The Unscientific & Paranormal Explanation of the Sounds of Marbles in HDB Flats

Image: Rini Slok /

If you’re alone in your HDB room at 1.00 a.m. now, and have a vivid imagination, we suggest that you click away first—because this story of marbles dropping is going to scare the shit out of you.

Okay, so we’ve all heard marbles dropping in the middle of the night.

So what contributes it? There was a big hoo-ha when someone wrote in to the press to complain about this years ago, and HDB apparently took the effort to find out whether it was due to the neighbours.

Building experts told us that it’s due to the pipes, mosquito traps or vibrations that go through the walls.

Then again, think about this: neighbours playing marbles? Pipes making sounds that sound so much like marbles? Can you find a correlation?

Of course, despite the scientific explanations (that don’t really sound scientific enough), there are stories of paranormal activities instead.

So there are some who believed in this story instead: it’s caused by child ghosts who haunt not just HDB flats, but any buildings they’ve come across. It started out quite a while ago—in the 70s, children went missing when bridges or overhead flyovers were built (well, if you think about it, that was when these roads were built, too).

Legend then had it that in order to appease the spirits that abducted the kids, the builders put a kid’s head embedded in bridges to appease the spirits. We sure don’t see them in bridges, but you never know where they are…

And so, these child ghosts have no places to go. That was also the period when buildings were built. Having a fear that these child ghosts would haunt any new buildings built, builders also placed marbles in between floors, so the “kids” would play with the marbles and won’t disturb the occupants.

It was done just in case—but that was when the scares came. No one expected any sounds of marbles…but they came. Almost so frequently that most people who have lived in Singapore for a considerable amount of time would have heard it.

How about condos and private houses, you ask. Apparently, according to some Singaporeans, they, too, heard it. When you hear the sounds of marbles dropping, it merely means one of the lost child spirits has come in to find some place to play.

They found the marbles and decided to just hang around the area. After all, in the 70s, kids did play with marbles… Now…you know what’s happening when you hear it.

(Article continues below) Xing Xing is a 34-year-old Singaporean lady who decides to meet up with an online friend she found in Facebook. But it turns out that he’s not what he seems to be: Prepare boxes of tissue and watch the saddest Singapore Facebook love story here:

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Not sure about you, but I guess if HDBs were built in, say, 2017, we might be hearing sounds of Angry Birds instead.

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