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Witness: Arpan
Location: Forests near Trichur, Kerala, India
Date of Encounter: May 18, 2003

Hey, it feels funny writing about a ghostly encounter, given that I was a staunch skeptic regarding all such matters. But then, that's life. Anyways, I'm a 23 year old guy who writes for a living. And for once I am writing stuff that I am not making up! 

This happened during my summer trip to my relatives' place. My grand-aunt lives in this lovely town surrounded by a forest-covered mountain range. I have always loved trekking there and have even camped out overnight with my cousins. And this was my umpteenth trip.

A cousin of mine and I were planning to leave on a three-day trekking and camping trip into the jungle. At the last moment, my cousin ditched me, taking off for the weekend with his girlfriend. Now I was stuck with a camping trip ahead of me, but no company. I decided to go ahead on my own. 

Now I was all of 22 years of age, and at 5' 10" and packing a solid 80 kilos, I thought I could take care of myself. Nevertheless, I packed a Swiss Army Knife, a machete and a solid bamboo stick just to be on the safe side. 

The trip started off well, and by evening I had made good ground. But then with the failing light, my nerves started giving out and I realized I was in the middle of a jungle, all by myself. But being a brave, young (and foolish) lad, I went on.

I camped after a while in this natural clearing in the midst of a thickly wooded area. Soon I had a roaring campfire going and settled down, leaning against my backpack, helping myself to tinned pineapple slices. The fire and the ambience soon drove the fear away. Soon the food was done with and I settled down to enjoy a calming smoke (oh, how I miss the damned habit!).

Some time later I thought I saw something unusual on the other side of the fire. Not being able to get a clear view because of the heat haze, I got up. I got the scare of my life when I saw a boy, must have been seven to eight years of age, clad just in a white loincloth, sitting very still on a rock on the other side. He was staring straight into the fire. 

I called out to him in a variety of languages, but just didn't get a response. The rock he was sitting on was in the midst of a muddy and slimy patch, and so I couldn't approach him either. So I settled down myself. The boy just didn't move and went on looking into the fire. I was really spooked and just sat there smoking one cigarette after another. This went for more than a couple of hours. Finally feeling the fatigue of the day catching up with me, I cuddled up with my machete and went to sleep. 

The morning scene was predictable. Smoking ashes, dew on the grass etc. And of course, the kid had disappeared. I went close up to the rock and examined the surroundings. Not a single footstep or mark. Spooky experience. So did I then dream up the entire thing? No way, I had a dozen cigarette stubs lying around as proof of those tense sleepless hours. 

That's the end of the story people. I asked around a lot, but couldn't trace the story of a lost eight year old boy, living or dead. Maybe some day I will, but till then, this remains a mystery. And this definitely has made a believer of me!

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