By now, most of us are back to working in the office, with the occasional WFH day thrown in. Working in the office has its plus points: you get to interact with your colleagues and the conducive environment means you’re sure to get sh*t done. But these Singaporean office ghost stories might make you want to switch to a remote job so you can WFH permanently.
From being shadowed home by a Pontianak to knocking sounds and rattling doorknobs during Hungry Ghost Festival, strap yourself in for a wild ride with these real-life haunted stories that are bound to give you the chills.
I was OT-ing – it was about 10.30pm and I was the last person in the office. I packed to leave, turned off the office lights and went downstairs to wait for my Grab. I was hoping for some company, but the security uncle was not there – I was all alone.
A small tree branch fell in front of me and, logically, I thought it was probably a bird, so I ignored it. By then, I could see my Grab coming, but the car stopped at the start of the road and didn’t drive all the way into the pickup point where I was waiting.
I called the Grab uncle to ask if he could follow through to the end of the road where I was, but he said that he couldn’t see the end of the road and it looked as if he was already at a dead end.
Image credit: Ashkan Forouzani via Unsplash
I could clearly see, on the GPS, that he was only about 500m away from me. So I asked him to stay where he was and I would walk towards his car. When I was close enough to the car to hear him, he wound down the window and shouted for me to run. Thinking that he was trying to save me from the 5-min late fee, I ran.
Now, I was safely in the car, but things got weirder – on the expressway, he wound down all the windows and started playing Quranic verses. I asked him why he was doing that, and he said it was because when I was walking towards the cab, he saw a Pontianak floating behind me. So that’s why he asked me to run for my life.
At that point, there was a sudden distinct smell of frangipani in the car – which was why he insisted on keeping the windows open.
I eventually reached home. But before I left the cab, he asked me to cleanse myself properly the moment I got home. And somehow, before I reached my lift lobby, I had a sudden urge to turn back to look at the uncle.
What I saw really freaked me out – the uncle got out of his driver’s seat, went to the passenger seat & opened the door as if he was letting someone out. There was no one there.
This happened when I had a job working in a small production house somewhere in the Bukit Batok industrial area. The office building houses car rental businesses on the ground floor, while its upper floors are filled with shops selling Chinese prayer materials. Some of them even have Cai Shen Ye, the CNY God of Fortune, standing guard outside their shops.
Sometime during ghost month, I was OT-ing on an urgent submission with a colleague when the office phone started ringing incessantly. My colleague took one for the team and answered the phone, but there was no one on the other line – she could only hear deep breathing.
We brushed it off thinking it was a prank, but soon after, there were knocks on the main door that we could hear from inside the suite. The possibility of hearing this from where we were – deep inside the suite – was close to zero, and yet…
We were really spooked and decided to head home. But just as we were about to open the main door, the door handle kept rattling, as if someone was trying to break in.
I took one for the team and pulled the door open, but there was no one on the other side. Side note: we didn’t meet the submission deadline.
In the same week, there was another spooky occurrence: my colleague was OT-ing alone in the office and said that he saw me walking to my work station. He then texted me to ask me why I was OT-ing that day. The thing is, I was already at home.
Image for illustration only
At my old office, there was a salesperson who wasn’t hitting his sales targets so on a trip overseas, he bought a couple of amulets and prayer flags that were supposed to bless him with more business acumen.
Back in Singapore, he set up this tiny altar on his desk – which was right behind me – with the amulets, flags and bright green pieces of jade. I’m not sure if sales ever picked up for him, but he did bring back something sinister in those amulets.
Since I often OT-ed till 3am or later, I would usually be the last one in the office. My desk was right behind his and I would feel this cold and dark energy looming behind me, like somebody was watching me.
Being a Christian, it never bothered me. I would pray and the energy would dissipate. Sometimes I’d just chalk it up to fatigue – I mean, multiple days of clocking 9am-3am hours would make anyone feel like they were hallucinating… right?
Then came the clicking on keyboards. A fellow editor and I heard it one night – someone was furiously typing away at the back of the office. Naturally, we thought someone else was clocking OT too. We called out to whoever it was and asked if they wanted to order food with us on Grab. No answer, but the typing got louder. We walked over and the typing stopped.
Very strange. We chose to ignore it. My colleague decided to bring sage in the next day and cleanse the place. We thought we’d be ok after that, but we were proven wrong later that night.
Image credit: Karly Jones via Unsplash
That night – a Friday – while we were working on some things, we heard books crashing down from a shelf. I thought the books had been placed askew, and gravity had led to them falling off the shelf. So I went to pick up the books and placed them on the shelf again, this time stacked parallel to the floor so there wouldn’t be a chance of them falling.
