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Close encounter with spirits and a headless woman

Saturday, June 26, 2010


THE older the structure, the more likely it is to be haunted. Given the chequered history of Pudu Prison – which dates back to 1895 – you can be sure it has more than its fair share of ghostly tales.

Abu Bakar Juah says it was common to hear things at night – footsteps where no one was supposed to be, chains rattling, and even hearing someone or something taking a bath when everyone is locked in.

“We normally shout out loud that we are merely trying to make a living and tell whatever that’s out there to leave us alone,” he says.

Haji Aziz Haji Idris tells of an encounter while on duty at one of the guard towers when he was still a young officer.

“It was shortly after midnight and I was on night duty with another person when I saw an officer approaching. As we had been trained, I banged my rifle on the floor and shouted out ‘Everything all right, sir!”

Aziz says the figure said nothing but raised his hand, and then suddenly disappeared.

He also remembers one particular bunk in the warder’s dormitory which everyone tried to avoid.

“Anyone who slept there would be sure to feel an unseen force pressing down on his chest. They may try to shout or move but will be helpless to do anything,” he says, adding that some would rather sleep on the floor than use the bunk.

Abu Bakar also recalls a weird phenomenon – a ball of fire the size of a football that suddenly appeared and rolled out of sight.

“It happened every once in a while, and in cycles. Everyone would be talking about it for a while,” he says.

But the scariest tale is that of a recurring apparition of a woman. Aziz believes it was the ghost of a woman who was hanged there.

“She had tried to kill herself previously by slitting her throat. She survived but before she was fully recovered, the execution order came,” he says.

“She was brought to the execution chamber and hanged – but because of the injury, her head was literally torn off. It was a gruesome death and that is the ghost that many people have seen.”

He recalls an encounter with this apparition.

“I was on duty at Block D, where death row is located, and directly above the execution chamber is a huge anchor stone.

“Out of the corner of my eye I saw a figure sitting on this stone. Malays believe ghosts’ feet do not touch the ground, and when I bent over to look, the figure disappeared,” he says.

But a fellow officer’s encounter was even more shocking.

“Once, a police officer was interviewing prisoners and it was getting late. However, he said that he could interview one more, and I went down to bring another one.

“As he was filling in some forms he saw a figure sitting down. Thinking it was another prisoner he looked up, only to see a headless woman with blood flowing down her chest. The officer ran down the stairs as fast as he could,” he says.

Aziz believes Pudu Prison is a very “dirty” place and in some places is a giant graveyard.

“During World War II, the British buried Japanese soldiers there, and when the Japanese took over, they buried the British there.

“The ghosts here are real,” says Aziz.

The Star

27 June 2010