Monday, February 28, 2011

Recounting the Pontianak

The following are a few archived Pontianak reports that I have accumulated over the years. In Indonesian and Malayan folklore, the 'Pontianak' are women who died during childbirth and became 'undead', seeking revenge and terrorizing the living. I have many of these stories and personal witness accounts...so I will occasionally post a few if there is continued interest by the readers:

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Towards the end of my national (Singapore) service, my service support group was sent in to the new SyangKong Camp to prepare stores for the in-coming battalion for their reservice.

I was in charge of 20-odd of them. They were on unfamiliar grounds as most of them did not have full basic military training because of their medical condition.

SyangKong Camp is in the middle of reclaimed Tekong. It sits on a sandy/rocky terrain, flank by rubber plantations. The camp was made up of series of single level barracks spread across the field surrounding a center square. Its big enough to house one full infantry battalion. So our first impression when we reach there was, it was a big and empty camp.

Those 20 odd storeman got down doing their stuff, equipping each barrack with the necessities. Foldable beds, pillows, blankets...the list goes on.

Soon after, once everything is in place, they all got back to their barrack. It was a long barrack with windows on the longer sides and entry at both end. There was a double door and a steel gate on the outside.

It was around 8pm and it was already dark. They were all resting. Listening to their MP3s, squinting their eyes on their PSPs. Some rowdies were playing outside. Taking photos on top of a stationary bulldozer, basically just enjoying the time in the middle of the jungle with no officer to scream at them and with only a sergeant who couldn’t care even if they kill each other.

I was too tired to entertain them. After giving them the last instruction for the day, I dozed off on my bed. Strangely, I dreamed of the exact same barrack that I was in. In my dream I was lying on the exact same bed looking on as my men run around the bunk from end to end in total chaos. They were all terrified. The door was opened but the gate was closed. Soon amidst the chaos, I saw a woman in a white cloak with a long hair. The face was horrible but I can never remember how to describe it.

She was a Pontianak...a classic blood sucking bitch who is apparently dead and alive again to struck shear fear in every Malay's life. (I personally think she’s over-rated, but she got her credentials.)

So that explains why the guys are running around in chaos. ‘She’ was flying above our barrack, circling the roof top, jumping from each end to the other trying to gain entry into the barrack. Only the gate was in her way.

So that was the dream I had. It sounds stupid, didn’t it? But it was scary as it was in the middle of Tekong, and having your brain corrupted by the constant stories of Pontianak since you were young. I woke up in a sweat. It was barely an hour since I dozed off.

The barrack was still lighted. The guys who were on their PSP and MP3 had already dozed off. Those from outside had came in. There was an unusual silence amongst them. The doors were shut. I could sense something was wrong. I turned to my man beside me and told him my dream. He kept quiet and went on to sleep. That night, I tried to put myself to sleep. I managed to after awhile. Unexpectedly, it was a sound sleep.

Next day, the man whom I told the story, told me that while I was sleeping earlier last night, they sighted a Pontianak on top of the bulldozer.

As the battalion came in the next day and continue their training for the week, there were a few other happenings and sightings which was more disturbing.

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This story may sound a bit silly, a bit lame even, but I swear it is true!

My friends and I had decided to watch a movie at the Mall. The movie was “Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam”. Its quite a new movie, maybe you’ve heard of it?

Anyway, the Mall (yes, that’s the name of the shopping complex. Imaginative huh?) is built right in the middle of the a busy commercial district, the town center you might call it. It;s brand new, completed just this year, and as far as I know, no supernatural going-ons have happened in the area.

Anyway, as I was saying, we were watching the “Pontianak” movie, the late night showing. I happened to be at the end furthest from the aisle. The few seats from mine to the wall were all empty.

In the middle of watching the movie, my neck felt stiff. You know how that feels right after staring up at the movie for quite a while? So I stretched out, turning my neck from side-to-side to get rid of the stiffness.

To my shock, the empty seat beside me was no longer empty! There was a lady in a white dress with long black hair sitting there, seemingly absorbed in the movie! I turned back to the movie, frozen in terror.

I couldn’t stand it anymore and was about to go crying to my friend (who was sitting right beside me but didn’t seem to have seen something strange). I glanced back at the extra person, but she was gone! I went crying to my friend anyway. She didn’t believe me, but didn’t mind switching seats with me. Needless to say, I wasn’t very much interested in watching the movie after that. I mean, who needs a movie when you’ve seen the real thing?

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This happened when I was on the way back home from work. At that point of time, I was working at Boat Quay as a chat operator. So usually we knock off at 3am. My in-law was staying at Tiong Bahru. Sometimes my hubby would fetch me from work and we would walk all the way to my in-law's place. As our normal routine just like when we were still dating, we like to travel by foot (considering its not that tiring to walk to the destination) and talk about lots of things.

