Upon the recommendation of Boyd, who started on his unusual “hobby” 13 years ago, we staked out Bukit Batok Nature Park for about two hours one Friday night.
Why Bukit Batok? The place was chosen because of its checkered history. It was where the ashes of soldiers who died in the WWII Battle of Bukit Timah were once stored, and was also the location of several fatal crimes.
One such crime — the rape and murder of jogger Linda Chua that took place 20 years ago — remains unsolved to this day.
But for Boyd, the reason is much more personal as he has felt a strong paranormal presence almost every time he’s been to the area. He shared that his cameraman was once “so freaked out” when they were at a particular spot leading uphill that he broke down and insisted that they leave immediately.
A largely uneventful night
Fortunately or unfortunately, on the night we were out at the park, the spirits seemed to want nothing to do with us.
The two hours crawled past rather uneventfully. The only activity we encountered was near the war memorial and transmission tower along Lorong Sesuai. Incidentally, that’s also the road where a Japanese woman and her son’s body were found late last year. A woman’s decomposed body was also found in this same area in 2008.
At the steps leading to the fenced up transmission tower, Boyd’s electromagnetic field (EMF) meter, which detects electromagnetic waves, showed strong readings at certain spots.
In the realm of ghost-hunting, erratic or sudden fluctuations in EMF readings are taken to indicate the presence of paranormal entities.
While we posited that this could be because of the presence of the transmission tower, Boyd pointed out, “If this lighting up is because of the enormous tower here, then it would be constantly lit, right?”
Another piece of equipment that Boyd carries with him is something called the Spirit Box (yes it’s sold by that name). The box scans the AM and FM band and emits a high-frequency synthetic noise that spirits can supposedly use to form sounds or words.
During the time we spent near the war memorial, the box appeared to capture a strange sound that both Boyd and our crew heard. But when our producer went back to replay the footage, nothing out of the ordinary was recorded.
So are all these indicators of the paranormal at work? Boyd would rather leave it up to our interpretation.
Nothing may ever properly prepare me for meeting a ghost, but here are other things to prep for if you’re interested in going on a similar hunt.
Pray for good weather
Our hunt was cancelled twice due to heavy rain. Good weather is critical because of the equipment involved, especially if you’re attempting to capture it for the cameras. Not to mention it’s probably a bad idea to be in a wooded area when there’s lightning.
EMF meters and Spirit Boxes are common tools of the trade. But besides that, simple phone cameras work too. Boyd encourages ghost-hunters to randomly snap away in areas where strong energies are felt. Entities may appear as circular orbs or whitish floaters, as seen in several of his YouTube videos.
Be ready to meet… mosquitos
No need to explain more. Forget garlic or a wooden stake, insect repellent is a necessity so that you can protect yourself from annoying mosquitos — likely the only thirsty blood-suckers you’ll meet at night.
Stay up till 3am
Our two-hour stakeout at the park mostly came to nought. But according to Boyd, it takes three to five hours at times just to capture something, and after that, another few hours will be spent scrubbing through the footage and recordings to pick up anything out of the ordinary.
And the witching hour to increase the likelihood of spotting a ghost? “3am,” he shares.
Don’t carry any amulets or spiritual protection
“If you carry an amulet, it means you are either scared or you want to protect yourself. And if you want to protect yourself, you shouldn’t be doing this,” says Boyd.
The likelihood of chancing upon a spirit is higher though, he says, if you’re experiencing negative emotions.
Keep your expectations low
And like our experience showed, it’s best to keep your expectations low. Boyd advises: “One can expect to have lots of activity but be disappointed because these things are unpredictable.”
If you don’t expect anything to happen and it does, well, we guess you’ll be suitably stoked and/or spooked. Let’s just hope the experience doesn’t turn out to be more than what you bargained for.
Text: Candice Cai/AsiaOne