A scene from Casper, a 1995 American fantasy film based on comic strips. The friendly ghost was created through computer-generated imagery
Case #1: Sixteen-year-old Nikita — the daughter of an army man and a student of JVM-Shyamali — said a boy stalked her on a bike when they stayed in Kashmir. He stared at her window and made her feel uncomfortable. The more pressing problem was that no one else could see him. Her family called a tantrik and organised an exorcism. The ghost-buster gave her a taveez (talisman). It worked. Nikita no longer saw the boy.
After shifting to Ranchi, she removed the talisman and started feeling someone’s presence around her all over again. Someone who touched her and pushed her from the swing, but could not be seen
Case #2: A student of DAV Public School, Chaibasa, Adesh (17) sensed the presence of his late grandmother in his house every night. He could hear footsteps and at times see her apparition floating from one room to another. The old lady even tapped on his drums to wake him up!
Paranormal problems have youngsters — mostly in the age group of 16 and 18 years — in their tight grip, irrespective of education and social status, say experts, who also firmly believe that of every 100 phantasmal anecdotes said and heard, 99 are just delusions of a troubled psyche.
Shishir Kumar, a certified paranormal investigator and director of Indian Paranormal Society, said in the past three months he had received seven cases involving students of elite Ranchi cradles such as JVM-Shyamali, DAV Kapil Deo and DPS, besides a couple from DAV Public School, Chaibasa.
“This increasing trend of paranormal problems among teenagers can be chiefly attributed to frustration (mental or physical), family pressure and skewed social beliefs implanted in them during their formative years. Of the seven cases, four have been solved through counselling. The remaining are in the process,” Kumar said.
He maintained that counselling was being done in three sessions. “In the first, we delve into the root of the problem and see what is spurring this beyond normal experience. Is it emotional imbalance or social beliefs? The second tries to find out if religious beliefs are causing the problem. And finally, we try to convince the victim that he or she is more powerful than spirits,” the expert said.
In Nikita’s case, Kumar explained, the ghosts were actually childhood recollection. “That spirits exist and that they are always bad was something she was made to believe by her family as a child. She also lacked self-confidence and felt prone to attacks. She imagined there was someone around her who wanted to harm her. As time passed, she began personifying her thought even though nothing actually existed.”
Adesh too was a victim of bad memories and a social system that believed in ghosts. “Proper upbringing is of immense importance for the mind may play great tricks with good or bad images captures during childhood or adolescence,” Kumar warned.
He added that youngsters must not be afraid of the paranormal. “If they inculcate fear of ghosts in childhood, it may stay on for too long. Also, a child should not be exposed to exorcism and dark magic. It makes them weak and gives them a reason to remain weak.”
(Names of victims changed to protect their identities)