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The Woman On The Bow


Before this story begins, I want to put out that the supernatural element of the story is very limited and all the ways it can be something "mundane" are numerous. Also, some context is due.

This story takes place during the May of 2015, in Ratargul, inside the Haor system of Sylhet, Bangladesh. A Haor is an area consisting of hundreds if not thousands of water bodies. During winter, these water bodies stay separate. During monsoon, they swell up and connect to each other. More than half of Bangladesh is covered in irregular Haors; Haors that don't swell up every year. The Haor system of sylhet is a giant, measuring 25000 km², broken into three main regular ones, Hakaluki, Tanguar and Nikli. These Haors are connected by streams. This story takes place in the Tanguar Haor. Specifically the Ratargul Drowned forest of Tanguar Haor.

I was thirteen at the time, recently finished my Junior School Certification Exam and free. My father was working in Sylhet cadet college as an assistant professor. He heard of the Haor nearby and decided to visit it to reminisce his childhood. My uncle, my father's younger brother, also decided to join. Unfortunately, there were complications in the cadet college and my father could not join us.

We hired a Sampan boat with a shade, along with the boatman, for a four days tour. It was not a motor or a sail boat. The boatman had an oar. We'd eat and sleep in the boat and we would visit several popular places adjacent to Tanguar Haor, such as Bichnakandi, and Sari river.

Our first two days went well. We ate and slept in the boat. Food was very spartan, and very tasty. The Haors are large, but since it's mostly rain water, it is transparent. At some points the depth is twenty meters, at some points it's more than a hundred. You could see the different water based plants that grew on the bottom, from the surface. Much of the noon would be spent under the shade of the Sampan, as there is no shade in the Haor.

The incident occurred during the night of the second. We were supposed to go to the Ratargul swamp forest to spearfish at night, using the light of the on-board lamp as baiting. It was an excellent spot because the water is crystal clear, and because of the trees, the fishes down there could get quite big.

It was also where our boatman chose to rest the boat that night, as the trees break down any currents that could lead the boat astray.

The idea of spearfishing at night was a bad idea. Our boatman had warned about the mosquitoes of the swamp forest, but we didn't comprehend it was quite that bad at night. Neither did our boatman anticipate our resolve to be so poor.

We hunted in five spots and caught four Rohitas in three hours, 7: 00 pm to 10: 00 pm, before my uncle went into the shade, which had been secured with mosquito nets. I kept around for half an hour more, before I followed him back in. I fell asleep shortly after as spearfishing gets you all tensed up.

At night, I woke up to the sound of soft singing. I sat up and saw someone siting on the bow. It wasn't the boatman, as he was sleeping between me and the wait to the shade. It took me little while to gather my bearings and a while more for my eyes to properly adjust.

It seemed to be a woman, with long black hair, facing away from me. She wore a saree the old style, aka without the blouse and stuff. I knew because I could see her back. I cannot say what color of saree because the moonlight wasn't nearly enough for that. I could tell you the color was deep. She was rocking left and right while singing.

I yelled, "who?" She stopped. I felt like she was about to look back at me, but she just stopped. Then she rolled sideways into the water. I heard the splash of her hitting the water surface.

Like any sensible person I tried to crawl out of the shade and find out what just happened. But when I was about to crossed the boatman, he grabbed me and pulled me down. I do not remember his precise words, but what he said was something along the lines of, "Don't go near the water. It'll drag you down."

So as to say, I didn't go. I just squirmed back to my spot and curled up.

Nothing happened for the rest of the night. In the morning, there was no one around. We got out of there before the morning became noon.

We enjoyed the rest of the tour, but I was on guard the whole time.

Our boatman told me that it is something that happens to the boat community as often as once a month in those areas. It is simply that the community depending on the Haor is poor enough for it not to matter.

Ratargul is a very dense forest that still has undiscovered parts despite it's small size, due to how hard it is to travel through it. What do you think that was? Do you think it was just a crazy woman pranking people?

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, FarEndofSpectrum, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

FarEndofSpectrum (5 stories) (34 posts)
6 months ago (2020-09-03)

In Bangladesh, every supernatural incident is attributed to a djinn. We do have our own folklores and mythical creatures; and they are well known and popular. But they're all considered either myths or djinns in various shapes.

