- Published on Wednesday, 25 June 2014 15:23
- Written by Lan Tran.
Located at 727 Tran Hung Dao, this District 5 dwelling was once called the President Building and housed hundreds of American soldiers. Commissioned by millionaire Nguyen Tan Doi, this building, which once teemed with life, now stands nearly vacant. While many of the living souls have left, there are many stories of supernatural activities within its walls.
The 530-room building was a massive undertaking when it was completed in 1960 and was divided into 6 blocks and 13 floors. 13 is an unlucky number to begin with and the building’s French architect warned Doi about this inauspicious figure.
It was not until they finished the 13th floor that many deadly accidents began to happen, frightening workers. As the story goes, to sooth their fears, Doi had had a shaman address the structure’s spiritual deficiencies, secretly buying from a hospital the dead bodies of four virgins, buried them at four corners of the building, which, according to Feng Shui, would protect it unsavoury spiritual guests.
The President Building was finally finished and good luck prevailed; Doi was delighted when the US Army chose to rent the entire building to house its soldiers.
As time passed, the President’s glory began to fade. After Reunification, Vietnamese families moved into the building and, ever since, its residents have experienced many strange occurrences such as odd whispers, screams and the sounds of a military parade, leaving them scared out of their wits.
And that’s not all. Shadows and silhouettes of an American soldier hand-in-hand with a young Vietnamese woman are said to walk the halls, leaving residents afraid of their own shadows. But a street coffee seller’s tale is probably the most spine-chilling.
Selling coffee at the entrance of the apartment, the 60-year-old vendor claimed to always find a piece of joss paper among her money, no matter how carefully she looked when she received money from customers.
At first, she thought it was some kid playing a joke on her until she noticed that it only happened on full moons when there was this particular young woman came to buy orange juice. She was later told that years earlier, there had been a young woman who killed herself after being sexually assaulted in the building and that there was a full moon that night.
Ghost stories aside, the more realistic fear is severe damage to this 54 year old building that has occurred with the passing of time. The poor conditions and ghostly atmosphere have made it a perfect place for thieves and drug addicts.
Once a monument of sorts, it now stands almost abandoned with only a few families who live in fear of collapse and criminals.