The Haunted Bungalows of India

boocheekara, an Indian ghost

Once again I am astounded at how much ghostlore from foreign shores has been lost over the years. Whilst I am familiar with the Indian bhoot, I am completely ignorant of the boocheekara – an apparition – and a term which frequents the following article from an 1883 edition of ‘The Graphic’. The piece tells us much about the haunting of Indian bungalows by boocheekara et al and what fine distant cousins of the British ghost they are! (Note: Due to the poor quality of the original newspaper scan, I have hand-typed the article and must apologise for any typos that have crept in.)

From The Graphic, 1883

The haunted bungalows of India

The notion of Indian houses being haunted is, on first thought, rather ridiculous. Nevertheless, there is scarcely a station in Hindustan which has not its haunted bungalow, or, at the very least, some old house in which the demon of pestilence has taken up his abode. This goes to show that houses need not be of any great age to suit a ghostly occupant, for there are few houses of any great antiquity in India; but it must be confessed that, when a ghost once selects a bungalow for his castle, it is the very mischief to get him out of it, even with the aid of priest, book, and candle. Nor is this self-determination the only peculiarity of Indian ghosts. They appear to the appalled beholders by sunlight as well as by night, and are apparently indifferent to the time of day whenever it suits them to revisit the earth. A curious and very well authenticated instance of this disregard of the hour is that of the ‘afternoon ghost’, which punctually appears at sunset in a certain house in Madras.

On the Poonamalee Road in that town there is an old tumble-down sort of bungalow, in which no one cares to dwell because of an apparition which is credibly said to appear there of an evening as regularly as clockwork. Military men, clergymen, and others, have testified to the fact of this singular apparition’s appearance; and the story is so well known in Madras, and has been so often discussed, that it may perhaps be set down as one of the best authenticated ghost stories on record. Continue reading