You are here: Real Ghost Stories :: Haunted Places :: Grandma's House At Cairnhill

Real Ghost Stories

Grandma's House At Cairnhill

 

When I was a child growing up in Singapore, the weird and inexplicable was something rarely discussed in my father's family. It was not that the family did not believe in such things, but whenever the subject came up, Grandma would firmly squash all "irresponsible" talk. No one was allowed to speak of ghosts or scary happenings to the younger grandchildren. Being a fierce, Dragon-born matriarch, her word was an imperial decree. We all obeyed Grandma.

I had originally intended that Grandma's house be the very first of my narratives. But for some reason, either the right words wouldn't come to me or I was constantly getting distracted. Finally, I silently asked Grandma for permission to write about the house, assuring her I would do my best to be honest, respectful and discreet.

That evening, I sat down at my laptop and the words began to flow. It may well be that the moment wasn't "right" - until now.

After Grandpa passed away in Penang (West Malaysia) around the late 1940s, my father and his three brothers moved to Singapore where they were reunited with their mother, three sisters and youngest brother. When Dad and my four uncles married and moved out of the Cairnhill house, they still returned regularly to pay their respects to Grandma and catch up with my First Aunt Elsie and her four children, and Second Aunt Maggie and her son. (All names mentioned have been changed).

The house at Cairnhill was a stately, three-storey colonial with white-washed walls and a sloping red-brown terracotta roof. The long, winding driveway snaked past the wide staircase that graced the front of the house. A dozen stone steps climbed straight up to the foyer with the floor tiled in geometric patterns of russet, tan and dark brown.

Stepping past the threshold of the foyer, you would see the gleam of wooden floors amid a plentiful scattering of white-cane furniture. The floors and stairs had a tendency to creak with startling suddenness when the warm day cooled with the coming of twilight. On very humid days, the cream-coloured wooden shutters at the tall, spacious windows were flung open to catch the evening breeze.

The family lived there for over thirty years. It was an accepted fact to us that odd things happened on the property at Cairnhill. The peculiar aspect of it was that the incidents mainly happened to visitors to the house. Members of the family were generally left in peace.

Tradesmen were a favourite target for mischief. Their tools would be mysteriously misplaced, only to turn up later in another room. Little annoyances like that. People tended to look over their shoulders as they worked, complaining that it felt as if many eyes were drilling into their backs, making sure that they did a good job. Most would depart as quickly as they could after finishing their work.

There was one time when an electrician was called in to fix the faulty wiring in the ceiling. The poor man became quite dizzy every time he climbed up the ladder to reach the ceiling cavity, retching horribly and had to stop for a while. He was quite embarrassed by his reaction.

'I'm a healthy man, Madam Lin,' he said to Grandma. 'I never had problems with heights before. Maybe the air is "bad" in the ceiling?'

Grandma cast a sharp glance at the ceiling before turning back to the electrician. 'You will be fine now,' was all she said. 'Just carry on with what you were doing.'

The man found he was now able to safely climb up the ladder to finish the electrical wiring. It was just another weird happening at Grandma's house.

Grandma sometimes took in tenants to supplement the household income. A number of them did not stay very long. They never really explained what was wrong, apart from commenting that their sleep was interrupted by odd sounds throughout the night.

Then there was Lang, the son of a family friend who wanted to stay for a few weeks while waiting for hostel accommodation at university to become available. My aunts did their best to convince him that the place might not be "suitable". However, he was all of twenty and very confident.

'I'm an educated man,' Lang declared, brushing aside their warnings. 'Modern men don't believe in ghosts. They dare not cause trouble for me!'

That was not a wise thing to say. Especially when he had no way of knowing who or what might be listening.

The very night that Lang moved in, the family heard a whole heap of shouting and banging from his room. When Aunt Elsie's son, Ned (the oldest among my paternal cousins) knocked on the door, everything fell silent. Alarmed, Ned persisted until the young man opened the door. A chorus of worried voices greeted him:

'Lang, what's wrong?'

'You ok, Lang?'

'Why all the noise?'

'Are you "hantam bola" (hitting ball) inside?'

In response to the family's queries, Lang claimed to have slept through the commotion. He insisted he had no idea what the fuss was all about.

But next morning, Lang packed all his bags and told Grandma he had found another place to stay. He wouldn't say anything about what had happened in the night. Nor did he breathe a word on the matter to his own folks either.

The family did not mention the incident with Lang again for many years after that. These family accounts only trickled out to us grandchildren (mainly from Aunt Maggie) after Grandma had passed away in 1981.

I just had a spooky thought. There may be another reason why I wasn't meant to start on this narrative any earlier.

It was the Hungry Ghost Month.

