In honor of Halloween, the Spa Monkeys team thought it would be fitting to share some Chinese ghost stories that we’ve collected from a few sources we know. Some of these mention the “Hungry Ghost Festival” – it is a festival marking the opening of the Gates of Hell, where many souls reside all year. During this Ghost Festival, usually held in August, the local Chinese burn offerings in hope of appeasing the spirits as well as avoid being out late at night. Halloween is a fun night of gatherings, sharing and most of all – spookiness! So let us retain the spook factor here: enjoy!
Policemen have the worst time during the Ghost Festival. Trust me, I am one. The whole force tenses up during this period because every year some weird things happen. The senior guys have tons of stories. I’ve always brushed them off because they tend to be stories about weird sounds and flashes, never anything too grim. But a few years ago, it all changed for me and a colleague.
We were called out at around 11pm to assist an old lady who had kept calling the station in hysterics. No one could tell what she was talking about, so they sent me and my colleague. When we arrived at the address, there wasn’t much to see – it was a 6 storey walk up apartment in a shoddy part of town. She lived on the top floor. When we got there, we were let in by a frantic old woman who was at least in her 70’s. She was pacing around the room, muttering something about her daughter coming to get her. It was clear that her mind wasn’t all there, so we got her personal details and wrote down her ID, then decided to go back to the station to notify her kids that their mother needed some help. Unfortunately, it’s becoming more common in Hong Kong to have elderly citizens like her who are neglected or abandoned by their children, living a lonely, meager existence.
Anyway, we noted down that the apartment looked tidy and well kept; this is when I looked out the balcony window, onto the street. A little girl, maybe about 9 or 10, was looking up at us. She wore a cute white dress and seemed curious. This wasn’t the nicest of neighbourhoods, so I made a mental note to ask her what she was doing outside by herself so late at night. By the time we left the flat though, the little girl had gone home. “Some parents are so bad,” I lamented to my colleague. “Yeah, it happens a lot around here, a lot of juveniles come from this area,” he replied, as we got into our car.
We got back to the station and checked up on her files. It was strange. Turned out that the old lady had been married once and did indeed have a daughter, but the girl had died in a tragic accident…in that very apartment. She had fallen over the balcony while playing and died instantly. I felt horrible for the poor woman, her mind must have never been the same after seeing her little girl die like that. We tried searching for other family members and finally reached a stepdaughter, from her previous husband’s marriage to someone else. Of course, as it was really late at night then, she didn’t pick up the phone when we tried.
It didn’t matter. At around 4:30am, we got another call. This time, it was from a screaming neighbour from the very same building we had just gone to. The old lady had jumped. She’d committed suicide, jumped off the same balcony her daughter fell off. I looked at my colleague and we sped back to the scene. It was bad. The neighbors were peeking onto the street, at her shattered body and blood was everywhere – she’d landed face down.
My colleague just froze over – I could tell he was blaming himself. I looked up at the apartment balcony. And there she was. That same little girl in the white dress.
She was smiling.
My blood turned cold. I blinked and she wasn’t there anymore. I blacked out.
When I came to, I was at the back of the ambulance, being treated for shock. The paramedic looked at me sympathetically.
“First time?” he asked.
“First time with a jumper?”
“Yeah, it never gets easy. This one’s messier than most, she really landed hard on the concrete. I picked up some of her teeth over there.”
I took the next few days off, which really helped. When I got back to the station, a note was waiting for me. The step daughter wanted to talk to me – she’d gotten our missed calls. My colleague had refused to call her. He didn’t want to face the crying and grieving, he hated that. So I braced myself and called the number.
“Hi. I’m calling about your step mother, Ms. –”
“Oh, that’s fine. We’ve been informed that she’s dead and it’s already registered. We’ve also found a will in the apartment so we’re arranging the deed transfer.”
Her voice was completely calm, irritated even. It was like she couldn’t care less that her step mother was dead. I got a bit angry, even if they weren’t blood related, it was plain disrespectful.
Sensing my judgement, the step daughter snapped.
