Thursday, February 2nd, 2023 07:13:04

Return Of Hitchcock’s Horror House

Updated: July 11, 2015 11:30 am

A man staying with the skelton of his sister in Kolkata for 6 months reminds one of the famous character of Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho where Norman Bates who kept his mother’s skeleton seated on a chair and fed the skeletons with dry food just as Partha did to his sister

The incident came to light in the heart of Kolkata, when cops investigating the case of death of a septuagenarian in the same house, accidently discovered the man Parta De living with the skeletons of his sisters and two pet dogs. But afterwards the story which unfolded shook the world.

The septuagenarian who killed himself is none other than Partha De’s 77-year-old father Arabindo De and the skeleton with whom he was living for more than six months is of his 47-year-old sister Debjani De. Now the only surviving member of the family is 44 yearold Partha De, who holds the key to all the mystery surrounding the death, skeleton and the house, but he is suffering from schizophrenia.

Psychiatrists are of the opinion that it is a case of acute mental disorder; which could be Depressive Psychosis Syndrome.

Rajashree Bandhopadyay, a clinical psychologist and psycho therapist , says “Partha De is suffering from schizophrenia and he lives in his own imaginary world. For him what he thinks is real and other things are false. Schizophrenia is disease of thought disorder and it is normal for him to think that his dead sister is alive and he can feed her and that she is in deep meditation.”

Another psychiatrist Jairanjan Ram opines “It is an acute case of mental disorder when after death of a family member, one thinks he or she had not died. This happens when there is tremendous bonding between the family members and they continue feed the dead as Partha did. But it is clear that Partha had mental problems.”

Partha was found with Debjani’s skeleton on the bed next to his as the skeletons of her two dogs lay in a corner of the room. Debjani died in December, having starved herself while fasting and observing spiritual sadhana. Partha told police interrogators that he could not bear to have his sister cremated, and kept her body wrapped in a blanket on the bed, with the air-conditioner at full, keeping his father and everyone in dark. He used to serve food to all three skeletons regularly. Besides covering windows and doors of the apartment with thick cloth, Partha had blocked even small holes on window frames with tapes probably to stop the smell of the decomposed bodies from going out.

Investigation revealed that Partha, who turned 45 last month, had thrown a party where he invited his uncle but he did not allow him beyond their drawing room. He had in fact told his uncle that Debjani was meditating in the next room and she must not be disturbed.

Officers investigating the case said, “The skeletons were made to lie on a bed in one of the bedrooms. During interrogation, Partha said that her sister loved the two pets dearly. When the pets died in August and September 2014, she stopped eating and starved to death in December 2014.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police C Muralidhar, who visited the house immediately after the incident, which came to light on June 11, 2015, found an eerie atmosphere inside the apartment, the lights were dim and the recorded voice of the deceased sister Debjani was playing in the background. “He used coins, his sister’s recorded voice and candles to recall the spirit of his sister. This was his regular practice and the rooms of the apartment were dimly lit. Even when fire brigade reached the apartment when his father was burning, Partha did not make any effort to rescue his father,” the Deputy Commissioner said.

Partha was arrested but, on doctors’ advice, sent to the Calcutta Pavlov Hospital, where he is undergoing treatment now, so that he can be produced in court. He has been booked under IPC sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 176 (omission to give notice or information to public servant by person legally bound to give it), punishable by up to six months’ jail.

Mystery And The Missing Links

Devjani copy

  • Police is trying to connect some missing links in the case, including the reason why Partha’s father committed suicide.
  • Decomposed bodies of a human being and two pet dogs were kept in the house. But no one in the apartment, where Partha’s other relatives lived, complained of any foul smell.
  • Neighbours and relatives said that they have not seen Debjani, Partha’s sister, for the last ten years.
  • One month back, relatives came to Partha’s house for his birthday celebrations but no one suspected anything about the skeletons or got any foul smell.
  • Why Partha’s father did not inform police or force him to take the body for cremation for the last six months or after he got to know.
  • On the other hand the recovery of Partha’s diary has revealed a shocking trail running in the family.
  • Partha’s diary revealed that his ‘mother was jealous of sister Debjani’s beauty’.
  • My mother stripped sister Debjani in a hotel’s bathroom, while the family was vacationing in Digha–a tourist destination on Bengal-Orissa border.
  • Partho wrote that his mother suspected him to be impotent.
  • My mother suspected me to be impotent, but she was incorrect, read a note in his diary.
  • Mother kept a maid servant in the house whom I could get sexually attracted to


Arabindo, Arati and their two children had shifted to the house their ancestral home—in 1989, two years after Arabindo retired as director of the Calcutta–headquartered Alfred Herbert Limited, which manufactures industrial equipment in Bangalore. The children earned B.Tech degrees from Rajabazar Science College. According to the teachers, both the siblings and students of the same college were bright students. Although Arabindo has some symptoms of abnormality but Debjani was full of life, ever smiling girl. After passing out from the college Partha joined a known IT company and went outside the country. But Debjani chose to join Don Bosco Kolkata as Music Teacher.

In 2005 their mother Arati died of cancer, after that Partha quit his job in 2007 and stopped working since then. He stayed with his family in their three-bedroom house. After mother’s death, the family became reclusive. The De’s had no maid and they had stopped communicating with their relatives as well. A security guard used to bring them food thrice a day and was paid money for it, cops said.

Partha’s grandfather Gadadhar De had bought the property from a British owner over 80 years ago. The house is in an upscale locality near several well-known schools, and the Kolkata Police Commissioner’s residence is a five-minute walk away.

The family was wary of society, but Partha wrote he felt it was right and did not regret it. “The society did not approve of this, but what we did, we thought 100 per cent right. Whatever happened, happened because of our decision and we did not regret it,” he wrote. But the content of the diary too needs to be verified as Partha is repeatedly changing his statements.

After the investigation and interrogation the police have for now come to the conclusion that the family members are all suffering from mental disorder. Sister Debjani, who took to meditation and starved herself to death so that she can achieve something supernatural, father committed suicide, three months after in the month of March, he got to know about the death of his daughter. Partha has hidden the fact to his father; it is after three months when he got to know about the incident. Arabinda De was afraid of his son Partha being arrested by police for keeping his dead sister body for so long. The incident which left him with thinking led to acute depression, which finally led him to commit suicide. Even in the suicide note the police had found purportedly written by the father –Arabindo De –he said no one was responsible for his death. But last line specifically mentioned “Partha Good Bye.”

Although the horror house and the occupants who are dead have left behind many mysteries to be solved, it also left behind a question mark for all of us as society. The family needed help as they were not socialising and becoming isolated day by day but no one got to know that, because they had shut themselves off from the world. In this fast paced life, if someone becomes reclusive, no one has time or consciousness to interfere in our so-called urban society. This is sad but true side of the society that we are changing and are indifferent towards our fellow citizens.

By Joydeep Dasgupta from Kolkata

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