STRANGE. Startling. Unbelievable. A padi farmer was reportedly flown by two shadowy figures and given a sumptuous dinner atop a hill.
He was believed to have been kidnapped by two pretty orang bunian (celestial spirits) and taken to the summit of a hill at Bukit Banggol, Sik, Kedah.
There, he was entertained to a grand dinner celebration prepared by the young ‘fairies’.
Orang bunian have been reported by most of the victims to be glamorous, snow-white, young and very attractive.
This incident caused a sensation in Kampung Kemelong, Sik, about 36km from Sungai Petani in October 1979.
Following this, several villagers conducted a frantic search for the farmer, Azmi Ahmad, then 28.
He was reported to have gone missing while taking a bath in a river near his house.
Azmi had awakened his wife Aminah Chik, then 31, at 4am and told her of his intention to bathe.
Without a second glance, he went out hurriedly. He failed to return, even after 7am.
Sensing something was wrong, she related the incident to her neighbours.
After finding his clothes by the riverside, they launched a massive search, with the help of police personnel.
A few bomoh (shamans) were summoned to assist in the operation. It was unsuccessful.
Candles were lighted and placed at the river bank on the spot where Azmi took his bath.
The bomoh chanted some holy verses in the hope that Azmi would return as soon as possible.
Unaided by anyone, Azmi came back at 8pm the same day. He was in a semi-conscious condition.
He then related the wonderful trip he experienced. It was as if he were in paradise.
Azmi had a burning desire to visit the same hill again. He hoped to be feted by these damsels once more to the various delicacies they prepared.
He had obviously fallen head over heels in love with them.
His family, however, strongly prevented him from associating in any form with these beauties from another spiritual world.
Whether you believe in celestial spirits or otherwise rests solely on your individual perception.
As for me, I have seen and I have experienced. I do not deny their existence. Seeing is believing.
Gunung Pulai in Kedah contains many caves where strange happenings and sightings have been reported.
Curious, I visited the mountain and met villager Ahmad Ramli, then 51, in 1993.
He used to earn a livelihood collecting guano from the caves. It would be sold as manure.
Recalling a strange incident in the caves during the 1980s while collecting guano with a friend, he said, “Suddenly, the cave was filled with fragrance.
“Two beautiful women with long hair appeared before us.
“They giggled and spoke to each other. We could not understand their language.”
Ahmad continued: “We reached out to them but they retreated. We followed them.
“They went out of the cave with ease. Then we knew they were not human.”
Ahmad said he had encountered the mysterious women on several occasions. Some of his friends had also seen them.
Ahmad’s friend fell in love with one of the women. He waited for her for hours in the cave.
He even showered flowers and yellow glutinous rice in the cave. She never turned up.
Villagers there believed that the mysterious maidens were orang bunian. No doubt about it.
Ahmad also related a tale told by his grandfather, that pirates once used the caves as the hideout where they buried their loot.
Access to the Gunung Pulai caves, which are situated behind the town of Baling, is via a narrow track along a padi field.
Mountains and jungles are usually the favourite abode of these supernatural spirits.
They are free to roam undisturbed in this no man’s land. Pay due respect while you are there.
> A.R. Amiruddin is a former journalist with The Star for 19 years and the defunct National Echo for 10 years. The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own.