The Al Qasimi Palace in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) has a reputation for being a spooky old place.
The mansion was reportedly abandoned more than 20 years ago by its inhabitants after being tormented by mysterious occurrences such as furniture being thrown around and faces appearing at windows.
Now, I am a sucker for ‘supernatural' experiences, so there was no way I would let an opportunity to visit this scary place go by. Even though I do not believe in ghosts, it was with great trepidation and a silent prayer on my lips that I set forth to visit this foreboding palace.
It is said about the palace that it will find you before you find it. As I drove into RAK at around 5am last Friday, all prepared to ask for directions in finding the place, to my surprise, IT found me.
I could see that years of neglect had taken a toll on the architectural marvel.
There was no guard or watchman at the entrance. I tried the gate; it was locked. A wooden door stood ajar beside it. It creaked loudly when I pushed it gingerly, revealing a room filled with dust-covered furniture.
Disappointed, I walked to the far end of the fence wall hoping to find a way through. It was then that I saw a hole under the wall, big enough to crawl through.
Just as I was contemplating my next move, I spotted three Asian men wandering about. They told me that the watchman had probably gone to offer prayers, and yes, they had heard stories about the place and even ‘occasional screams.' Would they be willing to accompany me inside? "No, no, uh, all right," but only as far as the main room of the building.
We crawled through the hole, walked over unkempt grounds past the fountain and to the main door that stood partially open.
We entered the palace expecting the worst. However, nothing jumped out at us. No scary sound, no sudden darkness. Instead we could see the dusty interiors of what was once a beautiful home. Chandeliers, brightly coloured murals on the walls, mosaics of women, birds and rivers imparted an eerie charm to the place.
We could see signs of intruders all around the place. Footsteps on dust-covered floors, shattered glass, broken statues of falcons and upturned furniture showed that despite its reputation, the palace had been attracting a fair share of people looking for some kicks.
Narrow stairs led us to the upper floor which seemed to be in a slightly better shape. The dust was heavy, but otherwise this part of the palace was intact. The upper storey was just as beautiful as the ground floor, with the exception of the skylights, adorned with menacing-looking Zodiac signs, the spookiest thing I had seen thus far. Portraits of stern-looking women stared down at us from the dark walls sending a shiver down our spines. We had this strange feeling that they were watching our every move.
The guys who had thus far been brave enough, turned fidgety when I suggested we go to the terrace. I proceeded up - with them following reluctantly - all the while wondering what I would do if I came across something terrifying.
The palace stands on a small hillock, dwarfing everything around it and offered a panoramic view of the surrounding area. It was peaceful. Even the guys began breathing again.
After a while, we descended and proceeded to the basement. Now, this was a different story altogether. Furniture lay in a heap and walls were covered in graffiti. We found the word… ‘Gooooooo' written in blood red on the walls.
We did just that. We walked towards the hole in the fence, happy to have survived. However, before I crawled through I could not help throw one last glance in the direction of the palace. I was glad to be getting out of that place.
The Al Qasimi Palace was reportedly built at a cost of Dh500 million nearly 22 years ago
According to rumours, on the first day after people moved in, strange happenings occurred - driving them away
Rumour has it that at night you can see faces of little children peering through the windows and sometimes calling out to people
- The author is a freelance writer