Haunted by the executed prisoners from the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong, the Murray House was the site for not only one, but two big exorcisms to put the restless souls at rest.
Today the Murray House is a wonderful retail shopping place with a restaurant where people can marvel at the seaview from the historic building on south Hong KongIsland.
The place used to be officers’ barracks for the British forces and used to stand at the corner of the Queensway and Garden Road.
The 4000 Executed People Haunting the Building
During the Japanese Occupation, the Japanese forces took the Murray House and used it as a command center by the Japanese military police. It was also a place of execution during the war.
More than 4000 citizens of Hong Kong were tortured until they were murdered inside of these walls.
These are the unfortunate souls said to haunt the Murray House.
The Two Exorcisms of Murray House
After the war the Murray House became a hot spot for paranormal activity, and the haunting of the place got so bad that the Hong Kong government ordered not only one exorcism, but two. One time in 1963 and the last one being in 1974.
The first time it was apparently an unsuccessful one as workers kept complaining about being harassed and plagued by ghosts. They found their work vandalized and blueprints they put out smeared and modified.
Another employer claimed to have encountered a ghost in the bathroom that tugged on his sleeve, but when he turned there was nothing there.
The Non-Buddhist that ordered a Buddhist Ceremony
In the 1974 exorcism, 70 Buddhists monks wandered the Murray House for two hours while chanting and burning offerings and the event was televised with a huge crowd gathered to see it all.
The haunting had kept on and in the 70s the building was used as an office for the Transport Department for the government and people wanted to quit because of feeling uneasy because of the ghosts haunting the building.
Interestingly the exorcism was commissioned by Brian Wilso, Commissioner for Transport in the colonial Hong Kong Government. Not a Buddhist himself, but a manager that saw he needed to do something that would keep the workflow in the building ghost free.
He later said this about the whole exorcism ceremony:
“I was required to give three TV interviews and five radio interviews, all with the same question: as you are not a Buddhist, why did you take part in a Buddhist ceremony? The answer was simple. If the Transport Department offices should be infested with rats, I would call in the rat-catchers and, if necessary, lend a hand. In the same manner, if the problem was ghosts, as in this case, I would call in the ghost-catchers, and if this meant my taking part in a Buddhist ceremony, I was happy to do so. But this did not mean that I was a Buddhist. The overriding point was to take steps to ensure that staff of the Transport Department could get back to work without being frightened to death by ghosts.”
The Old Murray House at a New Location
Whether it worked or not is up to debate, but in 1982, they decided to dismantle the Victorian building and put it in storage.
Not until 2000 the Murray House was put up again and restored at the waterfront. With or without the ghosts that used to linger, remains to be seen. But not everyone is so happy about the way the restoration was done though:
“It’s like making a Frankenstein’s monster using an assemblage of body parts from different dead people. It’s not heritage, just a monstrous facsimile of it. The monster may look like a grown human, but it doesn’t have past memory and a soul,” says Lee Ho-yin, director of the University of Hong Kong’s Architectural Conservation Programme.
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