Haunted Houses of Hong Kong
The Hungry Ghost Month is traditionally known as a time when the dead visit the living. Andrea Yu goes hunting for phantoms in the city and picks five locations where you’re most likely to spot a spirit in action. Additional reporting by Lourine Jennifer
Creepy Comforts – Nam Koo Terrace
The To family were wealthy merchants from Shanghai and built Nam Koo Terrace as a residence in 1921. They were forced out during the Japanese Occupation and Nam Koo was used as a comfort house for the Japanese army. Here, women slaved to provide sexual services for Japanese soldiers, with many of them being tortured and killed. The building has long since been abandoned, and has acquired the name The Wan Chai Haunted House for fitting reasons. Brave visitors to the building report hearing cries of tortured women inside, and mysterious green fireballs floating about. The creepiest story of all might be from a group of adventurous teenagers, who visited Nam Koo overnight in 2003 hoping to spot a ghost. Three girls from the group became ‘possessed’ and hysterical, and were eventually taken by police and sent to hospital.
55 Ship St, Wan Chai
The Lady in White – Museum of Coastal Defence
The Museum of Coastal Defence, rebuilt from fortifications used more than 100 years ago, is one of the most historical spots in Hong Kong. It consists of some of the oldest forts and barracks used in previous wars. Due to its military origin and deserted location, many believe it is a naturally haunted spot. Most stories are shared by security guards working at the museum. One reported seeing a woman with only half a body and waist-length hair floating in the air. Another heard women screaming while he patrolled the museum alone at night and even once heard someone murmuring ‘go to hell’ in his ears. Other than guards, visitors have also seen a suspicious lady in white at the Torpedo Station.
175 Tung Hei Road, Shau Kei Wan
The Cursed Statues – University Hall
Initially built as a residence for Scottish watchmaker-turned-ship-owner Douglas Lapraik in 1864, the single-storey structure changed hands to French missionaries 30 years later, and new additions and wings were constructed. It was purchased by the University of Hong Kong in 1954 as a residence hall, and is still being used for that purpose today. Ghost stories have passed down between generations of occupants through the building’s long history. The most infamous is a myth about the mysterious animal statues that guard the main entrance. Apparently, those who touch the statues become cursed, never to graduate. Nowadays, students steer clear of the part-elephant, part-lion and part-mythical creatures.
144 Pok Fu Lam Rd, Pok Fu Lam
Heads Will Roll – Star Street Shrine
Star Street might be a booming bar and restaurant district nowadays, but what lingers below is a vast network of WWII-era tunnels, constructed as air raid shelters for the public to seek refuge during air attacks. One of the entrances is located at what is now a dead end off Star Street, opposite Wing Fung Street. Here lies a giant red and awkwardly-placed billboard with a traditional shrine below. Apparently, workers removed the shrine to make way for a development project but, shortly afterward, heads of ghosts wailed down Star Street at night in protest. Peace was reinstated only when the shrine was returned.
Approx. 7 Star Street, Wan Chai
A Meeting Place For the Dead – Kwong Fuk Tsz
The temple, built in 1856 and dedicated to the Ksitigarbha Buddha, was the home for spirit tablets representing past ancestors of mainland Chinese origin who later settled in Hong Kong. The temple was taken over by the ill and infirm, and eventually used as a storehouse for coffins and dead bodies, in addition to being a refuge for the sick. The conditions were deplorable and resulted in the establishment of Tung Wah Hospital – the first in Hong Kong offering Chinese medicine therapy. For this reason, it’s also known as Bak Sing Temple, meaning ‘temple for the general public’. It still houses over a thousand ancient tablets, some of which bear photos of the deceased.
40 Tai Ping Shan St, Sheung Wan