There is not one cemetery in the world that is not supposed to be spooky. And sometimes, people associate some places with a cemetery to spread the word of it being haunted. Any story that comes to mind? I’m talking about the story of our school being built in a cemetery. And if you have those graves behind the chapels of the school, then that serves as icing on the cake. We used to sneak into the backyard just to read the words carved on the stones. Anyways, so as you have got the hint that the article is going to be about a cemetery but it is not just any cemetery, it is the oldest cemetery of the country’s capital Delhi. We’re talking about the Lothian cemetery.
Lothian Cemetery, established in the 1800s (or probably older than that!), is the oldest Christian burial ground in Delhi. This is the very burial ground that was used by the East India Company to bury its soldiers and their families. The Lothian Cemetery is situated very close to the General Post Office and a Railway Bridge. It has the famous Qutb Minar on one side and Kashmere Gate on the other side.
There is a kind of spookiness in the air of this cemetery which cannot be described in words because of the old and dilapidated graves all-around maybe but it does give off a feeling of being haunted and that is the reason people hear these stories which I will be narrating you in this article.
So what is the special thing about this cemetery that is so significant? The Lothian Cemetery is the oldest among the three cemeteries in Delhi; the other two being the Delhi War Cemetery and the Nicholson Cemetery which are situated close by. This cemetery accepted interments from 1808 to 1867 and was mainly where the British buried their soldiers, their wives, and children who died in the cholera outbreak of the 19th century.
There are even graves of newborns that did not even live to see an entire year! The cemetery also has graves of the British soldiers who died during the Revolt of 1857 which was primarily against the rule of the East India Company in India.
The environment of the cemetery is soothing but it can turn eerie real quick. The graves are not in a well-maintained state and the Archaeological Survey of India only started the maintenance of the place in 2017. Most of the headstones have either been chipped or broken and unreadable due to years of exposure.
Only 15% of the plaques are readable presently so there isn’t much information as to the number of prominent people buried there. But you do find a massive tombstone over the grave of Sir Thomas Dunnes. The building above his grave is a dome-shaped roof supported with eight pillars of sandstone which was constructed by Colonel James Skinner in honor of his dear friend.
There is an ancient Celtic cross to welcome you when you enter the cemetery which is a cross-shaped structure to symbolize the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. There is a guard that comes every few days to sweep the leaves away from above the graves. Headstones broken, cemetery covered with dried fallen leaves and a huge Celtic cross, a perfect background for a haunted story that can never fail to scare the soul out of people.
What is more petrifying is that this burial ground accepted Muslim interments before the 1800s and the graves were shifted to make room for the Christian burials! Now, this adds to the horror, doesn’t it?
Coming to the part of the stories related to this cemetery, people believe that there is a famous ghost named Sir Nicholas who roams above the graves. This Sir Nicholas has a very sad story attached to him. Rumors say that Sir Nicholas fell in love with an Indian woman and wanted to marry her but he later found out that she was already married to someone else. Unable to contain his emotions of sorrow and pain, he shot himself in the head and died. He was buried in the same cemetery and is said to roam as a headless man or a man with his decapitated head in his hand in the cemetery painfully crying out for his love.
Another ghostly story that is associated with Lothian Cemetery is that people who visit the cemetery often find a small English boy asking them to find his parents but the child vanishes into thin air right after! Imagine standing in a cemetery surrounded by graves and there is this boy who comes to you crying for help and then suddenly- whoosh! He disappears!
There is a third story that would be the most terrifying than both of them. The third story goes on that since the Muslim cemetery was converted into a Christina burial ground and the graves were shifted this might have caused pain to the souls and the spirits wake up at night for Retribution! They wake up to fight for their share of land with the other spirits that wander in the area.
Because of these stories floating around, Jay Alani, a popular paranormal investigator, and TEDx Speaker while speaking to the New Indian express shared his experience of spending nights at the cemetery said that he saw no Sir Nicholas walking around and floating above the graves or even sharing his pain with Jay!
So now you know from a professional that these stories are just rumors. However, these stories have had little impact on people whatsoever because encroachment is the main challenge for the Archaeological Survey of India. Families who do not have a home have started living here among the graves and making even the cemetery their home.
The Lothian Cemetery has a lot of history connected to it and it should be counted among the heritage site. That is the reason why the Archaeological Survey of India has taken the initiative to renovate the place. This cemetery has also become a perfect spot to spend some time surrounded by calmness and people have started frequenting the place.
You can see many content mongers too roaming with their camera trying to make their audience familiar with the place selling these haunted stories about the place, you might see lovers spending some time in solace and privacy and some people living there.
However spooky a cemetery might seem, it is not sure that the “spirits” are there to harm you or the “spirits” just roam about at night or are kind of nocturnal. If “spirits” actually do live in Lothian cemetery because they are unable to achieve salvation, you can also meet them during the day. An appointment at night is not necessary. So, go and meet them, hear their stories and maybe share them with us!