by Benedict Koh (14S06N), Mathew Gan (14A01C), and Gao Wenxin (14A03A)
Photos by Mathew Gan (14A01C) and Phuong Linh (14A01D) of the Raffles Photographic Society
With our school campus once the land of an exhumed cemetery and a columbarium for a neighbour, many ghostly tales have circulated along our hallowed halls over the years. Yet how much do you really know about the otherworldly inhabitants of this school?
Take a look at some of these ghost stories if you are not convinced. Have you ever wondered why our RI Boarding swimming pool falls short of being Olympic-sized, instead being only 49m long? Fret not, aspiring Rafflesian ghostbusters, for Raffles Press is here to guide you on a spooky campus tour this Halloween season. We have scouted out some of the most eerie spots in school at night, complete with photographs, vivid descriptions, and even authentic testimonials based on students’ opinions and past experiences. (Even scarier than getting back your Promo results? ‘U’ bet!)
Boarding Lobby Toilet
The Boarding Complex is off-limits to most students, but the Hullett block (the tall one) has a ground-floor lobby where students can choose to rest in while waiting for their parents to pick them up, or to play the piano to de-stress during times when academic demands get heavy.
However, have you noticed a corridor leading towards the storerooms and restrooms on the far right side of the lobby?
The question now is, what happens when you have to relieve yourself? The nearest washroom is miles away. Will you walk through this silent corridor, or will you control your urges and run to another washroom to avoid something that could possibly leap out and attack you out of the blue?
One particular encounter we have heard of is this: A peer of ours was using this particular washroom, but when she was about to unlock the door, it swung open – without her touching the door at all. Thinking it was just a prank by a friend of hers, she looked outside the cubicle, only to find that no one was there. Needless to say, she bolted out of that corridor without hesitation.
While not exactly what one might consider a “scary” location, danger may lurk in the most unexpected of places. Interestingly enough, the boarding management recently ordered the corridor to be locked up by 6pm, rather than be left open overnight. Though the management claims it is due to security reasons (especially to prevent strangers from “stowing away” in a toilet cubicle), could it be due to more other-worldly reasons?
Perhaps it was a measure to prevent students from stumbling upon something unnatural, particularly in the evenings…
Scare factor: ★☆☆☆☆
There are fields on both sides of the RI campus. In the day, they are hives of activity, with students engaged in a game of football, or gasping for breath while trying to clear their 2.4 km NAPFA run. However, at night, the fields become disconcertingly empty and silent – almost too quiet for comfort.
The fields feel eerily exposed at night – and staring out into the large space, it becomes easy to start seeing things. Did you see that figure standing by the goal post?
Nope, must have been the wind. But wait a minute, I don’t think wind can be seen. And so on. Occasionally you may see figures lying on the field – but don’t freak out. They are boarders out to bathe in the moonlight. Probably.
One does have to watch out though. If you happen to see a woman floating towards you and asking you for the time, it might be unwise to linger in the general vicinity. Be especially cautious if you are out in the field at 3 a.m. in the morning (why would you be, though?). You could find yourself in bigger trouble than you could have possibly imagined.
Scare factor: ★★☆☆☆
The S. Rajaratnam Block, or Raja Block for short, is the first building you get to as you pass under the admin centre from the A Block to the Year 1-4 side. If you have ever sat there before, you would have probably noticed the unusually strong gusts of wind buffeting your tutorial notes and foolscap paper and scattering them across the floor. But it is when the sky darkens that the wind really picks up. Laptop screens have been known to shake violently as torrential rain tears through the foyer. Pieces of paper not held down are gone in seconds, and even those taken care of flap vigorously in the wind, as if wanting to be set free. Call us superstitious, but even with Singapore’s best A-level geographers and physicists at hand to prove that the world can be explained by their respective sciences, we can’t seem to fully shake off the feeling that such strong winds not felt anywhere else in the school is a little peculiar.
The positioning of the columbarium, in plain view from the Raja block, makes the situation all the more eery. This story of a cleaner hearing the noises of a crying child while sleeping at night gives the Raja Block foyer a further sense of foreboding, especially when it is dark. Well, it’s up to you to decide what you want to believe, but if you were to pause and feel the wind at the Raja Block foyer, you may just catch a breath of air that is a little cooler than normal.
