Penang was founded 230 years ago in 1786 and became the meeting point for traders from Europe, including Portugal and England, China, India and Arab. The British first possession in the Southeast Asia and Malay States was Penang. This also made Penang a popular location for pirates to loot.
When Penang was declared a free port by Captain Francis Light, the state attracted many immigrant traders. In 1869, the opening of Suez Canal expanded British trade with the Far East. Penang prospered through exports of tin and rubber, which attracted people, including traders from different ethnic groups – Malays, Acehnese, Arabs, Armenians, Burmese, Chinese, Japanese, Gujeratis, Bengalis, Punjabis, Sindhis, Tamils, Thais, Malayalees, Rawas, Javanese, Mandailings, Eurasians, Portuguese, Germans as well as the British. In short, Penang became a melting pot of diverse cultures, religions and beliefs and their memory lives on in the places and names of roads in Penang.
Nevertheless, Penang also had its fair share of misfortunes. The Penang Riots of 1867 witnessed nine days of extensive fighting in the streets and bloodshed among members of secret societies in Penang — Ghee Hin who speak Cantonese and Hai San who speak Hakka fought over commercial interest, particularly the lucrative tin-mining industry.
On October 28, 1914, Penang was captured by the Germans in World War 1. Many soldiers were killed in the war.
Then on December 19, 1941, Penang fell into Japanese hands during World War 2. Many people were massacred during that time.
In 1948, Penang became part of the Malayan Union. Upon gaining independence on August 31, 1957, Penang formally became a part of the newly Independent Federation of Malaya. In 1963, it became a member state of Malaysia.
On May 13, 1969, riots ensued after the General Elections which resulted in the suspension of the parliament and the government taken over by the National Operations Council. The democratic government was only restored in April 1971.
The colorful history of Penang contributed to what Penang is today. The two world wars contributed to the hauntings reported at various locations in Penang.
The diverse beliefs and cultures of the people in Penang also, to a certain extent influence the local people into believing in paranormal experiences.
Some of the locations in Penang which locals and visitors have reported ghost sightings and hauntings are the Shih Chung Branch School, the Haunted Hospital, 99-Door Mansion, Hundred Years Mansion at Relau and Penang War Museum.