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The Children At Cairnhill

 

Children have always been a common sight at the Cairnhill house.

As a child, I loved the house which had belonged to my paternal grandmother during the 1950s to 1970s. It was like this beautiful lady with a mysterious past; a stately, three-storey colonial with white-washed walls and a gently sloping terracotta roof. A stone staircase graced the front of the house, which in turn led to the foyer tiled in a geometric pattern of russet, tan and dark brown.

Dark gleaming teak lined the floors throughout the house, while the sturdy, central staircase drew the eye as it climbed through each storey. The wooden floors and stairs creaked as they settled down, when the humidity of the day gave way to the cool of twilight. On hot and sticky days, the cream wooden shutters at the tall windows would be opened wide to catch the slightest hint of a passing breeze.

The house had its dark history, having been used as an interrogation centre by the Japanese army during the Occupation from 1942-1945. The family always believed that some of the troubled memories lingered on after the Second World War.

My cousins, Tim and Perry (all names mentioned have been changed), my elder sister, Lily and I used to run wild in the jungle garden, which was an overgrown wonderland of verdant foliage and colourful flowering shrubs. One of our favourite games was "heroes and bandits" among the lush bamboo groves, near the gated entrance to the half-acre property. Under the whispering canopy of the bamboos, Tim the heroic swordsman rescued Princess Lily and her faithful handmaid (me) from Perry the villainous bandit on many glorious occasions.

Until we were summarily chased off by the adults from the bamboo groves, that is. On my recent visit to Singapore, my mother told me the reason why: Grandma had believed there was an unfortunate soul (maybe more) buried at the front of the garden near the white metal gates. She did not want any of her grandchildren wandering too close to the area.

When they were first married, my parents had lived at the Cairnhill house along with Grandma, Dad's three sisters and four brothers. It was home to them until my sister Lily was about two (the year before I was born). My mother always felt perfectly at ease there; she neither saw nor felt anything out of the ordinary in the years that she lived there.

But the family was aware that the weird and inexplicable happened there at times. It was mainly to people not related to the family; in particular, those who quarrelled with Grandma or upset her in some way.

When I pressed Mum for more details on this matter, she shrugged her shoulders said vaguely it was only "little things". Apparently, those hapless individuals had a tendency to suffer small accidents. It was peculiar how they would always "dวt dรณu" [Cantonese: ่ทŒๅ€’ - fall down].

Tenants who argued with Grandma would complain that they felt uncomfortable in their rooms and couldn't sleep. All would leave the house soon afterwards.

The family was certain that the property at Cairnhill had its own guardian spirits. They often wondered (but never dared to ask) if Grandma had some tacit agreement with the spirits to leave everyone in peace. But that didn't prevent the more sensitive among the family from having the occasional experience.

The wooden staircase that adorned the centre of the house was wonderfully irresistible to all children. My parents' room was located at the top of the stairs on the third floor. Throughout the morning, afternoon and evening, they would hear a stampede of children's hoof beats thundering up and down the stairs.

The great horde would comprise my many cousins, elder sister and I, accompanied with much raucous laughter and squeals of delight. No amount of scolding or smacks on little rumps could stop us - it was far too much fun!

Third Uncle Adrian told his wife and Mum that he was at the foot of the staircase on the second floor one day, when he heard what sounded like a herd of buffalo pelting headlong up and down the stairs. Looking up with a frown, he saw this small group of Malay children merrily scampering about the staircase. He didn't recognise any of them.

Taking them to be children belonging to some neighbours or friends visiting for the day, he was unimpressed by their boisterous behaviour. It was no way to behave, especially if they were just guests in the house. They would just have to stop making such a ruckus.

The Children At Cairnhill 1

The Children At Cairnhill 2

 

'Diam-diam!' he addressed them sternly in Malay to be quiet.

At his reprimand, the children all stopped in their tracks. As one, they turned and looked at him in a strangely considering way.

Then they smiled...

And disappeared.

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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.

the22centuryboi (2 stories) (25 posts)
+1
5 months ago (2019-03-29)
Hello Jubeele,

I would say it would be fun to share history and experiences over a kopi c (coffee) at a kopi-tiem any day. But I do like drinking beer at the coffee shops. I have met some wonderful and had delightful conversations there.

I do agree that the history gets lost so many times. Maybe when you visit again, just leave some candy for the kids. But I am not sure if it is allowed to leave candy like that in Singapore as they may attract ants.

