By Shivnetri Kushwaha
Ever encountered the unpleasant emotion of threat of the evanescent, or ever contained knowledge of the presence of that perceived as, although, physically nonexistent but one with access to the sight of you? The intense sensitivity to the phantom which does not belong to us- to the mortal world, yet to that which has the power to control one?
Every little place possible on Earth has a history, the antecedent conditions it owes its origin to. Some have a tragic story to relate, some have that with a happy note and others with an incoherent hint of the presence of the paranormal. There are certain places with bone-chilling stories which give an insinuation of the presence of the metaphysical world. Those are the places believed to be possessed.
Uttarakhand, the Dev Bhoomi, too, has places with such dark history, contradicting the very meaning of the name implying ‘Land of Gods’. The beauty of this magnanimous state is such that the cliff faces of its Himalayan region escalate the adrenaline rush of the adventurers providing a range of adventure activities. However, this adrenaline rush may not be owing to only the fun sports but another element also which Uttarakhand is utterly famous for i.e. the existence of the paranormal. The evidence of the same is as under:
- Lambi Dehar Mines- “Souls Still Suffering”
One such story is of one of the oldest mines of the state named Lambi Dehar Mines. These are the mines which are located in the outskirts of Mussoorie and form a deserted patch of land. They are said to have been shut down long ago owing to the too frequent deaths of the workers that took place here back then. It can be believed that the misfortune took place due to lack of proper safety measures for the workers working under hazardous conditions. Further leading to the abandonment of the area environing mines by its locals. It is said that it is the spirits of the dead workers as well as their family members (who are found to have been mysteriously disappeared) which continue to haunt this place. One being not sufficiently enough this place holds another story to spook one’s senses out. The story is that of a witch who apparently strolls down the hill every night. This has been witnessed quite a time by the people residing nearby, besides hearing of eerie screams and outlandish noises.
- Hotel Savoy- “where her hunt for the murderer continues”
A hotel famous for its Gothic interiors and luxurious style of comfort known to be visited by some of the most prominent personalities of the pre-independence period. However, Hotel Savoy has more stories to relate than mere stories of its grandeur. It is said that a British Madam named Lady Garnette who once came to visit this hotel was mysteriously murdered amidst her stay in there. It is pronounced mysterious as her only companion, Miss Mountstephen had already left for Lucknow when Lady Garnette was found dead inside her room locked from within. Her autopsy revealed the presence of prussic acid in the body which was again bizarre as no suicide letter had been found close by. The doctor responsible for Lady Garnette’s autopsy, moreover, had also been killed a few days post her body’s examination with the presence of somewhat the same acid found inside his body, too. It is said that the two were killed due to the presence of the supernatural element which owed its existence to Lady Mount Stephen’s black spells. The spirit of Lady Garnette is said to be witnessed in every room of the hotel with an intent of her murderer’s search. The hotel continues to haunt its visitors with apparitions of Lady Garnette’s ghost and her eerie screams.
- Pari Tibba- “The doomed love affair”
It is natural to have the name of a place with meaning quite contradictory to its connotation and that is what Uttarakhand is legitimately famous for, owing to the abovementioned reason i.e. it being a home to several haunted places despite a sacred name. The name Pari Tibba implies ‘the hill of fairies’, albeit, is a hill believed to be haunted. It is a densely wooded hill located to the south of Mussoorie’s Legendary school, The Woodstock. This place is unusually prone to lightning strikes which is said to be an alleged force of the paranormal. The sight of a massive copse of lightning struck trees servesas an evidence of the presence of the phantom believed to be ruling the stretch. It is also believed to be possessed by the spirits of a couple whose relationship had doomed to fail after lightning struck their bodies to death in these woods. Their singed bodies were recovered days later, however, their anguished souls seem to be still wandering about.
- Mullingar Mansion- “Man living in the present as if it is the past”
Mullingar is Mussoorie’s oldest building constructed in the year 1825. It is said to be haunted by the spirit of an Irishman, Captain Young, who built it and who was also the Commander of the first Sirmoor Battalion of the British Indian Army. Captain Young returned to Ireland after retiring from his services, however, he doesn’t seem to have really left. His spirit, at least, certainly does not as according to stories, an apparition of a phantom rider is seen roaming in the large compound of the Mullingar Mansion on full moon nights. It is said to be none but Captain Young himself revisiting the place he built on his own and considered home. He is known to be a man in Mullingar who is living in the present as if it is the past.5. Haunted House- “a house with all the rights to earn the reputation of being called one”The name itself makes the paranormality of the place pretty obvious. It is this crumbling skeleton of a long abandoned colonial bungalow in the Sister’s Bazaar, a forested area located at a distance of 3 km above the famous mall road in Mussoorie which is also quite famous for its long walking trails and picturesque scenario. The name of the Bazaar alone creeps me out, let alone the long-forsaken bungalow in the middle of it. The bazaar, although, has nothing too spooky about it as it was simply named after the nurses of British Military and during the British rule, this area was inhabited by the nuns and hence it got this name. However, mention of the term ‘nun’ is likely to give me chills ever since the release of ‘Conjuring 2’ (The latest of works I witnessed any ghost nun in). Getting back to the Haunted House , the only reason why we even started talking about the Sister’s Bazaar in the first place, it is its narrow path edged with lofty deodar trees which usher you to the very bungalow and makes the appearance of it even more unearthly. This area is found to be of umpteen relevance for the ghost hunters as it has passed all tests of being possessed.
It is technically certain that these places have been possessed as they’ve passed the paranormal investigation. Nevertheless, anecdotes of unnatural elements like a bizarre change in temperature (which is certainly not because of the cool breeze of the hills as, for instance, entering into a hallway walled from all sides is supposed to be making you feel relatively warmer) or change in the wind speed following a specific rhythm as if it is to convey something or some pungent smell, make it impossible for one to deny the existence of the paranormal world even on a personal level.