“Knock Three Times” – Halloween Special

Written by: Amandasari Permana | LL.B Bachelor of Law

The University of Reading Malaysia has never been associated with the occult. Perhaps because there are simply too few incidents worth setting up smoke over. Until now. 

Generally, Asians were brought up to be wary and mindful of the “unseen”. We call this superstition, even the icon himself, Stevie Wonder, jive with it. A part of that superstitious upbringing is the forewarning to always knock before entering rooms that have been empty for some time. Not once, not twice, but three times. Even though there are variations to the method, the underlying theme is the same…

It is said that abandoned spaces are vessels for evil spirits to occupy. For the Chinese, it has been instilled within them since young to always knock thrice but from my Indonesian roots, my grandparents and mother taught us to say Muslim prayers or incantations before opening the door. 

Let me share tales that might send shivers down your spine of what possibly lurks within the premise of this giant brick of cold, dreary, spacious, motionless, concrete jungle called the University of Reading, Malaysia. A place which we have abandoned for almost 2 years. 

For those unaware, Reading students were able to use the east wing building for classes and recreation up until 2019. Which meant this was a building of over 30 classrooms left vacant far longer than the pandemic has gone on for. The experience of seeing signs of “locked room”, “not in use” and “do not enter” plastered on every door of every corner you turn to, with the still air and dead silence, will surely trigger your fight or flight senses. The only thing you hear when you’re there is your own heartbeat and your own footsteps… Hopefully.

In this space set for paranormal activity, a true story of horror arose for the EduCity staff that has recently occupied the floors of this wing as their office. 

To preface this, I had visited the campus and the EduCity’s office in August 2021 because I had to film an event. These aren’t strangers to me as we have worked together on multiple projects and formed a close working relationship. After I was done with filming, one of the staff confided in me about a “recent incident” and the manner in which she brought it up set off my spooky alarm and I knew right away what the conversation was going to entail… 

You could say I  have instincts for this stuff. She was hesitant to share but after a few pushes she caved and said “You were here before they sectioned off this part of the building right? Did you happen to know or experience something that was… off?”. She went on, “Last night, I and the other staff were staying back late to finish up some last-minute work around 9, 10 or 11-ish. At one point we were in a conversation about something and we all started laughing. Right at the end of our laughter, there was another voice that was laughing along with us, a girl’s voice. Amanda, I swear we were the only staff left in that building. All of us heard it, and we just stared at each other and kept quiet for the rest of the time”. Now, I have not experienced such things but I was not dismissing it entirely since there was a prior incident I had known of.

For this second part, let’s travel back in time before the entire world stood still; 2019. Ah yes, the pre-covid era. It was late October to be exact, our university was in full gear preparing for the International Music Festival set on the 30th of October. My friend was entrusted to decorate the stage and make props for the show along with a few other students before deciding to grab supper, after-all he had slaved over this ginormous “IMF 2019” neon signboard the whole day and it was almost 11 pm. On his way out of this “closed-off” wing, he had spotted the security guard walking towards him with a look of unease mixed with the confusion about what just happened to him. Being the good samaritan he was, he asked the guard if something’s wrong to which he responded with “Don’t leave right now, there’s “something”.. If you leave now it is better that you don’t return back to campus, wrap up your stuff quickly and go home”. Later, we found out that the security guard saw “a lady wearing all white with long black hair” walking around the campus at night. Yes, you know which one he’s talking about. 

That being said, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to us since it is a common consensus that we are not alone in this universe, whether you choose to believe in aliens, forest nymphs, biblically accurate angels, “Orang Minyak” or… Well, the source of those loud and thunderous heavy stomping on top of your room every 12 am. 

I shall leave you with something to ponder for my closing piece; Soon the campus will be opening its doors to the students, will you be knocking three times before entering a classroom? Whether your choice of action is a wise or futile one… Only time will tell.

P/s: As soon as I began writing this story, my room light just started blinking erratically. The last time this happened was when I tried to watch an episode of Ghost Adventure on my laptop at 12 am during Halloween. Never again

Interested to share your experiences with the rest of the UoRM family? Craft a contributed blog post and email it to us at secretary@rumsa.my

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