In my previous story on common taboos that affect property values, I touched on haunted houses being one type of stigmatised properties.
To expand on haunted houses further, I will relate the story of a detached house in Old Klang Road's Overseas Union Garden (OUG) in Kuala Lumpur from the late 1970s.
After I moved to OUG in 1973, I was told that strange things were happening in a detached house located a few roads away from us. My neighbour told me that occupants of that house did not stay long.
Every few months, the occupants would move out to be replaced by new ones who would also leave after a short stay, until it was left vacant when the last occupants left in a hurry after staying for less than a month.
The detached house was left vacant for a long time. There were rumours that it was haunted. Stories were told of lights in the house being switched on and off, and strange noises coming from the house at night that sounded like crockery being broken and furniture being moved around.
The detached house was condemned and stigmatised as a "haunted house". A few months later, I was told that some Christians had bought the house.
Who were these people who dared to buy and then live in a house that was haunted? I made enquiries and discovered they were Christians who wanted to use the property as their church's Mission House.
Some months later, I met a friend who said he was visiting the Christians at the "haunted house". I wasted no time and asked him: "How did the Christians manage to cleanse and rid the house of the spirits?"
My friend told me what happened, as narrated to him by the Christians:
"On the first night after they moved in, they heard someone talking to them and said, 'We live here … you cannot stay here … you have to go'.