I went back to work and not even 2 minutes later, the same stack of books had fallen off the shelf again. This time, my colleague and I knew that whatever was here was demanding attention from us and it was angry. We quickly packed up and left. I prayed again over the office while we were switching off the lights, asking God to not let this thing follow us home.
When we came back to work on Monday, the books were back on the shelf. Maybe someone had put them back – we weren’t sure. Out of curiosity, I asked around if anyone had similar experiences, and many others also claimed they had either heard random typing noises or felt something lurking around them if they worked late at night.
We even asked the salesperson with the amulets if he’d noticed anything unusual but he was hesitant to share. He kept telling us it was all in our heads and there were no such things as ghosts or spirits.
But it kind of seemed like he knew these supernatural occurrences had something to do with the things he had brought in. By the next day, his altar was gone. Most of it had been packed up and brought home. We never had another freaky Friday like that ever again.
My dad used to work as a massage therapist at a reflexology spa, at a location that was once used during WWII battles. He’d heard from many of his colleagues that the place is haunted because of this – hence the lingering restless spirits.
He didn’t personally experience anything crazy, but there was one time when he and his colleague were in one of the massage rooms, his colleague told him that there was a little kid standing in the corner of the room, watching everyone.
Apparently, according to flying rumours, this kid spirit was a “regular” at the spa, and could sometimes even be seen running around the spa’s admin rooms as well.
Image credit: Jonny Clow via Unsplash
The lights at the office space opposite ours are always flickering, but I never thought it was a big deal – I just assumed they were wonky.
One day, I was OT-ing – the office was mostly empty – and when I was just about to pack up and leave, the flickering lights completely went out.
I heard faint wailing sounds and the click of a door closing – it might’ve been my imagination running wild or my grogginess late at night, but I’m pretty sure that was what I heard.
I walked outside to check if there was anyone left in that office space. A lady walked past me from that direction, so I told her what I heard and she told me not to worry – ‘she’s’ not gonna hurt me if I just minded my own business
At this point, the lights came back on – dim but still flickering. I don’t know what I was thinking – feeling sceptical that there’s actually a spirit in the office building, I echoed the wailing sounds I heard previously just for the bants.
Someone wailed back, and I heard footsteps but there was no one in the empty corridor – the lady I met just now was long gone. At this point, I was really creeped out, so I left.
Image credit: Jr Korpa via Unsplash
It was 2019 – Covid had just befallen us, so I had to go to my office to pick up my computers for WFH.
I was once again waiting for my Grab – this time in the early afternoon, at least. And the security guard was there – company, hurray. He asked me how my girlfriend was and I was very confused – I didn’t have a girlfriend.
He insisted, though – he said that she would accompany me every time I was waiting for my ride when I OT-ed in the office. And that she’s always crying by my side but I wouldn’t talk to her or even look at her.
I exclaimed, “Why would I put on my earpiece if I have a friend beside me?!” At this, the security guard just laughed and walked away.
The next time I saw him, he told me that he sees “my girlfriend” frequently hanging out at the Kallang River – a place known for supernatural sightings.
Eerie sounds from the conference room are often heard by others during OT, but something which I didn’t take much notice of.
On this very day, I happened to reach the office early. The main door was locked so I couldn’t enter – no one else was there yet.
However, when I walked past the glass door of the office, what I saw wasn’t my own reflection. Someone else’s reflection was staring back at me.
This is a story from one of my friends. Honestly, she was reluctant to share…
There was one day she was making coffee in the pantry when she heard strange flapping sounds. Her attention was drawn to the window and there, she saw a huge gecko – the length of a finger – wedged between the closed window. The flapping sounds came from its tail.
She opened the glass window in an attempt to shoo the lizard away. Thankfully, the lizard ran away.
But strangely, before she left the pantry, that same lizard scuttled back to the window sill. Now, the window was open but it didn’t crawl in. She said that she could almost feel it staring straight at her before disappearing once again.
From then on, every time she entered the pantry, she would feel someone watching her. She swears the gecko wasn’t just a gecko but a conduit for a spirit to possess.
Taking spirit animals to a whole new level?
Understandably enough, almost all of these ghastly ghost stories happened while the victims were OT-ing. Maybe this is a sign for you to get some work-life balance into your daily routine… or risk being the next victim of a duppy.
For more scary Singapore ghost stories:
Originally published on 14th March 2022. Last updated on 21st August 2023.
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