Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

Count Your Blessings!
Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

Knowing me, Knowing you..... Aha.....!

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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
Welcome to our exotic world of everlasting summers and tropical rainforests!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Tropical Colonial Garden II - Kellie's Castle Batu Gajah Part 5


A tropical garden on the grounds of the ruins of an old abandoned castle sound - interesting isn't it? Indeed I am fascinated! Look how our Bunga Raya, National Flower of Malaysia look so beautiful with the castle in the background.

This is my part 2 post about the Tropical Colonial Garden at Kellie's Castle, Batu Gajah, Perak.

A bush with huge Hibiscus rosa-sinensis flowers.

This portion is the original Kellas House that William Kellie Smith and his family lived almost a century ago. It was partially destroyed during World War II (1939-1945)

“The Tropical Colonial Garden II - Kellie's Castle Batu Gajah Perak - Part 5”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @

Scientific name: Cleome rutidosperma
Synonym: Cleome ciliata

Common name: Fringed Spider Flower
Malay name: Maman Ungu
Family: Capparaceae

Here are some of the weeds that appear along the cracks and rock crevices on the grounds of the ruins. The above, a cleome species is native to Tropical America but was naturalized here and now it grows like a weed in Malaysia.


Scientific name: Agerantum conyzoides

Common names Billygoat Weed, Chick Weed, Goat Weed, Whiteweed 

Malay name: Rumbut Tahi Ayam (Chicken Dung Weed), Rumput Sekedok, 
Bunga Lebih Tikus, Selasih Dandi, Si Anggit, Tambok-tambok Jantan

Family: Compositae

Another Tropical American plant that is naturalised and grow like a weed in Malaysia.


William  Kellie Smith's kitchen and the original Kella's House.
The ventilation hole for the underground tunnel that connects Kellie's Castle to the Indian temple.


The walkway to the kitchen staff quarters.
Despite the heat of the mid afternoon soon, it feels cool when walking along this corridor.


The oven made of bricks which is already more than a hundred years old.
I'm really curious what were the favourite food items dished out from this ancient oven during those days.


View from a kitchen window.
See the dome shaped top?


Another view from a kitchen window.
Peeping out from the top right corner is the outline of a Coral Bean Tree.


Scientific name: Erythrina fusca
Synonym: Erythrina glauca

Common names:
Purple Coral Tree, Gallito, Bois Immortelle, Bucayo, Bucare, Coral Bean Tree

Malay name: Dedap Merah

Family: Fabaceae
Origin: Tropical Asia

This is a native tree of Malaysia.


People can come here for modelling shoots and wedding photography.


A nice place for a family picnic and some outdoor games.

Scientific name: Ficus microcarpa

Common names: 
Chinese Banyan, Malayan Banyan, Taiwan Banyan, 
Indian Laurel, Curtain Fig, Gajumaru (Japanese)
Family: Moraceae
Origin: India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, New Caledonia, Australia, Malay Archipelago

Here's a Banyan Tree that has lived through a century, standing broad and strong, a staunch witness to all the historical happenings through the ages.

The Banyan Tree is full of mystique. It is regarded as sacred among Hindus and Buddhists and is featured in many Asian folk tales. Some people believe that these are the dwelling places of spirits and ghosts.

Ficus microcarpa is a strangling fig, native to Malaysia.  It does not grow from the ground but begins life as an epiphyte on the branches of another tree. A seedling carried by the birds is dropped and germinates. It sends out numerous aerial roots which grow downwards until they touch the ground. Some roots cling and hug the support tree, eventually strangling and killing the tree. The fully matured fig tree is a very big spreading tree with many large branches and a complex structure of thick pillar-like roots. The flowers and fruits attract birds, bees and butterflies.

Banyan Trees around the world (Source: Wikipedia)
The original banyan, the species F. benghalensis, can grow into a giant tree covering several hectares. Over time, the name became generalized to all strangler figs of the Urostigma subgenus. There are many banyan species: 

a) Ficus microcarpa, the Malayan Banyan tree which is native from Sri Lanka through New Caledonia is a significant invasive species elsewhere. 

b) The Central American Banyan (Ficus pertusa) is native to Central America and northern South America, from southern Mexico south to Paraguay. 

c) The Short Leaf Fig (Ficus citrifolia) is native to southern Florida, the Caribbean Islands, Central America and South America south to Paraguay. One theory is that the Portuguese name for F. citrofolia, "Os Barbados", gave Barbados its name 

d) The Florida Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea) is also native to southern Florida and the Caribbean Islands, and distinguished from the above by its coarser leaf venation. 

e) The Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla) and Port Jackson Fig (Ficus rubiginosa) are other related species.

