The Rise of the Dead

I could see his face riddled with fear as he related the story. It was one of those late night conversations…too much to drink and still much more on the table, the full moon shining its melancholy on the serenity of the sea, and not a soul want to call it a night. There was something about the air, reminiscent of adolescence sitting around the campfire, that lead us to exchanging ghost stories. The story that stuck and kept me awake, baffled, all night was from a Malaysian friend. Some of the details are murky now, but the important ones that still give me goose bumps to this day are as follows.

My friend is Muslim and his family follows the traditional custom for funerals, which includes bathing the dead body and enshrouding it in plain white cloth, followed by prayers before the actual burial. When a relative of his died, I am not sure now if it was a grandparent or a parent, his family proceeded with the ritual.


When the body was prepared the rest of his relatives set out to fetch the people who would participate in the prayer. It’s customary that the dead is not left alone and he was tasked to look after it. Being a young lad then he had to abide.

A few minutes after everyone had gone, with the deafening silence in the room, as he stared at the shrouded figure lying on the bed, unmoving, dead as a door nail. When suddenly it sat up, still wrapped in the white cloth, stood and hopped off, straight out the open door!

Now, I’ve been to lots of campfires in my youth, have gone familiar with ghost stories, and have known how to detect a hoax. But my friend was unfazed and grew ashen as he proceed with his story. I could tell the experience traumatized him and perhaps still trying to find answers to explain this occurrence.

The body disappeared into the night and when his relatives came back they found my friend stunned and speechless, with fear and confusion in his eyes. They asked him what had happened and as soon as he found his voice again he narrated the event. A few we’re dispatched to search for the dead body of the relative. A few hours had passed and the search party came back, still no sign of the dead.

Walk away

They were all in a commotion trying to figure out how this was even possible, when they heard loud thumps at the door that silenced everyone. It sounded like someone was using his head to knock. They looked at each other, wondering who else was out there, and perhaps making a prank…they were all there! Someone opened the door and to everyone’s shock, mixed with confusion, fear and relief a shrouded figure stood on the doorway. After a few seconds the figure hopped back to the house and lied down to the bed, where it was, as if nothing happened.

We were all silent as we observed our friend’s eyes well up with tears from fear. I am not sure if it was the first time he had told  the story, but remembering his face as he spoke still sends shivers down my spine.

Published in Malaysia

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An adventuring nomad with a passion for food, culture, fashion, technology and the arts. Experimental and experiential.


  1. Michael Jon Falk

    Crazy story Elmer, I love Ghost Stories around the Campfire, even now as a adult. One that always goes around our campfires is the “Click, Click,……Drag” Story. “Click, Click…Drag”, the noise appears to be growing louder. “Click, Click…Drag”, it sounds like it’s right outside your door. “Click, Click…Drag”, you see a shadow move in the crack of light seeping from underneath the door. Haha, always a good tale.

  2. WYNNA

    Maybe the dead had forgotten something that’s why it had to hop away. but still, it’s creeeepy!

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