Again, you mentioned those names what I wouldn't be aware of if it wasn't for you. Thank you for the information. It is amazing I was unaware of Singapore's old name. I am a bit ashamed. ๐Ÿ˜จ
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2019-03-22)
Hi PJ

Thanks for reading my account. My family occasionally talks about our ghostly experiences handed down through the years. They span at least 3 generations' worth of odd happenings. Wouldn't be fun to catch up one day in some Singapore kopi-tiem (coffee shop) and swap tales from the family vaults? ๐Ÿ˜Š

I thought at first that my uncle had a residual sighting, but then the children acknowledged and reacted to him. I have this impression of them being in some stopover place before crossing over and they got bored waiting, snuck off to play. I haven't been able to find any mention of juvenile mortality in the area, but then records from earlier periods might be incomplete or not entirely accurate. Prior to the 14th century, Singapore was known as Temasek, the Sea Town, which was settled by the Orang Laut or "The Sea People" at one time. They were indigenous sea gypsies, nomads and pirates who used the island as a base of operations. Wonder if the children my uncle saw were related to them? ๐Ÿค”

Http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_551_2005-01-09.html
the22centuryboi (2 stories) (25 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2019-03-11)
Hello Jubeele,

Again, like the way you weave history in your story. It would be a pleasure maybe some day if we could share a cup of coffee over stories like these. I am not a major history buff in terms of dates but stories like these have always caught my fantasy. And as I said in my comment for your other story, imprints of certain memories on time are the most common type of haunting. But considering the children responded to your uncle and gave a strange look back, I wonder is it is just an imprint. I am sure there must some of the people who lived back in the day and died, but are not aware they were dead. Souls do feel trapped in such situations. And death was so unpredictable back in the day. It was really nice to read another of your stories. Cheers.
Martin (594 posts) mod
+1
9 months ago (2018-11-30)
Note: some new photos provided by the author have been published ๐Ÿ“ท
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2018-05-05)
Welcome back to Cairnhill, Melda. ๐Ÿ˜ Wish you could have been there with us. It was a wonderful place for children to play in.

I think my uncle much preferred this experience with the children. I don't think he enjoyed being the last to leave the house and being made to feel unwelcome ("Grandma's House At Cairnhill - Part 3").

I've brought back my old photo album from Singapore. There's a photo of my very young self in the foyer area at Cairnhill, as well as another one that shows part of the garden in the background. I'll scan them and then ask Martin to upload it for me. Fingers crossed they turn out ok.

Thanks for reading - I'm glad you've enjoyed spending time with us down memory lane. โค
lady-glow (11 stories) (2395 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-05-05)
Melda - it's so nice to see you around! ๐Ÿ˜Š

I hope everything is going well for you.
Melda (9 stories) (1115 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2018-05-05)
Jubeele - Yes I know I'm late in responding. Life has become a little out of hand recently.

Once again I loved reading about your experiences at Cairnhill. Your uncle was indeed fortunate to have witnessed what he did, although he probably didn't think so at the time!

Lucky you to have had such a wonderful childhood in the beautiful home known as Cairnhill โค

Regards, Melda
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2018-04-13)
BGP, how have you been? Hope the kids are doing fine? ๐Ÿ˜

Glad you enjoyed this Cairnhill episode. Wish we could step back in time as children and I could bring you all with me for a visit. We'd romp in the jungle garden, mess around in the forbidden basement, play in the courtyard and race about the stairs...!

It was a magical time, in a magical place. โค
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (432 posts)
+4
1 year ago (2018-04-12)
Jubeele-

I always enjoy reading your accounts. Your writing style helps to put the reader right there at Cairnhill! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Can't wait to read more about this magical place. Thanks for sharing!
RCRuskin (8 stories) (548 posts)
+3
1 year ago (2018-04-08)
Yes, Val. That is what I was describing in my sleep deprived state.
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2018-04-08)
Thanks Val for clarifying that for me. I know precious little about esoteric philosophy, energies of the universe and the evolution of consciousness.

Now you have me wondering if other "ghostly" sightings could then be due to a misalignment of these layered planes. A wrinkle in time due to some cosmic shift or random fluctuation in space, causing layers from the past, present and future to collide for a brief, startling moment.

This is starting to wander into the area of mysticism for me. But wow, just think of the possibilities...! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ
valkricry (45 stories) (3028 posts) mod
+2
1 year ago (2018-04-08)
Jubeele,
Enchanting experience, as always.
I think what RC was referring to is the layered plane theory (esotericism). It's pretty interesting, and feasible too. Some believe that 'time' as we normally perceive it is actually like 7 different planes or 'layers' of existence all playing out at the same time, but usually unaware of each other, but, every now and then a plane might intersect, for lack of a better term, 'ours', and we experience something not of 'our' time, like vanishing kids, or even places from the past (maybe even future, which is much rarer on 'our' plane, but maybe it happens on the 'past' plane more frequently?). Just thinking if those kids were 'past' and aware of your uncle, then they were seeing 'future' man, which is our present. ๐Ÿค”
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-04-08)
We had so much fun there as children, lady-glow! Maybe those spirit children were furtively watching us from the shadows as we raced up and down the stairs. It must have looked such fun to them that they thought they'll try it too.

That house was a really magical place. I'm glad I could share its memories with everyone. โค
lady-glow (11 stories) (2395 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-04-08)
Jubeele - I just love the way you describe that house, no wonder those kids enjoyed running up and down the stairs.
That house was a wonderful place to grow up and/or to stay there forever. ๐Ÿ˜˜
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-04-08)
BettinaMarie, I think my uncle was more startled than anything else. He hadn't felt threatened at any time. I had the impression that the "children" were also surprised that he had caught them at play. "Diam" is the equivalent of telling someone to "shut up" in Malay. Amazing thing is that they listened to him after he had scolded them!