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 yourghoststories.com. 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 (9 stories) (471 posts)
 
4 weeks ago (2017-12-24)
Dear Val, I hope you're getting some well-earned rest and TLC this Christmas. I hope you and others will enjoy the Christmas accounts I've attached to an earlier comment. Thanks for taking time out to read about my Grandma's House. There's a bit more history on it in Part 2.

I remember your Aunt Sylvie and the computer pranks. Your Grandma consulted her about the Boogeyman too. I must read them all again.

We're having a quiet, peaceful Christmas at home. But feeling very blessed and surrounded by good wishes from loved ones and friends. My Christmas playlist is filling our place with tuneful harmony. Let there be peace and goodwill to all.

Blessed be, everyone. โค
Jubeele (9 stories) (471 posts)
 
4 weeks ago (2017-12-24)
Ajay, interesting info on crows. Amazing how different cultures have similar beliefs on signs and symbols. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Many thanks for your Christmas wishes too. All the best in your new job too. โค
valkricry (39 stories) (2786 posts) mod
+1
4 weeks ago (2017-12-24)
Jubeelee,
I had a similar experience when attempting to write about my 4x great Aunt Sylvie. It was as if my computer would gain a mind of its own. I posted about it, and if you like you can read them. So far, she's the only relation of mine, that 'objected' to being a subject of mass focus (lol). Aunt Sylvie was a rather private person, I was wondering if your Grandma was also the same?
Wishing you and all our YGS members a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
ajonverge (5 stories) (65 posts)
+1
4 weeks ago (2017-12-24)
Jubeele: Yes, Crows have specific importance in the Hindu Mythology. I found this amazing page which sheds some light on this.

Http://connectsciencetodivinity.blogspot.in/2016/02/why-crows-are-given-importance-during.html

Also, wishing you a MERRY CHRISTMAS.
Jubeele (9 stories) (471 posts)
 
4 weeks ago (2017-12-24)
๐ŸŽ„ Merry Christmas everyone - 'tis the season for goodwill.

One of the Christmas songs when I sang with the church choir began with these opening lines:
"Christmas isn't Christmas 'til it happens in your heart,
Somewhere deep inside you isn't Christmas 'til it starts..."

I got this idea from RCRuskin when he left a quote from Charles Dickens: "...why Christmas time is also a time for telling ghost stories..."
Http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/67/dickens-christmas-stories/3955/what-christmas-is-as-we-grow-older/

He was commenting on:
The Music Box During Christmas by Serenity gold
Http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=24496

So here are some of my favourite Christmas-themed accounts from YGS:

Grandpa's Christmas Surprise by PD1981
Http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=16210

Christmas Spirit by Davey1966
Http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=20187

The Christmas Spirit - My Mother's Story by valkricry
Http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=20840

Prior to Christmas by Fergie
Http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=21195

Christmas Eve Cowboy by yomomma
Http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=23396

And here's an "oldie" but a "goodie":
Toy In The Closet by aussiedaz
Http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=8795

Blessings to all you good people at YGS (whether you celebrate Christmas or not).
Jubeele ๐ŸŽ† & Rex-T ๐Ÿฒ
Jubeele (9 stories) (471 posts)
 
1 month ago (2017-12-21)
Fergie, I've often wondered how much Grandma learned from her mother. As children, we were all expected to behave ourselves in front of Grandma. No cheeky answering-back or tantrums. Grandma was certainly in charge.

Poor Lang - but he did learn the value of being respectful.

It's been 36 years, but I still do miss Grandma. Glad you enjoyed my slice of family history. โค
Fergie (38 stories) (1130 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-21)
Jubeele, you paint beautiful word pictures! I can see the house in my minds eye.

I love how the house 'bothered' visitors, and not the inhabitants. Whoever the resident spirits were, it/they certainly seemed protective of your Gran's family, but respectful of your Gran.

I had a good giggle at Lang's experience - serves him right! Nobody should scoff at spirits, especially in a hosts house.

Thank you for sharing your fascinating account.
Jubeele (9 stories) (471 posts)
 
1 month ago (2017-12-19)
Ajay, thanks for reading my account and the information on "Pitru Paksha". Do the crows in the feast represent some sacred messengers for the souls of the departed? It's interesting how different cultures have various rituals to remember their loved ones.

