Rudyard Kipling, who wrote about attractive figures in exotic places, penned a ghost story. Every famous author did one, with varying results. Roald Dahl tried it. He found the last page (of his ghost story) not good enough, so he changed it to a children's tale. The author of "James and the Giant Peach" did a thorough research, and found out that the best ghost stories were written by female writers. It would involve emotion and a sudden twist, which could be associated with a fickle mind. A man wouldn't be known for both.
Kipling conducted an experiment during his travels in South Asia. The earthy colors and imposing temples fascinated him, but something piqued his curiosity. Pobby corpses hidden in trees. Women who died in childbirth. Little children who have been thrown into wells. Their spirits hid in the crops near a village and would call seductively. And then he discovered something in Grand Trunk Road (in Allahabad). The dÃ¢k-bungalow might not be for everyone.
â€œThe rain and the wind splashed and gurgled and moaned round the house, and the toddy palms rattled and roared. Half a dozen jackals went through the compound singing, and a hyena stood afar off and mocked them.â€
"My Own True Ghost Story", which was first published in 1888, didn't reveal Kipling's lack of respect for Indian culture. His background made him wondered about the places he went. In the case of the Katmal dÃ¢k-bungalow, there was a cemetery nearby. The sound he heard from the next room startled him. It happened one night.
How about Kipling's sense of adventure?
The author of "The Jungle Book" might not fancy Mehrangarh Fort, the largest of its kind in Rajasthan. A look at the Kikila cannon would reveal a panorama of Jodhpur, which could be breathtaking at dusk. Kipling would see it differently.
It could be the old castles in England, with eerie tales to discourage people from going there. In the case of King Henry VIII, he renounced Roman Catholicism in able to marry Anne Boleyn. Not a few saw it as a turning point, as the English churches began to lose its color. Ghastly details would follow. It reminded Kipling after his countless visits to the Hindu temples. The Ellora Caves, the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture, may be an exception.
"My Own True Ghost Story" was a journey into unfamiliar territory. The remains of the dead might be everywhere. Kipling could have described the warring kingdoms, which Alexander and his army witnessed it at first hand. It could be the Mongols, even the Tartars. But what he heard may allude to the British Raj. A paranormal investigation shouldn't be discounted.