Local haunts to check out in Malaysia

One of the buildings within the Villa Nabila compound in Johor. — Photos: Filepics

A more casual form of dark tourism in Malaysia involves visiting places that are populaly rumoured to be haunted, and boy do we have many of those around the country!

One of the most famous spots is Mimaland, an abandoned theme park in Gombak, Selangor. The theme park was owned by Mimaland Berhad, a member of the Magnum Group of Companies (Magnum Corporation today), and was opened in 1975. It was reportedly known as the biggest water theme park in South-East Asia back then, covering 120ha and comprising, among others, 24 motels, five chalets, a swimming pool, a dinosaur park and a lake.

Mimaland shut its doors for good in 1994 after several tragic incidents took place, one of which was the death of a Singaporean man who was killed while going down a slide at the park. Landslides in the area also affected the park’s pool, rendering the place unsafe for the public.

   Mimaland during its heyday in 1984. Mimaland during its heyday in 1984.Today, Mimaland is a top spot for both ghosthunters and urbexers. Some of its structures remain at the park, though it looks more like a forest now after being abandoned for over 25 years.

While ghosthunters test the rumours and real accounts by former Mimaland workers of supernatural sightings in the area, urbexers search for lost statues and props left behind by the owners.

A movie currently showing in cinemas – Miimaland – was partly filmed at the location, though reportedly just outside the park’s entrance, which still stands. The plot revolves around a group of content creators who were paid to create a documentary on the place.

Another film, Ia Wujud (released in 2014) was also said to be filmed at Mimaland. Shot in “real footage” style, the story revolves around a group of friends who are so sure that there is no such thing as ghosts, that they decide to stay overnight at Mimaland to prove their point.

You can watch Ia Wujud on Metrowealth-Pictures’ YouTube channel, which produced the film. Another film produced by the company is Highland Tower, which you can also watch for free on YouTube.

The Highland Tower movie plot is very similar to that of Miimaland – a film crew is keen to film a documentary on the 1993 Highland Towers tragedy, so they set up all the necessary equipment at one of the remaining buildings to hopefully capture “something”.

Highland Towers was a three-block condominium complex in Ulu Klang, Selangor, built in stages between 1974 and 1982. On Dec 11,1993, Block 1 collapsed, killing 48 people. All residents of the remaining two blocks left shortly after the tragic incident.

The two blocks were scheduled to be demolished in June 2019 but those plans have been delayed. As of today, they still stand side-by-side, surrounded by a thick forest.

Another famous haunted structure is Villa Nabila in Johor’s Danga Bay resort area.

Said to be originally called Christine Place, the abandoned villa is over 70 years old, and is known by dark tourism enthusiasts as one of the most haunted places in Malaysia. It is popularly known as “Villa Nabila” thanks to a rumour surrounding the murder of the family who lived there, including a girl named Nabila. It is said that the maid who killed the family buried their bodies in the large compound, which is more than 2ha in size.

There is also a rumour saying the Caucasian family who lived there was killed by hitmen hired by a relative, who was jealous of their wealth.

A blogger (Untold Histories Of Malaya), however, seems to have uncovered a completely different story (or stories) surrounding the place, accompanied by documents like newspaper clippings. In his findings, the said villa is one of several properties that once belonged to a tycoon, who named all of the buildings after his eldest daughter, Christine. This tycoon had gone bankrupt in the 1980s, and the banks seized his “Christine” properties, which were subsequently left abandoned.

The blogger also has a theory that the late Datuk Onn Jaafar, the founder of UMNO, once lived in a house called Christine Place.

In 2015, the movie Villa Nabila was released. This documentary-styled film follows a director interviewing several people who have had paranormal experiences near or around the villa. The movie is currently available on Netflix.

If you are interested in learning about more haunted places in Malaysia, you can check out some of the country’s top “paranormal YouTubers” like Solo Ambush and Faizal Rozi Vlogs who film on location, as well as Neyna Story and Ashhrapp Channel, who provide comprehensive details of supernatural incidents, as reported by the media and “witnesses” on social media.

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dark tourism , Mimaland , Villa Nabila


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