You can’t get to the 13th floor of the Trident Hotel at Nariman Point because there isn’t one.
In fact, it is not uncommon for skyscrapers in Mumbai’s commercial district -- like Hoechst, Maker Chambers and Atlanta -- to exclude 13 when numbering their floors.
However, urban legends and local superstitions in haunted Mumbai go beyond mere triskaidekaphobia.
Stories of ghosts, unexplained serial suicides, abandoned mills, haunted houses and territorial widows in white saris determined to make people’s lives miserable from the afterlife, populate a large unofficial body of local folklore.
Despite the catalog of gruesome urban legends, Mumbai is a city with its head on its shoulders; a city with too much grit to capitulate to ghost stories.
No one will ever stop driving down the winding road from the Tower of Silence that offers one of the best views of the city; and the price of an apartment at Grand Paradi will surely frighten a Mumbaiker before any old story about spiteful spirits.
1. Grand Paradi Towers
Arguably the most famous haunted Mumbai house is situated in one of the city’s most affluent areas.
On the eighth floor of the Grand Paradi Towers in Kemps Corner, a series of freakish suicides drew attention to what appeared to be a gruesome pattern of deaths and accidents in the building.
In 2004 an elderly couple jumped out of the window of this apartment. Their children and their grandchild followed suit within the year.
“There was something unacceptable to our rational minds that a whole family, three generations, living in one house should commit suicide in the same way," says a resident who has lived in the building for 30 years. "There have been up to 20 fatal accidents and suicides since the building was constructed in 1976. Many involving children and even a maid who either jumped or fell out of a window."
After the series of unfortunate events the building society began to believe that paranormal forces were at work.
“After the suicides of the family the building society decided to do a puja and a havan (prayer ceremonies) and since then everything has stopped but the flat remains unoccupied," another resident tell us.
2. Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Located on the northern fringes of Mumbai, this large protected area is usually where visitors go in search of wildlife.
There are rumors however, that at night people see a phantom hitchhiker.
Dubious as this sounds, forest guards insist it's true.
3. Mukesh Mills
Shut down in 1980, this enormous abandoned mill in Colaba has been the shooting ground for numerous Bollywood films and advertisements.
Deserted and rundown, Mukesh Mills is a ready-made set for horror films and Gothic shows, especially considering the mills are actually considered to be haunted.
Many directors, actors and producers refuse to work here past sunset.
One television actress claimed to have had a particularly bad experience when one of her female co-stars suddenly began speaking in a manly voice, as if she were possessed, telling the crew to leave the premises immediately.
Others say this haunted Mumbai area is jinxed and people are always losing their belongings, wallets and phones.
Mukesh Mills will soon be demolished and replaced by a new high-rise residential and commercial complex and a five-star hotel.
4. Tower of Silence
Sounds ominous doesn’t it? The Tower of Silence is actually a Parsi cemetery situated rather picturesquely on Malabar Hill in South Mumbai.
Custom dictates that Parsis leave the bodies of their dead for vultures to feed on.
The graphic images that come to mind lend themselves to all sorts of horrifying stories.
The winding road that leads down the hill is particularly desolate and eerie at night and the place has become recognized as a kind of ghoulish hangout.
The weird happenings at the Grand Paradi Towers for instance, were blamed on spectral forces emanating from this cemetery.
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The Chained Oak, Alton,
A great deal of mystery surrounds Alton's Chained Oak, it has undoubtedly existed in it's present state for some considerable period of time but you will not find any information about it in any local history book or guide (or web site until now). The only source of information is word of mouth from the locals.
As can be seen from the photograph above. The tree is an oak of some considerable age with branches, for whatever reason, chained up to each other. The chains have been in place for some considerable period of time as the tree, in places, has grown around it. The tree also has a set of stone steps leading up to it. one thing is for sure, and that is, that someone has spent much in the way of time and resources to create what is now something of a mystery.
Probably the most interesting story is one which has also been adopted by nearby Alton towers for one of their new (in 2000) attractions, "The Hex".
During a stormy night in 1821, Charles Thomas Talbot, the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury was making his way, via the baraby gutter, to Alton towers (his ancestral seat) in his carriage and was accosted on the way (at the site of the tree) by a beggar woman asking for money. The Earl refused and ordered his servants to drive on, at this the woman placed a curse on the Earl "for every branch that falls from this tree, a member of your family will die". That night the storm worsened and lightening struck the tree causing a branch to fall. Also that night a member of the Earls family suddenly, and inexplicably, died. The next day the Earl sent his workmen to chain up the remaining branches of the tree so that no more should fall and where the chains remain to this day.
It should be noted that on my last visit to the tree (early 2000) a branch had fallen (note the empty loop of chain in the centre of the picture above). Perhaps a descendant of the Earl has recently shuffled of their mortal coil?
So that's one story, take it or leave it. If you know of any other stories please let me know (e-mail)
The official Alton Towers site can be found at AltonTowers.com
TEL: 0845 201 3994