On my way to office, someone recounted an incident that at first created a sense of scare. It was about two journalists being physically assaulted at New Road. But it turned hard to believe because the story teller said that the assailant was not a revenge-seeking human being but a ghost. The sense of trust dissipated because almost all of the ghost tales are woven and spread by rumour mongers.
A large crowd gathered at the Peepalbot of New Road on Monday throughout the day, causing traffic jams and raising eyebrows of curious passersby. All eyes were zoomed at a five-storey house just opposite the Peepalbot to have a rare glace of the ghost. As the story of ghost apparition spread like wildfire in the city, more people rushed to New Road, making it hard for the police personnel to control the crowd and manage the traffic movement.
A young man in the crowd said, "It seems everyone is here to watch the ghost this afternoon. I called several of my friends and they said they are at New Road to watch the ghost. That made me come here, too."
When I visited the Peepalbot area around 3 in the afternoon, police were battling to keep the traffic movement normal. Vehicles coming from the Indrachowk area and heading towards the New Road Gate had been stopped. As earlier comers left after failing to sight any ghost, more people rushed in and joined the crowd. It was more interesting to listen to the tales recounted than staring at the house.
A woman said that a window of the house opened and shut automatically as she watched. As it was a windy April afternoon, it just could be the wind. Someone said that a Tantric scholar had entered the house to perform worship and propitiate the ghost.
The house was believed to have been haunted for long and scary things used to happen inside. It remained currently unoccupied because anybody who rented its flats could not stay there for long. The man in the crowd said that the ghost had beaten up the Tantric and Avenues Television journalists who accompanied him.
The seriously injured journalists were said to be undergoing treatment at the Bir Hospital. ‘Watch the news bulletin on Avenues at 6:30 in the evening, and every detail will be reported,’ somebody suggested. They also said that an Indian trader had come to open his shop in the house when an invisible being slapped him and threatened him not to visit the place again.
Someone in the crowd also came up with a conspiracy theory. He said that the ghost rumour was a design of the house owner to drive away the person who had leased the house for a few years on contract.
‘When you spread a ghost story and try to show that the house is haunted, the occupant will easily vacate it,’ he said. The rumour yarns went even farther and someone said that a policeman had entered the house, suspecting the assailant was a thief. The ghost snatched his pistol, he said.