Myths and Beliefs (extract from Wikipedia) - Respect the Banyan Tree!

1. In Hinduism, the leaf of the banyan tree is said to be the resting place for the god Krishna.

2. The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees (林村許願樹) are banyan, and are a popular shrine in Hong Kong. They are located near the Tin Hau Temple in Lam Tsuen.

3. In many stories of Philippine Mythology, the banyan, (locally known as balete or balite) is said to be home to a variety of spirits (diwata and engkanto) and demon-like creatures (among the Visayans, specifically, the dili ingon nato, meaning "those not like us"). Maligno (Evil spirits, from Spanish for 'malign') associated with it include the kapre (a giant), duwende (dwarves), and the tikbalang (a creature whose top half is a horse and whose bottom half is human).Children at a young age are taught never to point at a fully mature banyan tree for fear of offending the spirits that dwell within them, most especially when they are new to the place. Filipinos would always utter a respectful word or two to the spirits in the banyan tree when they are near one, walking near or around it to avoid any harm. Nearly every Filipino believes that provoking the spirits in a banyan tree can cause you great harm, illness, misfortune, untold suffering and death. In Guam, 'Chamorro people believe in tales of taotaomona, duendes and other spirits. Taotaomona are spirits of the ancient Chamorro that act as guardians to banyan trees.


This is actually the front view Kellie's Castle.
Magnificient, isn't it?


During the recent upgrading works, Dr. Francis Ng's team managed to locate the site of the front entrance to the garage where William Kellie Smith kept his motocars.


A picture of how the original garage looks like.


The driveway from the gate entrance at the far end to the garage has been recreated.
A new tar road slithers beside the lawn and shade trees towards the castle building.


The garden looks so much brighter now.
Some old trees were preserved.
Some new trees were planted in groves.


Sometimes, the eeriness remains.

At other times, it looks bright, clear and cheerful!

It's a mix feeling of old and new...
darkness and light...
sometimes eerie, sometimes cheery...
that I find really very intriguing!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Midnight Horror Tree - Kellie's Castle Batu Gajah Part 4


When you visit Kellie's Castle, there is a very spooky but fascinating tree that you must not miss seeing. I'm sure this tree is as old as the castle itself, which by now should be almost a hundred years old. If you take the side entrance from the stables and servant quarters section, the tree is located on the left just in front of the entrance to the castle.

Scientific name: Oroxylum indicum
Common names:
Midnight Horror Tree, Broken Bones Tree, Tree of Damocles
Bonglai (Malay), Indian Trumpet Flower (India)
Family: Bignoniaceae
Native to: Indian sub-continent, southern China, Southeast Asia

The scientific name of this tree, Oroxylum indicum is derived from the Greek words “oros” for mountain and “xulon” for wood while “indicum” means from India.

In his book, “Wayside Trees of Malaya”, tropical plant botanist Professor E.J.H. Corner (1906-1996) described it as a grotesque tree filled with astonishment. It even has three spooky names, Midnight Horror Tree, Broken Bones Tree and Tree of Damocles.

This native rainforest tree is used by locals in traditional remedies while some people grow it as an ornamental for its bizarre appearance. It is fast disappearing as a result of deforestation.This deciduous, small to medium-sized tree can grow up to 12m tall. It is a scrubby tree with few branches and sparse foliage.

The leaves are 2-3 times pinnate, divided and botanically a “one of its kind” on planet Earth. The large leaves can reach 2m long hence they are sometimes mistaken as tree branches.

The flowers are rather dull in colour, a light reddish purple on the outside and pale yellow inside. They open at night at about 10pm and gives off a foul odour which is amplified at midnight. Bats are attracted to it. Later all the leaves would fall to the ground and collect at the base of the trunk like a pile of broken bones. The seed pods can grow to 1 m long and hang down like swords from bare branches.


Imagine the eerie window view of the silhouette of this tree standing like a dead skeleton with hanging daggers on a clear moonlit night and I’m sure you can understand why it is called the Midnight Horror Tree!

I wonder if you have ever seen such a tree. This is my first time!

