Established 154 years ago, the Convent of Jesus and Mary Chelsea School is one of the first institutions to be set up in the hills of Shimla.
It is covered with deodar and oak trees which makes it very beautiful. This all-girls school has produced famous alumnae.
Prominent among them are actor Preity Zinta and former Union minister Preneet Kaur, who is also the wife of Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
Being a famous Convent School, Jesus & Mary is also popular for terrifying stories and incidents even most of them seem to be hearsay. But no one knows what the truth is behind these stories.
There is a rumor that during the British era, a coachman, whose name is lost in history, used to live near the school. He was believed to be quite interested in ladies. Unfortunately, he died in an unknown accident.
Since then it is said that on 13th Friday a headless horseman comes riding a white horse. People say that once he gave a rose to the girl and she accepted it. According to believers that man instantly took her with him.
But there is no solid proof of it. It is believed that he takes along those who agree and kills those who do not.
So on every 13th Friday local children avoid coming to school and hostel students make sure to keep their faces covered.
In 1842 six missionaries from the trust of Jesus and Mary from Ireland came to India. They wanted to help the needy people of India.
Firstly they established an orphanage in Agra but due to hot weather they decided to shift to some cool environment. So they opened an orphanage in Shimla.
The army headquarters opposed the decision at Calcutta after getting a final recommendation from Lord Canning, the Governor-General of India. The missionaries moved to the summer capital of British India.
Initially the orphanage occupied two bungalows at Elysium Hill, near Auckland House School, in Shimla for the first three years of its existence.
The Bishop of Agra sent children to Shimla to be looked after by the nuns. The military provided the orphans a small monthly stipend for their upkeep and education.
Because of insufficient accommodation, the orphanage was moved to the Chelsea Estate. The orphanage was called St. Francis School.
In 1869 the school was enlarged and in 1873 the amazing school chapel was built.
By 1940, the rules for military services were changing and there was no need for an orphanage. St. Francis School became a secondary school and the main building was the senior school.
As enrolment inclined, the curriculum was modified to include Indian history and languages. In 1947, when the British authorities were about to leave the country, the school prepared for another phase of transition.
On April 29, 1946, at nighttime, a fire broke out and destroyed three-fourths of the Chelsea building. It took the life of a 10-year-old girl. However, the school rallied immediately.
A fortnight later, classes were resumed at Eagle Mount in tents lent by the military. But the girl which was died in that fire is still believed to be present on the premises of the school.
Another story tells of a fire in the CJM’s hostel for orphans during the British rule. The present playground of the school is the place where earlier the dead bodies of those orphan children were buried.
Because of that people say there are ghosts seen there. It is said that there is a spirit of a young girl who always keeps asking for her doll and a girl who was carried away by a horseman still roams there.
A tragic incident happened in the year 2012, when two students of IVth standard were found dead near the school.
The family and friends of the victims claimed that they committed suicide due to mental harassment by their teachers. Some people claim that the spirits of those two boys still haunt in the school.
The royal families of Thailand, Nepal, and the Princely States of Rajasthan, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh used to send their daughters to this school for convent education.
Now also this is one of the biggest schools in Shimla but no one is interested to comment on the haunted stories.