A new TV series documents encounters of the paranormal kind, writes Hizreen Kamal
MENTION Kellie’s Castle, and the first thing that comes to mind is the mystery surrounding it.
Some believe it is haunted by the family it was built for. Apparitions pacing the second floor corridor at night and the smell of incense have been reported by those who have visited the manor.
Even Tajudin Yaacob, 53, who has been managing the tourist attraction in Batu Gajah, Perak, since 2006, has experienced many spooky encounters.
The unfinished ruined mansion (formerly known as Kellas House) was built in the 1900s by William Kellie Smith, a wealthy Scottish planter, as a gift for his wife, Agnes.
Unfortunately for Smith, tragedy after tragedy struck soon after its construction. First, a virulent strain of the Spanish flu spread from Europe to Asia soon after World War I ended in Europe, killing many of the workers in the Kellas Estate. Another 70 workers constructing the castle also succumbed to the flu. Smith, who had already spent a fortune on his house, lost a lot of money because of this. In the end, the mansion was sold to a British company, Harrisons and Crosfield.
“I have seen a shadow-like apparition of what looked like William, in the house. During my early days managing Kellie’s Castle, I heard voices as if there was a party in the house but there was no one there, and these voices followed me as I inspected one room after another.
“I went to the parking lot to check whether there were visitors at the time but there was not a car in sight,” said Tajudin, who is very well-versed in the history of the castle.
Since Kellie’s Castle was never completed, none of the Smith family moved into the house. But some visitors have seen apparitions of what looked like William’s 6-year-old daughter, Helen, dressed in Scottish attire, in a room which was supposedly hers, he added.
He also said that these paranormal encounters just don’t take place at a specific time. “They appear at night and even during the day.”
“Stories of the castle being haunted have been told for decades. Most people would be terrified at the sight of an apparition. I’d be lying if I said they didn’t give me the shivers. Initially, I was scared, but after awhile, I learned to live with it. The fear just fades away, I guess.
“I believe in the existence of paranormal creatures. But these apparitions do not disturb anyone. It just shows itself and disappear,” said Tajudin, who has had a few paranormal encounters to date.
According to him, many paranormal groups from across the globe, including France, Japan and Hong Kong, came to document paranormal evidence at Kellie’s Castle, complete with high tech equipment and techniques. Most managed to successfully capture audio and video recordings of their paranormal encounters.
The manor is now undergoing an upgrading work which will be completed in October.
Even with all the paranormal sightings, Tajudin, who organises tours for students as well as local and foreign tourists, said Kellie’s Castle is safe to visit.
“If you feel a hair-raising sensation suddenly, my advice is to recite some prayers. That’s what we always do here in Kellie’s Castle.”
Tajudin’s paranormal encounters will be featured in the six-episode My Ghost Story Asia, a new TV series which takes an in-depth look at popular paranormal activities here and in Singapore.
It will premiere with the Kellie’s Castle mystery and interview with Tajudin tomorrow at 10pm on Bio Channel (Astro channel 731).
Other chilling episodes include Singapore’s Pasir Ris’ Suicide Tower, Bukit Batok Trail Spirit and Hauntings Of A Trespassed Land. Catch accounts of real and personal paranormal experiences. From chance encounters to personal experiences, these are true-life eyewitness accounts.
And it seems like these stories of strange encounters are more than just folklore with plans for Season 2 already in the pipeline. Producers are calling for viewers to share their own spooky tales and hauntings, and the most hair-raising and blood-curdling ones will be aired next season.
Details at biochannelasia.com/myghoststoryasia.