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25 June 2008, JellyBean @ 3:15 am

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (photo by Djeyli)Usually when a person goes out ‘ghost hunting’, you need to make certain preparations. For a start there is your kit: still camera, video camera, thermometer, electro-static detector to name a few. Here I was: About to enter the most haunted place in Cambodia with virtually nothing!

My video camera had been left back home, the flash on my camera had been damaged on the flight and forget about any of the other equipment. Another vital component I didn’t have was a partner to accompany me.

I was about to enter the most haunted place in Cambodia alone, with no equipment except for a small torch and not really knowing what to expect. I had a choice: call it off or go for it. Against all common sense, I decided to go for it!

Killing Betsy (photo by Djeyli)It was exactly 10 pm when I arrived at the gate of the Tuol Sleng Prison. It was locked and no one was around. Had the guard lost his nerve and decided that this foreigner was too much trouble? I pounded on the gate. After a few minutes I heard the guard asking who it was. Having verified that it really was me and I was determined to go through with it, he let me in.

The guard introduced me to his partner and both reiterated that they would not accompany me into the prison. I was on my own and good luck to me.

I decided that the first place I would go was the V.I.P. complex. V.I.P. prisoners were housed one person to a cell, shackled to a bedframe and pretty much tortured as much as the common prisoner. When the Vietnamese army liberated the prison, they found the mutilated corpses of these V.I.P. prisoners still shackled to the bedframes.

With some apprehension and touch of anxiety, I made my way through the V.I.P. graveyard to the cellblock and entered the building.

With my heart beating faster, I took a deep breath, steeled my nerve and entered the first room.

Bedrame in the Tuol Sleng Genocide MuseumThe room was quiet, bare and with enough light coming through the door and window to see the rusty bedframe. Eerily, one ray from the outside light shone on the photo above the bed. The photo showed the mutilated corpse shackled to the bed — just as the Vietnamese army had found it.

I walked over to the bed and sat on the edge. I was suddenly aware that I was sweating.

“Calm down and breathe,” I told myself. “There is nothing here. Just a room.” I didn’t believe myself for a second!

After a few minutes I felt calm enough to attempt to get a sense of the psychic atmosphere of the place. I slowed my breathing, closed my eyes and focused on the atmosphere around me. After a few minutes, I couldn’t feel anything beyond the normal, so decided to move on to the next room.

On entering the next room, I immediately felt something different. It is really hard to explain, but some part of the deep recesses of my mind registered something. The room looked pretty much the same as the previous one except a touch darker.

As in the previous room, I walked in and sat on the edge of the bed. I waited to see if anything would happen. Nothing. I closed my eyes, slowed my breathing as before and concentrated on the surroundings. As I was entering a meditative state a loud bang right next to me jolted me back to reality. I jumped up from the bed, my heart beating fast and fumbled blindly for the torch.

“What the hell was that?” I gibbered out loud. I finally managed to get the torch on and shone it on the bedframe, looking for whatever had caused the noise.

The lid of the shell box which I am positive had been open a few moments before was now closed. (The box is a metal box which was made to hold bullets. The empty case was used as the V.I.P. toilet).

“Time to get out of here” I thought as I turned and scurried out the door. “Time to try the other block I think!”

To be continued …

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