Love a good, scary ghost story? Lucky you. Malaysia, being a melting pot of different races and cultures, has an abundance of spooky tales to tell all night, in the dark. We have all heard many scary stories and perverse tales passed on through word of mouth, one generation to the other. From the scariest evil spirits to the spookiest places where these supernatural beings have been sighted, here are five scary folklores most Malaysians would have heard of at some point in their lives.
A combination of 3 words – puan (lady), mati (dead) and anak (child), pontianak takes after a lady who lost her baby during childbirth. She is often dressed in white and sports long black hair; and is known to seek revenge against men. Many have said to have encountered this bitter being while on the road in the wee hours. If you smell the scent of jasmine flowers out of the blue, be very careful. That’s how you’d know this vengeful creature is in the vicinity. Pontianak rose to fame in movies like “Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam” and more recently, “Dendam Pontianak”.
2. Orang Minyak
Orang Minyak, a naked, supernatural being coated with oil, is said to be someone who is seeking superpowers to enable him to get into someone’s house to rob or rape without being detected. Legend has it that orang minyak learned the wrong teaching and turns black due to the mistake, he must rape 40 young girls to become normal again. Victims will find themselves hypnotised and their faces marked with an ‘X’ after the ordeal. Did you know there was a widespread complaint by female nurses in 2005 at the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital that a knife-wielding orang minyak would appear and attack them when they were alone. There were also reports from Gombak several years later, where residents said households with young girls are being targeted. In 1958 alone, there were 3 orang minyak movies released and it proofs that the obsession with this creature is not new.
3. Nu Gui
This female ghost dressed in a flowy white dress is said to be the spirit of someone who committed suicide or murdered and was dressed in red for her funeral to seek revenge. She has similar traits with her Malay “sister”, the pontianak. She will scare the ladies but is very vengeful towards men. Ironically, Nan Gui, the male counterpart of Nu Gui is rarely spoken about or sighted.
Pocong has a mummy-like appearance (by this we mean the creature is covered in white cloth and does not take after our beloved mums) and is said to be a dead body covered in burial shroud. Usually before the burial, the knot on top of the head is untied to expose the face and word has it, if you don’t, it then becomes pocong. It will leave its grave and hop around looking for someone to untie the knot. Indonesia, a country that shares similar ghost stories with us, has seen some of the scariest ghost movies ever released and including some that never saw the day of light due to its highly disturbing and scary content.
5. Karak Highway
Who hasn’t heard the ghost stories of the infamous Karak Highway? This route that connects Kuala Lumpur with the East Coast has appeared in countless ghost stories, including sightings of pontianaks and one of the self-driven yellow Volkswagen which cannot be overtaken. There’s also one where a car in which a couple was traveling breaks down on the highway and the husband is forced to walk to the nearest emergency phone booth (this took place before the widespread existence of mobile phones) to get help but he never came back. A patrol car pulls up and asks the lady to step out and walk towards them. When she turns back to look at her car, she sees her husband’s headless body on the roof of the car.