“Guys in the left hostel wing are calling spirits “, Harpreet stuck his head inside my hostel room and declared.
I dropped whatever I was doing and followed him.
In the last year or so I had developed a curiosity about paranormal, reading several books and providing unsolicited summaries to Harpreet, the curiosity had almost assumed the stature of passion.
My parents dismissed my newfound interest as an extension to my teenage fascination of horror movies. There was not a horror movie worth it’s salt that I had not watched. Why, I had watched the ones that were even not worth their salt. In the last few years, I had transitioned from my fear of unknown to a curiosity about unknown. I was particularly fascinated by Astral projection or out of the body experience. Richard Bach, one of my favorite authors, had described his out of the body experiences vividly in one of his books. I used to often wonder how will it feel to float around the clouds, outside the body.
“Maybe spirits are similar entities, as felt by many during astral projection, but not anchored to a body“, I used to hypothesize to Harpreet, as we sat on the hostel terrace chatting late in the night.
We reached the room where the sprits were supposedly being summoned. There was a tight knot of boys sitting in a darkened room , around a improvised Oujja card. They were all sitting on the floor. There was candle burning on the table, illuminating the room with it’s flickering light.
One of the guys was sitting with his eyes closed, his finger on a coin. The card had the English alphabets and numbers 0-9 written on it. There was also a “Yes” and a “No” written on either side of a circle in the center of the card. There was a coin in the circle.
Everyone’s gaze was fixed on the coin and the finger. Communicator with sprits believe that sprits can be summoned this way. Once summoned, the sprits literally move the coin on letters and symbols to convey messages.
Sundar was driving the coin. He looked up at me and said “ I am not getting anything, why don’t you try?”
Sundar knew about my interest in paranormal. He and I had spent several hours discussing about Ouja and Planchett boards and the controversies around them. Somehow the enigma around the practice almost evoked more interest, however we could never bring ourselves up to trying it out ourselves. I was surprised that Sundar had taken the next step today.
Talking to the boys, I found out that this particular gathering was a result of a spontaneous wager between believers and non-believers. The stake was a high - hundred rupees that could fund a dinner and movie night for two.
The board looked exactly how it should be. I had no idea what to do, but I knew the theory of the drill. It was said that in presence of the spirits, the person driving the coin would feel that the coin is moving on it’s own.
Coming to Sundar’s rescue, I took over his position and placed my finger on the coin. I sat cross legged and released my breathing focusing between my forehead. Almost immediately I could feel that the coin was running away in one direction – as if being pulled by an invisible magnet.
I opened my eyes and looked around the room. “ I could feel something guys”, I declared.
“Get your questions ready “
I knew that the first few conventional questions were generally asking the spirit to identify itself and ask if it is willing to provide some answers.
The boys sitting in the room had two questions ready to be asked. They wrote down these questions and the two skeptics held tightly on to the slip of the paper with the questions.
I started again. I could feel the coin move once more. In course of my study about planchett, I had not ruled out self hypnosis as one of the way this whole thing worked. Maybe an individual invokes his or her intuitive powers and therefore can answer questions correctly? Or is it something else. I still was not sure. “Well, we will see”, I thought and asked the questions, softly but audible to all.
“Are you willing to communicate” – the coin moved to Yes.
“Please identify yourself – are you a male or female?” – The coin moved to the letter F
“What is your age ?” – The coin moved to the numbers 1 and then 6.
I could hear some muffled laughter in the room as some of the boys thought I was joking about a sixteen year old girl spirit.
Then came the two questions.
“What is my grandmother’s birthday ?”, asked a person. The coin went through a series of movements around the number section of the card.
“What is my college enrolment number?” asked another. The coin went to - what I felt like a frenzied movement. I was finding it difficult to keep pace with the coin.
I could suddenly hear some commotion in the room and I opened my eyes. All the boys except Sundar and Harpreet had rushed out of the room. Sundar was chanting a mantra from religious scriptures supposed to help exorcise spirits.
I had no idea what just happened !
After a few minutes, Sundar regained his composure and told me that the birthday and the nine digit enrolment number both were absolutely correct. The boys had got scared with the unexpected correct answers.
“How did you know these answers”, Harpreet asked me weakly. I was starting to feel a bit light headed.
“It is a bit stuffy in here, let’s go out to catch some tea “, I suggested.
The three of us walked to the tea shop that was across from hostel. The quiet road winded through the staff colony where the hostel administration staff lived.
“How did I know the answers?”, I wondered. I was almost sure now that this was a form of self hypnosis.
“Maybe those meditation sessions I do , have helped me open up some intuitive powers”, I said to the two boys walking next to me, as an explanation to what happened today.
As we passing by the staff colony, we heard some weeping sounds coming from one of the houses. There was a small crowd gathered near a gate.
Curious , we walked and asked to one of the bystanders what happened.
“Their sixteen year old daughter passed away a few hours ago“
A chill shot up my spine as I looked at the horrified eyes of Sundar and Harpreet.