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In Kolkata’s House of Horrors, De family’s skeletons tumbled out of closet

Kolkata resident Partha De who lived for six months with the skeletons of his sister and two pet dogs was found dead under ‘mysterious conditions’ in a flat in the city on Tuesday.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2017 18:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Partha De,De family of Kolkata,Kolkata's Robinson street
Partha De’s charred body was recovered from the toilet of a flat where he had been living for the past few months in Watgunge area in west Kolkata. (HT File Photo )

The De family hit the headlines in June 2015 after two of its members were found living with the skeletons of a female and their two pet dogs in Kolkata’s Robinson Street for six months.

Partha, the sole surviving member, wasfound dead under ‘mysterious conditions’ in a flat in the city on Tuesday.

Had filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock been alive, the De family could have surely been a subject of a psychological thriller. Rarely does one come across a family that displayed such a penchant for the occult, mystery, voodooism, and the macabre.

Here’s what made them bizarre:

1. Partha’s 77-year old father Arobindo committed suicide on June 10, 2015. The father’s suicide brought the police to the house andunveiled the grotesque story that left the nation shocked.

2. Both father and son killed themselves in the same gory way. They set themselves ablaze and chose toilets for the dreadful end.

3. The family lived in an eerie atmosphere in the spacious house. Hymns were played out in slow dulcet voices from hidden speakers in the rooms that were illuminated with lights that enhanced its mystery.

4. Partha used to have breakfast, lunch and dinner with his sister Debjani’s skeleton, offering it food and even sleeping in the same bed, after she died in November 2014. The father and son duo not only watched her wither away, but lived in the same room where her body, and the carcases of the two dogs, decomposed.

5. Debjani too took to the spiritual path, constantly prayed and gradually fasted herself to death with neither his father nor his brother taking her to a doctor.

6. After spending a few weeks at Pavlov Mental Hospital in Kolkata and then a few days with the Missionaries of Charity, Partha vanished from the public eye. People again came to know where he was only after he killed himself in an apartment in Watgunge in south-west Kolkata.

7. It appeared that Partha was struggling with himself and was going through a lot of turmoil. A book by the US-based preacher and motivational speaker Joel Osteen, ‘You Can, You will’ was found in his room, police sources said.

8. Partha, a trained software engineer, used to live alone in his new apartment. He kept to himself and did not interact with his neighbours.

9. All the members of the De family were introverts but were meticulous record keepers. After the skeletons were found in the second week of June in 2015, police found notes written in the handwriting of a female from a handbag to cracks in the walls, under the beds and corners of furniture.

10. The discovery of the skeletons triggered a frenzy among people in the state to make a beeline to visit the narrow lane in south Kolkata to have a glimpse of the house. It also boosted ghost tourism and the Paranormal Society of India-organised trips to haunted houses.

First Published: Feb 22, 2017 15:57 IST