#MuslimGirlCampfire: The Woman From Gizri
Gather around the campfire, #MuslimGirlClique, as we countdown to Halloween with the spookiest stories our clique has to offer! Check back on the daily to jump in fright to a new story every day…
The story below is based on alleged true events that transpired in the winter of 2002 in Karachi, Pakistan.
Deep in the suburbs of Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan, nestled between two tiny hills in ‘Defense Phase 4,’ lies a forgotten cemetery entrenched with forgotten souls. In a city whose population now unofficially kisses the 25 million mark, Gizri Graveyard is, for the most part, a nondescript cemetery situated in the upscale neighborhood near the Clifton Cantonment and Defense Housing Authority in Karachi. The graveyard’s long-term ‘visitors’ mostly consist of grandparents who have died of old age, or inescapable diseases.
There is one grave in particular, though, that lies high up along the south hill, which belonged to a young woman who died under mysterious and inexplicable circumstances. It is thought that she killed herself after hearing of the news that her husband and three children died on a weekend fishing trip along the coast of the city’s most famous beach – Hawke’s Bay. Her body was found on the roof of their two-story house one night, after neighbors complained of an odd smell, and the constant racket of crows and eagles congregating on the roof. It is said that she was lying on her back, with her eyes gouged out, clutching a family portrait – her own face seemingly having been etched out with a knife that lay by her side.
Many years had passed since that episode, the story forgotten and her house inhabited by another family of two. Life progressed as normal for the new home-owners. It wasn’t until one chillingly cold night in the winter of 2002, where a series of eerie events took place.
It is customary in the suburbs of Karachi for every neighborhood to have a ‘Night Guard,’ or ‘Chowkidar’ as they are referred to locally. The duty of the Chowkidar is to ride around the neighborhood on a bicycle, in the dead of night, blowing briefly on a whistle every few minutes to alert people of their presence. The thought behind this is to deter people from potentially committing crimes by constantly reminding people of his presence. On this fateful night, at around 2:30 am, there was a loud, prolonged, and urgent whistle from the Chowkidar on duty, which seemed to last around two solid minutes. Several people appeared on their front porches and driveways, night suits and all, awoken by this abnormal sound, perturbed, confused, and staring at one another, as if to maybe unearth a clue which the other might have.
Strangely enough, as he emerged from the fog, he disappeared on the other side of the street, his screams fading away into the cold night.
Suddenly, a man was heard in the distance, shouting “Bhaago (run)!,” over and over. His voice got clearer and louder, and suddenly he emerged from the light fog, as if his body was on fire. He raced down the street, not even caring to look back in case it slowed him down. Strangely enough, as he emerged from the fog, he disappeared on the other side of the street, his screams fading away into the cold night. Following him not too far behind was the Chowkidar on duty – they had never seen anyone ride a bicycle at that pace.
The Chowkidar careened down the street, pedaling with such ferocity that had he gone any faster, he may well have achieved liftoff. Halfway down the street, he lost control and crashed into a large tree on which happened to be the very house where the young woman was found on the roof. Concerned, the neighbors ran towards him to see if he was alright.
“Mein ne abhi apney aankhon sey Sheitaan ko dekha hai!” (I have just seen the Devil with my own eyes).
When they got reached the Chowkidar, they realized he was badly hurt, blood gushing down the right side of his face from the impact with the tree. He was mumbling incoherently, and shaking violently. When he finally calmed down, he told the people that had gathered around him – “Mein ne abhi apney aankhon sey Sheitaan ko dekha hai” (I have just seen the Devil with my own eyes). He told the crowd that he had just witnessed a body exhume itself from a grave, and float off towards a nearby house. He started to cry and whimper, and then his eyes rolled back into his head, and he passed out. A few brave men decided to investigate, before tending to the Chowkidar. They called the police, and instructed them where to meet. By the time the men had rendezvoused back at the tree, they noticed the Chowkidar was missing.
With a few emergency lights in hand, a group of four men headed in the direction where the two crazed men fled from.
They did not have to venture very far. Just a few hundred feet from their neighborhood, they came upon the gates of the graveyard. They had never felt so cold in their lives. It was clear that something was wrong. There was a set of trees that had unnaturally swayed to one side, with bits of bark hanging off the side, as if exposed to the blast of a grenade. They ventured inside, and surely enough, one of the graves had been completely uprooted. The tomb was completely splintered beyond recognition.
They walked in the direction of where the disturbance seemed to be headed. Surely enough, just as the Chowkidar had described, there was a nearby house – it’s front door blown off it’s hinges, and lay discarded on the side of the front lawn. Two of the men could not deal with this, they took one of the emergency lights and headed back, stating that this was a case for the police. However, the other two men decided to venture towards the house and find out what had happened.
As they reached the hallway upstairs, they started to hear a faint sound – a repetitive, deep, low hum, almost as if someone was meditating.
As they approached the house, they noticed a strange red glimmer of light emanating from the second story, pulsating as though with the beat of a steady heart. The house seemed unoccupied, with the furniture all draped in white cloth, as if the owners were away for a long holiday. They looked at each other, took a deep breath, and headed upstairs, one agonizing step at a time. As they reached the hallway upstairs, they started to hear a faint sound – a repetitive, deep, low hum, almost as if someone was meditating. They realized that the source of the light was from one of the bedrooms across the hall.
As they approached the room, the low rumbling hum seemed to abruptly stop, replaced by sounds of something being scratched against a wall. By this time, the low red light also seemed to dissipate – the only light left was from the single emergency light held between the two men. They opened the door, but the emergency light seemed only to reveal a slightly ruffled bed – the single piece of furniture in the room. One of the men reached toward the light switch and, after hesitating for a few seconds, flipped it on. The two men have never forgotten what they saw that night.
In the center of the room, was a bed that was covered in a pool of blood. Directly above the bed, wedged in the ceiling, was the body of a naked young woman facing downward – her eyes were gouged out, blood dripping steadily from the deep black sockets. Her abdomen was completely split apart, and hundreds of ring-bodied cockroaches were slowly scuttling across the ceiling and onto the walls.
The two men ran for their lives, dropping the emergency light in process. They did not care to pick it up as they fled back down the cemetery and towards their street. They happened to run into a couple of police officers who were on their way to the crime scene, and told them everything they saw.
The next day, the police officers filed their report. The only thing they noted was the broken emergency light they found at the foot of the staircase.
To this day, the whereabouts of the Chowkidar are unknown.
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