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Busted: Is The Three Kings Chapel really haunted?

“It is believed that a certain priest once went exploring with his dog, carrying nothing but a kerosene lamp. He never returned. A version of this story says that the dog returned without the master. “

We’ve all grown up with supernatural stories- maybe through movies, through books, through rumours we shared as kids or through our grandparents. They’re fascinating to no end, giving us nightmares, making us dash back home before 7 pm, coercing us to avoid that one turn after that one tree at midnight because every single person who passed there had an incurable fever or never returned! 

Goa has its own fair share of stories and one such popular Goan destination is the Three Kings Chapel in Cansaulim (popularly, but incorrectly known as the Three Kings Church) that has gone down in history for being haunted.

The Three Kings Chapel, by @crishnaa.madhavi

We at Soul Travelling decided to investigate, hear stories and find out whether this intriguing chapel atop a lonely hill called Cuelim lives up to the hype. 

Originally known as the Our lady of Remedios Chapel, the Chapel of Our Lady of Remedies (Nossa Senhora dos Remédios) was founded by Fr. Goncalo Carvalho in 1599. The chapel is affiliated to the Parish of  St Thomas Church, Cansaulim. However it is popularized by the name derived from the three wise men from the bible, also referred to as the three kings who visited Jesus on his birth.

Every year, on 6th of January, the village of Cansaulim celebrates the Three Kings Feast, where the kids dressed as kings are carried up the hillock in an extravagant and joyful procession. The feast market is replete with goodies, local delicacies and other fascinating knick knacks! The fair leaves no time to be bored and one finds oneself losing track of time in the chaos! Yet, at 6 on the nose, everyone makes it a point to close shop and leave.

The Three Kings Feast

We wondered if isn’t simply to avoid descending the slope of Cuelim in the darkness that the villagers decide to leave before sunset. The road going down doesn’t bear many streetlights either.

McEugen Pinto, also a resident of Cansaulim doesn’t think that the chapel is haunted. “I’ve been atop the hillock for many a late nights with my friends. It’s been perfectly fine, and the scariest thing is probably the quiet of the place.”

According to the internet there many reasons why they say that it’s one of the most haunted spots in Goa. Here are a few stories that have made the rounds-

The view from the Three Kings Chapel

Procession of Ghosts

A rumour that someone saw the Three Kings walk around the chapel compound spread like wildfire. These three kings weren’t the same Three Wise Men that brought baby Jesus gifts in Bethelehem.

They were the three Portuguese kings who hailed from Cansaulim and had an equal share of power over the many villages. Yet, as the story goes, one of them wanted more. (A different version of the story says that there was a fourth king who was sidelined and hence, was seeking a way to earn more wealth.) So he decides to poison the other two, declaring himself as the only ruler of the land.

As history would have it, perhaps out of shame and guilt or perhaps out of fear of the angry villagers, this king consumed the same poisoned food as well. The villagers buried the bodies of these three kings in the church grounds. This is why it’s believed that their ghosts wander around after dusk.

The Three Kings Feast Market

Why? you might ask. 

It is believed that the ghosts of these kings climb up the mont (hill) in a procession of their own. They have their own entourage that accompanies them and one believes, that they wouldn’t like to be disturbed. 

Vrinda Vaz, a resident of Cansaulim says that she has heard this story too. “I don’t think they’re true. The church is so isolated, murders have taken place there. Maybe the elders started spreading these stories to keep people away from there and safe at night. A lot of lovers go up there too. Maybe the villagers want to keep them away as well.”

The lost priest

Another story that follows up on the aforementioned one is that of a priest. There exists a cave inside the church that leads up to some unknown location. It is believed that a certain priest once went exploring with his dog, carrying nothing but a kerosene lamp. He never returned. A version of this story says that the dog returned without the master. The cave was apparently closed up to prevent any more such mishaps.

The story of caves and missing priests is very common around the many caves of Goa and may or may not be true.

Flicking coins

In the age of no electricity, in the pitch black, the villagers used to see lights moving up the hill going on top. This was strange since it was uncommon for villagers to hike up the hill at such strange hours. Most villagers feared it to be some sort of paranormal activity, until one day the secret was revealed. 

It was discovered that few youngsters would wrap themselves up in blankets that would give them a very mysterious appearance, to go in search of coins. These coins were said to be from the procession of the Three Kings Feast where people would shower the entourage with goodies, some of which would get left behind.

Goa’s magnificent monuments

Savio Barreto, another resident admits that he has personally never witnessed anything remotely paranormal. “The elders talk about it, but there has never been any sighting, not amongst the younger generation anyway. Some say that they’ve felt an eerie change in the temperature around them at this one specific spot. I haven’t experienced this personally though.”

Goa has its own fair share of haunted locations, each with their own beauty and mystery. No one can really prove whether the paranormal activity is real or if it’s all made-up. Yet, some locations do come to limelight thanks to the internet. We don’t think the Three Kings Chapel is haunted. Maybe not for its ghosts but for the view and stories it offers, it’s worth a visit! Maybe you can join us on our Cansaulim adventures!

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