; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Saturday, April 06, 2024

LEGENDS OF HORROR From the Sultanate of Brunei

Individuals who have claimed to have encountered supernatural entities at different locations in the Sultanate of Brunei. Similar sightings can be traced back to the legends of old, centuries ago, but its true existence will forever remain a mystery.


Most Bruneians nationwide are familiar with this urban legend. Countless tales of horror have been whispered in the air and some, experienced first-hand, the terrifying occurrences in this place. Peter, a local businessman, was more than happy to share his story and it revolved around ‘the white sands’ leading up to. Road users often pass by this area when heading off to the Belait District or neighboring Malaysia.

Peter claims that his close encounter happened on the eve of New Year as he traveled home to be with his family in Seria. Festive songs played on the radio as he sang along to the medleys, grateful that he would finally spend New Year with his loved ones for the first time in five years. Not long after he reached the area, a disturbing sight caught his attention. Glancing at the counter clock, it was a little after I was. “Why is she walking alone at this hour?” Peter asked himself. He stopped the car by the roadside and approached the seemingly oblivious woman who continued walking even after Peter called out to her. Concerned that the woman might need help or a ride, he attempted to speak to the woman. “Excuse me miss, do you need help?” Peter asked. She stopped walking and turned slowly towards him. Her long black locks covered her pale face as she gestured towards a junction and pointed to a deserted rest house nearby. Seeing as though something was amiss, Peter stepped back and asked, “Are you alright? Are you heading that way?” The woman simply nodded.

“Please let me give you a ride,” he said and opened the front passenger door for her. As he turned to face the woman, she suddenly disappeared and was nowhere in sight. Shivers ran down his spine as he stared at the pitch-black darkness, the silence becoming somewhat deafening. Instead of panicking, he drove off and continued his journey without ever looking back. “It frightened me out of my wits,” Peter said before concluding his story.



A common pastime amongst people of all ages, this famous sport has provided an excellent opportunity for families and friends to bond and spend quality time together. Such was the intention of a young student who invited his friends for a ‘boys' night out’ fishing along one of the well-known rivers in the district.

In this story, Khairul re-calls the horrifying events, which occurred on that fateful night. As they set out on their journey at quarter past midnight, the group of three were feeling absolutely jubilant, having just completed their public examinations. The humid clouds, which swelled above them, did not look promising and projected an impending thunderstorm. That of course, failed to hinder the group’s journey. After setting up their fishing rods, they decided to hunt for their quarry near the jetty and waited patiently for the ‘rewards’.

“It was a dark, eerie night and although my instincts told me something wasn’t right, I didn’t want to be a party pooper,” Khairul said.

An hour or so passed when something tugged heavily at the fishing reel. “Guys, I think we caught something big!”

Samad shouted excitedly but as he attempted to pull in his catch, he found – nothing. “Maybe you didn’t place the bait properly,” Shahrol suggested. Confused and bewildered by the strange episode, Samad took out a tackle box to replace his reel and used live prawns instead of worms. “Hope this will work better,” Samad said and cast his bait into the river. Out of nowhere, a gust of cold wind blew gently in his direction. He turned his gaze towards Khairul, who was sitting quietly by the riverbank. “Hey Khai, you alright?” but received no response. “What’s wrong with this fellow?” Samad asked himself and decided to approach his seemingly quiet friend. While he was talking to Khairul, two men emerged from the parking lot. At first, Samad thought they were anglers looking to enjoy a fishing expedition but as he looked closely, he noticed that the two men were none other than his buddies. “If Khairul is there, who in the world is beside me?” Samad thought and without thinking, he ran towards his friends without looking back.

Samad struggled to contain himself and was practically hysterical. He told them about his ordeal and instead of comforting him, they laughed. “There’s no one here besides us. I think you watch too many horror films, my friend,” Khairul said. Furious and agitated, Samad marched into the parking lot and chose to wait for his ‘ignorant’ friends in the car. The two continued fishing and were not at all bothered by the incident. As they laughed away at the jokes and tales of their youths, they were distracted by what seemed to be a thousand flickering sounds. To their amazement, a shoal of fish splashed furiously against the water as if it were sending a signal. At that instant, something tugged at their fishing reel but instead of catching a big fish as they had anticipated, an amputated head hung on their hook, covered in dark, murky slime. Shahrol instantly tossed the rod into the river and watched as the head floated towards the jetty.

The two stood frozen in their tracks as they caught sight of a ’supernatural’ being dressed in black sitting by the jetty without a head. It then leaped into the water and crawled to shore before vanishing into the woods. Without hesitating, the two ran towards their car leaving all the equipment behind. Samad was sleeping contently in the back seat as they drove off. The return home turned out to be a bizarre odyssey as they began hearing disembodied voices coming from the back. As the two boys turned around, they saw the paranormal entity clinging to the back of the vehicle. Shahrol turned on the radio and recited prayers to ward off the spirit. None of the three coveted to sleep alone that night.

“This episode has triggered months of restless nights for us and sometimes, we sense a strange presence especially when either three of us are alone. We have definitely learned a lot from this and will probably go fishing only in the afternoons,” Khairul said before concluding the group’s terrifying tale.



‘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 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.



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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Have you had a sighting or encounter?
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Thanks. Lon

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