Vaibhav, Prashant, Deep and I have been very good friends since childhood and have spent some great time together. I haven't met them lately though, since Deep in now in the Middle East and Prashant in the US. Vaibhav is the only person currently in India whom I meet sometimes when I am in Mumbai.
During one of our summer vacations, we decided to go to Goa (a popular tourist location in India), stay there for a couple of days and then explore the coastal stretch along the National Highway 17 (NH-17) from Goa to Mangalore along the West coast of India. This stretch along the NH-17 has some of the most beautiful beaches in India. One such beach which deserves a special mention is the Marvante beach in the state of Karnataka where you have the sea on one side, a sweet water lake on the other side with the National Highway-17 going in between the two. A beautiful unique sight to behold.
Coming back to my story, a vacation of around 2 weeks was planned. We would spend around 5 days in Goa and then explore the NH-17. Vaibhav, who has spent his childhood at a town near Goa, promised us a unique experience which he did not want to disclose at that point in time. He told us that everything would be revealed in due course. Though we were quite puzzled, no questions were asked and we landed in Goa as scheduled. We enjoyed ourselves immensely in Goa visiting beaches like Calangute, Baga, and Anjuna etc for around five days & also feasting on the local seafood delicacies available. At the end of the fifth day, we hired a car from Goa and started exploring the NH-17. We explored the entire NH-17 stretch from Goa to Mangalore and immensely enjoyed the experience. On our way back, we stopped at Karwar, a town which is at a distance of two hours from Goa. This is where Vaibhav finally made his revelation. He told us that he would take us to his ancestral home which was located nearby. He said that it would be an experience of a lifetime for all of us since the place was haunted. Deep & I were very excited but Prashant was very apprehensive initially but we finally convinced him to come along with us.
It was a thirty minute drive to his place after taking a detour from the NH17. Vaibhav's ancestral home was a huge place roughly covering around ten acres of land. No one from Vaibhav's family stays there at present. There is a caretaker, a local, who maintains the place for occasional visitors like us. Vaibhav told the caretaker, Ganesh of our plans to stay in the house that night and also told him to arrange for dinner. Ganesh smiled and requested us to stay in the living room only. He also told us of the power cuts which might occur unexpectedly at any odd hour.
It was a huge house and seemed big enough to house fifty people at any point. It had a big living room and an even bigger dining area. There were around six bedrooms on the ground floor and six more on the first floor. It was a huge place indeed. Vaibhav told us that this house was built more than 100 years ago and close to three generations of his family had lived there. The main reason for his bringing us there was to give us a firsthand experience of a night in a haunted house. The spirits of some of his ancestors could still be seen there or their presence felt at specific locations in the house. Everyone except Prashant was excited about it.
As promised, Ganesh served us hot dinner at around 7.00pm and went home. Vaibhav then told us to move to the first floor. He opened the second last bedroom down the corridor and asked us to come inside. This was one of those locations in the house where paranormal occurrences were felt. Just as we had settled comfortably inside, the lights went out. Cursing the power cuts, we lit a small lamp which Ganesh had given us. The lamp was placed in the center of the room and we sat around it chatting. We began to pull Prashant's leg and joked about him being frightened. We were all tense but this talk helped us relax a bit. Everything seemed normal for some time and we were convinced that nothing would happen that night when suddenly something happened.
Deep and Prashant felt a sudden chill inside the room in spite of the fact that all the windows were closed. The chill was so severe that they started shivering and their teeth were literally chattering. Vaibhav and I felt nothing at all but were very alert. After about a minute things normalized but we could hear footsteps just outside our room, in the corridor leading to the stairs. We carefully opened the door and looked outside. There was no one in the corridor but we could hear unsteady footsteps slowly moving towards the stairs clearly moving downwards. Apart from the lamp that we had, the whole house was pitch dark. I quickly pulled out a flash light from my sack and flashed it in the direction of the footsteps. As soon as I did that, the footsteps stopped, everything was calm for a few seconds but suddenly we could hear the footsteps retracing the path traversed, moving up the stairs and coming straight towards us. This feeling scared the hell out of us and we immediately rushed inside the room closing the door behind us. We moved to the farthest corner of the room waiting anxiously. We clearly heard the footsteps come up to our door and then slowly move back towards the stairs & below. It seems as if the spirit was irritated by the disturbance caused by my flashlight.
It took us around 15 minutes regain composure, Vaibhav then suggested that we go to the Library on the ground floor where we might be able to see the spirit of his great grandfather. At least that's what was told to him. We slowly navigated the stairs in the dark and reached the ground floor. We were happy that the sound of the footsteps was nowhere to be heard now. Vaibhav led us to the Library which was a spacious room adjacent to the dining room. It was pitch dark when we entered the room and we only had a lamp and my flashlight to guide us. We suddenly heard a noise in one of the corners and moved cautiously towards the source. A shadowy figure slowly emerged. It was a hazy at first, but slowly assumed the form of a man, perhaps in his mid sixties, wearing a kurta and pajama searching for some books/documents from one of the book shelves which was now empty. Prashant stumbled on a chair and fell on the floor making an awfully loud noise. But the spirit of Vaibhav's ancestor seemed blissfully unaware of our presence and carried on with its activity.
We had enough paranormal occurrences for the night and wanted to move to the living room which was considered free of spirits. But something unexpected awaited us as soon as we moved out of the library. Something which Vaibhav himself hadn't heard from anyone until date.
We slowly moved out of the library locking the door behind us. Suddenly we became aware of a presence in the corridor standing just ten feet away from us. It was an old woman probably in her eighties with a stern face, dressed in a sari which was probably used in the early 1900's. She was staring straight at us with an icy stare. Her authority in the house seemed unquestionable and she seemed to be concerned about our presence in the house. She then began advancing intimidatingly towards us. This really scared us out of our wits and all of us ran straight out of the house until we were in the open moonlight. When we looked back inside, the lady had vanished. This was too much for all of us to handle and we decided to spend the night outside. Vaibhav was really clueless about the last sighting which he had never heard before. The lady might have been one of his ancestors but this was the first time that she was seen there. One thing was however clear that she was a person of high stature in the family and had an aura of authority around her.
Vaibhav also told us that there was a deserted well near the house where a servant girl had committed suicide by jumping into it. Sometimes at night, a splash could be heard in the well followed by a loud wail. He asked us whether we wanted to go near the well to check it out. All of us had enough and refused his request outright. Thankfully no splash or wail was heard from the well that night.
We were wide awake all night. Ganesh came with tea and breakfast at around 5.00 am. He was surprised to find us all outside. After hearing our experience that night, he told us that he had experienced the footsteps and also seen the spirit in the library. However he too was clueless about the lady in the corridor. He also assured us that though the experience might have been scary, no one until date had come to harm because of the spirits.
We had experienced three paranormal occurrences that night:
1) Footsteps of an unknown person going down the stairs.
2) The spirit of Vaibhav's great grandfather in the library
3) First time sighting of an old lady, perhaps an ancestor of Vaibhav.
I thanked Vaibhav while returning to Mumbai for the unique experience which I can still vividly remember even to this day.