By Talha Siddiqui

The moonlight shone on the doorknob, making its slanting rays the only light in the room. It was just past midnight and I was stranded at my grandma’s house. Just as I thought some light was good to dispel the pitch darkness, the knob started turning!

A burglar I thought… nothing to steal from this place miles away from civilization though.

The door creaked open and, clad in pure white with hair hiding her face, coming closer with a restricted gait, she said, in a harsh, deep voice…

“I have been waiting for you Rahul”.

I am sure you have heard many similar stories from countless Rahuls throughout your life.

Paranormal incidents give us a connection to a world we all know could exist, but would like to believe doesn’t. Of the paranormal protagonists, the woman in white, the old stooping man in grey, the headless soldier, the tall white bearded man and the beautiful lady in red are probably the most common. Any paranormal activity fosters a lot of interest and many people often ask, “Is there a haunted place somewhere around here?”

Well! In Delhi, we have made a habit out of finding things at the most unusual places. Be it a perfectly preserved monument in the middle of nowhere, or a less warranted haunted house in the middle of a posh colony. Just like its string of little known monuments, Delhi does boast its share of spooky tales. This journey begins at the most unlikely of places

Greater Kailash |

W-3 GK 1 is your classic haunted house; it is also the latest addition to the eerie joints in Delhi. Around 20 years ago, an elderly couple was murdered here, their decomposed bodies found months later in the underground water tank. The relatives came forward to claim the house, but it was left deserted due to property issues. W-3 has built its reputation as a paranormal sounds center. People have heard sobbing, chilling screams and many other inexplicable sounds emanating from the house. Once, on my way to GK- 1 I did come across a forlorn house, and wondered why was it was so. Little did I know I was within touching distance of the haunted.

Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb, Mehrauli Archeological Complex |

Now it may sound like the Mosque is named after two Turkish Djinns, but on the contrary, it is named after a great Sufi saint and poet, Shaikh Jamali Kamboh, and his best aide, Kamali. Their bond has been eternized in the tomb they share next to the mosque. People who visit have reported being slapped and, almost like adding insult to injury, being pushed thereafter. Apart from the minor violence, sounds of animals growling, raging fights and laughing women have also been reported. A group of ghost hunters recently found a red triangle glowing on the mosque during the night, but its significance has not been deciphered as yet. As the park remains closed during paranormal rush hours, it becomes difficult to get hands-on experience of the spooks, but upon request, the ASI is willing to let you have your adventure. Just pack a lot of lights {as it gets really dark}, in addition to much-needed guts.Or you could gather the courage {you’ll need lots of it} to explore this next place…

Delhi Cantt.|

Delhi Cantt. finds a mention on the all India list of most haunted places. Our paranormal protagonist here is a woman in white who comes out of the lush green and seeks a lift from passers-by.  If she is denied, she reportedly chases them, even reaching speeds equal to their vehicles, and sometimes overtaking them! It is widely believed that she was a hitchhiker who got lost in the forestry, or an unfortunate incident occurred, leaving her dead in the greenery. It is not so much the Spirit that gives this place its distinction, as it is the frequency with which the sightings are reported.

Apart from the stories, Delhi Cantt. is not a place for the faint hearted at night. It gets eerily silent and, on the whole, bears a haunted look.

Khooni Darwaza |

A place with a name such as this has got to be haunted, and Khooni Darwaza does not disappoint. People have reported blood dripping from the ceiling during monsoons, and voices screaming out during the night. The monument gets its name from a cold-blooded murder committed by one William Hodson. Here, three sons of Bahadur Shah Zafar were shot at point blank range when William was in charge of disbanding the rebellion of 1857 for the British. The spirits of the three princes still float about within the monument.

Lothian Cemetery |

Cemeteries have a reputation of being the most common settings for ghost stories. Even Mr. Grim Reaper lives in a cemetery. Doesn’t he?

The Lothian Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Delhi. Many who died during the 1857 revolt were buried here, including Gen. Nicholson, who was shot in the head, which assumingly disfigured his head. Now Gen. Nicholson spooks people at night. Another headless soldier story is that of a young Englishman who shot himself after his love, an Indian woman, failed him when she was married off to a local.

But Lothian Cemetery looks deserted and creepy even in daylight. Adding to the overall spook factor is the looming presence of a strange looking woman who sits under a tree and offers you a drink. She is not seen everyday, but is known to appear often.

Sanjay Van |

Many might be unaware of the existence of this place, leave alone knowing it to be haunted. Sanjay Van, squeezed between Vasant Kunj and Mehrauli, is an excellent habitat for many resident and migrating birds. The DDA had taken steps to make this an ecological park, but the reported presence of a woman in a white sari swinging on an old Peepul tree might have deterred them. I was there with a group of 50 birders in February for the Big Bird Day, and had great sightings of at least 20 species of birds, but unfortunately it was too bright and too hot for our lady in white to make an appearance.

On the brighter side, one significant place that was declared “unhaunted” was the Red Fort. Many years ago, The Custodian of the Red Fort, Asghar Ali Khan, saw ghosts of Mughal princes and princesses when he was doing rounds during the night. The Army tried to bury the issue by saying that some army personnel were playing pranks on the old man. But Mr. Asghar swore sanity and challenged the Army’s version. It was later revealed that the Army was trying to bury the issue because it was in the public eye. What happened of the ghosts, no one knows, but by the sheer number of daily visitors, it is safe to assume that the Red Fort is safely “unhaunted”.

It is irrelevant whether you believe in ghosts or not. These places will give your valor a run for its money, if challenged to a nocturnal adventure. I, for one, am signing off to listen to loud music, and hoping for the sun to be out an hour early tomorrow.

Note from the Editors: these are urban legends, and we mean no insensitivity towards anyone or their family.

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