It is a well-known fact that almost every university or college around the world had its own fair share of ghost stories. Let it be in the form of haunted dorms, witnessing an eerie apparition, manifestations of ‘doppelgangers’ (we will discuss this further in a different story), possession by evil spirits or attacks of mass hysteria. One of our admins had the honour of attending one of the most prestigious universities in Sabah to further his studies. And this is his story.
Just like everybody else, enrolling into a university calls for new environment, new friends, new activities and for some, newfound love. This university is just like every other universities within the district, with libraries, classrooms, stadiums, lecturers, students, cafeterias, administrative buildings and hostels. One thing about this university that differentiates it with other universities is the presence of an old, abandoned and dilapidated hostel block. It is infamously known by the residents as the “Blok Lama”.
This block had its fair share of stories, from fraternities to sororities, from juniors to seniors and from lecturers to students. One particular story relates to a medium, or ‘bomoh’, who actually meditates in the old block, day and night. It is said that when one passes through the old block, a faint red light can be seen glowing from one of the top-most floor windows facing the sea. That signifies his presence. Weird enough, no one either dared or wanted to investigate further, as it was reported that the glowing red light will disappear whenever one tries to get close. It will then move another different room.
Another story involves spirits being confined to that old block, reportedly by a religious lecturer with spiritual abilities. The malevolent spirits were being confined to a spot within the vicinity and never to be released free. This spot can be easily recognized by an ananas-like plant growing wildly only at that certain spot. It is said that the thorns and spikes from the plant helps to prevent the spirit from escaping. This area has been boarded up with zinc columns to prevent intrusion. Claims from students saying that someone, or ‘something’ from inside the boarded up area who kept throwing stones against the zinc to startle passers-by are quite common. Some even felt the presence of someone following them from behind, usually when returning home late after class, as distinguished by the sound of stones being shoved (the pathway is made of grubble), as if someone was walking home along with them from behind. However, the most popular and famous story of all involves a young girl who committed suicide from that particular block. She is known simply as “Melati”.
The legend of Melati goes way back when the block was still fully operational. It was reported that Melati got pregnant by a fellow student who eventually refused to take ownership of the child and as a father. Left in a lurch and not in her right sense of mind, Melati decided to end her own life by jumping off from the top-most floor of the block (eyewitness accounts recalled her wearing a red dress that night), killing herself and her unborn child. The story had many versions. Some said she didn’t commit suicide, but was actually pushed over by the guy’s friends. However, Melati taking her own life was one of the most believable of all and highly disregarded as truly authentic. Of course, it is the norm for the officials not to disclose the details of the gruesome suicide, hence it was put into a hush. This so-called urban legend was passed down from during Melati’s generation up until now. Try asking students and ex-students there and chances are, they will tell you in an instant, the story of Melati.
Our admin had the opportunity to hear the ghostly encounter of Melati firsthand from an eyewitness. Makcik R, an old lady who runs an eatery by the old block, known as the “anjung”, recalled her moment of horror to our admin. That night, it was already 11 o’clock and they are closing the eatery for the night. However her husband had to send the workers back to their quarters first, and the loading of kitchen utensils quickly filled up the leftover spaces in the van. So Makcik R had to stay back and wait for her husband to send the workers back and return to fetch her during the second trip. As Makcik R sat down and waited, she turned to face the old block. That’s when things started to turn for the worst.
From the dark corners of the old block, appeared this skinny and frail woman in red. She seemed to look like a student, at least that was what Makcik R thought at first. Makcik R was about to call girl over, when she realized the woman wasn’t actually walking on the ground. She was floating in mid-air. Stunned and speechless, Makcik R stood dead in her tracks and her throat dried up. She watched as the girl floated aimlessly for about a minute or two, when she suddenly turned to face Makcik R. Makcik R almost fainted.
Her face seemed to be splattered with blood all over and beyond measure, and was holding something what seems to resemble a baby. When the girl started to smile, Makcik R closed her eyes and recited prayers that she could immediately think of. The next thing she remembered was her husband holding her sweaty palms, her body drenched in sweat and seemed pale beyond recognition. As Makcik R recalls of her horrific ordeal to our admin, tears ran down her cheek non-stop. She just couldn’t grasp the fact that something so terrifying could ever happened to her.
All our admin could do was console her and stopped asking further questions, for fear she might break down again. Makcik R was determined to not work there anymore after the incident and true enough, Makcik R closed down her business and moved out a week after.
That was the last our admin had ever heard from Makcik R again. Our admin was so moved by the story as it was so authentically told that he couldn’t fault her in any way he could think of. After all, why would an old lady tell such a malicious lie and eloped after a week? He believed that Makcik R had never heard of the Melati story before, as she had just opened up her eatery for about two months. And it was a bad folly that Melati decided to manifest herself in front of Makcik R, a helpless, old and innocent lady.