Like most backpackers, we travel with a guide book (Lonely Planet for us), which we may complain about at times, but it usually proves itself to be helpful.
We’ve found that the little tidbits in the book that don’t get a lot of attention tend to be the most fun adventures – from “the roads less travelled” sections to the little gray boxes of interesting facts, off to the side of some paragraphs.
One of these boxes contained a brief sentence about the Singapore Paranomal Investigators (SPI), a local group obsessed with the supernatural. The images of Ghost Busters came to our minds and we had to check it out.
After emailing them, they invited us to join them on a trip around Labrador Park, where an iconic battle was fought between the British and the Japanese in the 2nd Sino-Japanese War (we’re slowly learning how aggressive & brutal the Japanese were in the early 20th century). This park is known to every Singaporean because the Brits fumbled with their canyons pointed in the wrong direction as the Japanese snuck up behind them on bikes! We were to go ghost hunting for tortued souls!
We tagged along with a dozen or so investigators, many donning fitted black collared shirts with SPI embroidred in white letters to the chest and across the back (think FBI). We were given an array of ghost hunting tools, from three-dimensional Electro Magnetic Radiation readers to laser powered heat sensors, to infrared spotlights and IR cameras. We were told of past sightings and learned about paranormal that exists in Singapore.
A lesson in the Paranormal
We learned about the black market for stillborn babies – their spirits used for good and evil. In ‘evil’ hands, these tortured souls are used to put curses on enemies and control them by hanging very personal items above the soul in a jar. On the ‘good’ side, monks pray to these souls placed within alters for many many years until the souls mature and the hatred and sadness behind their unfortunate deaths can be put behind them and they turn into deities and the jar can be opened (a spirit may talk to a monk in their dreams).
We also learned that typically virgins have the best visions of ghosts and the 15yr old investigator in the group could help with that!
With ghost hunting gadgets in hand, we set out to explore the area just before sundown, which was starkly different then our return trip by moonlight. As night fell a feeling of eeriness took over as wind blew tree branches and everybody ran over with their instruments to investigate. The group is well balanced on it’s theories and keeps a level of skepticism among them to keep everything in check – including using physics to explain why one tree branch was aggressively swaying while others around it were not.
Ironically enough though, as we were walking by an obelisque monument to the veterans that died in battle, a nearby festival down the bay started playing that famous song from Ghost – Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers.
While we didn’t experience any encounters, we did have an interesting time and the investigators of SPI were nothing but fantastic towards us – welcoming us into their group, sharing past stories, asking about our travels, and sharing local knowledge on cuisine and politics. – And we’ll happily trade a lack of virginity for a lack of ghost sightings any day!