Legend is a famous story inspired by history and coming down by word of mouth from earlier times. Over time, we may not believe in fearsome legends but have evolved beyond it. Whether the legend is absolute or just plain disturbing plots with psychological fright, the tales will carve into your mind and send shivers down your back.
If you're Sarawakian, you have probably heard of Janet's Ghost. A much-talked-of realm of mystery happened in Kuching, Sarawak, around the '60s.
Janet was a young Chinese nurse who worked in a hospital. She was kidnapped on her way back after her night shift. It is believed that her disappearance is linked to the construction of the bridge pillar structure. Rumors have it that the construction was interrupted by the disturbance of spirits. During that time, an increased number of females had mysteriously gone missing in Kuching. Many believed that the victims were kidnapped for some ritual sacrifice to avoid any disturbance of spirits during building construction. The victim's head was beheaded and embedded in the bridge's pillars to build a more 'robust' foundation structure. Such rituals have been illicit in Sarawak since the colonialism of Rajah Charles Brooke in 1940, but people still strongly cling to such beliefs.
Ill-fated Janet's headless body was found at a construction site. Janet's parents grieved over her gruesome death and wanted their daughter to be dressed in a red dress and red shoes for burial so that her spirit would return for vengeance. There were encounters of a mysterious lady in red hitch a ride with motorcyclists near the bridge's construction site. She then vanished and left with the smell of decaying flesh in the back seat of their motorcycle.
She was also seen on the rides across the Sarawak River, and the money that she paid for the fare would turn into hell money or leaves. Terrified by the incident, the ferry operators ended the operation at 10 pm. There are stories where she wandered around holding a red umbrella at Kampung Kudei and Kampung Bintangor.
Janet's Ghost Legend has been adapted into a movie, Janet - Sumpah Terlarang, produced by KRU Films. It is said that during the movie shoot, actors, actresses, and the production crews experienced some bizarre incidents, but they kept going strong and managed to complete the shoot. The movie is set to be released in 2021.
The making of Janet - Sumpahan Terlarang movie
Apart from the movie adaptation, a Japanese manga featured the story of this legend entitled "3x3 Eyes," which is the chapter of "The Red Rain of Malaysia" in 3 volumes. Written by Yuzo Takada and published from 1987 to 2002, the comic won him a Kodansha Manga Award in 1993. The storyline of Janet's Ghost in this comic has been modified from its legend to fit the writer's and comic artist's imagination.
An award-winning comic adapted from the Legend of Janet's Ghost
Have you had this legend before? Beware when you ride a motorcycle between the Satok Bridge and Kampung Kudei.