Paranormal investigator Gaurav Tiwari’s mysterious death came as a shock. If you, like him, were an aficionado of the paranormal or if you are the sort who doesn’t find horror movies fulfilling enough, you probably need some real-life thrills: You may have seen everything from The Exorcist to The Conjuring, but one’s thirst for the paranormal can never be quenched by cheap jump-scares on the silver screen. Believe it or not, there are more haunted places in India than you know.
So grab your ghostbusters’ gear and check out any of these places across the country at a time when the moon is out and black cats prowl the shadows.
1 Aleya Ghost Lights, West Bengal
Do you remember the wisps that Merida followed around in Brave? Wisps are a phenomenon noticed at night, mostly around swamps and marshes. Aleya Ghost Lights in West Bengal is one such place. The area is said to be haunted by a fisherman’s spirit, and the pattern of light is supposed to be an outline of his once-existent body. Fisherfolk in the area believe the wisps are a sign of impending doom.
2 Agrasen Ki Baoli, Delhi
They say Agrasen Ki Baoli is frequented by tourists during the day, and spirits at night. Rumour has it that the place was once filled with black water, enticing visitors to waddle their way to a watery grave. The site recently appeared in PK, with Aamir Khan’s character sitting on its long stone staircase. But then – if the ghosts are here, can aliens be far behind?
3 Bhangarh Fort, Rajasthan
Bhangarh Fort has gained notoriety as one of the most haunted places in India. In fact, even the government is aware of the fact that spirits prowl its ruins – which is probably why they have banned visitors from entering after sunset. Strict warnings have been issued about the dangers at the historic structure, which is said to be cursed by a magician.
4 The Church Of Three Kings, Goa
The story behind this church is a classic example of why there is enough in the world for man’s need, but not his greed. Back in the day, three Portuguese kings always fought over the kingdom of Goa. Finally, one of them called the other two for a meeting at the now famous The Church Of Three Kings, and poisoned them. When the people discovered what the king had done, they came after him in a bloodthirsty horde. Unwilling to be lynched in public, he committed suicide by consuming poison. All the three were buried in the same church. This is a haunted place in India that is NOT avoided by visitors.
5 Fern Hill Hotel, Ooty
This hotel, now shut down due to incidents of alleged haunting, shot to fame due to a curious incident that occurred on the sets of Raaz. Choreographer Saroj Khan and her troupe had settled down to sleep one night when somebody began rearranging furniture in the room above. Soon, the screeching and slamming sounds rose to such a pitch that sleep became a distant prospect. Attempts to contact the reception desk went in vain because the telephone line was dead. Finally, some of the frustrated crew members went down to complain, only to have the hotel staffers point out that there was no floor above theirs.
6 GP Block, Meerut
If you see four men drinking beer in candlelight – or a woman in red passing by – during a visit to this compound in Meerut, just keep walking until they are out of sight. There is a reason why people regard GP Block with foreboding, and you don’t want to know it.
7 Mukesh Mills, Mumbai
Mukesh Mills, built in 1870, is another haunted place that has gained notoriety over the last century. According to reports, an actress once became possessed by a spirit and told staffers to clear out of the place in a spooky male voice. Bipasha Basu is also said to have experienced paranormal events here.
8 National Library, Kolkata
Kolkata’s beautiful National Library comes as a pleasant blast from our colonial past. However, the monument’s architecture and rich literature are not the only things it is known for – many paranormal activities have also been recorded here. If you are a doubting Thomas, why don’t you ask the guards why they are afraid to take night shifts at the library.
9 Raj Kiran Hotel, Lonavla
This hotel in the picturesque Lonavla hill station is famous for having a haunted room right behind the reception at the ground floor lobby. People who have stayed in the room reported spooky movements in the dark, sheets being pulled off sleeping people, and an unnatural coolness to the air. The hotel does not give out this room to people unless they ask for it.
10 Savoy Hotel, Mussoorie
In the summer of 1911, a spiritualist named Frances Garnett-Orme stayed at the hotel with her friend. One night, the hotel staff found her poisoned to death. This sparked off a series of mysterious incidents, some of which even led to deaths. Visitors have reported hearing disturbing noises late at night, and the sound of footsteps echoing in the lobby. The story finds a mention in Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles and Ruskin Bond’s In a Crystal Ball – A Mussoorie mystery.
So, now that you have the list, go out and experience some real fear! (If you really, really want to, that is.)