When you’re travelling and a history lover, by chance you will visit a museum of the place. Let’s be honest, the museum is a great place to go when you’re a huge fan of history. Well, it’s because it’s the place where you get to see important historical figures, artefacts, and even fashion. (Fashion, you’d probably asked. It’s what I call for sections of mannequins that wear traditional and old clothing of the country). Furthermore, museums come in a variety of locations in the country. And in Malaysia, you can pretty much find different museums in each state. Perhaps one of the most popular state museums in the country, aside from Muzium Negara or National Museum of Malaysia, are those that can be found in Melaka.
Melaka is one of those states that has tons of museums. Tourists can go as the state is unique for its history. Also, not to mention that it was once a well-known international trade centre due to its strategic location. So, lots of great destinations to go to if you plan to visit Melaka someday.
Unfortunately, that is the end of ‘happiness’ in this article. From this point on, from this point on is where I’m afraid I must begin my eerie experience at this one specific museum I visited in Melaka…
DUM DUM DUMMM!
The Muzium Istana Kesultanan Melaka or Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum!
But before that, though, I will give a brief rundown of this place.
About Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum
Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum was built in a replica of the palace of Sultan Mansur Shah, dated back to the 15th century. Also known to be a Cultural Museum or Muzium Kebudayaan. The interior contains approximately 1,350 artefacts, prints, photographs, and drawings that frame the history and cultural heritage of Malaccan Malay Sultanate, or Kesultanan Melayu Melaka. This is the part where history lovers will love; the chance to learn the history behind this very palace.
Sad fact: according to the Malay annals, Sultan Mansur Shah’s palace was actually constructed without nails! However, the original palace was destroyed by lightning a year after the sultan took the throne (which is unfortunate).
Now that you have a brief information about this museum, let’s go to the part where we’re all being waiting for: a ghost story.
But first! This was based on my personal experience in this museum. Some may not get this experience, but others may, and I’m, unfortunately, one of these people. Anyway, let’s get to it!
Come everyone! Let’s all sit around the campfire, and I will tell you a story.
(Cliché, I know, but shhh just go with it hehe).
This is a story of a young girl who sensed a disturbing spirit after getting lost in the museum. The museum in question is Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum, one of the must-go destinations for tourists who are visiting Melaka, especially when they’re interested in the history of Melaka’s golden age. For Malays, the palace appeared similar to the regular traditional Malay house, just…fancier so to speak.
This very incident occurred all the way back in 2018. At the time, I was studying history in an insufferable pre-university programme in a private school. Let me tell you this: history is my one true love despite my suffering. (Really, a huge fan of it despite my suffering in that class). Around March (I think), my history teacher took a whole batch (because our batch is really small. Like, less than ten and no, I’m not joking) to Melaka to visit specific museums in relation to the topic that we’re learning. If my memory serves me right, we were learning about World War II. So of course, our trip began with A Famosa (which is surprisingly small) until we got to Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum.
As someone who was raised overseas, I didn’t have a chance to learn more about my country’s history. So imagine my fascination when I had the chance to go to a traditional Malay palace. If I was a cartoon, you could’ve seen the stars in my eyes.
Most of the time I looked through paintings and history of that time. All in all, a pretty good trip, eh?
Well (nervously laughing), not quite because this is where the spook began. It was quite subtle at first, so I ignored it easily, but it became intense over time.
So here’s a warning: YOU ARE ENTERING THE SPOOK ZONE! TURN BACK WHILE YOU CAN!
…No? Alright, then.
Okay, the feeling began in this area:
This is the area of mannequins used to demonstrate the trading process back in the 15th century (I think). For starters, I hate mannequins. I think they’re creepy, especially when they have faces. It doesn’t help that the mannequins here are about the same size as humans. Which totally increased the creepy factor here.
Like any person who faces something they hate, I turned around to speed out of the area as fast as I came in. But not before facing a nearly thirty-minute lecture from my Malay teacher about how royal courts work.
So…that’s fun because like, teach? I’m scared? Let me run away, please.
By the time I left the area, I did feel another pair of eyes staring at me from behind…when there’s literally no one. However, considering the fact that it’s daytime, I thought it was just me being paranoid or something. I mean, it’s daytime; there’s no such thing as ghosts in daytime…right?
Well, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; we’re in for the treat.
Time goes by and it’s nearly lunchtime, so around 1:30 pm approximately. Two of my friends invited me to join them at this restaurant that has a Western cuisine. Naturally, I said, “yeah, sure. Why not?”
Since I can pretty much eat at any restaurant (as long as it’s Halal), I let them discuss more about the restaurant in question. Around this time, I decided to face my fears and went to another area with mannequins. Spoiler alert: I failed and still creeped out by it, no matter what.