“Kellie's Castle Batu Gajah, Perak part 4 - The Midnight Horror Tree”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on July 23rd, 2013

USES - (Wikipedia)As food - It is a plant with edible leaves and stems.The very large young pods, known as Lin mai (ลิ้นไม้) or Lin fa (ลิ้นฟ้า) in Loei, are eaten especially in Isan (Thailand) and in Laos. They are first grilled over charcoal fire and then the somewhat bitter inner pulp is usually scraped and eaten along with lap.

In traditional medicines, the Oroxylum indicum seed is used in the traditional Indian ayurvedic medicine. The root bark is also used, administered as astringent, bitter tonic, stomachic and anodyne. It is included in famous tonic formulations, such as Chyawanprash. The bark of O. indicum (Chinese : 木蝴蝶树皮, hanyu pinyin : mù húdié shùpí) or Cortex Oroxyli is a traditional Chinese medicine ingredient. The bark of O. indicum (Singhala / Sri Lanka: Totila, Totilla) is one of main ingredients in Sri Lankan indigenous medicine (in decoctions) as a remedy for pains in joints or rheumatism.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Tropical Colonial Garden I - Kellie's Castle Batu Gajah Part 3


This is how Kellie's Castle look like after the garden makeover and upgrading works. A landscaped tropical colonial garden has been built around the old English manor. Today I shall take you on a tour of the garden and I will also touch on the wildflowers and weeds which I find very interesting but intriguing as well.

This is the first part about the garden.

You can also read my article titled, "Garden Makeover for Kellie's Castle" published by New Straits Times on 22nd June 2013. The link is here.


The generous use of white paint provided a stark contrast to the red roofs, painted brick walls, pillars and tiled flooring. The walkways are stone paved with gaps for grass to grow and rainwater to seep in. Everything looks so bright and cheery now. The grounds are no longer dark and sinister.

The garden is designed by award winning consultant botanist, Dr. Francis Ng and landscaping works was funded by Tourism Malaysia. Before the makeover, architects, historians and experts were consulted. Dr. Ng studied the photographs of the castle taken during William Kellie Smith's time.

After completion of the makeover exercise, the upkeep and maintenance has been handed over to the Batu Gajah District Council early this year. A launching ceremony was held on Sunday, July 7th by our Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz. The ceremony was also attended by the state tourism committee chairman Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi.

The Raia River is a tributary that flows into the Kinta River which passes by the castle.
Kellie's Castle is separated from the main road by these rivers.
Both sides are filled with coconut and oil palm plantations.
At times the current here is quite strong.
Crocodiles may lurk in the river.


There is ample parking space. This is the smaller bridge that links the side road to the new building that houses the ticketing booth, mini theatre, souvenir shops, food stalls and restrooms/washrooms.


Concrete benches, stone paved walkways and bamboo trees planted in groves along the riverbank. 
The brick building is new.


Won't it be nice if the pergolas here were adorned with some kind of ever-flowering vines?
The shrubs behind the pergola on the left are Yellow Alders.
On the right is the main bridge that leads to the castle.

Closeup of the Yellow Alder Flowers (Turnera subulata) aka 8 o'clock Flowers planted behind the giant signage of "Kellie's Castle". The flowers open at about 8 am every morning and close by noon. The plant is ever-flowering and the blooms attract many types of butterflies, wasps, bees and other bugs. It's a myriad of activities when the flowers are opened and all will be still and quiet later in the afternoon after the blooms fade off.


Near the car park and along the river in front of the castle, graceful willow trees and wildflowers are part of the landscape here. Masses of Wedelia trilobata line the riverbank a forming a dense carpet of luscious green foliage topped with dainty yellow flowers. Also known as the Singapore Daisy or Creeping Oxeye, the Chinese name for it is “chuan di long” meaning “swirling earth dragon”. 

The picture above shows a few clumps of the Bidens pilosa, also known as Cobbler’s Peg and Spanish Needle. This plant looks a quite like another common widespread weed, Tridax procumbens or Coat Buttons which is also found here. B. pilosa is taller and prettier with bigger daisy-like flowers. When the flowers wither off, elongated fruits are formed and when dried, they become thin and bristle-like, easily clinging onto animal furs and human clothing. 

B. pilosa plants are also called Beggars Ticks because beggars and wanderers pick up these on their clothes and pants as they walk along the roadsides and railroad tracks. Hikers find them irritating hence they are given names like “Ghost Needle Weed” and “Demon Spike Grass”. Spooky coincidence?

“Kellie's Castle Batu Gajah Perak Part 3 - The Tropical Colonial Garden”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on July 16th, 2013.


