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What are the Most Notorious Haunted Places in Asia?

Most haunted places in Asia - Lawang Sewu

Asia Being the largest continent with a rich past of torture and intrigue, it has many haunted places and associated stories spread all over the continent.

Most haunted places in Asia

1. Lawang Sewu in Indonesia

This building was built in the early 1900s as an outpost for the Dutch East Indies Railway Company before it was taken over by Japanese soldiers and used as a prison during World War II. Later, it became the site of a bloody fight between Dutch, Japanese, and Indonesian forces. The building is said to be haunted by the ghosts of the tortured and executed prisoners, as well as a headless spirit and a Vampiric creature.

Lawang Sewu Idonesia-a-Notorious-Haunted-Place-in-Asia

The Dutch was in power in Indonesia for centuries and chose Semarang as the headquarters of the administrative office of the Railways they built.

During World War II, the Japanese invaded Indonesia. They took over Lawang Sewu and turned the basement in Building B into a prison. Many Dutch colonials were imprisoned, tortured and even executed here. People claim the Japanese decapitated prisoners and threw the severed heads into the corner of the basement. Ghosts of the executed still reported to roam around in the basement.

Most haunted places in Asia Lawang Sweu basement

With time, the Indonesian government took over the Lawang Sewu building but lneglected its maintenance. The white paint started to flake, nature was taking over and mice, rats and black mold were the only living residents of Lawang Sewu. Ghost stories multiplied as Lawang Sewu truly began to look the part of a haunted house. Men who wanted to prove their courage would venture into the building in the darkness or even try to spend an entire night inside.

Government saw the decay and neglect of the building and Lawang Sewu was declared as Cultural Property of Indonesia in 1992.

The Indonesian Government feared that tourists were afraid to enter Lawang Sewu because of the ghosts, but the numbers say otherwise. More than 1000 visitors visit Lawang Sewu each day! The ghost stories might even attract people, instead of scaring them off. The ghost of a Dutch woman is often seen. She is said to have taken her own life at Lawang Sewu. The basement still is a creepy place. People feel uneasy and there are claims of headless ghouls that are unable to find peace.

There is also a legend of a Kuntilanak or Pontianak haunting the building. This is a Vampiric manifestation of a woman who died during childbirth. These creatures look like pale-skinned women with long black hair. Kuntilanak ghosts have red eyes and wear white dresses which are smeared with blood. Legend says they are able to change themselves into beautiful humans and prey on men and helpless people.

With the passing of years, Indonesian Government did a large scale renovation to dispel the ghostly image of Lawang Sewu. But, today, many visitors come to Lawang Sewu attracted by the ghost stories alone. Jalan Pemuda’s vivid graffiti murals of snarling, clawed spirits grasp at them as they approach Lawang Sewu to see the home of some of Indonesia’s most famous ghosts.

2. The Forbidden City in China - Ghost stories abound

Most notorious haunted places in Asia - The forbidden city in China

Image created by Author using Canva (A haunting depiction of the Forbidden City in China, known for its ghost stories) : Story: The Forbidden City of China — A NEST OF GHOST STORIES

The Forbidden City, a vast, ancient site with a gruesome past, is in central part of Beijing. It spans 980 buildings covering its dark secrets from China’s history. It’s known for eerie sightings and unearthly sounds.

The former imperial palace of China was the home of 24 emperors and their families for five centuries, and witnessed many intrigues, murders, and suicides. The palace is said to be haunted by the ghosts of the former rulers, concubines, eunuchs, and servants, who can be heard crying, screaming, or laughing in the night. Some of the most famous ghosts are the Dowager Empress Cixi, Emperor Yongzheng, and Concubine Zhen.

The tale begins in 1421 when Emperor Yongle, suspecting poison in his harem, ordered a grim massacre of 3,000 concubines. On his funeral day, 16 were hung with white silk nooses. It is said, their spirits still haunt the Forbidden City.

Visitors report scary experiences: a woman with black hair fleeing a spectral soldier, and sounds of weeping, screams, and clashing swords.

Ghostly visions of blood and silk are also seen.

Now a UNESCO site, the Forbidden City closes at dusk, possibly to keep its haunted history at bay. Even entry to the inner sanctum of the palace is forbidden. This story remains a spectral chapter in China’s rich past, a blend of imperial legacy and haunting myths.

3. Changi Beach in Singapore

Most notorious haunted places in Asia -  Changi beach of Chinese massacre by the Japanese

This beach was the site of one of the worst massacres in Singapore’s history, when the Japanese forces killed thousands of Chinese civilians during World War II. The beach is said to be haunted by the ghosts of the victims, who can be seen digging holes, walking with bloodied wounds, or screaming in pain. Some people have also reported hearing gunshots, smelling blood, or feeling cold spots on the beach.

At Changi beach, you would feel tranquil heightened by the lapping waves, but soon you would realize that something sinister lurks behind the beautiful waves.

You may start getting really scared only when the fisher-folk in the area recount how the beach once served as a popular killing ground of Chinese soldiers by the Japanese during the second world war. The mere suspicion of anti-Japan activities was enough for officials from the Land of the Rising Sun to torture and kill thousands of Chinese soldiers, before dumping them in trenches dug across the beach.

Today, nearly seventy years later, memories of the horror remain. And on occasions, when darkness shrouds the sea, dead Chinese soldiers can be heard proclaiming their innocence in painful shrieks above the sound of the crashing waves. And deep pits are found littering the place, as if the beach were begging for full payment - in souls.

Sum up

This is just a glimpse of the sordid and pitiful tales of the past in Asia. There should certainly be many hundreds of such stories littered all over Asia, the largest continent in the world. It has the distinction of being an ancient past with its cruel emperors, and marauding Mongols, Mughals, Dutch and British invaders to name a few, leaving behind them ignominious stories of torture, exploitation and murders.

Take these just as stories to pass the time and enjoy the present, without concerning youself to what lies after death.

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