We’ve all heard stories of haunted buildings – maybe an abandoned house in your neighbourhood is said to mysteriously light up at night, or passersby hear children’s voices coming from a school that’s been empty for years. Perhaps, late at night during the full moon, delicious smells waft out of that little Thai restaurant in Chelmsford that shut down ages ago (now that’s our kind of scare story!).
Ghost stories and tales of hauntings are a worldwide phenomenon that have withstood the test of time, as common in faraway places like Vietnam as they are here in the UK. In fact, one of the most haunted buildings in the world was located in Saigon’s District 5, the subject of a plethora of eerie anecdotes and horrific happenings before it was reportedly demolished. What made the apartments at 727 Tran Hung Dao so hair-raising? Read on to find out – if you dare.
Sinister from the start
727 Tran Hunh Dao was commissioned by millionaire Nguygen Tan Doi and built in 1960. A massive apartment complex with 530 rooms and 13 floors, it provoked ominous feelings even in its early stages. The building’s architect warned that incorporating the unlucky number 13 into its structure was a bad sign, but construction continued regardless.
After the 13th floor was built, unfortunate accidents began to take place, and people involved in the project became nervous. In response, it is said that Doi brought in a shaman to dispel the building of bad spirits. The shaman instructed that the dead bodies of four virgins be buried at the four corners of the building as a protective measure – and legend has it that Doi bought the bodies from the hospital and followed through on the shaman’s recommendation.
The creepiness continues
Once the building was finished, the US Army decided to rent it to use as accommodation for its soldiers. Later, Vietnamese families moved into the apartments – and these residents were faced with unsettling occurrences in the building they called home.
Often, the people who lived in the building heard screams, whispers and sounds reminiscent of a military parade. They also saw the silhouettes of an American soldier and young Vietnamese woman holding hands in the halls, and reported sightings of a woman who had taken her own life years before.
Such terrifying tales contributed to the building’s eventual disuse. More and more people moved out, and eventually the building was abandoned altogether except by squatters and ghost hunters. It became increasingly damaged, and in 2015, it was announced that the building would be demolished to make way for new developments.
Whether or not the legend of the 727 building is true, it certainly does get our blood pumping – and all of this spine-tingling storytelling makes us hungry! This Halloween, why not fuel up for your fearsome festivities with some delicious Indochinese food at Banana Tree? A big bowl of our aromatic pho just might transport you to the ghostly streets of Saigon – and if nothing else, it’s sure to warm you up during this bone-chilling season of spookiness!