Tenant Who Didn’t Leave
After I left my job as an Assistant Professor from Nanyang Technological University, I decided to set up a small company in CBD area. And I chose an office with a magnificent view on 37th floor at International Plaza, Tanjong Pagar.
It was considered as a small sized office with merely 1500sq.ft. However it fits my business strategy as a start-up of a freelance IT consultant firm with manpower of about six. The rental is quite affordable too, well below the market-rate. I particularly like the furnishing that is so posh – cherry and walnut wood made of European style fittings. It has its unique class of elegance in contrast of metal-and-glass modern design. The view is magnificent too. You can see most of the landmark buildings in Singapore, such as UOB towers, SIA building, DBS, Maybank and Capital Tower from the height of 37 storey.
You may wonder why I tried to describe the office environment in a little detail. That is because I hope we could get some clues on my horrible encounter as follows. Unfortunately, till today, there is no solid explanation relating to this mystery.
At the back of the neat and posh office that gave people certain solemn feels, there laid a well-decorated bedroom and a little bunker room. The bunker room has only 4 walls and one ceiling fitted with fluorescent lamps. We called it a storeroom. Nothing’s strange. But what made me curious is the ‘bedroom’ that is thickly carpets in red. The room has a spacious queen size bed, built-in closet, and a large shelf in black lacquer finish. The shelf that was facing the bed had halogen lights that can light up each individual compartment and a swirl base for TV. The bedroom looked like a deluxe suite in a 5-star hotel. If the purpose is to serve as a napping bed for the boss, he surely had a very luxury resting place!
A horrible instance happened in one afternoon, at around 2pm. In this particular afternoon, I was alone in my office whereas the other staffs have out-stationed to work at my client’s place. I felt rather tired and decided to take a nap in the storeroom, on a sofa bed.
The weather at about the same time suddenly worsened. Thick clouds were emerging from nowhere and covered most of the sky quickly. Rain poured heavily down on the windows and the sky was dark like dusk. Under some dim light from the corridor outside the storeroom, I lied down and tried to get some sleep.
A few seconds later even before I closed my eyes, I felt a “presence” suddenly surfaced out from a wall. It wasn’t a visible figure or a patch of shadow. But I could strongly feel it, approaching steadily towards my sofa bed. The feeling of horror was beyond how words can describe. I shrank my body, trying to move to one side of the sofa bed as it was a natural human reaction. What horrified me next was, I felt “it” was sitting down right beside me, right on my sofa bed. It was less than one foot away from my face! I even saw the mattress being pressed down, just like how a person was to sit down on it.
Almost simultaneously, the thing hugged over my body and I could feel its weight on me, making me hard to breath. I wanted to shout, to get up and escape. But I only found that my strength left me, totally. In other words, my body was paralyzed. It wasn’t a dream or hallucination I was sure because my eyes were wide open. I just couldn’t talk nor move. Ten minutes had gone by while I was strangled in horror. It didn’t move. I could only hear the rain hitting on the glass windows outside. Together with the raindrops, I vaguely hear that “thing” whispered to me in a slow and deep sigh: “Ai-u-too”. I couldn’t make out what was the meaning. But I was quite concentrating to speak aloud in my mind: “By the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, I command you to go away!” Then followed by a prayer, “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name?”
A minute later it disappeared away. I found myself in big sweat, breathing in heavily, and my heart was thumping fast. Coincidentally, the rain from outside had eased down, into drizzles.
Horror still filled the space. I never tell anyone especially my staff. Once words slip out from their mouths to my clients’ ear, which would be my business doom day. Since that encounter, I placed a copy of the Holy Bible in that storeroom. Fortunately nothing strange happened after that.
Quietly I started investigating the house by checking through every corner of the office for suspicious objects. One day I found a velvet-clothed round box, in about one feet of diameter in one of the drawers in the bedroom. It was in red color. With extreme surprise, I wonder how could there exist a nice gift box, in a hidden corner of the drawer. I still remember the office was left totally empty at the time when I first moved in. And no staff would usually trespass into this bedroom. Wouldn’t it be left over by the last tenant? This was the first idea flashed across my mind. It seemed a little weird for the fact that nothing was left over but such a nice gift box. The other drawers were all empty.
With extreme care, I opened the box. Looking inside; I saw a piece of shattered porcelain in shiny black color. This escalated my curiosity to a newer height. Why on earth such a nice velvet box was used for a piece of broken junk? The shattered piece measured at about 4 x 5 inches with some irregular shape, and thickness of about half an inch. It was just like a broken piece picked up from a smashed vase.
When I touched the porcelain, I felt an electric shock stroke me. Sad, hollow, heartrending and poignant was how I felt. Then it came to me as an emotion of misery and discomfort overwhelming my mind. It reminded me of the horror sleep-paralyze experience from yesterday. The sadness that I received through touching the glass was same as that of the “thing” when whispering to me over my body. Without a second thought, I threw the broken glass down to the rubbish chute.
Later I asked my property agent about the history of the office. She said, “Several years ago the last tenant rented this office for his shipping company. He was a Caucasian business man. Later then they terminated the rental contract, in a kind of hurry. Since then the place had been abandoned for quite a long time. There were some potential tenants came and viewed the office. But they all said that they didn’t feel right about this place.”
Also there was another fishy thing relating to this incident. From time to time, there were some oversea phone calls in late evening looking for Mr. Marc Laurence. And there were letters addressed to some Italian names received at the office letterbox too.
There was once a Caucasian man with Italian accent called and I answered the phone, looking for Marc. I told him that Marc was the last tenant and he no longer stayed here. He was shocked and replied that was impossible. He said that Marc had just answered his call last week at this NUMBER at about the same time, and he believed that his business was still operating in Singapore, right in this office. I almost fainted! Confused we were for both of us over the telephone call. I regretted that I hastily hung up the phone because I didn’t take down his contact. I was hoping that Caucasian man or anybody who knows the whereabouts of my last tenant would call again. But my hope had gone into vain.
What was “it” that pressed over me in that gloomy afternoon? What was “it” trying to tell me? What was the broken porcelain piece that I re-covered from the drawer? All these remain as a mystery to me. Nevertheless I moved out of that office few months after that horror instance.
But whenever I have some quiet moments I still think of these questions. Some theories said haunting is memory recorded in the ambience of the house. They would playback themselves under certain atmospheric conditions. Another theory is that, being quite a popular one is sleep-paralyze.
(During REM sleep — the period when rapid eye movement takes place — the body essentially turns itself off and disconnects from the brain.
This is a safety measure, so that people do not physically act out their dreams, and it means that they are effectively paralyzed during part of their sleep. Even automatic reflexes, like kicking when the knee is tapped, do not work during REM sleep.
Sleep paralysis seems to occur when the body is in REM sleep — paralyzed and disconnected from the brain — while the brain has emerged from sleep and is either awake or semi-awake. Usually after a minute or two the spell is broken and the person is able to move again, as the brain and body re-establish their connection.
Just what is going on in the brain during sleep paralysis is unclear. The person experiencing the paralysis certainly feels completely awake and “sees” the room clearly, but laboratory experiments in Japan show that sometimes people experiencing sleep paralysis do not even open their eyes.)
Whatever it is, there seems to be no solid answer?