by Tiffany Lam
High Street haunted house
The Sai Ying Pun Community Complex looks like the archetypal haunted house: eerie yellow lights shine on massive stone arches, casting long shadows on dark, empty verandahs. It has a history to match.
Once upon a gruesome time, the complex was a place where heads rolled and the demented screamed to their deaths. Fondly, yet fearfully, known as the High Street Haunted House, it was built in 1892 as quarters for European nurses.
According to urban myth, the building was seized by WWII Japanese troops and use as an execution hall. It was converted into a mental asylum after the war, abandoned in 1961 and since has been badly scarred by two fires.
Over the years, there have been repeated sightings of a devilish figure in traditional Chinese costume bursting into flames on the second floor of this haunted place. Headless poltergeists have also reportedly been seen running down the corridors in the dead of the night.
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