The infamous Raja Bomoh wants to wave his coconuts again for the nation, this time on our highways.
LET me clean the highways, self-proclaimed Raja Bomoh Sedunia Ibrahim Mat Zin had implored the good folks of Malaysia recently.
As the KLIA coconut-waving bomoh told a local online news website, there is a need for the North South Expressway and the East Coast Expressway to be “neutralised” because their developers had “disturbed” the natural haunts of evil spirits when they cut through the jungles and hills of the land to connect Malaysian towns and cities.
He implied that these spirits are now homeless and are lounging by our roadways while some are taking vengeance on our hapless drivers.
He alleged that the Gua Tempurung stretch along the North South Expressway where veteran politician and senior lawyer Karpal Singh was killed in an accident more than a week ago is one such haunt.
“On this stretch, people have reported seeing headless humans and apparitions of animals such as elephants, lions and cows,” he was quoted.
Bomoh Ibrahim is certainly not a man of mere words.
Pictures and videos of him performing a “cleansing” ritual at the tragic site the previous Saturday have been circulating online. And now he has asked for the responsibility of making the rest of our roads safe for us, especially during the festive seasons.
“I’m willing to fly in a helicopter from Johor Baru to Perlis and along the East Coast Expressway to neutralise them. I ask everyone to cooperate with me. I’m not charging any fee. I’m doing this because I care about the safety of highway users,” he had pledged.
Jokes aside, how true are the Bomoh King’s claims?
Paranormal investigator Adam Vai Aznan says there is some degree of truth in the shaman’s allegations.
“Although the evidence is scarce and conducting an investigation on a highway can be very difficult, many paranormal researchers have found some highways to be hotspots for paranormal activities,” he says, citing their countless photographic and video evidence.
Adam believes we live in a world where there are spirits everywhere, regardless of place and time, and that supernatural activities do occur on some of our roads.
“I remember a particular long and dark stretch of village road in Kuala Selangor where I did a paranormal investigation a few years back after receiving reports from one of the locals. The villagers avoided using that road after sundown, after one of the village elders fell into a ditch beside the road and died. His body was only discovered a few days later,” he says.
“Since then, the villagers kept seeing the old man standing there in the dark, right on the spot where he died,” he relates, vouching that the paranormal evidence he and his team got was more than enough to classify it as haunted.
“Plus, the whole crew that night had their own personal experience, which we will never forget.”
However, there has been no evidence of paranormal activities along the Gua Tempurung stretch, he says.
Ipoh-based paranormal researcher Arwin John agrees that most highways have their own stories where people experience odd things and they tend to be hotspots for accidents. However, he questions the Bomoh King’s claims about the need to cleanse our roads.
“In my seven years (in this pursuit), I have passed that location (Gua Tempurung) many times and I never had any out of the normal experience there,” he says.
“It’s easy for such road streaks to gain a reputation as a place for ghostly things due to the mentality of some folks who tend to label anything dark and with a little history of accidents as haunted and will quickly blame any accident on spirits.”
Still, he concedes that not many roadside paranormal investigations are done as they are difficult to perform.
“Our investigations are strictly scientific-based and mostly conducted in a secured environment and not on roadside areas where traffic is at its peak. So such a road stretch is impossible to be investigated since it’s not a controlled environment.”
Ultimately, Arwin, who runs the Malaysian Paranormal Research website, feels strongly that we should not blame road accidents on evil spirits.
“It’s nothing more than pure nonsense and a childish point of view. We should also understand that most accidents that happen are due to human error and other environmental factors.
“I’m not saying the place is not haunted or it is, but what I’m saying is let’s look at the logical explanation before we dwell into the paranormal for possibilities.”
Adam concurs, adding that the alleged sightings by the locals on that particular location cannot be considered as concrete paranormal evidence.
“Most of the time, the rumours and sightings are exaggerated to be more than what they really were. And most of the time, they are just people’s eyes playing tricks on them.
“Drivers who are exhausted by long distance driving might perceive an illusion in their mind where they see ‘spirits’ on the highway, while headlights from vehicles might also be seen as an apparition by the local witnesses.”
Where is the evidence, he asks.
“Take the Karak Highway, for example. Most Malaysians know that the Karak Highway is haunted by the ‘yellow Volkswagon Beetle’, but has anyone actually seen it this past decade? Is it just a myth?”
Killer roads in Malaysia