After the bridge leads you to  fork road. The left side is the main staircase that leads you to the castle. The right path leads you to the stables, guardhouse and servant staircase via the side entrance.

Here's another Yellow Alder bush beside the Eugenia tree. The weird looking tree just beside the castle is the Midnight Horror Tree. Getting more eerie, isn't it?


Love this view.


The ruins of the former Guard House monitoring the back section of Kellie's Castle. 
The tree on the right is Angsana tree. Next to it is the frangipani tree.
The tree on the left is the Midnight Horror Tree.

A signage reads:
"Below are the ruins of William Kellie Smith’s guard house and horse stables. William’s horses did well at the races held at the prestigious Kinta Gymkhana Club in Batu Gajah (founded in 1890). His mare, Lassie, won on the first day of the races, and on the second day, HH The Sultan of Perak presented the Sultan’s Cup to WKS when his horse, Popgun, won the second race."


The Angsana tree (right) and Frangipani tree (left) flanking the stairways to the side entrance of the castle. The building on the right is the former Guard House and Stables.


Seed pods of the Angsana Tree.
Scientific name: Pterocarpus indica
Native of Southeast Asia
Family: Fabaceae

The Angsana was a common wayside tree, popularly planted by our colonial government.  This is a deciduous, large shade tree which can grow to about 30-40 m tall. The flowers are bright yellow in colour, bloom season February to May.The tree trunk can be as big as 2m in diameter and is the source of red scented wood which is resistant to termites.


A bird nest fern growing wild from a crack or crevice at the base of an old tree trunk.


Scientific name: Hippobroma longiflora 
Common names: Frog flower, Star of Bethlehem and Star Flower
Chinese names: 馬醉草 , 同瓣草 , 鬼點燈

 This attractive wildflower is a perennial herb endemic to the West Indies, but naturalized in many parts of tropical America and Oceania.

The genus name Hippobroma is derived from the Greek words, “hippo” for horse and “bromos” for rage/fury. Hippobromas are sometimes known as "horse madness" plants.  The species name “longiflora” means “long flowers” referring to the long flower tubes. This plant is grown for medicinal and ornamental purposes. It thrives best in moist, shady areas. 

The milky sap of the plant is poisonous and is said to drive horses crazy. This sap when absorbed through the skin can cause burns and irritation. When rubbed against the eyes, it can cause blindness. The jasmine-like, star shaped flowers have no fragrance. 


This is a non-native plant that has been naturalised and grows like a weed in Malaysia. You can find this weed (aka Ghost Grass in Malay) growing happily among the Frog Flower (Hippobroma longiflora) bush.

Scientific name: Asystasia gangetica ssp. micrantha (L.) T.Anders
Synonyms: Asystasia coromandeliana, Asystasia intrusa, A. gangetica

Common name: Common Asystasia, Chinese Violet, Ganges Primrose, Creeping Foxglove
Chinese name: 赤边樱草 or 十万错花
In mandarin, 赤边樱草 (chi bian ying cao) means 'violet margin cherry (sakura) grass' and
十万错花 (shi wan cuo hua) means 'a hundred thousand wrong flowers'.

Malay names:
Rumpai jejentik (mosquito larva weed), akar ruas-ruas (segmented roots),
rumput bunga putih (white grass flower), rumput hantu (Ghost Grass),
rumput nyonya (young lady weed), rumput pengorak,
rumput kambing (goat grass), bunga istana (castle flower).

Family: Acanthaceae (Ruelia family)
Origin and native to: India, Africa, Malay Peninsular
Category: Ever-flowering perennial creeper

Generally, Asystasias are known as Chinese Violets or 'zi he hua' (紫鶴花) in mandarin
meaning purple crane flower.

'Intrusa' in Spanish means 'intruder'

It is listed in the "Alert List for Environmental Weeds" of Australia.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Legacy of William Kellie Smith - Kellie's Castle Part 2

1. 2001 Photo

Here's the rags to riches tale of William Kellie Smith, a Scotsman with big dreams and vision.

The story of Kellie's Castle began during the Victorian Era under the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901).  That was the Golden Age of the British Empire. The Industrial Revolution which began in Great Britain in the 1830s-1840s, was already in full swing. The rich became very rich while the poor struggled to make a living. 

