With its peeling white walls and foreboding architecture, the abandoned Old Changi Hospital looks very much like the setting of a horror movie. And indeed the structure, said to be the “most haunted place in Singapore,” has been the backdrop for at least one found-footage screamer called .
Today the hospital sits empty at the end of Halton Road. Dense vegetation reclaims the grounds. In spite of its crumbling condition, the surrounding neighborhood is home to chalets, villas, and a seaside resort. This wasn’t always the case, however.
The hospital was built in 1935 to serve the British Royal Air Force, during which time it was called the RAF Hospital. The British withdrew upon the outbreak of war in the Pacific and the Japanese occupation of Singapore in 1942. During this time, Japan used the hospital as a prison camp for British soldiers and their allies, as well as anyone considered to be “anti-Japanese.”
The hospital was also thought to be a base for the Japanese secret police, or Kempeitai, who held jurisdiction over occupied territories and prisoners of war. The Kempeitai had a reputation for ruthlessness, and many believe that prisoners held in the hospital grounds were often tortured to death. In fact, some stories claim that the Kempeitai would impale the severed heads of executed prisoners on iron stakes outside of public buildings during the occupation.
After the war, the hospital returned to the British. For many, however, it would never be the same. Most paranormal reports from the hospital tie its spectral presences to the dark deeds committed during the war.
After Singapore claimed independence in 1965, the hospital was renamed the ANZUK Hospital and served members of the Commonwealth armed forces of Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Ten years later, the hospital was turned over to the Singapore Armed Forces. Finally, in 1997, the site was closed down entirely. Services were transferred to the nearby Toa Payoh Hospital, which became the new Changi General Hospital. Old Changi Hospital slipped into abandonment.
In 2006, the site was put up for lease. A company purchased the property in hopes of converting the grounds into a luxury resort. Plans soon fell through, however. While the official story cites financial reasons, there are some who suspect that the hospital’s spectral inhabitants were the actual cause.
Over the years, Old Changi Hospital has acquired a substantial reputation for hauntings and unusual happenings. Visitors to the grounds report hearing disembodied screaming and seeing strange “shadow people” both day and night. Some claim to have seen the bloody apparitions of soldiers walking the halls, while others have reported the presence of a young boy who simply sits and stares.
While filming Haunted Changi, the cast and crew reported a variety of odd occurrences, including sudden loud noises, ghostly voices, sightings of a woman with a “black aura,” and even contact with unseen hands. The crew also supposedly captured one of the hospital’s “shadow people” on film, in a shot that they kept in the final movie.
So many encounters have occurred at Old Changi that there’s an entire page devoted to the abandoned structure on Hungzai: Singapore’s Freakiest Online Ghost Stories. Eerily, one chilling experience seems to occur again and again.
Numerous legend trippers and paranormal investigators report entering Old Changi Hospital, only to have one member disappear. When these missing individuals finally return, they each tell a similar story: They had followed what appeared to be a group member away from the others, usually to a desolate part of the hospital. As they moved through the hospital corridors, this familiar figure would say that they didn’t belong at Old Changi; the site was dangerous and their group should never to return. Upon turning a darkened corner or exiting the hospital completely, this friend would then vanish into thin air.
Whether Old Changi Hospital is haunted by ghosts or simply by its own dark history, it’s hard to deny the abandoned hospital’s reputation as one of the “most haunted places in Singapore.”