I can tell it was wearing a Saree from the fact that portion of it ran down from its shoulders. I don't know for sure what it was wearing.
blancdada (1 stories) (17 posts)
6 months ago (2020-09-02)

It actually depends, I would also believe it was a djinn if it was the one often in your country. I'm just basing my opinion that it was a siren because she sings and she was in the water, and they are actually common. 😊

Usually Sirens are depicted not wearing anything on top and they have long hair, and by the way, I don't know what a saree is, I had it looked up in google. Sorry about that.
FarEndofSpectrum (5 stories) (34 posts)
6 months ago (2020-09-02)

No, this happened near sylhet. My other incident happened near sundarbans.
FarEndofSpectrum (5 stories) (34 posts)
6 months ago (2020-09-02)

Most people I know told me it was a djinn. Maybe it was a siren. Do sirens wear saree?
garry1984 (6 posts)
6 months ago (2020-08-26)
Hi bro is this story happened in area nearby Sunderban. If yes please reply or call me
blancdada (1 stories) (17 posts)
6 months ago (2020-08-26)
Thanks for sharing a good story FarEndofSpectrum 😊

I believe what you saw was a Siren (Sirena in Hispanic and Tagalog) because of the facts that it was, and near, the water and she was singing at night.

Sirens are usually mythological creatures and are always there in most countries folklore, I wouldn't be surprised that your country has that too. And it was partly amazing and REALLY scary that you happen to encounter one.

Hope you share more stories in the future. ❤
FarEndofSpectrum (5 stories) (34 posts)
6 months ago (2020-08-26)

It seems as if a lot of lore are global. Sirens are quite similar to these as well.
FarEndofSpectrum (5 stories) (34 posts)
6 months ago (2020-08-26)

Perhaps it preys on us.

And thank you for enjoying it and telling me what you think.
Triskaideka (2 stories) (388 posts)
6 months ago (2020-08-20)
Reminds me of rusalka (Slavic) or nøkke (Danish). I think the water spirit who sings and drowns people is... Well, seems to be lore for it all over the world. Wish I remembered some others. The water spirit who sings to lure then drown people seems to exist everywhere.
t_bev (3 stories) (32 posts)
6 months ago (2020-08-17)
Hell FarEndofSpectrum,

I agree that this doesn't seem like some residual haunting; the whole act of the singing before rolling over the side seems purposeful and an attempt to entice you away from the others and to the edge of the boat.

With that said, I really enjoyed the story. It's believable and full of details without seeming over-embellished. Great read!
FarEndofSpectrum (5 stories) (34 posts)
7 months ago (2020-08-11)

I suppose. Most of the people I've asked have told me different things. The most popular answer is that it was a djinn.

My father and mother are both from Rajbari, Faridpur.
jester (3 stories) (24 posts)
7 months ago (2020-08-05)

Could be a water spirit or some suicide / drowning case.
Not some residual haunting as Sasanaa has suggested.

They are vengeful.

These occurrence are pretty common in Bengali countryside. I heard so many incidents from my parents.

Father side is from Dhaka and mother side is from Barisal (undivided India), so that would explain it to you.

FarEndofSpectrum (5 stories) (34 posts)
7 months ago (2020-07-30)
Hello Sasanaa

Yes, it was an extremely puzzling experience for me. Experiences of the paranormal variety typically tends to be puzzling. And I prefer to thank the boatman in regard of his actions. I had offered him extra money after the tour, but he refused to accept. Some people, I guess.
Sasanaa (1 stories) (5 posts)
7 months ago (2020-07-29)
Hi FarEndofSpectrum,

That must be a puzzling experience for you. May be it is something like a residual haunting. Thank God that the boatman saved you from going near that woman.
Thank You for sharing your experience.
Good luck to you ❤
FarEndofSpectrum (5 stories) (34 posts)
7 months ago (2020-07-27)
Excuse me, dear readers. I have made a mistake (that I missed during the spell checking). The depth of the haor isn't twenty meters to more than a hundred. It's two feet to more than a hundred. The water lands are usually very shallow. Thank you.

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