2. William Kellie Smith

William Smith was born on 1st March 1870 to a poor farm family near Dallas in Moray Firth, Scotland. He was the third of 5 children.  At the age of 20, William decided to go overseas to seek better opportunities in order to escape from the throes of poverty. He ended up in Batu Gajah town in the state of Perak, Malaysia (then Malaya). Batu Gajah was a booming town in the centre of Kinta Valley, which at that time was the biggest tin producing region in the world. During those days, the colonial government was very generous in giving land to enterprising young British men like William. 

William started worked with Charles Alma Baker, a colonial pioneer from New Zealand in surveying jobs and road construction. Later he opened his own firm, William Smith Civil Engineers, Architects and Contractors. Soon he became rich and managed to acquire 200 acres of land in Batu Gajah district for cultivation of crops such as coffee and rubber. He also obtained concessions for tin dredging.

In 1903, William had to go back to Scotland to be with his dying mother. After her death, William decided to take on her maiden name in her memory and thereafter, he was known as William Kellie Smith. On his return trip, he met his future wife, Agnes on board the ship heading back to Malaya. Agnes was the heiress of a successful Liverpool cotton family. She was going to Penang on her first trip to the Far East. They fell in love almost immediately and soon they were married. Their first child was a girl named Helen, born in 1904 followed by a son named Anthony born in 1915.

3. The Kellas House

William and Agnes lived on the grounds of William's estate in Batu Gajah. His estate was called "Kellas Estate" while the house was "Kellas House", named after his family's farm in Scotland, "Easter Kellas".

The original Kellas House was a wooden bungalow. Its extension, a brick mansion was added later. Their home was a Moorish style manor which bore some resemblance to his home in Scotland. The manor sat on a little knoll just by the bend of the Kinta River. From there, the couple could enjoy clear, unobstructed views of the Kellas Estate.

4. William has a collection of the latest motorcars

Soon Agnes was finding it difficult to live in Kellas House. The weather here was too hot for her as she was used to the cool temperate climate in England. She couldn't bear the heat of the tropics and she began to spend more time at the cooler hill stations such as Maxwell Hill in Taiping and Keledang Hill in Menglembu, Ipoh. She also missed her homeland very much. 

William wanted to build a castle for his beloved wife Agnes. To him, expressions of love in words, gestures and poetry was not enough. It had to be something more tangible and lasting, something massive and magnificent.

5. William is seated on the far right

William and Agnes were socialites who entertained often. A stately castle could become the social hub of wealthy colonial planters and administrators.

6. The ruins of Kellie's Castle - Tower Block

Work on the castle started soon after Helen was born. However, William was faced with a number of difficulties in finance and luck ran out. Its construction was stalled a few times. William had to sell off two thirds of his plantations when funding and projects were not forthcoming. World War I (1914-1918) interrupted the delivery of raw materials and blocked the inflow of funds. Then the Spanish Flu pandemic struck in 1918 killing many of his Indian estate workers, skilled masons, plasterers and tillers.

Soon it was time to enroll Anthony in boarding school and Agnes accompanied him and stayed on in England to look after him.

In the winter of 1928, William traveled to England to collect a lift he had commission for the castle. This lift would have been the first in Malaya. He brought along Helen to visit Agnes and Anthony. On the way back, while he was in Lisbon, Portugal to finalise the terms of his planting concession with the Portuguese government, he died of pneumonia on 11th December.

Agnes and her children never returned to Malaya. Agnes was too heartbroken to continue living in this foreign land without her beloved William. She sold her interest in the Kellas Estate and the castle to Harissons & Crossfield.  The castle was left abandoned and untouched. Anthony was killed during World War II (1939-1945) at the age of 27. He left behind a son to continue the Kellie Smith lineage.

7. The back portion of Kellie's Castle

The is the familiar sight of William Kellie Smith's dream home as seen from the main road. It is actually the back portion. The front entrance is on the other side. Well, it certainly looked more like a castle than an English manor house.

To build his dream home, William brought in 70 skilled workers from Madras, India and imported raw materials like marble and tiles. The new block was to be linked to the existing one by a covered passageway. Two tunnels were constructed to run under the river. The architectural design incorporated Roman Moorish and Indo-Saracenic influences with dome shaped windows and stately columns. In the plans were a total of 14 rooms and an underground wine cellar. The 6 storey tower was to have the first elevator ever in Malaya. There would be an indoor tennis court and a rooftop courtyard for parties. News of the planned castle even made it to The London Financial Newspaper on 15 September 1911.

At present, Kellie’s Castle is probably the only Scottish Castle ever built that is still existing intact in the Far East.

