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This Haunted House In JB Has An Eerie Past That Inspired A Horror Film, Said To Be Owned By A Singaporean

Villa Nabila, abandoned mansion in Johor Bahru

From abandoned mansions to haunted MRT stations, Singaporeans are intrigued by all things supernatural. What if we told you that there’s a spooky mansion right across the Causeway? 

Villa Nabila, which sits atop a hill with a view of Danga Bay, has a reputation of being among Malaysia’s most haunted houses. After digging up Malaysian news reports, we also found out that it’s said to be owned by a Singaporean, which made this place even more intriguing. 

Villa Nabila’s haunted history

villa-nabila-jbImage credit: Villa Nabila via Facebook

You may be wondering who owned this villa, and how it came to be surrounded by overgrown trees and creeping vines. According to a notice by the Johor Bahru City Council, it’s currently owned by a Singaporean named Lim Sue Heng.

Besides being the topic of local urban legends and rumours, it even inspired a  2015 film that goes by the same name, based on real stories that took place there.

back view of mansion
Image credit: @elghassani via Instagram

Directed by Malaysian filmmaker Syafiq Yusof and filmed on location at the villa, the documentary commences with a series of interviews centred around the disappearance of 23 teenagers who ventured into the villa for a late-night exploration.

decaying inside of mansion
Image credit: @elghassani via Instagram

The building itself was built in the 1930s, and rumour has it that it was originally the residence of a wealthy family who named the villa after their only daughter, Nabila. After her father had gone through bankruptcy, he went mad and murdered the entire family, leaving only his daughter alive.

Others say that Nabila was later murdered and cemented into the walls by a jealous maid who wanted the family fortune for herself. 

Nevertheless, over the years, the villa has gained notoriety for its eerie occurrences, sightings of shadowy figures, and unexplained noises by those who dare explore its grounds.

Unique European & Malay architecture

Vandalised front gates of the entrance to Villa Nabila.
Image credit: Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia via Facebook

Besides the folklore surrounding it, an interesting fact about Villa Nabila is its unique architecture that combines European and Malay influences.

front exterior of mansion
Image credit: The Patriots Studios via Facebook

The villa’s exterior resembles a traditional Malay theatre or rumah panggung, elevated on stilts. In contrast, the front courtyard is supported by Gothic-inspired pillars adorned with moss and vegetation. You may find it familiar, because this type of architecture can also be seen in certain abandoned mansions in Singapore such as the Matilda House in Punggol. 

While much about this villa’s history is unknown, it’s assumed that some parts of the mansion’s Gothic architecture was inspired by the British era. 

Grandeur staircase inside the villa.
Image credit: @elghassani via Instagram

Inside, visitors will come across the mansion’s grandeur staircases, mouldings, and spacious rooms that hint at a once opulent lifestyle. However, the crumbling walls and eerie atmosphere within the house are a stark contrast to its initial grandeur.

Admire Johor’s most haunted mansion from afar

Image credit: @elghassani via Instagram

Despite its gruesome rumoured history and odd incidents that have happened, Villa Nabila continues to be Johor’s most famous haunted spot.

warning sign
Image credit: @elghassani via Instagram

However, the premise is strictly off-limits and has signs that indicate to the public that trespassers will be subjected to prosecution. If you happen to be near the area, perhaps you’d want to make a stop to admire this decaying beauty – from the outside of course. 

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Cover image adapted from: @elghassani via Instagram