SteamPug Writers: Nusaira Amreen Hassan
Bangladesh has an assortment of monsters with fascinating back-stories. From the wetlands of Chalan Beel to the beaches of Bay of Bengal, the country is filled with tales of the supernatural.
Begho Bhoots of Sundarbans
Walking among the trees of the largest mangrove forest in the world, one would assume that the scariest entity one could encounter is the Royal Bengal Tiger. However, Sundarbans is not only home to one of the fiercest mammals to ever walk on the earth, it is also inhabited by the wretched souls of the people who were killed by these tigers. These vengeful spirits, known locally as “Begho Bhoots” are said to lead human beings to the same fate they themselves suffered by taking them to their deaths at the paws of the tigers.
According to the inhabitants of the surrounding villages, the “Begho Bhoots” lure unsuspecting people, who venture into the forest in search of honey or wood, by mimicking the roar or growls of the tigers, and then ensure that the people end up in the claws of the tiger. One of the most famous Begho Bhoots is rumored to be a Lady in White, who photobombs the pictures of tourists. While the story in itself could be a fabrication due to the advent and easily accessible photo-shop, the mangrove forests hold more than just a diverse collection of species of plants and animals. Given the dwindling number of Royal Bengal Tigers, the roars heard in the mangrove forests by visitors could very well be the Lady in White and her entourage of Begho Bhoots.
The Incomplete Lalbagh Fort
Over three-hundred years old, the rhapsodic building stands as the oldest establishment in an area already filled with ancient buildings. Although the visiting hours for Lalbagh Fort ends at dusk, the heritage site only comes alive at night, when the fidgety and talented spirit of Pari Bibi takes advantage of the dark to take the center stage and sing and dance. However, according to local legend, this female ghost has also made appearances during the day time in recent years. The nocturnal spirit, also known as Iran Dukht, was the daughter of the Subahdar, Shaista Khan.
Originally known as Aurangabad Fort, Lalbagh Fort was being built under the supervision of Subahdar Mohammad Azam Shah, when he was called back to Delhi by the king. His brother and Pari Bibi’s father, Shaista Khan succeeded him but could not manage to complete the building either. And while the building itself is a testament to the grandeur of Mughal architecture, Lalbag Fort was considered to be cursed as Pari Bibi died there, which led to her father abandoning the plans of its completion. And now, 332 years later (Pari Bibi died in 1684), the former Aurangabad Fort, which includes a mosque and the tombs of Pari Bibi and Diwan-i-Aam, is a major tourist attraction. And if the stars align, then Pari Bibi’s spirit may regale a lucky visitor or two with her singing and dancing performance.
The Cursed Boat of Kuakata Beach, Barisal
The sandy beach of Kuakata in Barisal lies between the pristine water of the Bay of Bengal and the dense forest of Gangamati, which holds deep, dark secrets, including a buried boat with hidden treasure. However, it is said that the ghosts of a man and his son jealously guard the boat and its contents.
Legend has it that years ago, the man and his son ventured into the forest in search of wood to be used as fuel. After rigorous toil, they were overcome with thirst and as is the custom, they decided to dig into the sand to look for a source of water. However, instead of being able to quench their thirst, the father-son duo discovered pieces of hard metal, which they deduced to be gold. Seized with the greed of gaining immense fortune, they dug deeper till they found a boat, laden with distorted gold coins. But unfortunately, their dreams of attaining great wealth remained unfulfilled as the corpses of the unfortunate man and his son were found in the next morning by the inhabitants of the surrounding village. Their deaths remain unexplained but it is believed that they were punished for trying to rob the doomed boat of its contents.
The accursed boat is still said to contain gold coins, but no one dares to go near it lest they should face come face to face with the thirsty pair of father and son.
The Djinns of Cholon Beel
Cholon Beel, spread across four different districts of Bangladesh, is not only famous for being the largest wetland in Bangladesh, it is also known for being haunted by entities known as djinns. The djinn is believed to be an entity belonging to a different realm that can easily take the physical form of any object or living thing, including a human being. According to beliefs, any kind of sweet smell or the odor of rotten flesh from an unknown source is the indication of the presence of Djinn.
The Foy’s Lake: The Shadowy Woman In Black
Foy’s lake, the largest man-made lake in the country, is surrounded by the hills of Chittagong. On one of the sides, towards the curve of the old hill, the area remains mostly void of any visitors, who dare not cross the path of the Woman In Black. The shadowy mysterious woman, dressed in all black, is a malevolent spirit who restlessly roams the grounds of Foy’s Lake, looking for people to attack. It is widely rumored that she drowned in the lake and came back from the dead to punish everyone who visits Foy’s Lake.