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Episode 54: The Bridal Party by S Mukerji
Episode 5420th June 2020 • Classic Ghost Stories • Tony Walker
00:00:00 00:29:39

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The Bridal Party by S Mukerjee

S Mukerji, whose name appears in various transliterations, including S Mukherjee, published his book of Indian Ghost Stories in 1917. 

I can find no biographical information on him, or even what his first name was. I wondered if he were related to the Mukherjee family who pioneered Indian cinema in the early 20th Century. I have no evidence that he is!

At the time of writing the first edition he lived in Calcutta (Kolkata) and his stories show his familiarity and residence in Bengal, but he later lived in Allahbad (Prayagraj) in Uttar Pradesh. The name Mukerji is a Kulin Brahmin name and common in West Bengal.

He moved in high circles and his friends were judges and lawyers during the later British Raj. He alludes that his father had a coachman and he had a nurse growing up.

I picked an Indian story because there are a lot of Indian listeners to the podcast. The ghost story form was very prevalent in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods and then metamophosized into the uncanny tale and later into a branch of speculative fiction. 

Running in parallel with the fictional ghost story, we have "true accounts" which are the reportedly true accounts of visitors to actual places. Years ago, I ran the Haunted Britain and Ireland website which specialised in sending visitors to locations with supposedly true ghost hauntings. There is still great mileage in the true account genre and there are a good number of podcasts, TV shows and Youtube channels still seeking people's personal accounts of ghosts. With The Classic Ghost Stories Podcast I had deliberately kept to fictional stories up until now.

I excuse myself because S Mukerjee writes his story in dramatic form rather than just as a witness report and he gives characters who have lines within the story.

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Beginning music ‘Some Come Back’ is by the marvellous  Heartwood Institute

Because I had a little more time, I included the full track of The Heartwood Institute's Powers of Darkness just to chill your bones.