If there was a modern Bhutan ghost story, it must be the one woven around a television set on a ridge above Tsento village in Paro believed to be possessed. Tsento villagers say that it is the story of a talking machine that almost walked but didn’t, of an evil man’s ungratified soul that got into the TV set after his harrowing death, of an adamant ghost that beat all wizardry and exorcism by all maestro and professed-maestro exorcists and ghost-beaters.
According to locals, the possessed TV set in a village household continued to haunt the village making eerie noises – squawking and squealing – flashing images of horror even when it was left unplugged. After it had brought ill luck, disease and death to the household, the TV set was sold to someone in the neighbourhood. The buyer not only got the machine at a generous price, but also inherited a host of misfortunes. The curse followed him everywhere, tugging at his sleeves, sticking on his shoe-sole, whizzing and whirling in his hat. That petrified, scared-to-death buyer then sold the machine to another man who received the set all intact, spruce and preen, with a fuming devil dwelling inside.
And so the ghostly TV babbled and wobbled and capered, frightening adults and children alike in the entire village and its vicinity. The ghost reigned tall and dark, nameless and faceless, yet very much feared.
Then, at long last, an astrologer of fearsome repute was consulted. The revered and much celebrated astrologer counselled the villagers to get rid of the bedeviled machine altogether. So, the frenzied and curse-laden machine had to go. It was taken to a cave faraway with befitting ceremony to give it a grand farewell. And there it lay, abandoned in the sheltered quietude of a grotto high above the village for 20 years.
“You must not go up there. The accursed machine’s defiled the entire hill. Devil will tag along with you wherever you go. You will go insane and die a brutal death.” That’s how the locals warn you. That’s how they caution any curious adventurer.
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