One of our locations for expedition 3 is the Tanglin Barracks, a place filled with a long history and one that holds alot of stories to share. The place was a tip off provided to us by a friend of one of our investigators. The person is a Warrant Officer who used to be stationed at Tanglin Camp. Following this, GHOST Club carried out further research on the history of the place as well as a day recce of Tanglin Camp, in order to familiarize ourselves with the location for our eventual investigation...
History of Tanglin Barracks
EARLY 1800s - 1860
Sir Stamford Raffles revamped the entire town four years after the founding of Singapore in 1819. Various land parcels were distributed to the ethnic groups for their businesses and trade, resulting in the Tanglin area becoming a flourishing nutmeg plantation site.
In 1860, a large portion of the nutmeg plantation at Tanglin was carved out for the construction of the Tanglin Barracks. This was intended as accommodation for the military troops in Singapore. By 1893, Tanglin Barracks was home to 26 officers and 661 men of the only infantry battalion in Singapore, two artillery batteries, one company of Royal Engineers, and a few Sikh soldiers from the Chine Gun Lascars.
On 15 February 1915, 13 British, Singapore Volunteer Corps and Johore Military Force soldiers and one German prisoner of war were killed when mutineers broke into the Tanglin Barracks during the Sepoy Mutiny. However control of the barracks was quickly regained by the Veteran Company of the Singapore Volunteer Corps.
A British soldier poses in Tanglin Barracks (1940), before the Japanese Occupation
(source from www.bbc.co.uk)
(source from www.bbc.co.uk)
The Barracks were taken over by the Japanese during WWII. There was an information blackout during this period of time, and the only known fact was the Japanese occupation of this place. Research revealed that Australian POWs were housed in the barracks. Was it also being used as an interrogation center? A torture house? Or an execution ground?
1970s to PRESENT
On 10 Feb 1972 , the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) decided to shift its headquarters to Tanglin Barracks, which had been vacated by the British Far East Land Forces. This move enabled MINDEF to centralise the Ministry and most of its main command and support organisations in one location. In 1989, after a 17 year stay in Tanglin, MINDEF HQ moved into its new home at Bukit Gombak. Tanglin Barracks was returned to the former Land Office in the early 1990s and subsequently progressively let out to the private sector.
The rich history as well as events that took place within the grounds of Tanglin Camp accumulated to make this place a fantastic location to investigate if it was indeed haunted. The huge area also gave plenty of opportunities to get a great feel an experience of anything paranormal.
4th November 2008. We had our day recce. Walking up to the camp area already gave us a glimpse of the huge grounds and houses that occupied the camp....View from outside:
Picture below: Nearer view from outside, just before we entered the camp....
Quite a nice, scenic view, just before sunset....
We entered the camp from one side entrance, and once we stepped inside, we realized how big this place really is....various different buildings were housed with plenty of land to spare. According to our research, Tanglin Camp included blocks like Medical Classification Unity, a hospital, the SAF Psychiatric Branch, a 'Dead House' where bodies of deceased soldiers were kept before they were dispatced for burial and a Detention Barracks among some of the more interesting blocks...We went in search for clues that can tell us where these places are....
Rooms after rooms....blocks after blocks....
Steps after steps....stairways leading to more places....
Corridors that seem endless! Not to mention spooky too, not knowing what is at the end...
There were signs we couldn't read....and signs we could but still hold a mystery...
The possibilities are endless...but it also makes the expedition more risky and dangerous....
"It is when I found occasion to work late into the night that I first heard the voices.
First there would be noises. Movement of feet and metal-studded footwear, creaking wooden floorboards. And then the voices would start, cries of the sick and tormented reverberating through the emptiness of the building. Empty indeed, for no one else remained in the office by this time of the night. Only the voices, and the haunted.
I paid little attention to them initially, but as time passed and following the decision of MINDEF to vacate the Tanglin site to move to new and modern premises, the voices became more frequent, more insistent. As if aggravated by the new buildings starting to assume shape and form, and the intensifying preparations for movement away from Tanglin, the voices rose in like intensity.
It was becoming increasingly discomforting to work with all the interruptions; and just when I'd decided to shift my work home, a peculiar thing happened: the voices softened. Oh, they continued, certainly, but their character had changed to that of muted suffering, of mournful plea.
And that was when I understood: these were the cries of The Forgotten.
They were appealing for the dignity of recollection, of remembrance, and perhaps even of reminiscence. They were pleading for their story to be told before, with the passing of more time in the headlong pursuit of the future, they, buried in the past, were heard no more. And as their chosen scribe (whom I assumed I was, having heard no similar hauntings amongst my peers), I felt compelled to relate their story.
In so doing we might all be reminded of our beginnings in this tropical island, our military heritage notwithstanding. And as we harken to our past, perhaps the voices will be subdued if not stilled."
(adapted from www.tangliners.com)