April 21, 2013
A couple of years ago, I was aimlessly travelling through Scotland and was enthralled with the number of ghost tours the country had to offer. Every city I visited had a ghost tour for a fee of 20 to 25 pounds. At the end of the tour, all I got was a photograph in a spooky place (under the tunnel, below an old tree or next to the fallen walls of a castle) with me and other people like me and the eluding ghost, who by the way was still eluding. ! All these memories came rushing back when my colleague told me of the haunted palace somewhere in one of the remote Emirates. Well I had to write something on it.
Sitting at the corner table in one of the Chinese eateries near our office, he was explaining to me the mean things the ghost of the palace did to the residents. I wasn’t amused at all. I felt it was just a ploy by authorities to attract a few easy bucks. Well this works. Recently in Bosnia, the authorities put out a notice which asked the residents to be careful of a vampire who has lost his house and is on the loose. Well now the whole world knows about the place. I heard from my dad that even in our village there are rumors about a lady making rounds in the night. It seems a lady was travelling by bus and when the conductor asked her for the ticket, she just vanished into thin air. PUFF. Well I do not know what the lady ghost was doing in the bus, when it could have easily flown from one place to another! Well, the brave man my dad is, I am sure he and his companion will solve the mystery of the lady ghost. Well it’s a big boost to tourism and the economic spillovers are good too.
Anyways, the main reason why I am writing this article is to take you through the interesting conversation my colleague and I had during lunch. He is a pure vegetarian and I am a pure non vegetarian. He questioned the mere existence of ghosts. I told him that there might be ghosts, because just like how we believe in God, there must be some evil spirits we call ghosts. He disagreed to my utter astonishment. I asked him the reason why he doesn’t believe in the existence of ghosts. He had an interesting reasoning.
“Anil, why do creatures become ghosts?”
“Well, I think when someone is killed and has a revenge to take or has not fulfilled something in life; he or she turns into a ghost”
My answer was simple and the essence was that ghosts are born out of revenge or hatred.
“So you agree to the point that ghosts are born through a violent death or murder or not so peaceful death”
“Hmmm Yes, I am afraid I have to agree”.
I could see a smile on his face.
“What?” I asked.”Why are you smiling”.
“Well then, all the chicken, pigs, cows, goats should be haunting you and the butcher. Correct “?
A small smile crossed my lips too. The dude had a valid point. All the chicken, pigs, cows and sheep did die a violent death and their souls must have been burning for revenge. The poor butcher is in serious trouble then. Well, up until now, the thought of animal ghosts never entered my brain. Why would they? After all, animals were born to fulfill our hunger. They would not turn into ghosts or take revenge. Suddenly in my mind I could feel a couple of chicks (I mean hen) running towards me. Oops. Now somehow I had to prove to him that ghosts exist and that too animals also might turn into ghosts and justify my non vegan diet.
I immediately went ahead with my short research. I went back home, opened Google and typed “Animal Ghosts”. So far I was unaware of the so called animal ghosts, though I faintly remembered some story of a horse ghost. Anyways there were a dozen websites dedicated to ghosts. I read a bit more research and finally was convinced that my colleague was wrong. There have been instances of animal ghosts being sighted. Now why all the animals killed violently never become ghosts is a debatable topic and after racking my brains for a few hours, all I can say is – “Animals are good hearted compared to people. People keep revenge in their hearts when killed and become ghosts, but most of the animals never keep grudge”. What more can a man who has feasted on meat all his life think of other than this load of crap.
Anyways the title says Ghost tour and I must be concentrating more on ghosts. Ghosts have always been a big part of the Indian folklore, especially in villages. I remember my granny narrating to us stories about her brother’s encounters with ghosts, how he called out to the person walking a couple of feet in front of him and how the distance between them never diminished in spite of my grand uncle’s increased speed of walking. Then there was this tree, under which we were not allowed to go at 12 in the noon, as my granny believed that the ghost residing on the tree threw sand and cast a spell on people. I remember I used to get scared to go to the room upstairs at home as I thought there would be “Gumma” hiding behind the door, waiting for me to enter. I used to get scared then, when I used to listen to all these stories. Not that I don’t get scared now, I still do. Well I use the same “Gumma” to scare my 4 year old nephew now. Well it is a complete different story that he doesn’t get scared. But yet it is a Circle of lifeJ.
All these stories fascinate me now, now that I have grown up, I get a little less scared than I used to when I was small. Every time I read something interesting like the Serbian vampire, or the Ras al Khamiah ghost village, or the ghost of Pune my hair just raises and I feel there are ghosts around me. There are several things like black magic which is hard to explain. I somehow don’t manage to get the scientific reasoning behind this. There simply isn’t any reason. The only reason one can give is paranormal activity. So far in my life, I have never had a paranormal experience and yet I believe there are ghosts around. As I said earlier just like God, there would be satanic forces working their evil ways and my colleague has no choice when I dump on him all these stats from the web.
Ghosts are extremely commercial friendly. When I say this, think about all those people who made their millions taking a bunch of people on a tour through a deserted lane, making up a story about a woman who was killed long ago, and how she keeps looking out for her killer. Everyone present would put on a brave face, and at the same time pray to god that the woman doesn’t see the killer in them. One thing which people do after this hair raising experience is recommend the tour to others. And the show goes on. Similarly I am sure people might have heard about the famous Nessie or the Lochness monster. Everyday thousands of tourists flock this place and take ferry rides to have a glimpse of the monster. Toys and soft toys of this monster are selling like hot cakes.
Well I have an extremely ambitious plan of making some quick money relying on our ability to scare and get scared. Any millionaires out there can please contact me and shell out some of their hard earned money to make some more. India being such a ghost ridden land can make some hot spots for tourists and increase revenue.. Well who knows, our “Gumma” and “Gongo” can be the next He-man and Skeleton.
Anil D'Souza - Archives:
- Faith and Fear
- A Stutterer's Life
- St Pius X - My Favourite Saint
- Mangalore-Kundapur Bus Journey - Stairway to Death
- Eddie and God
- Cardiff, Call Me Back!
- Evolution of a CV
- Alliance Syndrome
- Me and My Train...
- Youngsters and the Question of Faith
- From Pathrode to Pork, Mangalore Cuisine has it All!
- Global Financial Crisis and India
- Eddie, Women and I
- Super Superstitions!
- All about the Magical Word 'Love'
- China - India Bhai Bhai..
- Hey Kid, do you Speak Konkani...?
- My Experience with a Broken Bone.
- Catholic Roce - Is it an Extinct Ceremony ?
- Three Hours at the Bus Station...
- Weddings then, now and in Future...