Phantasm Sighting5 mins 132 5 mins 132
I entered the gates of the dilapidated ageless mansion with a certain apprehension!
It was evening, and the fading sunlight was playing hide and seek in the edifice in various nooks and corners, pathways, broken down the veranda, staircases and all around. The inside from the doorway looked dark and forlorn. The inner view from a few scattered windows presented the same picture. The overgrown trees and shrubs surrounding the structure for miles gave a depiction of closed, forbidding and scary greenery!
This mansion had a long history of being haunted! Stories abounded; it was difficult to understand what exactly made this creepy place!
I looked around. Subhash, my friend, too, was doing reconnaissance.
We wanted to experience a night’s stay in this structure. Our objective: Find ghosts! Are they for real?
We must be some millionth ghost seeker in this century!
“This place has something frightening, I am sure,” I said.
“Don’t jump to conclusions! Let the night pass.” Subhash was the daredevil between us two. He was a staunch disbeliever of this phenomenon.
This was his idea after friends had a stormy argument in the college cafeteria the day before. “There is no ghost… ever,” was his final words, “… no more arguments. We will prove it tomorrow!”
“But…” Rohit, another friend, had smiled, “....it is well known that if you go looking for ghosts ... you will never see one”.
That evening we were prepared for the night. The sun was going down fast- long winter night was coming on.
We entered the mansion through the main door, cleared the cow webs, kept handkerchiefs on our nose to ward off the dust of god knows how many years, walked through numerous rooms, corridors and corners, negotiated a few flying bats and ultimately found a small room which had only one door but was relatively clean.
We settled in for a long wait.
“How long do you reckon?” I looked at Subhash.
“Your guess is as good as mine! God Knows!” He seemed dismissive. The darkness was by then absolute, night creatures were making noises, and the winter fog seemed to be taking its grip. Worse it was leaking through the openings and making the atmosphere increasingly cold & hazy. Our only flickering candlelight seemed to be fighting a losing battle.
Some hours must have passed; we were dozing off, not exactly keeping a tab on time when suddenly we heard a low moan! It was as if some person was suffering!
We were immediately alert, looked at each other and after a silent nod got up. With our torches switched on we took our bearings and moved.
Subhash was ahead.
Crossing a long corridor and coming near a room from which the low moan appeared to have come, we paused. The door was partly open, but it was pitch dark inside.
Subhash pushed the creaking door in and flicked the flashlight beam around.
I gritted my teeth, my heart was palpitating painfully, felt short of breath, and sweat formed on my forehead!
.....God knows how Subhash was feeling.
At first, we witnessed nothing, but in the moving light caught a glimpse of someone lying on the ground in the far corner! Turning the light, an old man with a white sheet covered up to his chin, came into our view. His snow-white hair and flowing beard contrasted with the darkness. Only the most pathetic sight was his pinched-up thin face, showing despair and deep pain.
He groaned once more.
We moved swiftly into action.
“Who are you? What happened?” Subhash touched his forehead. “My God, he is burning with fever.”
The old man muttered,” please help me...I think I'm dying … give me water.” He started gasping for breath.
I ran out of the room towards our room to fetch the water bottle.
When I came back, Subhash was kneeling at the side of the man, holding his hand.
I opened the bottle and gently poured water in his mouth. He suddenly shuddered and closed his eyes. His feeble body became still!
I reached for his pulse, but it was over! The poor man had died!
“What should we do now? “I looked at Subhash with trepidation.
This was something we never expected.
“Let us not waste any time, this man is dead, we must do something...inform the police.”
I nodded, and we came out of the mansion, carefully finding our way through the darkness and reached my car, parked nearby.
The police said that they would act and asked us to go home.
I dropped Subhash near his hostel gate and drove off to my house, thinking of the unexpected anti-climax to our search for ghosts.
The next morning, I was awakened by my mobile ringing. It was bright and sunny; no traces of fog and the time was 9.20 a.m. I was acutely late due to our night adventure!
The call was from one inspector Rathod whom I remembered we met during the night. “You should immediately come to the police station.” He seemed disturbed.
I entered the room of Rathod; he was pacing up and down.
“What is the problem? I looked at him feeling slightly troubled. Police were not supposed to get agitated.
Rathod sat down. “You know who we found when we went to that old mansion around 6.00 a.m. after you, and your friend came to us?
I stared at him.
“There was no old man in that room; dead or alive; instead, the dead body of your friend was lying there!”
Was this the experience of ghost sighting we had expected! Could any rational explanation be given for this?
Tears for Subhash swelled out of my eyes!