That eerie shadow on the wall.
A feeling that someone (maybe a ghost or a spirit) is watching you from that dark corner.
Strange, scary sounds in the dark forest nearby.
“Oh, Come on, dude! That’s just a bunch of wild animals having fun. Hey, there’s no such thing as spirits. All those scary ghost stories you read on the internet—that’s bullshit.”
That’s how some people sound while talking about paranormal phenomena or otherworldly experiences, but can discarding an unexplained mystery alter the truth?
What difference does it make if science disapproves of paranormal entities and experiences? You see, science has its limitations. There are many mysteries science will never be able to understand. And paranormal is one such thing.
Some instances don’t make any sense, and so we label them as superstition. Even when we witness such phenomena, we tag them absurd, strange, or unscientific because they challenge our assumptions and contradicts our belief system.
We embrace light with open arms but don’t want to explore the darkness, because it reminds us of the dark within. Our homes are the comfy cocoons we live in, and we want to believe that nothing exists beyond the four walls.
Sorry to break it for you but there are things beyond your control, and they do exist.
But, hang on a minute.
I have no intention to make you believe in paranormal.
You see, believing is assuming.
I explore things and search for truth and not believe something because somebody I respect had said it.
So, I encourage you not to believe anything I say, instead have an open mind. Explore the world around you a little, find out the truth for yourself.
And what better way to explore than dive right into the Indian folklore.
You see, the Indian folklore has many stories about paranormal phenomena—tales passed on from one generation to another.
I’ve documented some strange stories and paranormal phenomena in this article. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Ghaal (घाल): One of the Deadliest Paranormal Phenomena
Ghaal is a term used in Black magic—kind of flying lights seen on Diwali.
Remember the missiles in Hollywood movies—locked on to the target to destroy it?
Ghaal is just like that—a kind of missile to destroy enemies, except, that its existence is controversial. Wise people consider it one of the deadliest weapons black magic ever devised.
The black magic practitioner uses an earthen pitcher with a lit earthen lamp in it. And it is said that the best time to perform the Ghal black magic is on the night of Diwali. You may call these flying lights flying-matka, flying-handi, or flying-diya. Names don’t matter. What matters is that it is programmed to kill the enemy.
Many people have claimed to see these flying lights used in black magic at night—mostly on a no-moon night. It lands at the home of the target and calls its name thrice. It uses a familiar voice to trick the victim.
People say that Ghaal can imitate anyone’s voice—a family member, a relative, friend or a neighbour.
If the person replies saying “Yes”, the Ghaal kills him.
But if that individual keeps silent, the Ghaal returns and kills the person who launched it. Pretty risky, huh?
Chhalawa (छलावा): A Supernatural Entity
The word “Chhalawa” comes from the Hindi word “Chhal” which means “to deceive.”
It is a supernatural entity which can transform itself into any shape or size.
An old man, a woman, a beautiful girl, a rabbit, a goat or a snake—it can turn into anything! That’s why it’s called Chhalawa—a deceitful entity.
Chhalawa is an in-explainable phenomenon capable of confusing people like anything. I haven’t heard anyone claiming that a Chhalawa killed somebody, though. It appears to scare people just for fun, with no intention to harm them.
The Marriage of Ghosts (भूतों का ब्याह): A Spooky Affair
Sound funny? Well, this one is fascinating.
In many parts of Northern India, especially in Western U.P., this phenomenon is popularly known as “Bhooton ka Byah.” It takes place during the night, far away from human dwellings. Many people claim to have witnessed this spooky “love-affair.”
Most of the people witnessed ‘Marriage of Ghosts’ were farmers working in their fields which was quite natural.
You see, it’s quite common in India for farmers to work at night for irrigating their crops or transferring hay from fields to home during the harvesting season.
It goes something like this:
Ghosts gather in an open field.
They dance, sing, and make merry. After celebrating for a while, the otherworldly people start distributing sweets among themselves, and anyone who is nearby. If they locate a human in the vicinity, they approach him too. (Eyewitnesses claim that ghosts speak in a nasal tone).
While handing over the sweets to the humans, the spirit warns the person to finish the delicacies then and there only, else, it will transform into dust by the morning.
