On the eve of Halloween, many people like to get into the spirit (pun unintended!) with some scary stories. In fact, Hong Kong is filled with local tales that can set you up for the spooky festival.
From the small fishing village to the lively metropolis it is today, Hong Kong is a city rich with history and unique culture. Local stories carry the memories and values of the people of Hong Kong and sometimes strike collective fears within our hearts. Here are five spine-chilling urban legends originated from the depths of Hong Kong’s past century.
1. Fox Demon at Windsor House
The Fox Demon at Windsor House in Causeway Bay was one of the most well-known urban legends of Hong Kong in the 80s.
The legend goes that a couple was celebrating the one-month birthday of their child at Duke of Windsor Social Services Building, now known as Windsor House.
After the celebration, the couple allegedly dreamt of a red-eyed fox that resided in the Building threatening to kill their child because they did not offer her a toast during the celebration. Upon waking up, the couple rushed to their baby but found that it was already dead, blood supposedly drained completely from its body.
After the baby’s death, unsettling patterns resembling a fox began appearing on the marble walls of Windsor Building, which many speculate to be the fox demon practising its magic.
What’s eerier is that after the incident, a children’s playground was built at the rooftop of the building, yet it was never open to the public and no child was ever seen playing in it. Rumour has it that the playground was built for the spirit of the child who was killed by the fox demon.
The Duke of Windsor Social Services Building has since been demolished and transformed into today’s Windsor House, but its terrifying tale continues to linger.
2. Ghostly tales at Jumbo Kingdom
Built in the 1970s, Jumbo Kingdom is Hong Kong’s only floating restaurant. Located in Aberdeen, the floating establishment gives off a traditional vibe with luxurious Chinese decorations.
However, strange stories have been spread throughout its history. Due to its location in the middle of the Aberdeen Channel, allegedly bodies of drowned children are often carried to the underside of the restaurant by the currents of the ocean. In fact, search teams often look around and beneath the restaurant for missing persons who might have drowned.
Urban myths cloud the restaurant’s historical background. Reports of a mysterious woman rowing a boat nearby at night trace back to the practice of prostitution at sea in old Hong Kong and many believe the ghosts of women who suffered from a life of prostitution often linger and are attracted to the lively restaurant since it reminds them of their work.
After a fire in 1971, which killed 34, children have further reported seeing spirits without ankles roaming around the dim halls inside the restaurant, rendering Jumbo Kingdom a place of poignant spirits and mystery.
3. Haunted Mahjong at Leighton Road
As arguably the most well known Hong Kong urban legend, the takeaway incident in Leighton Road near Yau Ma Tei left a deep mark on the 50s. At the time, strange reports of an apartment giving out loud noises of mahjong late at night roused curiosity towards the people who lived inside.
The urban legend goes that people who peek inside the flat will find 5 headless men playing mahjong. Although the rumours are frightening, the haunted apartment only gained attention after someone from the apartment ordered takeaway from a cha chaan teng nearby.
Reports said as the delivery man reached the door, a hand with some money slipped out of the door slit to pay. After returning to the cha chaan teng, to the delivery man’s horror, all the money he received turned into paper offerings.
News about the terrifying apartment blew up, thousands of civilians at the time visited the building to try to get a peek at the flat. However, no one dared to investigate. The police eventually sealed off the apartment, and the legend remains a petrifying experience since then adapted into different media, making it one of Hong Kong’s strangest cases.
4. The Forbidden Song
The visual is not the only element that makes a horror film scary. Many times, the music behind a horror flick causes the most chilling experiences. In fact, the song Nights of the Night (夜夜痴纏), as the theme song for one of Hong Kong’s most famous horror films The Occupant, is renowned as a cursed song among Hong Kong’s Radio broadcast industry.
Sung by Connie Mak Kit-man for the 1984 film The Occupant, the song’s eerie melody earned the alias “The Forbidden Song” after multiple radio DJs reported strange occurrences when the song was played on late-night radio: strange voices were heard layered on top of the track, lights spontaneously switched off, shadows were spotted soaring across the broadcasting room, record players were moving around on their own.
Mak has responded over the years that she does not believe her song to be haunted in multiple interviews and even continued to perform it during concerts. Till this day, however, no radio DJ plays, at least intentionally, this alleged cursed song.
Nights of the Night performed by Connie Mak Kit-Man in 1984. Listen at your own risk!
5. The Disappearing Body in Yau Ma Tei Station
The story goes that multiple people witnessed a girl dressed in white jump down onto the train tracks as a train was approaching. Terrified screams echoed through the platform as passersby watched a young girl seeming commit suicide. The train driver even reported the dreadful feeling of the train running over something. However, as medical staff and the police search for the wounded or, more likely, the corpse of the girl, nothing was found.
Reports at the time claimed that not even a drop of blood was present at the scene. The mystery baffled Hong Kong, and many deemed it as a collective haunting experience. Where did the girl that so many passersby saw jump onto the train track go? The world may never know.
Growing up with Ghosts
Hong Kong has always been a city painted with unique and interesting stories. The haunting tales throughout history has provided a mysterious and intriguing image for Hong Kong, accompanying the city’s development every step of the way. Local incidents at different spots across the city create collective memories for Hong Kongers as we grow in this small, precious hub, making Hong Kong an alluring city we are proud to call home.