You are here: Real Ghost Stories :: Haunted Places :: Shadow Man On Cairnhill Road

Real Ghost Stories

Shadow Man On Cairnhill Road


For much of my childhood days in Singapore, my parents often worried about me as they felt I was "sensitive" to spirits and prone to "seeing" things others couldn't see. My mother thinks this may stem from the fact that Dad's grandmother was the village head woman in the old days back in Thailand. I don't know much about my Thai relations though, as I have not kept in touch with that side of the family after my father died over a decade ago.

Mum only mentioned this incident during a visit back to Singapore some years ago, a few decades after we were all grown up and left home. It must have been during the late 1960s and I was about 4 years old at the time; I'm sure I hadn't even started kindergarten yet. My parents, older sister (who was about 7) and I were walking along Cairnhill Road (near where Cairnhill Hotel now stands) after weekly dinner at Grandma's house. Singapore was a lot quieter in those days; cars were an expense most families couldn't afford, so there was not much traffic on the road. It was already dark, about 8 or 9pm.

We had walked halfway to the bus-stop when Dad asked why I kept looking back. I told him there was a tall man in black following us. It was so long ago, I honestly can't remember too many details about what I thought I saw. Only that it was something darker than the shadows under the few streetlights. I do remember this growing feeling of unease that made my chest feel too tight. My family couldn't see anyone or anything and I burst into tears because no one believed me.

Even at that young age, I wasn't in the habit of making up tales to my parents. They were very strict with us and frowned on any fanciful 'nonsense'. Children should be seen and not heard, and all that. When in public, we were not allowed to create a scene that may embarrass them. My behaviour seemed so odd to Dad that he hailed a passing taxi (a luxury for us at the time) to get us out of there. As we piled into the taxi, my sister looked back from the back seat but said she still couldn't see anything out there.

When the taxi driver heard what had upset me, he nodded sagely at Dad and said that Cairnhill was particularly "unclean". He advised Dad in Mandarin against having the family out on that stretch of road after dark in future. He reminded him that during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore from 1942-1945, the Japanese military secret police, the 'Kempeitai' committed many terrible cruelties on the locals. As a consequence, restless spirits were thought to linger in areas where great violence had occurred.

We visited Grandma's house many times after that, but I don't remember any other incident. I have to ask Mum if Dad took precautions after that, i.e. Like leaving earlier or only staying for lunch? Coincidentally - or not - Grandma's house in Cairnhill was said to have been used as a base for the Japanese military (but that's another story).

Other hauntings by Jubeele

Hauntings with similar titles

Find ghost hunters and paranormal investigators from Singapore

Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Jubeele, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Jubeele (4 stories) (227 posts)
2 months ago (2017-09-28)
Melda, I was the middle child and totally different from my sisters. I had the Attitude, saw weird things, caused problems with my nightmares and had chronic asthma. I also asked too many questions and was often scolded for being unladylike (traditional Asian upbringing here) because of my "big mouth". Yes, I know it's hard to imagine, I'm so demure - not.😉

I'm sorry your parents weren't as supportive as they should have been during such a frightening period. Mine were by no means perfect (who is?) but they had their good points. Mum is in her eighties and she actually asks for my opinions now.

I had to laugh when I read about your unbeliever son. When you get him that coffee, be sure to spill it over the front of his pants (make sure it's not too hot)! 😆
Melda (8 stories) (652 posts)
2 months ago (2017-09-28)
Jubeele - I know how it feels when nobody believes you for the simple reason that they don't experience these supernatural experiences themselves. I had a very scary and lonely childhood in a haunted house, which most of the time only I experienced. It was all "explained away" by nightmares and an over-active imagination.

I say hurrah to parents who listen to their children and accept that not everything is "normal". My children have always known about my sensitivities although one of them constantly laughs at me. He'll get his come-uppence - I've promised to pay him a visit once I leave this earth and oh my word, I'm determined to do it because his words to me were "go for it mom, bring me a cup of coffee at the same time".

Paranormal has become somewhat normal to me during my rather long life on this earth, although I will admit that sometimes it still evokes a shock factor 😆

Regards, Melda
Jubeele (4 stories) (227 posts)
2 months ago (2017-09-27)
Hi AugustaM,
From my history lessons, I remember that Singapore began as small Malay fishing village, colonized by the British in 1819. The early colonial settlers did name many of the main roads. The name Cairnhill seems quite evocative, doesn't it? I'll have to look into that further. Maybe some of my Singapore relatives might know more.

I found these links after I wrote my story. The one about comfort women was an eye-opener. My father's oldest sister (both now gone) was the mistress of a Japanese officer. I have a half-Japanese cousin who by now should be in his sixties, still living in Singapore.



Thanks for taking the time to read my story.
AugustaM (2 stories) (398 posts)
2 months ago (2017-09-27)
Interesting - a cairn is a marker often (though not always) used over graves. Many cultures place burials along roads outside of town (though the towns inevitably grow and 'outside' frequently becomes 'inside') - often (not always) this was done because the dead were seen as 'unclean' - could one such culture have been present in the area at some time?
Jubeele (4 stories) (227 posts)
2 months ago (2017-09-27)
Glad you enjoyed it. I had actually forgotten about this story until my mother mentioned it to me a few years ago. Cairnhill Road is very different these days. But a few spots still make me want to walk faster!
noirheart (1 stories) (13 posts)
2 months ago (2017-09-27)
I really enjoyed this story and can't wait to hear more from you!


To publish a comment or vote, you need to be logged in (use the login form at the top of the page). If you don't have an account, sign up, it's free!

Search this site: