On the occasion of Friday the 13th, an observance that has been partly fuelled by pop-culture and partly by urban legends, DT Next spoke to Chennaiites for a lowdown on moments that sent a chill down their spine.
Here’s our compilation of tales, or more appropriately first-person accounts from the crypt, that will have you trembling with fear. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
The spectre of friendship
In 2018, I rented out a flat with my college mates and the nine of us shared the house. One day, I was distraught after learning that one of my friends had passed away in a bike accident.
A few days after his death, many of roommates left for their hometowns. So, there were just two of us in the house. My friend was sleeping in another room and is a deep sleeper.
At about 2:30 am, I woke up to the sounds of someone breathing heavily over me. The sound quickly filled the room and I heard the door creak open. I woke up startled and found everything seemed to be in order. I went back to sleep, lying on my stomach.
Suddenly, the door banged with a thud and I felt an immense weight on my back. The sound of heavy breathing weirdly filled the room once again, and I struggled to free myself.
After much struggle, the weight and the eeriness in the room disappeared. To this day, I remember every detail of that night, and it has scarred me for life. — Akshai Keran, an engineering graduate
Now you see me, now you don’t
My sister and I experienced something unnerving as kids aged 10 and 13. Prior to a family trip that we had planned, my sister and I were sleepless with excitement.
At midnight, we heard a loud bang on our bedroom window. At first, we thought it was a thief and we ran to our parents’ bedroom to inform them. When they came to the room, there was no one by the window.
My parents decided to check the CCTV footage and found nothing either.
But my sister and I are convinced to this day that we remember seeing an apparition, more specifically, that of a human hand on the glass. — Almas Tarsiya, Student
I have an innate sense of detecting good and evil energies in any given space.
In the first few days of us moving into a new home, everything seemed normal. One night, I woke up to the feeling of someone crawling over me. And there was no one in the room, other than my sister.
Through the fabric of my blanket, I tried seeing if it was an intruder. When I saw no one, I panicked.
As my muscles tightened, I was stung by a stench the likes of which I have never experienced before. I just shut my eyes and waited for the moment to pass.
The presence eventually passed and I went back to sleep without even bothering to look out of my blanket. The next morning, when I woke up, I found my hand fan made of peacock feathers, torn and scattered into pieces. — Paras A, Professional
For adventure seekers who just can’t get enough of thrills, and the unexpected chills, don’t even dare venturing out into these spots once night falls:
De Monte Colony:
The stories of hauntings in De Monte Colony take us back to Madras. John De Monte, a Portuguese businessman, had settled in the South with his wife and son, who suffered from an unknown mental condition. When the duo died under mysterious circumstances, locals believed the area was cursed by De Monte’s misfortunes. During late evenings, people have reportedly claimed to have seen apparitions moving across the road. Some accounts even describe a wailing woman at the doors.
During the day, Broken Bridge appears to be a lovely spot for selfies and for panoramic vistas of the Bay. But during the night, it is recommended that you steer clear of visiting this place by yourself. Broken Bridge is infamous for an unsettling feeling that it brings about in people after sundown. On many occasions, corpses have been recovered from the spot.
Theosophical Society Grounds:
During dawn, this veritable spiritual epicentre of Chennai form a canopy on visitors. During the night, the grounds of the Theosophical Society assume an otherworldly aura. The shadow of the trees look ominous and visitors have often reported being followed by phantom presence.