Scare factor: ★★★☆☆
Yusof Ishak Block Toilets
The Yusof Ishak block, formerly known as the Admin block, is one of the more well-known locations of the school. Indeed, all students will have passed by this building at one point or another in their school years. It is a magnificent place, housing the iconic bust of Sir Stamford Raffles and the Raffles Archives.
However, its many attractions tend to be located in more conspicuous areas of the block. Take a walk up to the 3rd floor, and you would find yourself near the computer labs. These labs are mainly used by lower secondary students for CS (Computer Studies) lessons. Due to the lack of female students on the Y1-4 side of the campus, the ladies’ washrooms are hardly used, relative to the gents’.
The higher floors of the Yusof Ishak block are certainly more remote as compared to the rest of the campus, and hence it is not surprising to hear of strange occurrences.
“Having used the toilets on the 3rd floor before, I just couldn’t shake off the feeling that something, somewhere was watching my every move. No, there are no CCTVs in the toilets, but it felt like a supernatural presence was lying in wait. It certainly didn’t help that there was no one in the general surroundings. Needless to say, I’d much rather relieve myself somewhere else in future,” says one student.
A word of caution to those exploring these regions, however. One may encounter members of the Infocomm section of RI inhabiting the computer labs, deriving energy from perfecting their code. When they emerge from their air-conditioned environments, however, they may be more than ravenous and looking for a bite. Do make sure that that is not you, otherwise we may have to answer to the school management.
Scare factor: ★★★☆☆
It sounds harmless, doesn’t it? I mean, isn’t it just an ordinary hollow tower that tells time?
That, my friends, is not necessarily true. There is more to the clock tower than meets the eye.
While most students do not stay in school until late at night, those who have done so at one point or another would agree that the clock tower does intimidate them to degree Once night falls, the area around the clock tower is shrouded in darkness and mystique.
The mystery surrounding the clock tower is intensified by the gates sealing off entry to the clock tower, preventing students from progressing.
The school management claims that there is nothing in the tower but stairs leading up to the clocks themselves, and that the gates are there simply to prevent students from entering the clock tower and messing with the mechanisms of the clocks.
However, is that the entire truth? That might not be the case. Old boys’ tales tell of a time when 3 boys broke into the clock tower late one night during a school camp on a dare from their friends. Their initial amusement, however, turned to sheer fear when the boys did not appear all night. The next day, when members of the staff went in to investigate, all they found at the top was an empty room, one vacant chair, and three black boxes.
Scare factor: ★★★★☆
Y1-4 Biology Labs
RI guys will easily testify that this is one of the all-time creepiest locations on campus. Anyone who has been to this part of school at night, for whatever reason, will know what we are talking about.
Ex-students often speak about the legendary 3rd-floor corridor – a place often used as a location for the ever-popular “Fright Night” activity during CCA camps. Let’s take a closer look at why this is so.
Legend has it that there once was a pregnant teacher teaching in the Bio labs. However, disaster struck – she unexpectedly suffered a miscarriage. Unfortunately, both mother and child did not survive. Now, the foetus is preserved and used by the teachers for Biology lessons.
It is said that green lights can be spotted on along this dark corridor late at night, and that shrill screams can be heard – screams eerily similar to that of a child desperately missing its mother.
Though we have not personally heard preternatural sounds at the Bio Labs, the dark, combined with the knowledge that foetuses do reside in the Bio Labs is enough to inspire at least some trepidation in even the most stoic of hearts. (One of your writers has seen them up close during a Science exhibition – a male and female, floating ominously in cloudy preservative fluids, both originating from around the time of Singapore’s independence, if your writer’s memory serves him well.)
Whether you believe in spirits is your choice, but take our word for it, the foetuses are real.
Scare factor: ★★★★★
School at night may not necessarily be the scariest place to visit (But then again, look to the Shaw Foundation Library now packed with Year 6s cramming fervently – a fearful sight to behold). But Year 5s, now that PW exams are almost over, why not venture forth to the Year 1-4 campus? Or Year 6s, if you are overly stressed out, maybe a night walk around school may not be a bad idea (or it may be a very, very bad idea). Take your time to see Raffles in a new (lack of) light, and you just may start appreciating the school campus for all its wondrous (and occasionally downright creepy) sights.