Singapore: the Old Changi Hospital

The Ghosts’ Travel Guide

Welcome to the ghosts’ travel guide, a spooky handbook of myths and legends from around the globe. For Halloween, we’ll be going on a spooky tour of the most haunted places around the world all throughout October. Today takes us to the abandoned hospital in Changi, Singapore, where the residents don’t take well to visitors.

The Hospital on the Hill

The Old Changi Hospital in Singapore has had a short history. First built in 1935 by the British government, it was part of a larger military complex for the British army. Entry was prohibited for civilians. The hospital remained a military building during the Japanese occupation of Singapore, between 1942 and 1945.

The hospital was thought to be a base for the Japanese secret police, the kempeitai. The secret police had jurisdiction over occupied territories and prisoners of war. Many people believe that prisoners of war held on the hospital grounds were tortured to death there. The kempeitai had a reputation for ruthlessness.

After the Second World War, the hospital was returned to the British army and used primarily by the Royal Air Force. In 1975, the hospital was handed over to the Singapore Armed Forces and gradually began to expand services to include members of the public. One year later, the hospital was renamed the Changi Hospital.

The hospital was built on several different hills, which made getting around difficult for injured residents. Due to this, and the ever-growing requirement for more beds, the Old Changi Hospital was merged with the nearby Toa Payoh Hospital to form the Changi General Hospital. Old Changi Hospital was closed permanently in 1997.

Since then, the buildings have remained abandoned. In 2006, the complex was auctioned off to Bestway Properties, who planned to create a luxurious spa-hotel on the grounds within two years. The project fell through and the site was sold back to the Singapore Land Authority in 2010. The complex has now been fenced off, with guards patrolling the site.

Shapeshifting Ghosts

Rumours of ghosts began in the early 2000s, when many TV production companies used the hospital as a filming location. The ghosts are said to be the souls of the victims from the Japanese occupation, those that died in the hospital, and general homeless ghosts. Areas of the building particularly famous for hauntings are the old mortuary, now demolished; the tile-walled operating theatre; and the hospital’s A&E department, also now demolished. Supposedly, there are underground bunkers beneath the hospital which are also haunted, though all alleged entrypoints have been blocked off.

Visitors report disembodied screaming and strange shadow people both day and night. Some also claim to see bloody apparitions of soldiers walking the halls. Others are unnerved by the presence of a young boy, who simply sits and stares.

The cast of the 2017 film, Haunted Changi, reported odd occurrences while filming in the hospital grounds, including sudden loud noises; ghostly voices; sightings of a woman with a black aura; and contact with unseen hands. The camera crew supposedly captured one of the hospital’s shadow people on film, in a shot used in the final film.

No matter who you talk to, one thing seems to happen to visitors time and time again: one member of the group always disappears shortly after entering the hospital. This happens to groups of paranormal investigators and tourists alike. The vanished members always tell the same story upon their return. They followed what appeared to be a group member away from the others, usually to a desolate part of the hospital. As they moved through the corridors, the figure in front would tell them they didn’t belong at the Old Changi Hospital, that the site was dangerous and their group should leave and never return. Upon turning a darkened corner or leaving the hospital completely, the figure would then vanish into thin air.

Video Evidence?

In 2017, a video emerged from the grounds of Old Changi Hospital. It shows a nurse carrying a baby through the hospital corridor, filmed from the adjacent building. No one is sure if it’s authentic or not.

Next time: we travel to Norway, where a ghostly dog guards an ancient castle.

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