural until that moment.
When I returned to Singapore, I sent the photo to Marcus Chin, asking if he knew of any shifu who could help. But he accidentally sent the photo to a group chat, and the photo got circulated. Some people tried to analyse it for evidence of Photoshop, but it was found to be authentic. I don't even know how to use the Mei Tu Xiu Xiu app properly!
Since the apparition in the photo appeared in period clothes, the wardrobe department was asked if anybody had borrowed a costume of that kind. No one had.
When the photo reached Quan Yi Fong, she rang me up to say, “Please tell me it’s not real. I started crying when I saw it! Now I’m scared to go to work”. A few hours later, she called me again and said, “I asked around and, actually, in our line of work, it’s a good omen. You’ll be blessed.” That made me feel better.
I suspect that at the moment the photo was taken, there happened to be a freak combination of factors that allowed worlds to intersect. I haven’t experienced anything since then!
(POTENTIALLY DISTURBING IMAGE AHEAD)