The City of Joy is also loaded with the spirit of the past. Its nooks and crannies hide many a shadowy urban legend. For the bravehearts looking for adventure, here is a list of places long believed to be haunted.
Locals believe that the ghost of Warren Hastings, the British Governor General of India, still abides in this house, which is now home to the Institute of Education for Women. The legend goes that during his transfer from Calcutta to England, Hastings misplaced a black bureau. This bureau contained not only valuables, but also papers that would have prevented his impeachment later in the UK. His ghost, believers say, returns to look for this piece of furniture and everything it held. People have reported hearing footsteps going up the stairs for it.
Meanwhile, another tragic tale persists on the grounds of Hastings House. People claim to have seen a young boy’s ghost there. A few years ago, a boy playing football with his friends got hit on his chest and died on the spot. After this freak accident, his body was abandoned, the story goes. Since then, people have alleged paranormal experiences here.
Location: 20B, J.C. Road, Alipore
Royal Calcutta Turf Club
A popular tourist destination, the grounds are apparently the haunt of race enthusiast George Williams’ white horse, popularly known as ‘Williams saheb ka sada ghora’. The horse, Pride, is believed to have won many races and much fame and fortune for Williams in the mid-1930s. But she lost her edge with
When old Pride lost the annual Calcutta Derby, it cost Williams a fortune. Her carcass was found riddled with bullet injuries on the tracks the following day. While RCTC officials explain its protocol to put old horses to sleep in this manner, many allege that Williams murdered the horse in a fit of rage. Now, many believe Pride gallops past the tracks on Saturday and full-moon nights, sometimes as an apparition and sometimes as a white fog patch.
Location: 55D, Maidan, Race Course, New Alipore
Kolkata Dock, Kidderpore
This one is a tale of historic vengeance. Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh renounced his throne and kingdom because the East India Company promised him passage to England. The Nawab spent his last days waiting at the dock while the company betrayed him.
The fable says that his ghost, along with spirits of soldiers and sailors who were with him, lurk around the docks waiting for revenge. The Nawab was fond of Hindustani classical music and dock workers believe haunting notes of music can be heard in the area. Now only if this ghost could get a passage to 10 Downing Street.
Move over, Annabelle. Putul Bari, Bengali for dollhouse, is teeming with ghostly tales. This creepy old residential building in Sovabazar gets its name from the arches that have doll figures carved into them as well as from the dolls assembled on stands.
Its sometime-owner had a daughter, who collected dolls obsessively. She died young. Layered on top of this sad story is the idea that the house was later the site for the sexual assault and murder of women abducted by zamindars. The decrepit, sinister structure is the perfect setting for the chills. Rumour has it, the clinking of anklets and the chatter and laughter of women can be heard from the upper floors. Sometimes, there are screams, some insist. The lower floor of the house is still inhabited, but residents as well as visitors, avoid going upstairs.
Location: Putul Bari, SL Chatterjee St, NDDM Ward No – 26, Sarada Palli, Nimta