Highway Nightmare

Along the North-South highway in Malaysia, there are various spots marked with sign alerting drivers of crosswind. The dual carriageway is one of the world’s most advance expressway and hence, when designing it, one would assume that the planners would not have built it with crosswind sections. The expressway is open for 24 hours and thousands of vehicles use it everyday. However, there is hardly anyone who has seen the wind indicator marking the presence of such claimed crosswind.

I found out later that these sections are actually black spots for ‘mystery accidents’. As all these sections are neither winding nor slippery, the authorities could not find any explanation of those accidents. A study revealed that those areas are either cemetery sites of the local tribe before the highway was built, or they were the so-called ‘dark’ areas by the local tribes. Therefore, those crosswind warnings were put up just to warn drivers so that they are more alert and careful as they were driving along those stretches, especially at night since the highway is not lighted.

None of the accidents are, however, worth mentioning here. No one has ever reported seeing a ghost or spirit driving them away from their senses or any sort of unexplained phenomena happening there.

Nevertheless, there is an incident that happened on the highway that has caught the attention of a lot of people. This incident does not happen along any of those crosswind sections but, instead, near the tunnel on the northern section of the highway. Before approaching the tunnel, drivers will go through highly areas with the hill on one side and a sharp cliff on the other. The sharp bends caused the authorities to put the speed limit down to 80kmph (110kmph for most of the highway).

This story went public the first time when someone called in to the radio during a ghost story programme. What make this story even more interesting are the several calls later from witnesses and relatives to verify that the story is true.

The incident happened on a Malay couple with a small baby. They were driving along the expressway on a late night. It must have been past 2am then and there aren’t many private cars at those hours. As they got near the tunnel, their car broke down. Perhaps it is the hilly road, which put a lot of stress on the car, that caused the car to broke down more than anything else.

The man stopped his car along the emergency lane and got off the car to see if there was anything he could do. His wife was sitting at the back of the car with their baby then. He got off the car, opened up the engine and apparently was doing something there. The wife just waited in the car with their baby since she is the type of people who has the slightest idea about cars.

As the engine cover was turned up, the lady could not see what her husband was doing in front. Then, there was no noise at all. She started to get worried. Perhaps more worried about not being able to get out of there than if there would be anything wrong with her husband. Then the baby started crying. She carried her up and tried to calm her down. However, the baby kept crying and crying.

Afterwards, she noticed two police cars drove by. They slowed down as they past her. As she thought they would stop, the police cars suddenly sped off. Then she heard a shrieking break of the police cars ahead. Apparently, the police stopped their cars under the lights of the tunnel about 100 metres ahead.

Then, she started hearing the policemen shouting at her. They shouted at her and asked her to get out of the car and run towards them. She got panic upon hearing that. Then, worry about her baby’s and her own safety, she grabbed her baby, got out of the car and started running as fast as she could towards the policemen. As she was running, they kept shouting at her to hurry and asked her not to look back. As she almost got to where the policemen were, she suddenly thought of her husband. She turn her head back to take a look while continued running.

To her horror, she saw three ‘pontianak’ (see notes) with lots of blood on their mouth. She saw one of them holding her husband’s head and licking off the dripping blood while two others were busy sucking the blood from the man’s body.

Two policemen, fearing that she may stop running upon seeing that, rushed to her and dragged her into one of the police car. They shot off as fast as they could after that. Seven policemen witnessed this incident. When the police got there, the man was lying there headless and ‘bloodless’. The police, after interviewing the widow and the seven policemen who witnessed the incident, decided to close the case.

In the radio programme, someone called up later to say that he was one of the policemen there at that time while another called up claiming to be the victim’s uncle. He said he refused to believe the story and had applied for the case to be reopened for investigation. He believes it was a murder case. Another caller said his sister, the widow, was distressed after the incident and he appealed to all listeners to believe that the story is true and be more careful on the highway.

Notes on Pontianak’:

Otherwise known as ‘hantu kuntilanak among the Indonesians’. There are many stories of the Malay vampire, commonly known to the locals in Malaysia as pontianak. They have long hair and are usually thought of as females. They kill their victims and then suck their blood. There are, however, different opinions on the origins of this pontianak.

The most common belief is that the pontianak is usually the ghost of a woman who died during childbirth, and she returns as a vengeful spirit who hates to see other women have what she couldn’t. So these spirits would seduce men by appearing to them as a beautiful woman, and once they’ve lured the unsuspecting males, will proceed to suck the life out of them. They are also known to turn up at a childbirth and ‘steal’ the new-born baby away. They do steal young women’s life too as it is believed that the latter’s blood will keep them going.

An Indonesian friend of mine told me that hantu kuntilanak are actually victims of road accidents who had lost a lot of blood in those accidents. Therefore, they transform themselves into bloodsucking ghosts.

Perhaps the only reason they are called vampire is because they suck blood. Otherwise, pontianaks do not have characteristic of the Western version of vampire. They have more characteristics possessed by ghosts but are much more violent. Hence, in my opinion, the term ‘vampire’ may not be such a suitable term to call them but ‘pontianak’ should be a more appropriate term.

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