Mona Fandey was a failing popstar. So she became a 'witch doctor'.

Ever since she was a little girl, Malaysian-born, Nur Maznah Ismail dreamed of the glitz and glamour of fame and celebrity. She hoped to be a singer and dancer. A star of some sort. Any sort. As long as people knew her name. 

She took up water ballet and tried in vain to pursue her dreams, marrying and divorcing twice along the way. Then she met her third husband, Mohammad Nor Affandi Abdul Rahman. He was her biggest fan, he said, and supported her dreams of becoming a superstar. 

Ismail changed her name to Mona Fandey, and in 1987, released her debut album, Diana. Rahman funded the entire project. 

Watch: Mona Fandey performing. Post continues below.

Video via YouTube.

Despite a few television appearances, Fandey's music career didn't go anywhere. But she didn't want to let her low-level fame to go waste, so she pivoted - to witchcraft. 

It worked. Fandey's new business attracted multiple high-profile customers. She became known locally as a notorious shaman, dubbed "bomoh". 

For a hefty price, Fandey offered her witchcraft services to all sorts. Politicians seeking further success were offered religious talismans and lucky charms, along with potential rewards that seemed too good to resist. 

With most bomoh's being middle-aged men, Fandey had a unique advantage, becoming the go-to for the wealthy, enabling her to fund a luxurious and lavish lifestyle. 


In 1993, amid a rise in the popularity of witchcraft, State Assemblyman, Datuk Mazlan Idris took an interest with the hopes of boosting his political career. 

Fandey, her husband, and their assistant, Juraimi Hassan asked for more than $800,000 for the service, which they said would include the lucky charms of Indonesia's first president. 

Idris trusted them, and paid a large deposit, evening promising 10 land titles for the remaining balance. Rumour suggested that one of those land deals fell through, infuriating Fandey and her team. 

Mona Fandey is escorted by police. Image: New Straits Times. 

Mona Fandey turns to murder. 

In 1993, Datuk Mazlan Idris was murdered in a plot by Fandey.


The cleansing ritual was to be the first part of the service. It would take place at Fandey's own home. 

Idris was asked to lie down on the floor, eyes closed. Flowers were then placed over them, and he was to wait for the money to "fall from the sky".

But no money fell. In its place, an axe, which Fandey's assistant Hassan used to behead the unsuspecting politician, who was then dismembered and skinned. 

The politician was reported missing later that month. While Idris' visit to the witch doctors was known, there was nothing tying his disappearance to Fandey, her husband, or her assistant. 

Eventually though, Hassan was detained by the police due to an unrelated drug case. High on drugs at the time, he confessed to the murder, leading police to the storeroom where Idris' body parts had been buried. 

The charges against Mona Fandey, her husband, and their accomplice shocked the people of Malaysia, who were horrified by the gruesome nature of the case. 

The trial. 

Media flocked to the trial to feed the public intrigue into a chilling case involving black magic, evil rituals and, ultimately, a murder. The case spoke to the intersection between traditional and modern medicine and practices, sparking debate around the country. 

Logic prevailed, and the three accused were found guilty, ultimately escorted to the gallows where they would be executed. 

"Aku takkan mati" [I will not die]. These were Fandey's final words. 

Today, the house she once lived in is often visited by curious onlookers, many believe the home is haunted, others believe it hides the truth within it somewhere. 

Feature Image: Facebook/History Channel