Narrow things down, we reach this 4 block area where it's just 4 story high or 5. Can’t clearly remember. Rumors said that the HDB wants to pull it down but now I see that its being made as a rental place.

So before we reach Tiong Bahru Plaza, we will pass by this place. A few metres before we reach this block, (this happen before the HDB carried out the renovation to upgrade this vacant 4 story block. So it's really run down and been years nobody actually live there) I popped a question to my hubby, "Isn’t it scary to look at this building? It's been vacant like years and I’m sure there’s like 'those things' in there..a lot!". Wile talking, my hubby eyes was fixed to the 3rd story of this building. I tap him gently and ask him what is he looking at.

He turned to me and ask me to look straight. "Sorry sayang", he suddenly said. "Why are you apologizing to me"? I ask. He then answered "Thanks to me, now that thing is already at the bushes across the road. Just don’t look now. Just now, that pontianak was at the 3rd story looking at us. Thanks to me looking at her back, she knows that I spotted her and now she is walking the same line as us just that she’s across the road".

I turn my head slowly and fix my eyes right at the bushes. True enough, there is no wind and nothing across the road (it"s just metres away...so near) the bushes are rustling and moving. It seems like someone or something is walking behind or in the bushes parallel with us, following us from the other side. I calm myself down and just walk straight.

I was praying hard that we would reach home quickly but thanks to the shoes that I'm wearing, I have to go slow (it's a new shoe, so yeah). All of the sudden, my hubby grabs my bag and hand, he pulled me and we both ran. I was clueless at that time but in my mind I did have this thought, "is that thing behind me? Chasing us and wanting to kill us?"

We finally reach a bus stop and sat down. Hubby said it's safe. I really needed to sit down after that dash. Being impatient, I ask my hubby to explain why the sudden dash. Hubby insisted that we reach home and talk about it. Back at my in-law's he explains.

"I saw that thing from the 3rd story while you were talking. At first it didn’t see me looking at it. Then the Pontianak spotted me looking at her. So it was like too late for me to pretend that I never saw her at all. I thought that the Pontianak would just stand and look but she suddenly came down and followed us from the other side. The reason I pulled you was she was about to show herself because I saw the Pontianak emerging from the bushes. I saw her white dress and black hair already so I rather we ran than having you see her that close up".

Since then, whenever I pass the building then and now, I never want to look at it. It just reminds me of the incident. Even now, since the renovation, trying to walk past the building at night, I walk at the back of the building. Who knows what you may see or even meet.

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This guy named Ismail was returning home from his cousin's house as it was during the Hari Raya. I think it was 2 years ago. His cousin's house was in Yishun and he was heading to Pasir Ris that where he lived. While riding along Punggol, he was feeling strange all of a sudden. He continued to ride until there was a Malaysian plated motorcycle. When they were side by side, this old Malaysian guy turned to him and then speed faster. Ismail didn't care and just kept on riding until he was again riding side by side with a old man. He was riding a Vespa motorcyle. The old man turn to look at Ismail and again the old man speed faster. Ismail thought that he wanted to race.

After a few minutes, he looked at his side mirror as he felt as if there was someone riding behind him. He look at the mirror and saw a white dress. He again looked at the mirror and saw a woman with long black hair and then it strikes him that there was evil riding behind him. Ismail says “I did not disturb you and you please...do not disturb me”. He was in total fear!

When he reach a junction at Pasir Ris, he was getting ready to stop at a red light. This 'thing' pulled near and began to laughed. Ismail didn't care weather it was a red or green light, he just sped off until he reached home. Without even taking the key and parking at the correct spot, he rushed to his house. Reaching his house, he tells his elder brother what happened. His brother said he was lying.

They both get on their motorcycles together...Ismail rode behind his elder brother. When they see the motorcycle, the Pontianak was sitting and smiling at them. Ismail scolded his elder brother for not believing him. His brother quickly shouted prayers and the 'thing' was gone. Ismail rushed back home leaving his brother alone.

When the brother reached his way home, he scolded Ismail for leaving him alone, "what if the thing attacked me." Beware riding your motorcycle alone at night.....

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One Friday night, all of my friends and I are chatting at a nearby coffee shop. It was a boring night, one of my friends suggested we go clubbing at Boat Quay but we ignored his suggestion. I suggested to have some fun with the spirits as it was the HUNGRY GHOST FESTIVAL.

We planned the things that we needed, e.g joss sticks, candles, apples and a comb. We proceeded to the destination planned. Upon reaching, we set up all the things we bought. The candles were used to make a pentagram and we put the joss stick around us. Together there were 6 of us including one girl. We were suppose to sit at every end of the pentagram and one person in the middle. The girl sat in the middle and she was supposed to comb her hair while chanting some spell.

