Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ten Taboos to Note When Staying In a Hotel - Preventive Measures to Avoid Paranormal (Ghostly) Disturbances

Singaporeans (especially the younger generation) are crazy about travelling and with this popularity comes a lot of dos and don'ts to deter any paranormal disturbances in accommodations at a foreign land.

An article (in Chinese) listing the taboos of staying in hotels was originally posted at NowNEWS in the aftermath of the mysterious disappearance of Ms Elisa Lam, a Canadian, in Los Angeles. 

What intrigue many netizens is the surveillance video showing Elisa's bizarre behaviour of her last appearance in the hotel's lift; one that hinged heavily on the highly interesting world of the supernatural.

Here are the translated ten taboos you may wish to note when staying in a hotel. For all you know, this might be helpful in preventing another similar yet unfortunate incident. 

Taboo Number One - 
Don't Opt for a Room Furthest from the Lift Lobby
Hotels would always try to give rooms nearer to the lift lobbies as it is more time efficient when it comes to housekeeping. Therefore, the further the room is from the lift, the weaker the yang qi  (陽氣 also known as the life spirit) and hence, the higher the probability for spirits to reside in.

Taboo Number Two - 
Notify the "Occupants" Before Entering the Room
I have been trained on this since young! Knock on the door three times (or press the doorbell, if available) before you enter your room. As a show of respect, enter sideways instead of appearing to be barging in. Once you step in, say a big hello! 

Back in 1995, i had an encounter in Taiping, Malaysia. Typical of me, i was so keen to take a good rest in the hotel room that i just rushed in. What i saw immediately upon pushing the door open was a shadow running into the bathroom. 

Taboo Number Three - 
Switch On All the Lights
With reference to point two, switching on the lights is a confirmation that you are going to share the premise with the unknown residents, if any. It is also recommended to ruffle the quilt and hit the pillows to reaffirm your occupancy. In order to give "them" time to adapt to your stay, do not rush to open the wardrobe and drawers. 

Taboo Number Four - 
Mess Up the Bed Stacked Against the Walls
If you are alone and have been given a room with two single-beds, choose the one away from the walls (from this, i am assuming that the bed is situated at a corner). Nonetheless, you are still advised to mess up the unused bed and keep the pillow in the cupboard to prevent the spirits from thinking that they can continue to use the bed since no human is sleeping on it.

Taboo Number Five - 
Take Note of Bible / Quran on the Bedside Table
Image taken from
In many Western / Muslim countries, it is apparently a common practice to place the holy books on the bedside table or in the drawers. BUT, an open book that points to a specific page usually signifies the repression of an unwelcome presence and you are better off changing to another room for a peace of mind. 

Taboo Number Six - 
Be Aware of Any Weird Odour or Strangeness
Self explanatory i guess although i would likely dismiss any weird odours unless it smells really bad. Do rely on your sixth sense; request for another room if you feel really uncomfortable or there is a strange eeriness lingering in the air. 

Taboo Number Seven - 
Don't Hang Your Clothes in the Closet
Now, this is something i could not comprehend! What's the point of having a closet then!? It was said that the "occupants" would slip their arms into the sleeves of the clothes you hang up in the closet and hide within. 

Taboo Number Eight - 
Before You Sleep, Do the Following
Leave at least a light on (most people would likely leave the washroom's light on)! Alex would have no issue with this as he leaves ALL lights on when he stays in a hotel. 

For those who are anal about having neatly placed shoes, the following suggestion might be slightly challenging for you; to avoid the invisible occupants from wearing your shoes and walking around while you are sleeping, overturn one of them and display them in the formation of the Chinese character for eight (八) which is in line with a supposed charm that harmonizes Yin and Yang and has the benefit of blocking spirits from getting too near. 

Taboo Number Nine - 
Flush The Toilet When You First Enter
This doesn't make sense to me as it seems to put things too simply. According to the text, this is with reference to the last human occupant who might have left "unclean" stuff (we are not talking about shit of course). Thus, flushing the toilet bowl is more a preventive measure. 

Taboo Number Ten - 
Refrain from Cutting Nails and Taking Pictures from Midnight
I am guilty of the second one since i love to take photographs of my surroundings! Nevertheless, it was also said that you should not take pictures using room painting(s) as a background. Psychic experts have also advised no photography in the hotel's elevator(s). 

On no cutting of fingernails and toenails in the middle of the night, parents should note that the same goes for their children as well. In addition to the aforementioned two actions, i have one to add.

Don't whistle at night.


For the original text in Chinese, please click 


  1. makan lover3:04 PM

    yep, i always knock too before i enter the room

    other taboos/preventive measures i've heard are:

    - after first entry, draw all the curtains apart to allow sunshine to enter every part of the room (provided check in during the day)

    - watch out for unusual stains on the carpets on the floor (murder or suicide might occurred before if there were dry blood stains... small amounts missed out by the hotel personnel)

    - look under the first layer of mattress of your bed (quite ridiculous but there's an urban legend that the corpse of a murder victim was hidden in between the carved-out mattresses, and the new tenant of the room slept indirectly onto of him!)

  2. Thanks for the additional measures, makan lover!

    For number 3 [under first layer of mattress], i heard about it before and if i recollect correctly, i think the originator of this taboo came from a hotel in genting highlands! Haha.

    My friend, Andrew, also reminded me of a classic one popular 10-20 years ago; that of covering the mirror with a towel/blanket.

    1. makan lover9:23 AM

      oh yes... I have heard of the mirror one too, and not just in hotel rooms but also in one's bedroom

      apparently it's not good to wake up in the middle of the night and see your own reflection in the mirror

    2. ya! but given the constrained in space nowadays, it's hard not to face a mirror when you are sleeping! guess that classic taboo has gone out of favour. :P

  3. Anonymous9:47 AM

    Some people advised leaving some sweets behind when u go off.

    1. I tot that was for casinos?! hm... i leave rubbish before most of the times.... hahahaha


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