The Manipal Phantom – A Detective Nag story: The Mysterious Ghost

ON a clear November morning, a limousine drew up in front of the police headquarters in Manipal, and out of it stepped a well-dressed woman. With evident embarrassment she mounted the steps, and once inside the building, entered the room labeled “Detective Department.”

“I am glad to meet you. Miss Fuller,” said Detective Dr. Lalith Nag. “In your letter you hinted at some disturbing affair that was occurring at your house; so be seated and tell me all you know about it, and I will see what can be done.”

Ms. Shanbhag was a stout, florid woman of thirty-five or forty. Her dress and demeanor indicated that she belonged to the well-to-do class. She was visibly embarrassed, and fidgeted nervously in the chair before the detective. “Let me assure you, my dear Ms. Shanbhag, that whatever you tell me will be treated as strictly confidential.”

“Oh, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it is so— so—unusual, and so liable to be misunderstood and to place me in an awkward position in case the gossiping public, and especially the horrid newspapers, should get hold of it. Dr. Nag,”—her voice sank to a whisper,— “it’s a ghost, and appears two or three times every week.”

“Hmmm! Well, suppose you tell the story from the beginning, and I will be better able to help you.”

“It started, Mr. Daniels, not more than two weeks ago. One night, at about half past eleven, I was looking out of the window of my room, when below in the garden I saw a strange object. It appeared to be the figure of a long, lean man, draped in white. With stately pace it made its way among the trees of my garden, and the pale, shifting moonlight cast a deathly pallor round it. Once I caught a glimpse of its face. It was snowy white, and the green moonlight, exhibiting each feature, revealed the ghastliest sight I can remember. I was too frightened to move till the ghost disappeared toward my neighbor’s place. My first impulse was to call my mother and the rest of the household; but a little reflection convinced me of the folly of such action, since a general panic might ensue. “

“At length, I determined not to mention my discovery at all, and meanwhile to see if the apparition would return. But unfortunately my plans went awry, for the very next night the cook saw the uncanny visitor; she swooned away, and in no time the house was in uproar. The cook quit my employment on the spot, and in a week my maid followed. Since then I have been at my wits’ end to provide domestic help. For myself, Dr. Nag, I wouldn’t mind if all the ghosts in the world promenaded up and down my lawn; but all women are not like me, and if it once became known that my house was ‘haunted,’ my friends would shun the place. I might give up the house; but I am unwilling to do so, for it is an heirloom which has belonged to the family for generations.”

“Can you assign any possible motive for these visitations ?”

“No; that is why I came to you. If the ghost was a blackmailer, I might have made terms with it. Several attempts have been made to catch it, but it has always eluded pursuit, disappearing toward the Kamath place, to the left.”

“I see,” mused the detective. “If I can catch this ‘ghost,’ my work’s done—”

“Oh, Dr. Nag, I hope it will not be necessary to arrest it and reveal the story to the public. My sole purpose in coming to you is to rid my home of this specter. Above all, allow no hint of it to appear in the papers.”

“Very well. Ms. Shanbhag. But before you go, let me ask you not to disturb the ghost; the more unsuspecting it is, the greater our chances are of settling this affair satisfactorily.”

Continued . . . The Manipal Phantom – A Detective Nag story: The Mystery Deepens

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Student,Teacher, Father, Pharmacologist, Chess enthusiast, Blogger and Right-of-center political views