Malayan ghost lore is deep and it is ancient. And something leaves more questions than answers. Such is the case of the mysterious Kinarut mansion in Sabah and what became of it. 

The ruins of a former manor house sits on a hill surrounded by woods. It looks over the Kawang River near Kinarut in Malaysia. Today, the ruins of the manor house is considered to be the Malaysian state, Sabah’s, main attraction. And it is apparently not only the living it attracts.

The Mansion in the Jungle

Once this area of Malaysia used to be called North Borneo, a British protectorate where Europeans came to get their hands on natural resources of the land, like rubber. And in 1910, a German manager of a rubber plantation called Kinarut Rubber Estate built a manor in Graeco-Roman style, pretty unique as the one of the very few stone houses in North Borneo. 


It was an Indian architect that stood for the design, and the construction was massiv. Around 200-300 workers from Java and maybe even Hong Kong worked on the house for four years to complete it with 152 windows, 45 doors and no less than 42 huge chandeliers. 

Asimont died only a decade after the building was done and the manor itself was destroyed in 1923 by a British company. The question of why though, is still unanswered. What happened to the house? Or based on the stories that have been told ever since, what happened in the house to leave such a legend?

The Fall of The Kinarut Mansion

In its prime, there seemed to have been a bustling life with a full community, jobs and even cultural events like sports competitions. The mansion was well maintained and the rubber plantation seemed to be thriving until the Great Depression. But that hit the global market first after the mansion was supposedly demolished. So again, what happened?

File:Kinarut Sabah TheKinarutMansion-11.jpg
In the Jungle: There is according to legend, something in the trees surrounding the mansion.
Photo: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

A house such as this is simply not complete without the haunted backstory. Locals living near the mansion reports that the area is haunted by a “Hantu Tinggi”, a type of Malayan ghost, usually disguised as a tree in a forest. It literally means tall ghost as stories of it often tell about a body so tall the waist up is hidden by clouds. and only exists in Western and Eastern regions of Malaysia. 

The Rediscovery of the Haunted Mansion

Years went by without anybody paying the ruins any mind. The locals had only tales of demons and ghosts from this place. The rubber trade had dried up and North Borneo was now the modern Malaysia on the map of today. But the house would not be forgotten by history, not just yet. 

The rediscovering of the house was made in 1990 when the Sabah Forestry Development Authority led an exploration of where to plant trees. Throughout the years it had been forgotten and rarely does people wander in this area. Why is that?

People passing by claim that they have seen something fast moving and voices in the night. This is mostly attributed to a pontianak, a Malayan female ghost that prays on human flesh. So perhaps this wasn’t the greatest place to erect a mansion at all. All that is left of the enormous building are ruins. The steps of white stone leading nowhere as the questions asked about the truth about the Kinarut Mansion.  


More like this

Newest Posts


Feature Image: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

 Rumah ‘hantu tinggi’ bongkar sejarah industri getah Sabah

1 Comment »

Leave a Reply