Badminton Hall

Georgetown (Penang, Malaysia) is a very old city. Most of the buildings downtown are build before World War II and many, especially the school buildings were often used as the station for Japanese soldiers. Many of these buildings are used as a prisons and execution centre, too.

This school, commonly known as CIS, is an all-girls school. It is one of the oldest schools in Malaysia. It was used as a prison by the Japanese during the war. Inside one of the classrooms, there were carvings of British prisoners’ name on the wall. The school also houses the first residence of Sir Francis Light, the founder of Penang.

Although the school building has been declared a heritage area, some old buildings are of no value and they were excluded from the heritage building list. One of such building was the canteen. The old canteen was declared unsafe and hence was torn down and a new school canteen with a badminton hall above it was subsequently built.

The badminton hall has two entrances — one on each end of the hall. However, only the door on the left end of the hall is usually open. The other side has a locker-cum-changing room and hence the exit was not open for privacy reasons. Before one gets into the locker room, one has to go through a door, and then there is a small passageway, with a surau (small mosque) on the left. There is another door before one can get to the lockers and changing area. Then there is the staircase and another door, which is usually locked, as mentioned above.

 Some years back, I used to play badminton in that hall on weekends. Personally, I have not seen a ghost or hear anything out of the ordinary. My brother, who was there with me every weekend, once said he saw a man waving at him from one of the classroom nearby. The school has many ghost stories but most of them, like what my brother experienced, are merely sightings of a ghost, feeling of a presence or hearing of voices. However, there is one particular sighting which is probably the scariest ghost sightings I have ever come across. This story is told to me by the canteen caretaker who is also in charge of the badminton courts as well as my friends who were once students in that school themselves.

One morning, a group of students were having their regular physical exercise session in the badminton hall. At the end of the session, all the girls went to the locker room to change. All of them left together and went back to their classroom after that.

About an hour later, one of the girls realised that she had lost her purse. She thought she must have left it in the changing area in the hall. Hence, she decided to go back to the locker room and look for it. She got permission from the teacher and set off for the badminton hall. When she got there, there’s no longer anybody there. Being a badminton hall with dark curtains, the hall seems pretty dark without lights on.

She switched on the lights and walked straight to the other end of the hall to where the locker room is. When she got to the door that leads to the small passageway, she found that the door was locked. Nobody could have locked the door unless there’s someone inside. Since there was no more class in the hall, obviously someone was having some hanky-panky business inside the locker room. Eager to get her purse back and curious what her schoolmates might be up to behind that door, she peeped through the small window on the door.

She couldn’t see anyone but suddenly, out of the changing area, she saw a figure floating into the small passageway. It was kind of transparent but yet seems solid. Then the girl noticed something she could not want to believe. The floating object became clearer and clearer and she noticed that it was a headless woman.

Being someone who doesn’t believe in ghost, she refused to believe what she saw and decided to take a closer look through the window again. Again she saw the same figure. This time, it became clearer and she could see a woman in a Malay costume floating about half a metre above the ground without a head.

The girl got so frightened that she rushed out of the hall immediately. She ran to the canteen caretaker and told her what she just saw. The canteen caretaker said she dare not go up there and investigate but she said she believed the girl’s story as she was crying and she was completely pale due to the shock. The teacher later called her parents to take her home.

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