How frightening for your friends to be woken up by slaps to the face. Wonder if they unintentionally offended someone/something? Glad you weren't affected. ๐Ÿ˜Š
ajonverge (5 stories) (65 posts)
 
1 month ago (2017-12-19)
Jubeele:
Also, most Hindus also have this kind of a fortnight every year generally during august sept or oct month based on the lunar calendar called "Pitru Paksha". A small puja is conducted in rememberance of ancestors and lavish food is prepared and offered to CROWS first. So, that's the Hungry Ghost Month for us. ๐Ÿ˜Š
ajonverge (5 stories) (65 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-19)
Jubeele: Wow that's a great narration. Thank you for sharing it with us. I checked out some images of houses on Cairnhill road and that kind of helped me to imagine the house you mentioned here. Your Grandma sounds lovely. Lots and love and respect for the woman of the house. Actually a similar thing happened in one of my friends house as well. This was back in the 90s when people visited there for night outs. A few of those were woken up rudely by slaps on their faces only to find no one around. I spent a few nights there myself studying with my pal but I never had such an experience. Or who knows I was such a deep sleeper then I could have slept through an earthquake. Mystery it shall beยก
Jubeele (9 stories) (471 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-18)
I loved that house too, lady-glow. As a girl, I always looked forward to Sundays. Grandma's great cooking and playing all afternoon in the garden. I think that that every child growing up should have a place like that to play in. The ghosts were part of the ambience, together with the weight of history. In some strange way, I think that house loved us back. โค

P.s. I've now started on Part 3...
lady-glow (9 stories) (1702 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-18)
Jubeele: I fell in love with your grandmother's house... In spite of the ghosts.
Your grandma was a strong woman. I wonder if some of the ghosties felt protected by her and, in return, kept a watchful eye on the strangers visiting the house.

Thanks for sharing. โค
Jubeele (9 stories) (471 posts)
 
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
Emma, you're too right about Dragons! ๐Ÿ˜œ Our best combination for partnerships are: Dragon + Rat + Monkey. Now, we just need to recruit a clever Monkey to complete our trio, we can go off haunted-house-hunting! โค

Chicken curry, yummm...
EmmalineTexas (10 stories) (148 posts)
 
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
RC - Thank you for sharing your Russian Christmas traditions. I love the idea of 3 extra places set. I've always honored my father's Christmas Eve birthday with a shot of his favorite bourbon. Now I'll add one for the Christ child, one for the unexpected guest and that extra place setting for he and my mother. They both passed a couple of days after Christmas.

Thank you,
Emma โค
Jubeele (9 stories) (471 posts)
 
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
RC, I've found that many cultures have their own way of honouring their ancestors and remembering loved ones gone before. When my father passed away, for a short period of time, my mother set up a little corner with his framed photo and a vase of white orchids. Mum would save a tiny portion from each meal to place before his photo. In the evening, she mixed for him a small cup of his favourite nightcap (hot, malty Horlicks + milk). The ritual helped comfort her so she could come to grips with her loss.

I like your Russian tradition of the Holy Supper. It gives a deeper, moving significance to the Christmas meal. I love Christmas too! ๐Ÿ˜†
EmmalineTexas (10 stories) (148 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
Jubeele - Dragons are amazing people. And they play well with rats. ๐Ÿ˜ I hope that you were the favorite grandchild. Don't worry I was never ladylike eitherL. My family blamed it on being Leo/metal rat. I just told them I was smart.

Now I'm craving chicken curry.

Emma ๐Ÿ˜œ
Jubeele (9 stories) (471 posts)
 
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
Hi Bart, we were told about Lang's experience as a cautionary lesson to be respectful of things we did not understand. I'm glad he wasn't hurt.

My family believed that just because we can't see anything, it doesn't necessarily mean there's nothing there. That's why we were taught to always respect other people's beliefs. Just in case. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Grandma also made the best Nonya chicken curry and Hokkien hae mee (prawn noodle soup). I still think it was better than anything from the hawker centres or food courts. I miss her lots. Thanks for reading my account. ๐Ÿ˜Š
Jubeele (9 stories) (471 posts)
 
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
Oops, Emma, I meant her 19 grandchildren (you know what I mean). ๐Ÿ˜
Jubeele (9 stories) (471 posts)
+2
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
Hi Emma! Yes, Grandma was a Dragon lady and a force of nature. She fiercely protected all of us. I'm proud to be born in the year of the Dragon like her (the only one of her 19 children also a Dragon). My Dad always said I should have been born a boy - must be my "unladylike" opinions. I'm not shy or demure the way a proper lady should be - hee-hee. ๐Ÿ˜œ

Strange timing about the Hungry Ghost Month, isn't it? Hope you'll be "allowed" to write your account soon. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for it. ๐Ÿ˜Š
RCRuskin (7 stories) (281 posts)
+2
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
Well, Bart, Lang did ask for it... ๐Ÿ˜

Just finished reading up on Hungry Ghost Month (I โค public libraries!) and found some of the celebrations familiar even if I'd never celebrated it.

