Indian Ghost Stories by S. Mukerji
THE BRIDAL PARTY.
Those who had received a blow or two averred that the blows could not have been given by invisible hands inasmuch as the blows were too substantial. But all of us were certain that it was no trick played by a human being.
The passing horses and the whispering passers-by had given us a queer creepy sensation.
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In this connection may be mentioned a few haunted houses in other parts of India. There are one or two very well-known haunted houses in Calcutta.
The "Hastings House" is one of them. It is situated at Alipore in the Southern suburb of Calcutta. This is a big palatial building now owned by the Government of Bengal. At one time it was the private residence of the Governor-General of India whose name it bears. At present it is used as the "State Guest House" in which the Indian Chiefs are put up when they come to pay official visits to His Excellency in Calcutta. It appears that in a lane not very far from this house was fought the celebrated duel between Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of India and Sir Philip Francis, a Member of his Council and the reputed author of the "Letters of Junius."
While living in this house Warren Hastings married Baroness Imhoff sometime during the first fortnight of August about 140 years ago. "The event was celebrated by great festivities"; and, as expected, the bride came home in a splendid equipage. It is said that this scene is re-enacted on the anniversary of the wedding by supernatural agency and a ghostly carriage duly enters the gate in the evening once every year. The clatter of hoofs and the rattle of iron-tyred wheels are distinctly heard advancing up to the portico; then there is the sound of the opening and closing of the carriage door, and lastly the carriage proceeds onwards, but it does not come out from under the porch. It vanishes mysteriously.
To-day is the 15th of August and this famous equipage must have glided in and out to the utter bewilderment of watchful eyes and ears within the last fortnight.
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There is another well-known ghostly house in Calcutta in which the only trouble is that its windows in the first floor bedrooms open at night spontaneously.
People have slept at night for a reward in this house closing the windows with their own hands and have waked up at night shivering with cold to find all the windows open.
Once a body of soldiers went to pass a night in this house with a view to solve the mystery. They all sat in a room fully determined not to sleep but see what happened; and thus went on chatting till it was about midnight. There was a big lamp burning on a table around which they were seated. All of a sudden there was a loud click--the lamp went out and all the windows opened simultaneously. The next minute the lamp was alight again. The occupants of the room looked at their watches; it was about 1 A.M. The next night they sat up again and one of them with a revolver. At about one in the morning this particular individual pointed his revolver at one of the windows. As soon as the lamp went out this man pulled the trigger five times and there were five reports. The windows, however, opened and the lamp was alight again as on the previous night. They all rushed to the window to see if any damage had been done by the bullets.
The five bullets were found in the room but from their appearance it seemed as if they had struck nothing, evidently the bullets would have been changed in shape if they had impinged upon any hard substance. But then this was another enigma. How did the bullets come back? No man could have put the bullets there from before, (for they were still hot when discovered) or could have guessed the bore of the revolver that was going to be used.
On the third night to make assurance doubly sure, these soldiers were again present in the room, but on this occasion they had loaded their revolver with marked bullets.