“She was a horrible, cruel person. Don’t think that she’s ended up by herself because we’ve neglected her. My father couldn’t wait to get rid of that old witch. We think she murdered my half-sister. My father was leaving her and she threatened to hurt him the worst way possible. So she threw my sister off the balcony and pretended it was an accident. He’s been heartbroken ever since. I’m glad she got what was coming. None of your police friends believed us then, so maybe you’ll believe us now, since my sister’s finally come for her.”
I quietly finished the rest of the call, my hands shaking.
Her daughter did indeed come for her.
I will never forget that smile, from the little girl on the balcony.
*A big thanks to Mr. L for providing us with this story.
I always have nightmares. My friends and family just think that I’m timid and that it’s a mental trick I do to myself, but whatever it is – I get these horrible nightmares. I’m thinking about seeing a therapist. All the dreams are terrible but this particular one from last year was the worst.
I dreamed that I stood by a riverbank, surrounded by some dead trees and ragged looking bushes. The landscape looked barren and old – like a miserable portrait of a place long forgotten. The water was a muddy brown. Suddenly I heard splashing and a weird gurgling sound from the water. When I looked, I saw something dark come up from underneath the surface.
It was the corpse of a woman with long black hair, except she wasn’t really dead in my dream, she was climbing out of the river – towards me. I can’t remember all the details but it was extremely grotesque. Her skin was pale grey with black bruises and some parts were hanging off in pieces. She looked right at me and reached out. The worst part was that her disgusting rotten hand actually grabbed me by the arm. It was freezing cold, wet. White, dead flesh. Her grip was unnaturally hard and she emitted a strange, humming sound like a machine but there was a deep, painful rage to it.
My brain overloaded at this point because I woke up screaming. My parents and older brother came running in and of course everyone just huffed at me to go back to sleep. When they went back to their room, I tried consoling myself with a good book but when I went to my study desk…I noticed the floor was wet. There was a puddle of clear water on the floor, right next to my bed. No trail of droplets, nothing. Just a puddle.
I stayed awake for a long time after that.
* Courtesy of Jacky Y., thank you for freaking us all out. Update: Jacky did eventually go to see a therapist, who suggested that he was struggling with anxiety and stress. Best of luck Jacky. We’re not going to be sleeping well either.
This is from a friend who went to Thailand. She’s a big bargain hunter, so when a hotel was offering amazing rates online, she booked it and went with her husband on a quick weekend vacay. Turned out that the hotel was not very close to anything and the place was badly run. They were given a large suite though, at the end of a hallway.
My friend’s probably the least superstitious person around – she’s all logic, numbers and evidence. Her husband was already creeped out by the location of the hotel and its shabbiness, but in her eyes, a suite was a plus. So she was feeling pretty good when they arrived, even texting me about it when she was there.
Anyway, they get to the room and settle down – looking fwd to a nice sleep. Unfortunately that was definitely not what they got. First strange thing: footsteps. Someone was constantly stomping up and down the hallways, in and out of the room next to them. Her husband peeked outside, but saw nothing.
Next, the phone rang – it was 2am by then and they were both really annoyed. My friend picked up and there was no sound. Faulty, she thought. Then the phone rang again. Same thing, they’d pick up and no sound. It was a prank.
Finally after a few more rings, my friend’s husband unplugged the whole thing and they both settle down to sleep.
They stared at the ringing, unplugged phone – and freaked the hell out. Suddenly, the footsteps outside their door became frantic, like someone had started running up and down the hallways. There was a high pitched giggle as well and muffled voices, as if there were several people outside their door.
My poor friend and her husband stayed awake with all the lights on until sunlight. The moment the sun came up, the sleepless couple burst out into the hallway and noticed that the two rooms next to them were barred shut. There couldn’t have been guests there. They went straight to the front desk to complain – the staff did not look the least bit surprised. In fact, the attitude was horrendous and the staff made sure no refunds were allowed – it was almost like they knew it was going to happen.
So for once, my friend, who’s the type of bargain hunter that would walk an hour to work instead of spending a dollar on cab fare – gave up the money they’d paid for two more nights and walked into the Four Seasons. Best money she’d ever spent, she said.
*Credit: Sarah K – thanks for reminding us why review systems are important. Because haunted hotels are not fun.