Christmas is one of those times when the veil between worlds is considered weakest, which is why ghost stories and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol are part of some folks celebrations of the holiday.

We have a tradition from Russia called Holy Supper: twelve specific dishes served in a specific order of events in history from creation. We also have three places set in addition to those set for guests. One for the Christ child, one of the unexpected guest since no one should be turned away, and one place for all those who shall never again share our table as they are dead.

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays.
BART43 (3 stories) (16 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
Interesting story Jubeelee.
I have to say, I'm a bit sorry for that Lang person.
Then again, we were told by our elders a lot, always watch our mouth where ever we are. We might not know if we offended someone or something.
EmmalineTexas (10 stories) (148 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
Jubeele, I love your stories about encounters that have happened in your family. Was your grandmother born in a dragon year? She sounds very sharp and confident. I wonder how long it took her to reach that 'arrangement' with the spirits that were there. From the sound of it, I can picture her *with the memory of my grandmother very strong* like hah settled.

Poor Lang didn't stand a chance after speaking out. I have to laugh but do have to give him credit. He didn't come flying out the room and right down the drive.

Hungry Ghost Month is a time for reverence. Maybe writing your story earlier would have been a little cheeky. ๐Ÿ˜œ I know that I'm sitting on a story that will not be written right now.

I'd love to hear more about your grandmother's house and your parents house. It sounds like there were a lot of experiences but you were taught to treat it as normal or nothing. Your Grandmother was one smart woman.

Thanks,
Emma
Jubeele (9 stories) (471 posts)
 
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
Melda, I only realised about the Hungry Ghost Month when I checked the calendar and made the connection. It was a bit spooky.๐Ÿ˜จ

I've got a black-and-white wedding photo of my grandparents taken in the foyer of the house with those geometric-patterned tiles. Grandma was just 15 at the time. (I'll scan it and email it to you). I think the house belonged to her side of the family and may have been part of her dowry. Not sure though. I'll make a note to ask the relatives in Singapore if they know more about it.

I'm including a bit more history on the house in the next instalment. And about the garden... โค
Jubeele (9 stories) (471 posts)
 
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
Hi Randy, Grandma was an awesome lady. Wise, capable and fiercely protective of the family. I think she had an "understanding" with the resident spirits. They could stay as long as they didn't cause too much trouble for the family.

Thank you for your kind comments. Glad you enjoyed my account. More to come... ๐Ÿ˜ณ
Jubeele (9 stories) (471 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
Hi RC, I felt so sorry for Lang. Young man, first time living away from home and wanting to appear all "grownup". It was even funnier the way Aunt Maggie told it to us in Hokkien and Singlish. She's now in her late 80s and I intend to see her for more family tales when I go back to Singapore next year.

I've almost finished Part 2 - will publish it in a few days. Thanks for taking the time to read this. ๐Ÿ˜Š
Melda (9 stories) (796 posts)
+3
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
Jubeele - Above all, beware of the hungry ghost month ๐Ÿ˜จ

I'm very pleased that Grandma didn't stymie your attempt to finally reveal all concerning the house at Cairnhill. The house itself sounds amazing and I would love to know some of the history surrounding it, such as how it came to be in your grandmother's possession and so on.

It seems that Grandma ran the household with a rod or iron including all who dwelt within, human or otherwise. The ghost who didn't want the electrician in the ceiling didn't stand a chance!

Poor Lang - after his macho stance he could hardly make himself look like a gibbering idiot and the best thing for him to do under the circumstances was just to pretend that nothing had happened, declare that the accommodation didn't suit him after all and take his leave ๐Ÿ˜†

Well written account Jubeele and I'm left with my glass half empty - please fill it with more of the ghostly activity which took place at the house ๐Ÿ˜Š

Regards, Melda
RANDYM (2 stories) (266 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
Jubeele,

Thanks for sharing about your Grandma's house. I really enjoyed it. I always feel that it is these types of experiences that are the best and truest form of paranormal experience. Sounds like your Grandma had a great handle on those living on both sides of the veil. ๐Ÿ˜

Please share more
Randy
RCRuskin (7 stories) (281 posts)
+2
1 month ago (2017-12-17)
I've had trouble writing some things down until I asked permission. This was usually asking living people, but spirits, whether they be the ghosts of our loved ones or some other sort of spirits, can stymie my writing until the right time, or I ask permission.

And it is probably wrong for me to say this, but I found Lang's experience to be funny. "Modern men don't believe in ghosts. They dare not cause trouble for me!" At which point, in the movies, you know *exactly* what is going to happen to our hapless hero...

Please share more stories of your grandmom's house as soon as you can.

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: