It is well known that a natural, peaceful death is essential for a dead person’s soul to progress unhindered to higher realms. When the death is unnatural, akaal — untimely — or violent, special rituals are prescribed to ensure peace and mukti for the soul but these don’t always work, especially if there is a strong element of injustice involved. Spirits who remain earthbound after such deaths can broadly be divided into good and evil spirits.  It has been seen time and again that when the person who has died was a good, strong person, the person’s soul always glows and is surrounded by an attractive aura. Incidentally, this also explains why in many artistic representations all over the world, gods, goddesses and saints are often depicted with an aura or glow framing them.  In fact, the glow is one way of distinguishing whether a ghost is good or evil.

Another way to find out more about a ghost is of course through directly or indirectly connecting with a ghost.  Communication can be made with spirits in various ways and the planchette is one of them. In sudden situations, a planchette is very easy to improvise — all you need is a sheet of plain paper on which the alphabets have to be written, and a small circular smooth object that can glide from one alphabet to another, like a bottle lid, coin or a katori or a small cup.

But those who deal with the supernatural use professional, specially designed planchettes. These are made of wood, have three small wheels and an opening for a pen or a pencil to be screwed in. The planchette is placed on a sheet of paper and the spirit uses the planchette to write out a message or whatever it wants to communicate. Planchettes are very effective for spirit communication but the danger here is that when a novice is trying to communicate with a spirit, a wrong spirit can come and may refuse to go back.  It is easier for spirits to communicate with or through children because their minds are still innocent and free from the complexes and complexities of adulthood. 

Actually, establishing communication with a troubled spirit is very important as it is the first step and perhaps the only way of setting into motion the process for liberating such a spirit. There are innumerable cases in India and elsewhere where deception was practiced on the victim to kill him or her and the victim’s soul could not rest in peace till justice had been done. There was the case of Biru who came into a large sum of money and disappeared overnight. His wife lodged a missing person report.

She told Graeme that her name was Anne Walker and that she had been murdered, with a pick axe, by one Mark Sharp acting on instruction from a relative of hers, also named Walker, by whom she was pregnant.

But Biru could not be traced, till his ghost appeared before Shyam Lal, who worked for my father and told him his body has been cut into pieces and stuffed into an overhead water tank in a vacant house and he gave the location. My father informed the police, the body cut into pieces was found and further investigations revealed that Biru’s wife and her lover, who practiced black magic, had killed him for the money, and then done a kriya to protect themselves from Biru’s ghost taking revenge. But Biru’s ghost had found its own way of getting justice.

In England, there is the legally documented and very interesting case of Anne Walker. It seems that late one night in 1681, a miller, James Graeme was stopped by the hideous ghost of a young woman. She was drenched with blood and had five open wounds on her head. She told Graeme that her name was Anne Walker and that she had been murdered, with a pick axe, by one Mark Sharp acting on instruction from a relative of hers, also named Walker, by whom she was pregnant.

She made it clear to Graeme that unless he gave the information to the local magistrate she would continue to haunt him. Refusing to believe what he had experienced, Graeme did nothing. But after the spirit appeared, pleaded and threatened him twice more, he went to the authorities. A pit identified by the ghost was searched, and Anne Walker’s body was found. Sharp and Walker were arrested, tried, found guilty and hanged. Anne’s spirit, thus avenged, did not appear again.

The fairly recent Uttarakhand tragedy brought a very large number of supernatural cases to me and I was able, with the help of spirit guides, to help several people locate the dead bodies of their relatives. But there were many startling and extremely unfortunate cases too and to give just one example, there was this porter who saw a woman’s dead body with gold bangles on her arms. The body had bloated and he could not get off the bangles normally, so he used his khukri or curved knife to chop off  her wrists and remove the bangles. He took off ornaments from other dead bodies too and sold them quickly after leaving Uttarakhand. But then he began being hounded and violently attacked by not one but several ‘bhatakti atmas’ demanding the return of their ornaments.

The problem here was that the porter had not only sold off the ornaments, but he had also spent a large part of the money he got from the sale. I tried to find a way to placate the agonised souls. This would have involved some sacrifice from the porter for the great wrongs he had done but time was short and there was more than one angry spirit involved. Strangely, the porter though terrified was averse to spending either money or time on measures suggested to him for placating the spirits who were hounding him. In the end, because of his own greedy nature, the porter could not be saved from the wrath of the spirits. From all accounts he died a messy, painful death.

In all such cases where the spirit is seeking justice or insaaf it is important to establish contact quickly through a priest, guru, paranormal expert or someone familiar with the wronged spirit and find out what is acceptable to it, otherwise it will take its revenge and that usually results in ruin or death —  and sometimes both — for living people involved.

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