A group of rationalists spent a winter’s night in a small, obscure railway station in Purulia district of West Bengal to bust the myth that it was “haunted”.
They found no paranormal presence, but a few local people tried to scare them away, Nayan Mukherjee, who led the team, said on Saturday.
Begunkodor station, near the Ayodhya Hills and 50 km from Purulia town, had earned the distinction of being a “ghost station” after 1967, the year its stationmaster reportedly died after seeing a woman clad in a white sari walking along the tracks at night.
Passengers deserted the station and it had come to be known as “haunted” in Railway records. Begunkodor had been closed since then and was listed by Railways as one of its 10 ‘haunted’ stations in India.
The station was reopened 42 years later in 2009 by Mamata Banerjee during her tenure as Railway Minister. Since then, trains have stopped here but passengers use it only till 5 p.m., fearful of encounters with the ghosts.
A nine-member team of the rationalist organisation Paschim Banga Bigyan Manch, armed with torches, digital compasses and cameras, camped at the station with police protection, and busted the myth.
Mr. Mukherjee said they had heard a peculiar noise from behind the station. “When we focussed torchlights on the surrounding bush at around 2.a.m., we saw four or five people, who appeared to be local people, fleeing from the spot. We chased them for a while but they ran away.”
The station was being touted by certain people for some time as a ‘ghost tourism’ spot to attract visitors.