KOLKATA: A group of rationalists in West Bengal have recently busted a nearly half-century-old myth of a ‘haunted’ railway station by camping there the entire night with police protection and finding that it was the locals who created this myth to boost ‘ghost tourism’ and then loot the tourists’ belongings after scaring them away.
Begunkodar railway station in Purulia district of West Bengal came in Indian Railways records as one of its 10 ‘haunted’ railway stations in 1967 after passengers deserted it when the station master reportedly died after seeing a white sari clad woman walking along the railway tracks.
The railway station remained shut for 42 years until 2009 when Mamata Banerjee reopened it during her tenure as railways minister. However, nobody stayed back at the station after 5 pm every day. This scare-mongering also created a flourishing ‘ghost tourism’ fuelled by urban youngsters who dared to stay a night at the railway station.
Nevertheless, a nine-member team of rationalist organisation Paschim Banga Bigyan Mancha, armed with torches, digital compasses and cameras, camped at the railway station on Thursday night with police protection to find out the truth.
“We camped at Begunkodar Railway Station from 11 pm on Thursday night till early hours of Friday morning but our cameras or compasses did not record any signs of paranormal activity. However, at around 2 am, we heard a peculiar sound from behind the station building. When we threw torchlight at that direction, we saw a group of men behind a bush making that sound. We chased but could not nab them. We suspect that this group of locals might be behind looting the youngsters who were lured by adventure of ‘ghost tourism’,” said the rationalist group’s leader Nayan Mukherjee.
Purulia superintendent of police Joy Biswas said that night-patrolling in the area has been increased and efforts were also being made to create awareness over the public address system.