One would expect this to be another convoluted trap of the Blue Whale game. But a similar uncanniness has engulfed Uttar Gangarampur, a village in Howrah’s Uluberia subdivision. As dusk descends, the village is masked by an eerie silence. The narrow village road is deserted by 6.30pm. Only the sound of TV sets and hushed voices are audible behind closed doors and half shut windows. This spooky situation has taken over Uttar Gangarampur for the past month. The villagers choose to stay indoors for fear of being cast by the spell of evil ghosts on the prowl in their village. So far at least four youths have tried to commit suicide by hanging themselves from a village tree, presumably under spell of the spirit. The village is in Ward 31 of Uluberia Municipality.
Belief and fear started growing in the minds of the villagers after a series of deaths took place in Uttar Gangarampur. Three youths, including a teenager, all died within one-and-half-month of each other. Two more died after prolonged illness and another two committed suicide. A fortnight ago a young woman also died mysteriously. Villagers believe that all this is the doing of an evil spirit that may be casting a spell on the youths, driving them to commit suicide, similar to the consequence faced by Blue Whale participants.
“My son is a class eight student of a local school. A few days back he tried to commit suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling of our room. We stopped him but he became hysteric. He kept saying that the spirits of those who had died mysteriously had haunted him and told him to commit suicide and join them. He also said that the spirits have taken shelter in a neem tree on the outskirts of the village,” said Swapan Singh, a farmer.
After this incident at least three other teenagers also tried to commit suicide in the same way and each narrated the same story about the spirits. Since then, the villagers have stopped crossing the neem tree, even in the day.
Gita Singh, a housewife, whose house is a few yards away from the neem tree said, “I peeped through my window last evening and saw a trolley-van kept under the tree, moving back and forth by itself. I immediately shut the window and was trembling in fear for almost 10 minutes.”
When contacted Anshul Gupta, SDO, Uluberia, said, “I am not aware of any such incidents. I think the villagers are misleading you.”