Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Singapore’s Old Changi Hospital

The Republic of Singapore today is a thriving island nation. It is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. Its economy is strong with a high per capita income base. Many Singaporeans ethnicity is Chinese. It's islands are located 85 miles north of the equator just off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula in southeast Asia. Unfortunately, Singapore's violent past has resulted in many hauntings. The story of its most haunted building is the focus of this post.

Old Changi Hospital was built in 1935 as a British RAF barracks and hospital when Singapore was still a part of the English Crown. Like many structures in Singapore this building is haunted as the result of how it was used during the Second World War. In the early 1940s the Brits were preparing to use Singapore as a naval base when the Japanese attacked in 1942 and took control of the country.*

The Japanese used Changi Hospital as a prison camp for the British and their allies, which included: Australians, Indians (India) and the Malays. They also imprisoned Singaporeans who they felt were not loyal to their interests. This camp, like all Japanese prison camps during the war was run by the Japanese secret police, the Kempeital. The Kempeital were similar to the German Gestapo in their brutal tactics.

Kempeital Secret Police
The Kempeital often used torture. During the time they occupied Singapore they “erected iron stakes outside the YMCA and Cathay Building, on which they periodically impaled the severed hands of prisoners executed for anti-Japanese activity.” 

One Australian soldier, a lieutenant recounts his treatment by the Kempeital:

“The interviewer produced a small piece of wood like a meat skewer, pushed that into my left ear, and tapped it with a small hammer. I think I fainted some time after it went through the drum. I remember the last excruciating sort of pain, and I must have gone out for some time because I was revived with a bucket of water. Eventually it healed but of course I couldn’t hear with it. I have never been able to hear since.”

As the war ended many Japanese soldiers were executed at this hospital. After the war Changi was used again as a British hospital. ** The fact the building is haunted became apparent as early as the late 1940s. By 1997 the building was abandoned but by this time thousands of witnesses had seen and heard unusual activity. The belief is so strong that Changi is haunted that many Singaporeans warn that it is best not to be in the area late at night.

Common witness reports include: screams, apparitions and shadow people. Erratic lights and phantom scents are also seen and smelled. One phenomenon seen is the bloody sight of the slaughtered Japanese soldiers. Another is that of a small boy that is always seen sitting and staring into space. Witnesses state they get a strong sense of sadness after seeing this apparition.

In 2010, the Old Changi hospital was used as a set for the filming of the mockumentary film entitled, Haunted Changi. During the production the cast and crew experienced some real activity. They captured a shadow person on film, which they left in their finished cut. The one reason I mention this film is because of the "real activity" experienced--this is not a recommendation for the film.

They also saw an apparition of a lady that they described as having a “black aura.” Various members of the crew heard loud bangs, ghostly voices and several where touched by unseen hands. Below is a copy of the trailer for this film, I include it here because it shows the unexpected shadow person they caught on film.

* When the Japanese attacked these battles were not fought on the main island of Singapore.

** In 1965 Singapore claimed their independence. The hospital remained in British hands until 1975 after this it slowly started to service the public. At this point it was first called "Changi." 

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