This afternoon one of my colleagues sent me a link to a CNNgo article about a house haunted by ghosts on Weihai Lu. I clicked on it and to my surprise the former office of China Bay appeared in the picture! Long time readers may know that I used to be a managing partner at China Bay (a consulting company) in the days before Tudou and Spil Games. We used to have our office on the ground floor of this beautiful old villa until we were kicked out by the government in 2006. And now that I think about it, when I started Spil Games Asia the first three months we also worked from this office (we only had 3 people at that time).
The villa is still there 4 years later, but the surrounding shikumen (old lane houses) have all been demolished. The place is one big construction area. The CNN article talks about several workers being bitten by animal ghosts, and staff at the Four Seasons Hotel across the street are afraid to do night shifts because they are spooked by ghostly animals.
Local residents probably blame the relocation of the building: they dug it out and moved it a few meters, something that happens more often in China to make space for new buildings. I still remember that when we had our office there, the whole basement was filled with water. We tried to drain it, but that did not work. As a consequence the office was always very moist. So if you believe in ghosts they may have appeared from below the water 🙂
When we had our office in the building I heard the story (that’s also partly in the CNN article) that the villa used to be surrounded by wild animals in a zoo setting. Tigers and other wild cats, snakes, lizards etc. could all be found in the garden. And one of my Shanghainese colleagues once told me that most of them died from hunger during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai (or were eaten by local Shanghainese, as the article says). That seems a nice base for the animal ghost appearances there.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it still kind of creepy to read a story like this. I worked in the building for about 2 years, and spent many hours there on my own late at night working on projects. I don’t recall ever seeing a ghost, let alone being bitten by one, but it’s still kind of strange to read this.
Interestingly (and I hope no superstitious current colleague of mine reads this) I heard that the building where Spil Games Asia has its current office is also haunted. It used to be a coins warehouse for 4 banks in the 1930’s (hence the name ????), and during the Japanese invasion of Shanghai in 1937 a major battle was fought in and around it. It was the last stronghold of the Chinese army and several soldiers defending the building were killed. And some might apparently still be floating through the building late at night. Also in our current office I have never seen one, even though it’s happened more than once that I was the last one to leave the building. In case I should ever meet one I will take a picture of it for this blog 🙂