Amention of the most haunted places in Kolkata brings alive its fascinating past as well. A city that was much loved by the Mughals, French, British and Dutch, almost every lane has a tale to tell, some with a twist of horror. If you have some ghost-chasing on your mind, there is the supposed ghost of Warren Hastings who comes riding a horse to Hastings House and the spirit of Lady Metcalfe that you might find sashaying down the corridors of the National Library of India. A more creepy experience, going by the legends, awaits you at Putulbari (the House of Dolls), the South Park Cemetery, Writer’s Building and more.
National Library of India
The largest library in India is much more than a haunt for just book lovers. This treasure trove for bibliophiles attracts the lovers of ghost stories in equal numbers. The story of Lady Metcalfe’s ghost haunting its corridors has been there for quite some time; a lot of testimonies support the story with people reporting the presence of someone simply watching them. Add to it the mystery of the hidden chamber that was discovered by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) in 2010, a chamber that is rumoured to have served as a torture chamber during the British rule in India. As per witness accounts, such paranormal experiences increased all the more after 12 labourers lost their lives in an accident during some renovation work at the site. Sounds like some grist for the rumour mill.
Putulbari or the House of Dolls
With a name like that, there is little doubt about the spooky quotient of this one. An old, dilapidated building with just a few residents on the lower floors and a terrace that is adorned with dolls made in archaic Roman style, it has a good number of horror stories about it. Nobody is allowed to visit the upper floors of the building even during daytime since the place is supposedly haunted by spirits of courtesans, who were abused by wealthy landlords during and before the British rule in India. People confess to hearing both women’s wails and hysterical laughter from the upper floor of Putulbari at night. While the story might or might not be true, the very sight of the building is enough to send chills down the spine.
South Park Street Cemetery
Well, haunted or not, visiting a cemetery is an unusual experience. Kolkata’s South Park Cemetery too has its claim to fame when it comes to a spooky tale or two. Opened in 1767, it houses more than 1600 graves, most of those covered in creepers and moss now. The cemetery, its dilapidated appearance notwithstanding, has been labelled as haunted ever since a group of tourists caught a vague white figure on their cameras. The tourist from the group who saw the apparition suffered an asthma attack right there though he had no history of asthma. Going by the stories, the rest of the group members too fell ill soon after visiting the cemetery. While the graves look creepy enough in daytime, shadows sure make the place look out of this world once the Sun goes down.
Rabindra Sarobar Metro Station
A regular-looking metro station in the City of Joy, this one is infamous for being the place that sees more than 50% of city’s suicides. With a high-voltage power line in place inside the station for smooth running of metro trains, the station has become the suicide point of the city. Now, the air is rife with eyewitness accounts from people who confess of having seen a number of white figures and apparitions inside the station during late hours. Some years back, there were instances of drivers halting the train owing to strange figures, clad in white, darting across the train tracks. People attribute these occurrences to the suicides that have happened here, assuming that the ghosts of people who died at the station haunt the place now. No taking the last metro here.
This old building serves as an office to administrative employees but such is the reputation that no employee stays back after sunset. Some of the rooms in the building are vacant and have not been opened for decades. As per the many stories that make for this place’s reputation, these closed rooms are haunted and evenings bring about strange occurrences like high-pitched giggles, screams and whispers. Investigations have revealed no specific reasons for any of these happenings, making the place quite spooky.
Hastings House, which also serves as the Institute Of Education For Women, is reported as another haunted place in Kolkata. This building served as the house of Warren Hastings, India’s Governor General under the British Rule. Going by what some of the students have to say, they have seen a white man riding a horse and entering the campus many a times. A man, which they believe, is the ghost of Warren Hastings himself ! A majority also believes the place to be haunted by the spirit of a boy who died on the field while playing football. None of the students dare to stay in the campus around evening, leaving the place right after their afternoon lectures. Call it spooky or just another fragment of imagination.
A few other places that are believed to be some of the most haunted places in Kolkata are the Ganga ghats near Howrah Bridge, the Royal Calcutta Turf Club (where, as per the legends, people can see a ghost horse running across the tracks) and the Nimtala burning ghats, which is said to be a popular haunt of aghoris!