In fact, it is not uncommon for skyscrapers in Mumbai’s commercial district -- like Hoechst, Maker Chambers and Atlanta -- to exclude 13 when numbering their floors. You can’t get to the 13th floor of the Trident Hotel at Nariman Point because there isn’t one.
However, urban legends and local superstitions in haunted Mumbai go beyond mere triskaidekaphobia.
Stories of ghosts, unexplained serial suicides, abandoned mills, haunted houses and territorial widows in white saris determined to make people’s lives miserable from the afterlife, populate a large unofficial body of local folklore.
Despite the catalog of gruesome urban legends, Mumbai is a city with its head on its shoulders; a city with too much grit to capitulate to ghost stories.
No one will ever stop driving down the winding road from the Tower of Silence that offers one of the best views of the city; and the price of an apartment at Grand Paradi will surely frighten a Mumbaiker before any old story about spiteful spirits.
1. Grand Paradi Towers
Arguably the most famous haunted Mumbai house is situated in one of the city’s most affluent areas.
On the eighth floor of the Grand Paradi Towers in Kemps Corner, a series of freakish suicides drew attention to what appeared to be a gruesome pattern of deaths and accidents in the building.
In 2004 an elderly couple jumped out of the window of this apartment. Their children and their grandchild followed suit within the year.
“There was something unacceptable to our rational minds that a whole family, three generations, living in one house should commit suicide in the same way," says a resident who has lived in the building for 30 years. "There have been up to 20 fatal accidents and suicides since the building was constructed in 1976. Many involving children and even a maid who either jumped or fell out of a window."
After the series of unfortunate events the building society began to believe that paranormal forces were at work.
“After the suicides of the family the building society decided to do a puja and a havan (prayer ceremonies) and since then everything has stopped but the flat remains unoccupied," another resident tell us.
2. Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Located on the northern fringes of Mumbai, this large protected area is usually where visitors go in search of wildlife.
There are rumors however, that at night people see a phantom hitchhiker.
Dubious as this sounds, forest guards insist it's true.
3. Mukesh MillsShut down in 1980, this enormous abandoned mill in Colaba has been the shooting ground for numerous Bollywood films and advertisements.
Deserted and rundown, Mukesh Mills is a ready-made set for horror films and Gothic shows, especially considering the mills are actually considered to be haunted.
Many directors, actors and producers refuse to work here past sunset.
One television actress claimed to have had a particularly bad experience when one of her female co-stars suddenly began speaking in a manly voice, as if she were possessed, telling the crew to leave the premises immediately.
Others say this haunted Mumbai area is jinxed and people are always losing their belongings, wallets and phones.
Mukesh Mills will soon be demolished and replaced by a new high-rise residential and commercial complex and a five-star hotel.
4. Tower of Silence
Sounds ominous doesn’t it? The Tower of Silence is actually a Parsi cemetery situated rather picturesquely on Malabar Hill in South Mumbai.
Custom dictates that Parsis leave the bodies of their dead for vultures to feed on.
The graphic images that come to mind lend themselves to all sorts of horrifying stories.
The winding road that leads down the hill is particularly desolate and eerie at night and the place has become recognized as a kind of ghoulish hangout.
The weird happenings at the Grand Paradi Towers for instance, were blamed on spectral forces emanating from this cemetery.