2012
Feb
8

Tomb Whisperers

11

The Brothers Goh, Raymond and Charles

Charles and Raymond Goh

It all began in 2005 when younger brother, Charles fascinated with the seemingly unexplainable, founded Asia Paranormal Investigators – a non profit organization to research  lost history, urban legends and unusual phenomena.

Cemeteries were a natural haunting ground and elder brother, Raymond was roped in  because his better command of Chinese and his interest in Chinese culture and customs gave him a natural advantage when it comes to “reading” tombstones.

And so began the Goh brothers’ induction into the Bukit Brown Cemetery’s  Hall of Fame as the tomb whisperers.

Since they started their exploration of Bukit Brown in 2006, they have researched and identified hundreds of graves, some so hidden by undergrowth (imagine Lara Croft and Angkor Wat)  - it defied even the best efforts of their descendants.

The discovery of the tomb of Cheong Koon Seng - a prominent  realtor /auctioneer and impresario of Peranakan opera in the early 1900s -  was one.

The Goh brothers receive requests almost weekly not only for help to locate tombs,  but also to help unravel familial relationships. Many of the prominent residents in Bukit Brown are related by marriage, and in life as in death continue to be enjoined albeit at times unbeknownst to their descendants.

At last count, one of the descendants has identified more than two dozen residents she can trace her genealogy to. Long lost cousins have found themselves through Bukit Brown. It is the gift that keeps on giving. And the Goh brothers are an inextricable part of that gift, exploring Bukit Brown in their free time and  scouring the  archives in their search for more information.

For Raymond and Charles, though, the first major case they cracked under API  was “The Case of the Missing Heiress” in 2007. At stake was S$100 million and the only clue a black and white photograph. The case continued to hog the headlines even after the missing heiress was identified and set to claim  the inheritance, when a twist in 2008 resulted in 2 more claimants to the estate.

For Raymond and Charles the case leads them back to Bukit Brown  as some of the people involved  are buried there.

Raymond is now  attempting to unravel the inscriptions and couplets composed on these  tombstones  for hidden messages to close the case . Or maybe it will just lead to a new story. With their unerring instinct to search out the truth, one never knows with the Goh brothers.

In the meantime, the Goh brothers continue to make inroads in reconciling the past with the present

Reunion of the living with the dead - Ang Seah Im's descendents rediscover his tomb with the help of the Goh Brothers

So far they  have uncovered 25 pioneers buried in Bukit Brown with streets named after the them. Among them, Seah Im and Koon Seng Roads

And they are  so  very   much in demand  to lead tours  that they are  inducting new guides from the face book group and we  have large shoes to fill.

Paying close attention to Raymond

 

Trying to keep up with the leader

 

Let me dream while I can,

Let me see the stars while I can,

Let me cry, let me laugh,.

Let me hold you in my arms, Let me be.

One day I may dream no more, 

One day I may not wake up,

But do remember me, let me live on,

Don’t ever forget that I ever exist,

A man’s life is so short, in a twinkle he is gone.

There’s so much to see, so much to discover.

Wouldn’t you hold my hand, and together let’s fly to the stars.

And one day when I am very, very old, let me close my eyes,

Let me dream forever.

(Written by Charles Goh)

For more reports on the Tomb Whisperers, please click here.

Weekends with Raymond Goh and his family here