By Sandip Roy, Oct 31, 2009 1:10 PM
Listen to this commentary on NPR.org
Every day at dusk, I go around the house turning on the lights.
My grandmother did it. My mother still does it. It’s well-known that twilight is the perfect time for wandering ghosts to sneak into the house.
Haunted houses in India don’t have just one ghost. It could be a whole family. There are shankchunnis and petnis, ghosts of women unlucky in love who wear saris and pounce on eligible young men. Brahmodoityas are the ghosts of Brahmans, and might bless you or curse you. The skondhokatas are the headless ghosts of people who died in train accidents. They sound terrifying, but because they don’t have heads, you can trick them easily. But you have to watch out for the very dangerous nishi, who call people by name in the dead of night and lead them away, never to be seen again.