Indian Ghost Stories by S. Mukerji
THE MAJOR'S LEASE.
By questioning them Mr. Hunter got so far that the house had at one time been occupied by a European officer.
This officer had a young wife who fell in love with a certain Captain Leslie. One night when the husband was out on tour (and not expected to return within a week) his wife was entertaining Captain Leslie. The gentleman returned unexpectedly and found his wife in the arms of the Captain.
He lost his self-control and attacked the couple with a meat chopper--the first weapon that came handy.
Captain Leslie moved away and then cleared out leaving the unfortunate wife at the mercy of the infuriated husband. He aimed a blow at her head which she warded off with her hand. But so severe was the blow that the hand was cut off and the woman fell down on the ground quite unconscious. The sight of blood made the husband mad. Subsequently the servants came up and called a doctor, but by the time the doctor arrived the woman was dead.
The unfortunate husband who had become raving mad was sent to a lunatic asylum and thence taken away to England. The body of the woman was in the local cemetery; but what had become of the severed hand was not known. The missing limb had never been found. All this was 50 years ago, that is, immediately after the Indian Mutiny.
This was what Mr. Hunter gathered.
The 21st September was not very far off. Mr. Hunter decided to meet the ghost.
The night in question arrived, and Mr. Hunter sat in his bed-room with his magazine. The lamp was burning brightly.
The servants had all retired, and Mr. Hunter knew that if he called for help nobody would hear him, and even if anybody did hear, he too would not come.
He was, however, a very bold man and sat there awaiting developments.
At one in the morning he heard footsteps approaching the bed-room from the direction of the dining-room.
He could distinctly hear the rustle of the skirts. Gradually the door between the two rooms began to open wide. Then the curtain began to move. Mr. Hunter sat with straining eyes and beating heart.
At last she came in. The Englishwoman in flowing white robes. Mr. Hunter sat panting unable to move. She looked at him for about a minute and beckoned him to follow her. It was then that Mr. Hunter observed that she had only one hand.
He got up and followed her. She went back to the dining-room and he followed her there. There was no light in the dining-room but he could see her faintly in the dark. She went right across the dining-room to the door on the other side which opened on the verandah. Mr. Hunter could not see what she was doing at the door, but he knew she was opening it.
When the door opened she passed out and Mr. Hunter followed. Then she walked across the verandah down the steps and stood upon the lawn. Mr. Hunter was on the lawn in a moment. His fears had now completely vanished. She next proceeded along the lawn in the direction of a hedge. Mr. Hunter also reached the hedge and found that under the hedge were concealed two spades. The gardener must have been working with them and left them there after the day's work.
The lady made a sign to him and he took up one of the spades. Then again she proceeded and he followed.
They had reached some distance in the garden when the lady with her foot indicated a spot and Mr. Hunter inferred that she wanted him to dig there. Of course, Mr. Hunter knew that he was not going to discover a treasure-trove, but he was sure he was going to find something very interesting. So he began digging with all his vigour. Only about 18 inches below the surface the blade struck against some hard substance. Mr. Hunter looked up.
The apparition had vanished. Mr. Hunter dug on and discovered that the hard substance was a human hand with the fingers and everything intact. Of course, the flesh had gone, only the bones remained. Mr. Hunter picked up the bones and knew exactly what to do.
He returned to the house, dressed himself up in his cycling costume and rode away with the bones and the spade to the cemetery. He waked the night watchman, got the gate opened, found out the tomb of the murdered woman and close to it interred the bones, that he had found in such a mysterious fashion, reciting as much of the service as he could remember. Then he paid some _buksheesh_ (reward) to the night watchman and came home.
He put back the spade in its old place and retired. A few days after he paid a visit to the cemetery in the day-time and found that grass had grown on the spot which he had dug up. The bones had evidently not been disturbed.
The next year on the 21st September Mr. Hunter kept up the whole night, but he had no visit from the ghostly lady.
The house is now in the occupation of another European gentleman who took it after Mr. Hunter's transfer from the station and this new tenant had no visit from the ghost either. Let us hope that "_she_" now rests in peace.
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The following extract from a Bengal newspaper that appeared in September 1913, is very interesting and instructive.
"The following extraordinary phenomenon took place at the Hooghly Police Club Building, Chinsurah, at about midnight on last Saturday.
"At this late hour of the night some peculiar sounds of agony on the roof of the house aroused the resident members of the Club, who at once proceeded to the roof with lamps and found to their entire surprise a lady clad in white jumping from the roof to the ground (about a hundred feet in height) followed by a man with a dagger in his hands. But eventually no trace of it could be found on the ground. This is not the first occasion that such beings are found to visit this house and it is heard from a reliable source that long ago a woman committed suicide by hanging and it is believed that her spirit loiters round the building. As these incidents have made a deep impression upon the members, they have decided to remove the Club from the said buildings."