There are many variations to the story of Janet’s Ghost, with incredibly vast differences in detail. But all of them involve a female apparition who haunts Kuching. It goes something like this.
Janet is said to have been a young Chinese nurse in Kuching’s public hospital. She is said to have disappeared around the late 60’s. At that time, kidnappings were rampant in Kuching and the disappearances were believed to be linked to the construction of the Satok bridge.
If construction of the bridge was held up for any reason, it meant that the territorial spirits were displeased. Human sacrifices would have to be made to appease them. Virgin girls were preferred and only their heads would be used. The usual method was to decapitate the victims and embed their heads in the concrete pillars. This is believed to be the fate that befell Janet.
Janet’s headless body was eventually found in a culvert, Her grieving parents buried her in a red dress and red shoes. The Chinese believe that if a woman died wearing red, she would return as a vengeful spirit. Perhaps her parents intended for Janet to return and exact justice on her killers.
Then the sightings began. Terrified villagers living at the outskirts of Kuching city reported seeing a mysterious woman dressed in red, trying to attract the attention of the menfolk. It is often reported that Janet would hitch a ride with motorcyclists, but at the end of the ride she would disappear, leaving behind a stain left on the seat that had the stench of rotting flesh.
There are also frequent stories of a red-clad woman catching a ferry to cross the Sarawak River. Once she reaches the other side, the woman disappears and the money paid turns into leaves or Chinese hell notes. Because of this, ferry operators will not work after 10pm, even to this day. A woman in red is also frequently sighted wandering around the Kuching public hospital.
Janet’s Ghost is so feared that residents of Kuching to refuse to even mention her name for fear of getting a visit from her at night.
By Lai Chee Seng October 7, 2014 / 14:09 MYT on Coconuts KL