the inspector-in-charge of Khardah police station, got the shock of his life when he picked up the phone on Monday afternoon. The agitated voice at the other end pleaded with the inspector to rush to his aid as soon as possible. Was it a thief? A local tough? A fraudster? No. Ratan Das, the caller, was complaining of ghost attacks in his house.
Das said strange things were happening in his house at Midland Place in the Rahara area over the past fortnight. Often, family members saw household items toppling out of shelves. "One day, the door of our refrigerator suddenly developed cracks and fell off. We also saw flower vases trembling and falling on the floor without anyone even getting near them," complained Das, a clerk at Barrackpore court.
If that was scary enough, worse things were reserved for the family. A few days ago, Das' daughter Rima, who will sit for Madhyamik next year, was reportedly pushed hard from behind and she fell on the floor. But there was no one standing behind her. "My books were also set on fire last week," said the frightened girl.
But the last straw was when the Dases noticed on Monday morning that a corner of the bed had caught fire and the almirah doors had swung open. All the clothes inside shirts, sarees and other garments had been cut up in different sizes. Das called up the police in a few hours.
"My family and I are under tremendous mental trauma. The ghostly happenings are posing a threat to our lives. My wife and daughter are so upset that they want to leave the house right now. Please come and help me," Das said.
The Khardah inspector went to the house with his team. News of the ghost attacks had spread like wildfire in the area and curious neighbors had gathered there to see what was going on.
Some local social activists, who heard of the incident, also arrived at the house to find out what was happening. They found the house in a mess, with the mattress on the bed half-burnt.
Police suspect that some neighbours may be behind the mischief. "We are trying to give the family moral support and probing who is causing trouble," said an officer.