It`s almost midnight and we started to chant the spell my friend taught us. After a few minutes nothing happen. I started to feel that its a waste of our time. I got up and kicked all the candles and joss sticks, and walk away. Suddenly it happened. The girl who was combing her hair started to scream. She ran towards me and started to bite me. At first I thought she playing around but she wasn’t. My friends tried to pull her away from me but to no avail. Then she released me and started to say words that we could not understand. My friend who is a religious type, started to chant some prayers and the possessed girl started to scream again. The screams then began to fade and she fainted. All of us then witnessed a white object flying above the bushes behind us. We became alarmed, picked up the fainted girl and ran away to the nearest HDB block. From there we went back to our home.

I told my mother about the incident...she was so mad that the slap me on the face. She said that I had disturbed the resting place of a PONTIANAK. I swear to myself not play with spirits again. As for the girl she knew nothing about what had happened to her.

This really happened at Serangoon Park Connector.

NOTE: there are lots of Pontianak tales and legends. The following are a few of my personal favorites:

 
‘Pontianaks’ or vampires are basically the most notorious group of paranormal entities and their popularity is evident through their portrayals in horror films and fiction movies. In this story, Ahmad, a man in his mid-twenties, claims to have encountered these strange entities while driving home from Tutong Town. This unfortunate incident triggered months of restlessness and paranoia but yet here, he recalls the sequence of events leading up to that fateful night as he faced his worst nightmare.

Driving down the highway, Ahmad tried to adjust his focus and eyes on the road as fatigue and lethargy took control of his body. The long working hours at his new job had taken its toll and left him practically exhausted. After several failed attempts to keep himself awake, Ahmad finally gave in and decided to stop at the side of the road to get some shuteye before continuing his journey. As he turned to make a stop, his eyes caught sight of a strange looking ‘object’ in the middle of the road that seemed to resemble a log but simply shrugged it off as nothing out of the ordinary. However, as Ahmad peered closer at the weird object, he could make up some facial features but it was too dark to tell whether his imagination was beginning to run wild. Despite the warning which echoed in his mind to ‘run away’, he simply refused to steer clear of whatever was on that road.

Curiosity got the better of him and he took out a torch light out of the glove compartment to investigate what it really was. As Ahmad approached the ‘object’, it laid so disturbingly still as if waiting to strike. He suddenly stood frozen in his tracks as the ‘mysterious object’ lifted its head slowly in his direction and let out an ear-piercing cry. Fear overtook the very core of Ahmad’s mind and he knew instantly what the ’strange’ object was. He struggled to summon his inner strength to face the terror staring him right in the eye. “This was something that you could only see in horror films,” Ahmad said. He watched the terror unfold as the paranormal entity, commonly known as ‘pontianaks’ to the locals, crawled to the side of the road and began creeping towards a lamp post. Within split seconds, it swiftly moved towards him and all he could do was recite prayers to ward off the spirit. The ‘pontianak’ stared at him intently before disappearing into thin air. The memory of such a disturbing image, till this day, seems difficult to erase and has changed his philosophy on the existence of paranormal entities.

“I think it’s a good idea to share my experience with fellow readers on this issue. Whether they choose to believe it or not, is of course up to them. However, this is not something you simply make up. It took me quite a while to try and forget this horrifying incident but I decided to instead use it as a lesson in life,” he said before concluding his story.

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Legends of old have it that an individual who possesses a fragile spirit will most likely encounter supernatural entities and although no evidence of such a claim exists, some have unfortunately experienced it firsthand for reasons they cannot phantom. This story revolves around an American expatriate who was kind enough to share his ordeal before leaving the country for good.

David loved Brunei and considered it as his second home. He even planned to settle down with his then fiancé living in Kuala Belait and thus, frequently traveled back and forth to visit his better half. Working in a highly demanding field, which required every ounce of his expertise, commuting from the capital to the Belait District daily was painstaking and inconvenient but he longed to put a balance between his work and fiancé. Days and sometimes, even months at a time, the pressuring demands of his career began to take its toll on their relationship.

One fateful night, they got into a heated argument and his fiancé threatened to commit suicide. After several attempts to call her hand phone, which went unanswered, he grabbed his car keys and drove hastily to Kuala Belait. “Please answer the phone, please,” David pleaded. He then began blaming himself should anything unforeseen happen to his fiancé and could not imagine life without her.

He then approached the one-lane road and focused on the dark, eerie highway, where no street lamps were erected. Suddenly, the radio reception started to deteriorate and David simply thought it was due to the location. A few minutes later, the car engine began to quiver and decelerate from 120 to 80km/h. “What in heaven’s name could possibly go wrong now?” he exclaimed as it was a brand new car. “Do not break down here please, of all places!” David said while glancing around at the pitch-black darkness without a single soul in sight.

