This story happened to me on January 6, 2011. I heard through a mutual friend of a reporter in Penang (neither wishes his name to be revealed) that this reporter had discovered evidence of a crime that had happened in the Cameron Highlands on February 1, 2003.
He never told me what this evidence was. I did manage to find out that on that date, a Chinese family surnnamed Ma had gathered for a New Year reunion and celebration. A few days later their house was found in ruins, and no bodies or any trace of the 17 family members there that night had ever been found. They had all just disappeared. The event happened about 50 kilometers northeast of Taman Tringkap. They were a wealthy family and had built their home in a solitary area on a very large plot of land on a remote hilltop.
My friend told me that, because of the fear of losing tourism and real estate values, the local authorities had covered up the crime. Determined to find out for myself, I did some research and decided to visit the place myself, along with some friends. I discovered rumors that, starting around 1890, a foreign religious cult had flourished in the area and then disappeared, possibly suddenly leaving the area, in 1914. However, records were few and contradictory from that time period because that part to British Malaya was extremely remote and barely inhabited in those days, with not much civilization or communication there at all.
Resolving to find out the truth or falsehood of this story for ourselves, my friends and I drove to the area indicated to me by my friend who knew reporter, where he claimed that he found the ruins of the actual Ma family mansion. After a long drive over many difficult roads, in the late afternoon we finally did find a set of ruins resembling those described by my friend.
We hiked around the property taking photographs and checking out the area. I wandered away from the others to look at the surrounding land, but it was all grown up with vines and weeds, virtually impassable. Suddenly, I ran into a young Chinese girl. There was nothing extraordinary about her, and she didn’t seem surprised to see me. I asked where she was from, and she said “From around here.” Then, she told me that my friends and I should leave this place as soon as we could, that it was not a good place to be. I asked if we could take her anywhere, and she answered no. I looked back to check if I could see any of the others. When I turned back, she was gone. The experience did frighten me a little, so I quickly returned to the my friends.
Some of them reported hearing faint religious-sounding chanting, but nothing as dramatic as what I saw. By then, it was getting dark, and none of us particularly wanted to camp out there overnight. So we got back into our car and spent much of the night driving over rough, difficult and really dark roads back to Taman Tringkap.
Later, after we returned home, we checked our photos, but they only showed ordinary ruins like one could find anywhere in the country. There was only our story of what we saw and heard. Recently, I found this website so, for what it’s worth, I relate our story here.
I do believe to this day that the girl I encountered was the ghost of one of the Ma family members who disappeared that night in 2003. I also believe that the 17 people who were there that night are dead. How they died, I feel I will never know for sure. However, I do believe that the very place we visited, where the house was built, is evil, and that the girl’s warning possibly helped to save our lives.
NOTE: The local authorities in the area deny that any of the events of 2003, described earlier, ever happened. I have since talked to the reporter by phone, and he swears by his story, but refuses to divulge the nature of the evidence he claims to have or allow his name to be used, for fear of losing his job.
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