Hong Kong, an international city, celebrates several Chinese and Western festivals throughout the year. In recent times, the ghoulish Halloween festivity, which is celebrated in many countries all over the world, has become immensely popular in Hong Kong as well.
This erstwhile Celtic harvest festival has much to offer for both children and adults alike. While the city’s landmark theme park attractions such as Disneyland and Ocean Park host special events for Halloween, the biggest party is at Hong Kong’s world-famous party district Lan Kwai Fong. Hordes of revelers dressed in their spookiest best head to the bars and clubs that dot the area for a night of much revelry and merriment.
The dress-up in costume custom is equally popular with kids as well. Most kids decide on their costume for Halloween well in advance as they look forward to bagging mounds of candy on their ‘trick or treat’ expeditions around their residential complexes on Halloween.
All over Hong Kong, apartment complexes send letters to their residents beforehand to ask if they wish to participate in the ‘trick or treat’ custom, a time-honored tradition of Halloween. If residents want to join, they usually indicate their choice and then stock up on candy to hand out to the young folk who make the rounds.
Hong Kong with its plethora of steel, cement and glass towers is a modern metropolis but the city’s many nooks, and crannies have many a tale to tell, and the city is quite a hotbed of paranormal activity. Hong Kong has several famed ‘haunted’ locales, many of which date back to the era of the Second World War and the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.
The pulsating district of Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island which apart from being a nightlife haunt is one such spooky spot. Guided ghost-themes lead tourists and paranormal activity enthusiasts through the crowded and busy alleyways of Wan Chai to explore buildings like Nam Koo Terrace, a two-story,colonial-era brick edifice on trendy Ship Street that served as a brothel during the Second World War and was home to ‘comfort women.’ Residents of the area report hearing screams and cries emitting from the abandoned building in the dead of the night and consider it ‘haunted.'
Other similar eerie spots on the trail include the locale of the erstwhile Old Wan Chai market whose basement was a makeshift mortuary during the war and the Star Street air raid shelter, a network old wartime tunnels located near Electric Street. Residents who live here claim to have experienced various supernatural events here in the 1980’s.
The stately Murray House near the Stanley Pier, the Museum of Coastal Defence and the High Street Haunted House at Sai Ying Pun are other ‘haunted’ landmarks of the city. The Japanese used these buildings as execution grounds during the war and today they are believed to be ‘haunted’ and the domain of many lost souls and restless spirits.
Ethereal beings are said to inhabit even the biochemistry department in the Mong Man Wai of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The second floor of the building was once a morgue and students often recount strange sightings and believe that the building is haunted.
The tranquil Blake Garden near Hong Kong’s famous Man Mo Temple is a peaceful oasis in the busy city. The park stands on the land, which once was a crowded slum home to many Chinese immigrants. The bubonic plague of 1894 killed nearly 20,000 people including many inhabitants of the slums. The then British governor, Sir Arthur Henry Blake ordered the slums to be razed to make way for the garden. The residents of the area reported hearing ghosts from the plague era wandering about for years, so they built a temple called the Temple of One Hundred Names on nearby Tai Ping Shan Street to provide a resting place for those restless souls.
The list of spooky locales in Hong Kong also includes water bodies like Bride’s Pool, a stream with waterfalls in Tai Po. A bride is rumored to have drowned in these waters and several unexplained incidents have baffled people who live nearby. Water ghosts are also said to live in the waterfall at the park at Cyberport for the waterfall was once used as a mass grave by pirates and park goers have reported the sighting of a female ghost with long dark hair.
In addition to these haunted locales, the modern metropolis of Hong Kong surprisingly has a few ‘ghost towns’ as well. The city’s most famous abandoned building is, in fact, located within its most prestigious district-the Peak. The property is known as Dragon Lodge and is located at 32 Lugard Road. The Japanese occupied the mansion during the Second World War and conducted some grue some executions there. Folks who live in the vicinity have reported hearing crying sounds coming from the desolate house, and when they go in to investigate, they can never see anybody.
The island of Yim Tin Tsai off the coast of Sai Kung and the villages of Kuk Po, Yung Shue Au and Sam A Tsuen near Plover Cove Country Park are some of the other eerie, abandoned ghost towns of Hong Kong. Hard to believe such lonesome spots exist in a city that has one of the highest population densities in the world.