The Horror Story Unfolds
- Established at the behest of a Santhal queen in 1962, in tribal-dominated Purulia district of West Bengal
- Closed down in 1967, allegedly because it was ‘haunted’
- Locals virtually cut off from train services—the nearest train station now 43 km away
- Reopened in September 2009 on the orders of Mamata Banerjee who says she “does not believe in ghosts”
Was it a woman in white crossing the tracks in the dead of night who sealed the fate of Begunkodar? The same spectre that a railway guard sighted, shortly before he died “mysteriously”, in the best traditions of detective pulp fiction? Or was it mere mortals—mischief-making local goons dressed up in white sheets—who drove railway staff away from this tiny station in West Bengal’s tribal-dominated Purulia district over four decades ago? Maybe it was neither: the ghost story, some suggest, was conjured up by creative employees itching to get away from this back-of-the-beyond, middle-of-the-paddy-fields place on the Bengal-Jharkhand border. Another facetious theory attributes it to insurgents keen to disrupt rail links at the heart of the Naxal belt.