Wonder if they had stepped briefly off some other time stream. Then wandered back again to their own. Or were they playful earth elementals, taking on the guise of children? Maybe mortal eyes can only perceive them in that form?

My father's family have this special way of co-existing with the spirit world. Stay calm, keep thinking, be careful, be firm, be respectful and always take precautions - never know who or what might be nearby... ๐Ÿ˜Š
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2018-04-08)
Hi CuriousDee, my happiest childhood memories were mainly at the Cairnhill house. I'm glad it brought back great memories for you too. There were 15 of you? That was some wild tribe! ๐Ÿ˜œ

I also believe that joyful feelings create positive energies that bring happiness to a household. It brightens the spirits, so to speak. There's nothing quite as heartening as the carefree sound of children playing happily together. Although the adults often complained that we did make an awful lot of noise. ๐Ÿ˜
BettinaMarie (10 stories) (56 posts)
+3
1 year ago (2018-04-07)
Jubeele-I loved the way you set the scene for your uncle's experience. It was easy to imagine the whole story, as I also come from a rowdy pack of numerous cousins. Was your uncle scared when they disappeared? I would have flipped out, but maybe your Grandmama's "protections" helped him feel at ease. This story makes me miss my own family.
I agree with Ruskin about layers of time that energy can move through. These types of encounters make my favorite YGS stories. Especially when the "spirits" are seen as solid and real, and respond to the person who sees them.
CuriousDee (8 stories) (630 posts)
+3
1 year ago (2018-04-07)
Jubeele, your story reminded me of my own childhood and of our own cousin tribe. All 15 of us running wild at my great grandfather's property in the country. So many great memories. โค

It appears that another herd of children also enjoyed your grandmother's house. I'm sure joyful occasions also leave an energetic imprint. Another great account, thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ˜Š
Fergie (40 stories) (1159 posts)
+3
1 year ago (2018-04-07)
Jubeele, you sound like me when I was in NZ visiting my brother. I would also sit with notepad and pen, asking my brother, and his son, questions about their supernatural experiences. A body can't remember Everything!

Well done, Jubeele! ๐Ÿ˜œ
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2018-04-07)
Fergie, you should have seen me, notepad and pen in hand, making notes and asking my Mum a hundred questions (the YGS way, of course)! I was so excited to find out that she had lived at Cairnhill for about 5 years. ๐Ÿค”

Of all the Cairnhill experiences, this one came out the most easily. It's as if it was ready to be shared. I remember that the very first one took me several months before I could complete it. I even had to ask Grandma for "permission" first.

The encounter with the children was playful and fun. It was spooky, but I don't think they meant any harm. Until they disappeared, my uncle never thought there was anything unusual about them. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ They had looked and sounded just like real children.

Glad you enjoyed this Cairnhill account. ๐Ÿ˜
Fergie (40 stories) (1159 posts)
+3
1 year ago (2018-04-07)
Jubeele, what a deliciously spooky experience your Uncle Adrian had!

Thank you once more for picking the brains of you elders/relatives. Your narrative was spellbinding, as always. ๐Ÿ˜Š
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-04-07)
Serenflippity, as a collective horde, my cousins and I were completely irrepressible as children. My father came from a very voluble family and everyone loved to have their say - all at the same time!

Grandma loved us all in her stern, dignified way. That why she was treated as "royalty" in the family and we obeyed her wishes - because we wanted to. She was certainly a very special woman. โค

Thanks for reading my account and your kind comment. ๐Ÿ˜Š
Serenflipppity (guest)
+3
1 year ago (2018-04-07)
Hi Jubeele,

Beautifully written account, as always, about Her Royal House Cairnhill.

If memory serves me right, I commented on one of your other stories, when your Gran looked up sternly then told the workman he'd be fine now, that she is gifted. I named her Grandma Funk ^.^

It seems alive or not, children are naturally rambunctious and I'm a great believer in not killing a child's spirit with too stern an upbringing or regiment of rules.

Looking forward to future reads.

All the best, Maxine
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2018-04-07)
Hey RC, the first again? So, do androids dream of electric sheep? Who knows what dwells beyond our mortal understanding? Did these things really happen? Or was my uncle just seeing things?

Those stairs were the perfect place for a glorious romp. Maybe we weren't the only children who thought of it that way? ๐Ÿ˜œ

Glad you enjoyed this "bedtime story". Now please, get some sleep...! ๐Ÿ˜˜
RCRuskin (8 stories) (548 posts)
+4
1 year ago (2018-04-07)
What a nice bedtime story... ๐Ÿ˜

If one believes, as I do, that the past, the present, and the future all exist at the same instant, then this sort of thing is easy to understand.

I don't think I explained it well just now, though.

We take eternity to mean a very long, infinite, amount of time, but really eternity is outside of time. So when events like this happen, it is because we have briefly slipped out of the bounds of normal time with its cause and effect, and have entered the real world.

Or maybe I'm just delirious from lack of sleep these last few days.

A very interesting story regardless.

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