He pulled himself together and tried to dismiss all negative thoughts coming to mind. As he attempted to lean on the arm rest, David caught sight of what seemed to be a ’shadow’, in the corner of his eye. Without thinking, he turned to confirm his worst fear and indeed, there was a weird ‘figure’ sitting beside him in the front passenger seat. The entity’s long black strands of hair covered its face as ’she’ repeatedly let out a blood-curling laugh. Shivers ran down his spine and a thousand thoughts raced through the businessman’s mind. Given the fact that he is a free-thinker, no religion or prayers could save him then as he knew none. David thought of calling someone, practically anyone but his phone was in the middle of the dashboard. Terrified that the ‘entity’ would grab his hands, he continued driving, hoping, praying that a street lamp would appear with some visible ’signs’ of life.

A few minutes on, David’s instincts sent a warning jolt through his body. He could sense that the ’spirit’ was staring at him and his heart raced with sheer trepidation. Straight ahead, visible strokes of light could be seen and he stepped on the gas pedals hoping to reach the area before something happened to him. That seemed to only make things worse.

With the streetlights, he could clearly see his ‘uninvited passenger’. The events that followed would remain embossed in his memories forever. The ’spirit’ extended its arms to grab his shoulders. He immediately stepped on the brakes and ran out of the car. David refused to turn around for fear that ‘it’ was nearby but decided to fight his fear after remembering his fiance.

“After I saw it was gone, I went back into my car and drove off like never before,” David said. After reconciling with his fiance, he retold his frightful story and later discovered that the entity was in fact, a Pontianak. “This has altered my complete outlook in life and I now refuse to travel anywhere alone if it’s 3 in the morning,” he said while giggling but behind the laughter, the impact of that encounter could be visibly seen through his eyes.

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SEARCHING FOR THE PONTIANAK - SINGAPORE PARANORMAL INVESTIGATORS

The Malays' belief in ghosts is perhaps the most interesting. They seem to have categorized the ghosts into different types and each was given a special name. The most violent and fierce ghost in the Malay version is perhaps the 'Pontianak', otherwise known as 'Hantu Kontilanak' among Indonesians. Pontianaks are actually the Malay version of a vampire. They kill and tear their victim's body up to suck their blood. They use long nails to shred open the abdomen, and feed on the intestines inside the body. Very disgusting. Another version of attack is swiftly dig out the victim's sex organ when he leaned near to her.

Over the past years, SPI had collected a wonderful batch of stories (some with witness' account) regarding this mythical beast namely Pontianak. Most of them are quite drastically incredible like those you read from those bedtime ghost story books. Some archetypes are however summarized as follow for your reference:

1. Lady figure in white was seen near the trees
2. Flower fragrance was smelled in cemeteries
3. A white figurine flew pass from tree to tree
4. A lady ghost was seen singing on a tree branch
5. Pontianak hiding inside a banana tree, etc, etc..

Nevertheless there are some good stories obtained as first-hand information from the witnesses who dare to stand up and testify the stories. The accounts are somewhat more credible than those hearsay you got from elsewhere.

For example:

(1) We have a SPI fan who is an ex-police cadet. During his training in the Mt Pleasant camp, his supervisor told him that there are cases of Pontianak encounters in the forests near the police academy. They are of course classified cases and the supervisor seriously warned the fellows not to walk near the forest at night.

(2) A SPI member, before joining, had witnessed the existence of Pontianak at Mt Pleasant cemetery with his other friends.

(3) A young girl called Lina, who claimed to be the daughter of a bomoh, insisted that Pontianak did exist according to what her father told her. When she was about 9 years old, she saw a Pontianak during her father's summoning ritual.

With an open mind, SPI decided to find the truth behind such myth. We vowed to research, to explore and to investigate to the bottom of this legend. Since we started up SPI we have been collecting over dozens of accounts about Pontianak. By saying we keep an 'open-mind' that means we first not to believe or dismiss its truthfulness. We take our best efforts as usual to try verify whether Pontianak exist or not. If necessary, we are happy to debunk the myth by proving no such thing exist. Otherwise we will testify its real existence. There is only one aim in this investigation - solve the mysteries clouded around the legend of Pontianak. This is why SPI exists, and this is what we do. You can continue reading the investigation at SEARCHING FOR THE PONTIANAK - SINGAPORE PARANORMAL INVESTIGATORS

2 comments :

Haley Haunted said...

Love it! Thanks for sharing all this information, this was a new one for me!

lexcade said...

thanks for posting! i really like this site. i write paranormal stuff sometimes, and this has given me great information to use, especially your Pontianak and impakto posts. thanks again :)

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