Hastings House is an ancient, beautifully made house situated in Alipore, Kolkata. It was built in the late 1700s as a country house for Indian first Governor-General under the British rule, Warren Hastings. Even though it is a structure from decades ago, it is still talked about, not for its history, but its ghost stories. Over the years, many tales of firsthand spooky experiences at the Hastings House have been passed on from person to person.

Residence of Warren Hastings, Governor-General of India, at Alipore, Kolkata.

Many talk about hearing horses trotting outside the building at the dead of the night, and if one was curious enough, they’d peer outside only to see the ghost of a carriage pulled by four horses with a man on it. The carriage either halts or just disappears entirely. Past residents of the building have said that they’ve heard quick footsteps in the entrance hall along with glimpses of the shadows of a man hurrying about from room to room, as if in search of something. To understand the entire story, we need to dive in a bit into Warren Hastings’ history.

Warren Hastings was appointed as Governor-General in 1773, but after ten years of service, he was impeached. That led to him resigning and moving back to England.

Warren Hastings FRS, Governor-General of India (1772-1785)

Apparently, while his belongings were being taken back to England, some of his personal documents, that were said to have sentimental value, were left behind. It is said that it is these documents that he, or rather his ghost, comes back to look for. One of the earliest records of haunting experiences at the Hastings House came from a dweller of Kolkata (then Calcutta) at the time, Paul Bird. Night had fallen as Paul was returning home from work. He was driving past the Hastings house in his buggy when he saw a carriage coming towards him. He stated he had clearly seen the lamps of his buggy shine on the carriage. It turned to its left towards the house, but when Paul went the same right after, the coach had vanished. He would have written off this incident as nothing special if it had not been for his wife, who was watching out from the window waiting for his husband’s arrival, who had later asked if he’d seen the coach too. Aside from the carriage, kids of past residents were said to have seen a soldier, clad in a red and white uniform, standing in their rooms. Sounds of peculiar laughter were also apparently heard in various corners of the house.

Governor-General Hastings with his wife, Mary Hastings at Hastings House, Kolkata.

It is said that a little boy died in the oval outside the building while he was playing football with his friends. The ball hit his chest with excessive force, and he died on the spot and his friends panicked and left him there. People say his ghost waits there for his friends to return and play with him. In the 1930s, a horse racer by the name of Williams resided in the Hastings House. He was said to have been very passionate towards the sport and to have treasured his horses more than his own family. But one day, one of his horses, a beautiful white horse named Pride, was shot dead in the house grounds. Sights of a white horse galloping about the house have been seen since then. Although we’ve come so far scientifically and technologically and debunked even the strongest of myths, we still have an affinity towards things that cannot be explained. We love the thrill and curiosity it brings to us, which is why tales and mysteries like these keep up the eerie reputation of the Hastings House to this day.