By Syeda Aiman Zehra and Maira Assad
On occasion, past the barrier to the female hostels, a delicate slip between worlds occurs.
Near the hour of Fajr, on the 16th of October, 2019, an early winter breeze swept across campus.
Zainab Hameed ‘20 was nearing the barrier on her way back to F-5 when she noticed something unusual. The guard on night duty was nowhere in sight.
Her attention skipped ahead when she saw a girl sitting on the bench beneath the [name of] tree. “[She had] longish, straight hair covering her face and she was just rocking back and forth, huddled up,” she said later.
Not wanting to get involved, Hameed returned to her dorm room. She told a friend about the incident, and he immediately called the security office, informing them that the guard was not at his post. The security office contacted the guard via wireless.
“He responded: But I’m sitting right here,” Hameed said.
Moments earlier, Zoha Shoaib ‘22 was walking back to the dormitories with her friends when she noticed the girl clad in white sitting on the same bench. There was something amiss about her.
“She was staring directly at us, with her head tilted, as if she could see right through us,” Shoaib said. Spooked, the girls ran to F-3 where Shoaib’s friends lived.
From there, she crossed the F-3 lawn alone to reach her hostel, F-4.
Shoaib saw the girl again, this time sitting beneath the [name of] tree, facing the pond, as if offering prayer. There was no one else around.
She walked past the girl quickly.
“When I looked back, she was staring at me.”
Around the same time last year, when the winds were neither too cold, nor too warm, Sara Zafar ‘22 had an eerily similar encounter with the girl in white.
As she neared the tree on her way back to F-5, her eyes focused on “a girl, knee length hair, hanging from that tree,” her face obscured by her hair.
Her heart began to race. Her mind screamed “run!” but her shaky legs did not let her. She walked by in quick strides, thinking that her mind was playing tricks on her.
“But when I looked back, she was still there,” she said. “Her feet were still dangling in the air.”
But beyond the girl in white, many other incidents haunt the residents of the hostels.
Plaguing the female hostels’ hallways are an assortment of sounds: disembodied whisperings, footsteps in the dead of the night, rattling door knobs, appliances with a mind of their own, and religious invocations.
As September drew to a close, Mehvish Munir ‘23 switched her place of prayer from the F-2 common room to her own room, a triple occupancy in 302.
That night, the first of the incidents happened.
“I was sleeping very peacefully, when someone whispered something weird in my ear really loudly…it was [spoken in] Arabic, in a masculine voice.” But when Munir woke and looked around, she was alone in the room.
From then on, a series of unusual events would follow whenever the girls prayed in their room: once during maghrib prayers, the girls’ experienced a violent banging on their door only to find the hallway empty when they opened it; in another instance, a lizard darted erratically around the room from bed to bed; a mysterious slipper once wound its way to 302, and Munir’s belongings would often disappear from the safety of her locked room, while her roommates were out of town.
Last year, Bushra Shahid ‘19 became another victim of these events. She unlocked the door to her room in F-4 one day, only to find black lines dripping down both mirrors in the room. Her brand new eyeliner lay broken under her roommate’s desk.
Three floors above Shahid, in 502, Maryam Khalid Shah ‘18 and her roommate were having some trouble with their kitchen appliances. A few feet away, their electric kettle began bubbling.
“It switched on by itself, and the water started to boil – it was neither in my reach nor my roommate’s, and the button wasn’t so flimsy that it’d just switch on by itself. We thought maybe someone/ some jinn / something just wants to have chai.”
On the other side of campus, a churail resides in the imaginations of the M-5 residents. Safwan Ashraf Pardesi ‘21 told The Post about a story he’d heard circulating among the residents of M-5, about one of the students on the top floor who’d woken up in the middle of the night to use the washroom.
“When he came out, he saw a shadow. He walked on, but when he turned back, there was a woman standing there, one we all call churail.”
The hallways of these hostels are often host to an assembly of flickering lights, so much so that students have become attuned to them. But, when Pardesi’s friend attempted to capture it on camera, “the flickering would stop.”
Sometimes, the strange lights and noises are not that strange at all. Sometimes, the footsteps echoing in the distance belong to the night warden on her rounds. Sometimes, the rufflings behind closed doors are the aya bajis cleaning out the dustbins.
But, sometimes, those unexpected knocks might just be the girl in white coming to haunt her next victim.
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