Lurching in the dark – Shimla Ghosts want to be heard

Shimla: Buoyant after the collection Ghost Stories of Shimla Hills has become a bestseller, Minakshi Chaudhry is already working on a sequel that will share spooky and para-normal encounters by mountain folks, some of which have passed into folklore, while others are being penned down for the first time.

With Ghost Stories of Shimla Hills running in its 6th reprint, Minakshi says, ‘such a response has come as a pleasant surprise to me for when I was researching the book in 2005, many considered it an absurd topic and some of the people who claimed to have had a funky encounter with the supernatural were shy and reluctant to narrate the story.”

Do ghosts and witches exist? The author responds, “We do not know – perhaps we may never know. But yes Ghost stories do exist and I am writing these real tales.”

Having already written about 17 new ghost stories for the second collection, she says, “some unheard of ghost stories are waiting to be told and shared.” The book is expected to be on the shelves by April next.

She recalls, “after the first ghost story book was out, many people came up narrating fabulous stories of friendly ghosts and of scary ones but I never thought that I would revisit the subject again”

“Lest some good stories are left out this time, I’m trying to reach out to as many people as possible, hear out the scary tales, research the backdrop of the story and then zero down to adding it to the collection, she said.

Having written supernatural tales about Angrez Churail (British Witch), a woman whose family is known as Bhootwallahs, a girl possessed with that she would die in Shimla, a ghost of a local girl who takes revenge of her murder by an Englishman, a ghost who haunts the railway line and others that haunt old creaking houses or lonely bowris (wells),Minakshi says, “these stories throw light on the cultural, religious and supernatural aspects of hill folks.”

The research is based upon interviews with people who have had an unearthly experience with a spirit or ghost, visits to the sites, digging up official records and scanning references in local literature, history and folklore, said the author.

Dividing the ghosts into two categories, one part of the British legacy in the hills and others what she terms as native ghosts the author says, while the Anglo-Saxon ghosts appear to riding horses, hovering around lonely paths or guarding deserted houses and don’t harm any of those who cross their paths, the native ghosts are more appear interactive and are said to even harm their victims.”

The Shimla based author, who spent her formative years growing up in Nigeria, has got 9 books to her credit, which include ‘Exploring Pangi Himalayas: A World Beyond Civilization and Love Stories of Shimla Hills besides the best selling Ghost Stories of Shimla Hills.


Have a Ghost Story from Shimla Hills to tell, please let Minakshi Chaudhary know about it. She can be reached at 0177-2621754 and on email at minakshi_kanwar@yahoo.com. [The spooky tale could be from Kasauli, Solan, Sabathu, Dagshai, Chail, Theog, Narkanda, Kotkhai, Kotgarh, Rohru, Rampur or Nankari] Who knows which one may crystallize into a ghost tale in the latest collection.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik has nurtured Hill Post for over a decade. A chequered path had him drift from managing family owned apple orchards, to turning a documentary filmmaker, to a journalist - with India’s leading television networks and newspapers, to boot strapping in founding Start-Ups. He lives in Shimla.

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