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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).

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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 (23 stories) (860 posts)
3 years ago (2018-04-09)
Hi Fox, it's great to have a father-daughter team on YGS. Thanks for your kind words. I've enjoyed your accounts too. Even more so now that Cats has added her experiences into the mix. ❤

I love the variety of cultures, diverse perspectives and experiences that come together on YGS. The honest, lively discussions are often all part of the fun. 😆
Thefox (2 stories) (6 posts)
3 years ago (2018-04-08)
Hi jubeele

I love to hear your stories and experiences. I'm also glad my daughter bolstered my story for you on her "OTHER MUM AND DAD". She only recently told me why it scared her. She feared they wanted to take her with them and away from me and her mother. It can be hard to tell these stories in fear of ridicule but YGS is a site where you have people whom have open minds and don't judge members to be absolute bonkers

Your comments are taken on board x
Keep up with catsinblackdresses.
Fergie (40 stories) (1159 posts)
3 years ago (2017-12-09)
Jubeele, there was *never* any talk of spirits, or anything supernatural in my Gran's house where I lived until I was 12. There was TONS of love in my Gran's house. Folks also say they can 'feel' the love when they walk into our present home. Maybe that is where my protection comes from?

My Dad's youngest brother, Norman, (the black sheep of the family) started 'indoctrinating' me with ghost stories etc when I was 10 or thereabouts. At that time, they were just that - stories.

Valkricry, (our mod) had a similar problem when she was trying to research a family (?) member. She also had to wait until the time was "right", if I remember correctly. Try explaining why you wish to do this, and 'asking permission' of your Grandmother, or other persons involved, maybe that would help.
Jubeele (23 stories) (860 posts)
3 years ago (2017-12-09)
Fergie, I think that I was more "open" to such happenings as a child. Many of my relatives from my father's side have also spoken of strange experiences. Most of them centre around my grandmother's house in Cairnhill.

One curious thing: I've been trying to write about Grandma's house for the past four months, but every time I try, I've been distracted or my PC locks up. So far, all I've been able to get down is half a dozen paragraphs. Maybe I'm being told the timing isn't right for that part of my family history to be told. 🤔

If you didn't have scary moments as a child and you have no nightmares, then it's a blessing! Do you ever feel that you are somehow "protected"? I believe that when your heart and home are filled with love, that love provides a very special kind of protection. ❤
Fergie (40 stories) (1159 posts)
3 years ago (2017-12-09)
Jubeele, I don't ever remember having night terrors as a child, so have no idea what it is like. I don't even have nightmares now. It must be terribly scary.

I never "saw" or "felt" anything as a child. Either it was due to my strict Methodist upbringing, or I have blocked it all out. Maybe I was a 'late bloomer'?

Incense only on Thursdays? Strange! 😲
Jubeele (23 stories) (860 posts)
3 years ago (2017-12-08)
Hi Fergie, I don't have too many clear memories about those early years. I had almost forgotten this incident until my Mum brought it up. I recall being plagued by night terrors during my preschool and early primary school years. I'd wake up everyone in the household, screaming in terror. Other times I'd wake up yelling, absolutely raging. It was either fright or fight. It was rare that I "saw" anything; I mostly "felt" things. But I do wonder if my young mind simply shut down and pushed away any bad memories as being too hard to handle at the time.

I know my parents burnt frankincense regularly, usually on Thursday nights. I asked my father a few times why Thursdays, but he would simply tell me to be quiet. Not sure if there was any significance to it or it was just his routine.

Thank you for kind words. A welcome is always welcomed! 😊
Fergie (40 stories) (1159 posts)
3 years ago (2017-12-08)
Hi Jubeele, I may be a bit late, but welcome to YGS.

Your fear was so great that it made the adults 'sit up' and take notice. Was this the first time something like that happened to you, or can't you remember any further back?

To me, it is fascinating when small children have paranormal experiences. Their minds are still pure and uncluttered by adult 'taboo's', for lack of a better word.

Thank you for sharing. 😘
Jubeele (23 stories) (860 posts)
4 years ago (2017-09-29)
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 (10 stories) (1361 posts)
4 years 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 (23 stories) (860 posts)
4 years 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 (6 stories) (994 posts)
4 years 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 (23 stories) (860 posts)
4 years 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)
4 years ago (2017-09-27)
I really enjoyed this story and can't wait to hear more from you!


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