Kolkata with her mystic beauty has grabbed many eyeballs. Her old buildings and vintage aura have something so mesmerising that one cannot pass by without giving it a second look. Along with ancient things come stories of all kinds, some we want to believe and some we conveniently want to avoid. Nevertheless, we cannot ignore it. Since childhood, we are aware of the word ‘bhoot’ and ‘ghost’ but not many of us have actually experienced these beings in reality. Although we love watching scary movies at the theatre, yet when it comes to experiencing it face-to-face we turn white with fright. So for all the paranormal enthusiasts, here is a list of supposedly haunted places in Kolkata that would send a shiver down the spine if you dare visit during the wee hours of the night.
Caution: this is not for the faint-hearted.
1. The National Library
This one is probably the most famous of all the haunted spots in the city. There are a few stories around this complex probably due to the mammoth size of the building or the huge piece of land this building acquires. Out of these stories, two are the most famous versions that are listed here. In the early nineties, the British Government had ordered a renovation of the old block and construction of a new complex. It was during this renovation that as many as twelve labours lost their lives in an accident at the site. It is said that even to this day, the spirits of those workers lurks inside the new complex during the darker hours. In another version of the story, it is believed that during the same period there was an English grad student of a reputed college of the city who visited the Library in search of study material. He met with an accident and died at the gates of the library after one such visit of his to this great building. During his last days at the library, he was studying some letters of the Victorian era which was stacked in an obscure corner of the main library building. It is believed that the spirit of this young Bengali student visits the library during odd hours to complete his research paper. Some of the people who have noticed such paranormal existence would testify with the details of how they have seen letters all scattered on the desks when the library gates open at 10 am in the morning or even how construction issues arise inside the complex and how they are miraculously solved in some moments. There are eyewitnesses who say that they have heard footsteps of former Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, who used to reside in the same building. People reading alone in the library have felt the presence of someone breathing down their neck. This happens, even more, when they do not keep a book in place from where they took it from. It is also said that sounds of footsteps are heard near them. Apart from being the largest library in India, this spookiness in this library makes it one of the most haunted places in Kolkata. There are many stories which connect to these supernatural events taking place. Some believe that it is the ghost of the wife of Lord Metcalfe who keeps roaming the halls.
2. The Royal Calcutta Turf Club – The Race Course
This is a story of the mid 1930s of a racing maniac called George Williams who loved his horses more than his family and his job at the secretariat. He had as many as 5 horses, out of which his most famous and dearest was a pearl white horse called Pride. Pride was rightly named as she won a few tough races, fame and money for her master. Williams used to spend most of his time in his stable at the race course complex and mostly with his piece of pride. With age, came some complications in the health of Pride and she no longer was the queen of the tracks. Her last race was the Annual Calcutta Derby where she lost the race and Williams lost a lot of fortune. She was found dead the next morning on the tracks with bullet injuries.Though the sources close to Williams and the RCTC had reportedly admitted that she was killed as per the traditions of killing a horse when it ages and not well, there is another version which states that Williams, in a drunken state, had killed the horse out of sheer frustration. Even as the entire Turf racing fraternity mourned the loss of such a beauty on the tracks, the spirit of Pride is still believed to be seen on the green patch during late nights of Saturdays. Some witnesses have said that they have seen a patch of white fog gushing past the tracks giving an impression of Pride. Mystery or myth, Pride remains alive in the stories of her existence, even as today’s Kolkata remembers her as the “William saheb er shada Ghoda”
3. The Kolkata Dock – Khidderpur
This place was originally owned by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh. After his kingdom was snatched from him by the East Inda Company in 1856, The Nawab took refuge in the area which now holds the Kolkata docks. There are a few eerie stories about the complex. It is believed that the spirit of the Nawab resides here to take revenge on the British Empire. Since Nawab was a fond follower of music, hair-raising stories of how classical music being heard also do the rounds.
