Shimla has always been a well known and one of the favorite cities of our country. Back when British ruled the county, they liked this small town so much to even called it their summer capital. Presence of the British and remnants of that era can be found here even now in form of the marvelous buildings; structures that still stand firm long after the English have left. Thousands of people visit Shimla throughout the year. Some people come here to spend some time away from the busy metro life; some to find an escape from the scorching heat of the plains; and a lot many to enjoy the scenic beauty all around. One place however that not many people know exists in this beautiful town is the Charleville Mansion; a house that has long earned the reputation of being haunted and a place for supernatural.
As a matter of fact, Charleville Mansion is not the only place; or the only time when presence of ghosts has been talked about in Shimla. One of the highly acclaimed writers, Rudyard Kipling, has also talked about his experience with supernatural in Shimla in his work “My Own True Ghost Story”. There are a few places in this beautiful which have been reported as haunted by several people but the most famous tale is that of the Charleville Mansion.
It all started back in October 1913 when a British by the name of Victor Bayley arrived in Shimla; after getting appointed as Assistant Secretary of the Railway Board. He along with his wife was looking for a place to rent which was comfortable, had a good location and was not too high on rent. As luck would have it, Charleville Mansion happened to be available at that time at quite an affordable price. Victor and his wife both liked the house very much and decided to move in immediately. When they inquired about the reason for such low rent, they were told of an interesting tale; which in the end they both chose to ignore completely.
Prior to Bayleys, Charleville Mansion was occupied by an Army officer. This officer was well aware of a poltergeist presence in the house and had been through several disturbances during his stay here. All the supernatural disturbances however were limited to just one room on the upper floor which the officer had kept locked as long as he stayed here. One night, he heard a loud crashing noise or thud from the room and when he opened it to check, he found the room in a complete state of disarray. Everything in the room had been turned upside down; furniture thrown against the wall and mirrors broken; as if a storm had just passed through there.
This was more than the officer could handle and immediately vacated the house very next day. The house sat vacant for a long time after this and the next residents were Victory Bayley and his wife.
The Bayleys were made well aware of the incident and the scary stories related to the place. They however took little notice of it and moved in nonetheless; and lived here for an entire year, most of which was event-less except for one incident which forced even them to move out and live elsewhere.
They had hired a local Muslim as domestic help and had great faith in him. The servant too remained devoted to his masters and proved quite reliable. So much that Victor Bayley and his wife were in the habit of often leaving the house in his care and attend parties; or go out for long duration. One such night, when they were out for a dinner party, the servant was back home waiting for them to return. As he was going through the household chores, he noticed an English gentlemen walking around in the house. There was nothing sinister or scary about it though, just a man walking from one room to another in the house; as if searching for something.
Thinking that his master had returned, he called out to him a couple of time. The walking man however did not hear or notice him at all and walked through a closed door; like a spirit or ghost would; completely vanishing into thin air. Having witnessed it with his own eyes, the poor servant was completely shaken and narrated the entire incident to Victor Bayley after he returned. The very next day, Bayley and his wife too decide to vacate the place.
Also read: The Haunted House of GP Block, Meerut
Thus is the tale of Victor Bayley, his wife and their stay at Charleville Mansion. The house has been tagged as haunted ever since. Not much is known after the Bayley incident but it is said that there were several other occupants of the house and they all had their own experiences to share. An English lady was known to have bought the house and stayed here till 1947. After India gained its independence, the lady sold the house to an Indian family. This is pretty much where the story ends.
Charleville Mansion Shimla Location / Address
Is it all true? I do not know but one thing is for sure. Finding Charleville Mansion in Shimla is quite a cumbersome task and no one can tell you for sure where it stands. The picture below usually gets passed on the web as that of Charleville but the claim is entirely incorrect. It is just broken down old house near Mall road. Someone posted it on the web, called it Charleville Mansion and the picture just got passed along named as such.
Is Charleville Mansion really Haunted?
True or not, the history and spooky tales of the mansion are interesting indeed. To test the authenticity of course you will first have to find the house which I had no luck trying to. Interestingly though, there is another place by the same name and that too is famous as haunted. Charleville Castle in Ireland too has some interesting spooky stories related to it which I will cover in a different article.
The stories of the past may or may not be true; but one thing that stands out is there is no violence here ever. All the ghost stories were merely sightings reported by several people; but none of the so called “ghosts” every tried to harm or kill anyone. The last owner of Charleville was said to be an Indian; so it is highly possible that he has long remodeled the house and now calls it by a different name. Charleville now is just a name that lives on without any actual or physical presence.
Have you been to Shimla or Charleville Mansion? Have you hear of another story or would like to share an experience of your own? If yes, then please feel free to do so either in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I would love to hear it.