During the seventh lunar month of the Hungry Ghost Festival, it's wise to observe advice from the folks. While, we are not promoting superstition, there is a reason why culture and tradition have their place in modern day society.
Do you laugh at ghosts or take them so seriously, just the suggestion of encountering one makes you dive under your bed covers? We feel your pain. It's easy to get jittery when things go bump in the night, shadows appear, objects float in the air and if you've ever tripped over dust, that experience alone is enough to make you swear off night runs. But, suppose you could make friends with ghosts—learn to scare them back? No way, you say? Okay.
Previously, we have shared 11 "haunted" places in Singapore that runners should be careful of during the hungry ghost festival. Now, just avoid these nine Singapore parks after dark and you'll never have to give the topic a second thought.
1. Jurong Central Park
Location: Bounded by the Pan Island Expressway, E. Jurong Camp edge and Jurong Lake Canal.
History & Hauntings: An eviction notice to "tree hugger ghosts" in Jurong West who took issue with Singapore's initiative to turn this quiet stretch of marshland and swamps into a town was the start of this ghost story. What would you do if you were an evicted ghost? Scare the pants off anyone running around this western town. These days, spirits haunt both visitors and residents alike, as evidenced by bountiful complaints about being awakened by dead relatives. Jurong West residents also report being tripped in the shower and TVs remain lit even when the power cord is pulled. Why you would want to run here is a mystery to us, but if you must, show up when the sun's up!
Scariness Rating: Four Ghosts because these spirits are extremely persistent and there are so many of them!
2. Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
Location: Bounded by Ang Mo Kio Ave. 1, Central Expressway, Braddell Road and Upper Thomson Road.
History & Hauntings: This is yet another tragic story of bureaucrats desecrating a cemetery in the interest of suburban sprawl. In this case, sacred ground was turned into concrete jungles rife with HDB flats and commerce. Bishan ghosts weren't about to stand for it. They take revenge by haunting people moving into the neighbourhood, triggering an epidemic of suicides. Ghosts even seep through walls. Some say these spirits are restless. We think they're angry and will stick around until those buildings come down. Feel free to run around this neighbourhood any time you please, but for ghost's sake, don't move here!
Scariness Rating: One Ghost.
3. East Coast Park and Katong Park
Location: Take the East Coast Parkway or East Coast Park Service Road and follow signs.
History & Hauntings: If you know the story about the Yellow Tower ghost, you won't be surprised to learn that there are other ghosts stalking folks in the adjacent park. Train here and be prepared to spot a woman dressed in white walking out of the sea. You could sprint away, head for nearby Katong Park, one of the oldest parks in Singapore, but you'll only run headlong into the former police prison and Fort Tanjong Katong with enough of its own ghosts to scare the lady in white away! The area is drenched in ghosts and the odds aren't good. You could head for a local pub instead of running, but a ghostly prison convict could land on the barstool beside you. Ghosts in this area of Singapore really get around.
Scariness Rating: Three Ghosts; this area is saturated with dead people. Two Ghosts if you buy one a beer.
4. Bedok Reservoir Park
Location: Bounded by the East Coast Parkway, Xilin Ave, Bedok Reservoir and Bedok South Ave.
History & Hauntings: This area is the real deal: Abandoned buildings haunted to the max are so frightening to developers, nobody's leading an initiative to rehab them. At Bedok, a former resident-turned-ghost couldn't stop floating spirits from crashing through windows and the ghost of a suicidal resident who unsuccessfully tried to save his child continues to haunt the area. Bedok's most infamous ghost is the ex-wife of a guy who cheated, gambled and abused his family. She committed suicide after scrawling this bloody message on their apartment wall: "It's not over, Darling." He remarried and had a child, but ex-wife-turned-ghost drove the second son to suicide. Should you run here? If you're fast and possess the ability to dodge all manner of post-suicide ghosts.
Scariness Rating: Four Ghosts combined with the high number of drowning cases at the reservoir.
5. Changi Beach Park
Location: Nicoll Drive, Northeastern tip of Singapore.
History & Hauntings: Double your fright factor by repairing to Changi Beach, one of the oldest coastal parks in Singapore, where you can run in the sand and build your calf muscles. But, undertake your beach run by day, not night, because as soon as the sun disappears, the eerie noises begin. Doors crack open and shut on their own as Sook Ching massacre victims roam the beach in packs, screaming, crying and wailing. An estimated between 50,000 to 100,000 young Chinese men have been executed. Beach visitors scoffing at tales of horror have scars to prove the existence of other-worldly spirits. If you insist on calf-building on the beach after sundown, try another beach.
Scariness Rating: Four Ghosts due to so many sinister reports and number of past massacre in this area!
6. Bukit Batok Nature Park
Location: Bukit Batok East Avenue 2 to Avenue 6.
History & Hauntings: Talk about contradictions! This lush park welcomes joggers and nature lovers by the droves and there's a powerful World War II memorial plaque paying tribute to the fallen, but it's the ghost of a woman named Linda who died here as a result of being brutally assaulted that gets the attention of ghost busters. Her spirit, it seems, screams constantly in an effort to get someone to save her and toward that end, believers sometimes gather in the park after dark to picnic and listen for her screams. You may not wish to eat here, but you might want to see if you're brave enough to run here after dark.
Scariness Rating: One Ghost because this popular park attracts night runners, so you won't be alone.
7. Yishun Park
Location: Yishun Avenue 4, Yishun Central, Yishun Avenue 11 and Yishun Ring Road, vicinity of the Safra Yishun Country Club and Northland Primary School.
History & Hauntings: There's no denying that there's plenty of room to get in your toughest conditioning run if you're of a mind to cover this former rubber plantation, but you might not want to run alone. Bloody banshees known as pontianaks call this park home and they don't always take kindly to athletes running about. Why do banshees haunt this area? Because these spirits love rubber trees as much as you love carbo loading before a marathon. Ask nicely and you might set a new personal best if you run here.
Scariness Rating: One Ghost, unless you're a rubber tree.
8. Sembawang Park
Location: End of Sembawang.
History & Hauntings: A former naval base of the British Royal Navy in the 1920s until Singapore's independence, now stands the Sembawang Shipyard. The calm and serene scenery of the park and the connected beach in the day may not tell that the park is one of the sites of mass execution during the Japanese Occupation. As darkness falls, the infamous pontianak lurk in the area. People have reported sighting these ghostly creatures and some have even physically encountered one. The strong Frangipani flowers smell may well be an indication that the presence of a pontianak is nearby.
Scariness Rating: Two Ghosts, if you are allergic to Frangipani flowers.
9. Labrador Park
Location: Labrador Villa Road
History & Hauntings: The Labrador Park also known as the Labrador Nature Reserve played a significant role in the history of Singapore especially during the WWII period. It used to be called Pasir Panjang Beach, or Long Beach. There was old British fort, the Fort Pasir Panjang, located on the hill and cliff next to the sea. Four of the original gun platforms of the Labrador battery still exist as historic relics. It was said that the Japanese has massacred people at the area during the Japanese Occupation and people report sightings of apparitions dressed in military uniforms wandering around the vicinity. The park is also well-known for its pontianaks.
Scariness Rating: Two Ghosts if you have fetish for military wears.
Do You Believe in Ghosts?
How much credence do you give to the ghost stories that seem to fascinate Singapore society? Do you hide out at home at high-alert times like the Hungry Ghost Festival, frequent places only in the company of large crowds, or have you never met a fear that you couldn't confront and vanquish out of sheer will and bravery?