The Action (where the ‘good stuff’ began)
After some time, my friends ended their discussion and told me about the restaurant. By then, I was more than happy to leave. All because my gut began to get even more twisted the more I look at the mannequins. Happily, I nearly skipped my way to the entrance and turned right to the large door where the entrance is.
Except, I entered the wrong door. And it led to a long hallway…full…of…mannequins…
And stupid me decided to roam the hallway than getting out when I had the chance. Yikes. In my defense, though, I don’t know the room existed and thought a quick exploration wouldn’t hurt. Also, it’s broad daylight. What could happen?
Well, something did happen just…not physically happen so to speak.
But firstly, a quick description of the mannequins because they’re not, well, naked. The mannequins are dressed in traders clothing originating from different countries; India, China, Arabia to name a few. There are about four to five areas separated by rope fences. In each area, they have a variety of supplies and goods used when they come to Melaka for trading. It’s interesting to see what kind of goods, materials, and even spices that they brought to offer for trading at the time.
As I looked at each of the mannequins, however, the feeling of someone staring at me returned and it was always behind. I turned around to see no one and again, considering the fact that it’s during the day, I shrugged it off as just me. And it happened again. Check? Empty. Maybe, I thought, it’s just me.
Even though it was a just brief look, I began to sense that there’s something else in the room with me. It felt like there was a lingering pair of eyes continuously staring at me from behind. I turned, and there’s no one. Just me. Again, it’s daytime, so it’s probably just me. Though at this point, daytime became more of an excuse for me not to get scared.
The feeling of staring got intense over time, as in someone is getting closer and closer to me on every step I took. By then, I began to speed walk past the mannequins without looking at them in hopes of there’s an exit at the end. Lo and behold! It’s another hallway to the dead end.
And the eyes? Well, it felt like there’s someone behind me. And I turned to see the mannequins heads are in…different…directions…
That is it, everyone. I snapped. Immediately, I ran down the hallway without looking at the creepy mannequins (apologies to the managers). Out into the main hallway I go to the entrance/exit door next, and of course, not forgetting to put my shoes on. My antics may make me look less graceful and perhaps downright disrespectful. But honestly? I didn’t care.
I just want to leave.
My friends were worried for a moment as they noted how pale I looked. Though, I shrugged it off and we went for lunch. There’s one thing that is confirmed: I’m not going back to that museum any time soon.
The ending (because this story deserves it)
When I returned home for the weekend, I shared my experience with my aunt about this. Her first response was, “Oh yeah, the thing with sensing and feeling entities runs kind of runs in the family.”
I turned to her in shock, “wait, what? Really?”
“You mentioned that you sense that someone is staring and following you, right? And that there’s no one else in the room?” my aunt recounted my story. I confirmed, and she continued, “yeah, I have that. It runs in the family, so maybe you got it.”
It was official. I want to cry because with this information alone, it just confirmed that what I experienced wasn’t me being paranoid; there was some kind of entity there that decided to have fun disturbing me.
I couldn’t sleep for days admittedly. Though I pretty much moved on from the experience, it doesn’t make it less terrifying. Now that it’s almost two years since I’ve visited the museum, I hope that the room was…less terrifying, so to speak. I mean, as much as I don’t want to visit again, part of me still wants to go back (because I love the historical facts there!).
Woo, what a roller coaster.
Are you scared? No? Yes? Whatever you feel at the end of this story, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t visit the museum at all! Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum is a great museum for tourists to learn about the old days in Melaka. As a matter of fact, hauntings can happen in any museum you go; I believe it’s based on luck.
Before I can officially conclude this wild ride of a story, let me give you some advice when it comes to visiting the museum:
- Research! Highly recommended doing research on the museums you want to go to. By doing this, you’re most likely prepared on what to expect there. This is especially important if the museum in questions was rumoured to be haunted! (as a side note, I went here without a choice because my history teacher brought us. I don’t recall this place to be haunted but with mannequins, I’m sure that’s possible!)
- Be respectful! These artefacts are preserved for a reason; a reminder of history. They might be objects to you, but it could be something more when you study the history of this. The preservation of history is important to the people and the country. Hence, it is important to be respectful when in a museum. Also, I don’t think you want to get kicked out for being disrespectful in a museum. (Is it a thing? Pretty sure it is).
- No touchy! This should be common sense but alas, some just doesn’t get this rule. Aside from how fragile it is, some are sometimes rumoured to be cursed such as the recent case of ‘Tourist returns stolen artefacts from Pompeii ‘after suffering curse’ in 2020. Those are the known ones, what of others? You never know. So the solution to this is not to touch these unknown artefacts!
Most of all, enjoy your trip!
Every museum is different and unique! So appreciate every second of your time there. Some can be haunted, so may not (it’s a lie. It depends on luck). Whatever it is, don’t let that one experience alone ruin your trip!
Hope you enjoy the story! Will see you again next time!
Written By: Afrina
Pictures By: Afrina
Cover Picture: Go Melaka