8. Sri Mahamariamman Hindu Temple, Ladang Kinta Batu Gajah

During the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, William Kellie Smith built the Sri Mahamariamman Temple for his Hindu workers. After the temple was consecrated the sickness subsided. As a sign of gratitude for his kindness and genourisity, they crafted a statue of William and place it alongside other deities on the roof of the temple.

9. The statue of William Kellie Smith (in uniform)

Until today, you can still see his statue standing proudly atop the temple, guarding over his estate, 500 yards away from the castle. Normally only the statues of Hindu gods and deities are found in a Hindu temple. It is quite unusual that this temple also has the statue of an ordinary man.

10. Kellas House was partially destroyed during World War II

It is believed that this castle is haunted for some various reasons. Many of William's workers died during the Spanish Flu pandemic. There were rumours that during the Japanese occupation in Malaya (1942-1945) during World War II (1939-1945) many people were executed here. Some claimed to have seen ghostly apparitions of William Kellie Smith pacing the corridors and also of his daughter Helen in her bedroom. William died in Portugal and was buried in the British Cemetery. Perhaps his spirit was reckless because of the unfulfilled dream to build a castle for his wife Agnes. Meanwhile the saga of William Kellie Smith and his castle continues and remains an enigma till today.

What's next?
In my next post, I will take you through the tropical colonial gardens of Kellie's Castle after the government funded makeover by our award winning botanist.

The above details and black and white photos were obtained from the notice board displays at various locations of Kellie's Castle. The book by Ho Tak Ming (2005) - Generations The Story of Batu Gajah, Ipoh Malaysia : Perak Academy was quoted in the texts of the notices. The old photographs were provided to the management of Kellie's Castle by William Kellie Smith's granddaughter, Frances Boston Smith who visited the castle.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Kellie's Castle Batu Gajah Perak, Then and Now - Part 1

Kellie's Castle in Batu Gajah, Perak is full of haunted stories and spooky tales of paranormal activities, apparitions and creepy encounters that can make your hair stand on ends and give you some goosebumps.

The above is a picture taken by Mr Anthony Morris in 1989, posted here with his permission.

When I was little, whenever we traveled along the road between Gopeng and Batu Gajah and needed to pass by this abandoned castle at night, we'd stop talking, stop giggling or laughing. We'd sit still and be very quiet because we were scared of the eerie surroundings but at the same intrigued by the mysteries and myths surrounding this haunted castle. The caretaker of this castle, the taxi drivers that ply the route, my parents, our friends and relatives and even the paranormal researchers with scientific gadgets have stories to tell and evidences to show. The encounters happen not only at night or after sundown, but you may also experience it during the day. There's no guarantee of an apparition but you may just get lucky!

This  is how Kellie's Castle looked like in 1955 picture taken before I was born. It was all covered up with  jungle vegetation. Like the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty, the castle had slept for three quarters of a century (since 1926), shrouded in mystery and covered in near darkness.

Kellie's Castle is separated from the main road by the Raia River*, a tributary of the Kinta River. The shortcut is by wading through the water across the river. One person takes the lead to wade across with a rope tied to the waist for safety while the rest will follow behind. There is another longer way which is via the rubber estate (now palm oil plantation) where you can just reach the manor by bicycle.

During the day, the more daring ones would venture into the building, climb the staircases that lead up to the tower and down the dungeons, just to have some adrenalin rush. Despite the eeriness, this castle was also quite a popular meeting place for the boys and girls during the school holidays. They'd cycle all the way from town to have a date cum picnic here. Despite the spooky ambience, romance did blossom between some couples that lead to marriage!

* Information provided by Mr Anthony Morris

Kellie's Castle in 2001.
Much of the jungle vegetation has been cleared and there's a bridge now.
Some old but interesting native rainforest trees were spared.
Now visitors can just take a walk across the bridge to the old English manor.

I was this close when I took this picture of Kellie's Castle in 2001. I walked around the grounds but I didn't venture inside the building to explore further. A sense of eeriness still prevailed.

Kellie's Castle in 2013.
By now, it has already been given a makeover and landscaped.
Can you imagine a Tropical Colonial Garden within the grounds of a haunted  English castle?

What's the mystery that intrigued so many?
What's the real story behind this English castle in Malaysia?
What has it got to do with the Hindu temple by the river?
Was this castle a gift of love from Scotsman William Kellie Smith to his wife, Agnes?
Was this to be his dream home?


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