4. Putulbari – A haunted house full of dolls in Kolkata
Putulbari or the “House of Dolls” is situated near the Sovabazar jetty, not far from the haunted Nimtala Ghat. Now, the very thought of dolls in old houses with cobwebs and noises build an eerie feeling within us, isn’t it? no one dares to visit the upper stories of this haunted house. If you are seeking for some paranormal adventure in Kolkata, you may surely try visiting Putulbari. The huge architecture of Roman style along with some dolls on stands just multiplies the spookiness of the place and will immediately give you jitters when you see it. The Babus (wealthy owners) who inhabited the place in the old days used to sexually exploit young women here and even killed some of them. Now it is said that the spirits of the women are still haunting the place in order to seek justice. Deep in the night, one may sense a shrill laughter or even clink of bangles and anklets.
5. Rabindra Sarovar Metro Station
Suicide in Kolkata Metro has become a common thing of late. Owing to this the Rabindra Sarovar Metro is famous as “Paradise of Suicide”. It is a commonly known death trap with 4000 Volts of current running in the famed third line (a third rail that runs parallel to the tracks and is a little elevated on de-conductors and is usually covered with a wooden plank). Shockingly, around 70% of all people who have lost their lives in the tracks of Metro have committed suicide at Rabindra Sarovar Metro Station. There are stories of how people, travelling to the station in the last metro which reaches the station at around 10:30 pm, found some eerie images of figures vanishing in a fraction of a second. There are even rumours of shadows moving on the platform on late evenings.
6. The Writer’s Building
This building has a haunted past too.
It is believed that the spirit of Captain Simpson of British East India Company, who was killed by the famous revolutionaries Binay, Badal & Dinesh, still resides in the building facades.
The most notorious part of the mammoth building is probably the fifth block where he was shot. Roadside vendors outside the building have often reported of hearing footsteps and voices from within the building well after the earthly hours. Even the busiest blocks of the power house get deserted after 7 pm.
7. Hasting’s house
The old residence of the Governor-General at 20B, Judges Court road has another interesting story to tell.Stories are that Warren Hastings visits the campus in search of some old papers he had lost. These papers could have saved him from getting impeached in London. Presently it’s the Women’s College of Calcutta University.
Some students claim that they have seen a man riding a horse visit the place. His footsteps could be heard.
Also doing the rounds are the story of his infamous wife and children, all of whom had unnatural death within this place, comes often to visit their old residence in horse drawn chariot. Shadowy figures are a common thing that many students of The Women’s College of Calcutta University, which now owns the property, have seen. There are stories about how a young student suffered terrible injuries while playing football. He lost his life while he was playing football so his spirit also haunts this house. Students have suffered terrible injuries when they play football.
8. Under the Howrah Bridge
There is a spot just under the Howrah Bridge which is near the Mullick Ghat flower market which is believed to be the centre for various paranormal activities in Kolkata.
The wrestlers who practice in that area on a daily basis claim that they see flailing hands in the river and they are not sure whether those hands are of human beings or some spirits playing tricks with them. People believe that there are the spirits of those people who lost their life in the Ganges- either by committing suicide or by drowning. Some people also recall the incident of witnessing a lady in white, sobbing and calling their name in a nasal tone which lures them into a state of trauma or to their deaths. You try to save the apparitions; you might end up losing your life!
9. Nimtala Shamshaan Ghat
The Nimtala Burning Ghat is one of the oldest burning ghats in Kolkata and is also considered to be one of the most haunted places in Kolkata. It is believed that on the night of the Kali Puja, the aghoris come to the ghat for their various rites and to invoke the Shamshaan Kali, who is believed to be their reigning deity. The locals believe that the name must not be said out loud. They feed on the leftover flesh of the burnt bodies and use this ritual to generate occult powers in themselves.
Cemeteries, burning ghats, some office buildings and residential places are bound to make you feel spooky just by the look and feel of the place. most people are scared when they hear payal noises and dogs howling at night, beware!
To all the ‘bravehearts’ out there, go on, explore these haunted places in Kolkata and share your stories with us.