Penang’s Cool Ghost Museum
Several stories about ghosts, evil spirits, and mythical creatures were handed down by our ancestors in order to teach us valuable lessons and to make us vigilant in our surroundings. Maybe, for this reason, these stories have become part of the culture of many different countries. One of the countries who have many frightening stories to share with us is Malaysia.
Well, honestly, I’m not a fan of spooky ghost stories and dark tourism, but my best friend, Tina, is really into it. Big Time!
During our tour in Malaysia, Tina brought up visiting the Cool Ghost Museum in Penang. It features various ghost stories and horror concepts that originated from different countries.
Tina did not stop from convincing me to go with her in the horror-themed museum. She even listed why I should go with her to the museum. First, she said that the tour would be done during broad daylight. Second, she said that there wouldn’t be anything scary in the museum since the displays are still and not moving.
I only said yes to her after several days of enjoying tours I wanted to visit. I thought that I guess it was Tina’s turn to enjoy a tour at the ghost museum before we finally head to the airport.
In the quiet street of Lebuh Melayu found in the historic city of George Town, you can easily find the Cool Ghost Museum with its whimsical vibe outside. It is popular with and visited by adults, children, both local and foreign tourists.
At the ticketing booth, you can read the price rate board which says the price is cheaper for those with MyKad. MyKad refers to the Malaysian Identity card. So, since we are only tourists, we paid RMB 28 for adult and RMB 16 for student. If I convert them into Peso, the entrance fees for adult and student are around P215 ( 4 USD) and P123 (3 USD) respectively.
The First Floor
In the first section, there was a mannequin positioned like Spider-man on the ceiling. The mannequin depicts the Orang Minyak or the Oily Man. According to the legend, Oily Man was only an ordinary human being with oil all over his body. He raped virgin women only to fuel up his black magic.
The tour was only getting started and it was already scary – well, for me, it really was! I am a scaredy cat. I turned a corner and I saw a lady with long hair and dressed in all white. And, I screamed! I told Tina, “Hey, you said it’s not scary.” Sorry, but I am just really – I don’t know! I guess my imagination was running wild. Anyway, as we progressed – it became less and less scary but still interesting.
The mannequin lady dressed in white, by the way, portrays Pontianak. In Malay culture, they believed that Pontianak are ghosts of pregnant women who died during labor.
Basically, the first section is about the legends and myths that originated from Malay lore. Most of them pertain to the use of black magic in exchange for worldly things like jewelry, money, youth, and beauty.
In the Chinese section, the Museum features three ghost stories. The museum puts on display the mannequin dress in red to depict the Chinese belief that the ghost dressed in red were out to seek revenge. Then, the museum also features vampires which the Chinese refer to as Jiang Shi. And then, the last diorama in the Chinese section depicts the open door of hell. In the Chinese calendar, they mark a month each year in which they believe that the hell will be opened for the whole month.
The last section in the first floor highlights the ancient Egyptian culture. In this section, the diorama exhibits two Anubis that guard two ancient Egyptian Mummies. Many of us are all familiar with the ancient mummies while the Anubis refers to Greek god who is believed to be administering the path of the dead to the underworld or afterlife. Egyptian writings or hieroglyphics were all over the settings too.
The Second Floor
The second floor is where you can find the red-lit pirate’s territory and meet Dracula who has a fancy dinner with his odd friends.
Also on the second floor is the Japanese section. From this section, the Museum shares the story of the ghost of the lantern and umbrella who both wanted to lecture people to take care of their belongings and, if possible, to give away for free the unused belongings to those who may need them most.
You can also find in the Japanese section other mythical creatures like a long-necked Japanese lady, a Kappa or River demon, Daidarabotchi or a giant and guardian of the forest. Aside from these creatures, the Museum will not forget to feature the Japanese horror film “The Ring”.
On the next section, the Museum displays a traditional Halloween setting with UV light effects.
The last stop is their souvenir shop designed like a witch’s lair. You can buy, among others, Halloween hand prosthetic, cool ghost museum T-shirts, shirts with collars, caps, and magnet.
For me, the ground floor of the museum showcased the scarier dioramas compared to those displayed on the second floor. The ground floor has complete sound effects, proper lighting effects, and frightening turns. The second floor of the museum felt more like a photo opp. I liked that there were photo samples per dioramas. These give you an idea of what poses you can do. But, of course, you are free to use your own imagination.
The museum allows its visitors to blend in with the dioramas by providing costumes appropriate for each setting. The place reminded me of the 3D glow in the DARK mansion that we visited just the other day.
In-house photographers are also present inside to assist you and your group. Later on, they will sell to you your 3×5” printed photos for RMB 10 (around P129). That’s 2.51 USD. So Tina and I bought one.
Among the different sections in the Museum, I am most fond of the Japanese section. I find the Japanese section sends the most valuable lesson. And, the dioramas were able to explain clearly the stories behind each ghost!
All in all, this type of museum may not be the usual museum I’m enthusiastic about, but it turned out to be not as bad as I thought it would be. It’s worth the visit if you are into ghosts stuff and photo opportunities. And, if you’re looking for an activity for the Halloween, then, this can be the perfect place to visit. You can even bring your young but brave little kids, too.
Photography by Karla Ramos and Tina Punzal, the girls behind Karla Eats World.