A farmer was lucky to witness this unusual event. The ghosts offered him some sweets. He ate some and kept the rest for his kids. In the morning, there was nothing except dust and pebbles.
The Power of Your Word: Think Before You Speak
Most of the harmful spirits and diseases need your permission to enter your house.
How they try to get your permission is quite strange – they call your name thrice while you’re asleep. If you reply immediately, they consider it as ‘permission granted’, and if you don’t, they fade away.
Wise people advise that you shouldn’t wake up in a jiffy to answer any such call. Wait till three times, if the person trying to wake you up is real, he will call you 4th time as well. (and may also shout at you for not replying. :))
The Wrath of ‘Jhaar Deewan’ (झार दीवान): My Real-life Story
It was 1996.
A carnival is organised every year about 20 days before Janmasthami (Birthday of Bhagwan Shri Krishna) in my hometown-Lakshminagar in Western Uttar Pradesh.
You can find shops selling sweets, toys, fancy dresses, decorative items and things like that on both sides of the GT road, Khatuali.
The very first thing you’re supposed to do is to offer prasad to “Shri Jahar Veer Goga Ji” (A supernatural being—a fatherly figure of the snakes) popularly known as “Jhaar Deewan.”
There’s a small temple of Shri Jahar Veer Goga Ji in Khatuali, on the left-hand side of the GT road (if you’re going from Delhi to Dehradun. It’s not on the bypass). Once you offered the prasad, you’re free to enjoy the carnival.
Once, my younger brother, one of my uncles and I went to the carnival. We were aware of the custom, so we went straightway to the temple.
My younger brother offered prasad and asked me to do the same. I replied, “Well, I am wearing shoes, and I have no intention to untie the laces and tie them up again. You go ahead and offer the prasad for me, will you?
And he did.
We enjoyed the carnival and went back home the next morning. After some days, I returned to Delhi.
Help! There’s a Snake in My Room
One day I was busy studying when I saw a snake entering my room and hiding underneath my bed.
Terror gripped me—I jumped out of the door and went straightaway to my uncle’s place. When I came back the next day, there was nothing was there under my bed. But as soon as the night approached, there he was, again. 😯
I went again to my uncle’s place. My grandmother was a little curious this time. She asked, “Have you ever offered prasad to Jhaar Deewan?”
I recalled the incident when I had the opportunity, but I didn’t.
My grandmother said, “Don’t panic. Go home, and take 5 rupees in your hands. Close your eyes and focus your attention on Jhaar Deewan and ask for his forgiveness. Also, say to him that you’ll offer prasad the next time you visit Khatauli.”
I did as told. And I never saw that snake again. I went to my village after two months, and I offered the prasad at Jhaar Deewan’s temple. It made me wonder at the powers supernatural beings can have over your life.
Flavours and Fragrances: Demons, Ghosts, and Anomalies Love Them
Spirits love sweets, especially the ones made with milk, sugar, and ghee (Clarified butter).
And not only that, but they also love the person who eats them.
Because the spirits can fulfil their desire to experience the sweet taste by possessing him.
Wise people warn that one should not go outside immediately after eating sweets, especially in the afternoon and at night.
Spirits are most active at these times, and the flavour of the sweets may attract them.
But, here’s a solution:
If you must go, then clean your mouth thoroughly with water and eat a little pickle or a pinch of salt or a little bit of ash to keep away the evil spirits.
It is traditional in many parts of Western U.P. that when a married girl gives birth to a child, her mother is supposed to send “Meetha” for her and the other family members.
Meetha means sweet in Hindi.
It’s a mixture of dried fruits (almonds, raisins, dried dates, muskmelon seeds and Kani (A kind of dried fluid derived from a tree) ) lightly fried in Ghee (clarified butter) and Boora (Powdered white sugar). Sometimes it is also referred to as “Saanda.”
It is customary for the girl’s brother or father to carry the mixture from her mother’s place to her husband’s home.
Small onion or a clove of garlic is kept with the mix (wrapped in several layers of paper or polythene) to keep away the evil spirits. One should not place the onion or garlic open as its foul smell may spoil the mixture.
Same is true about fragrances—perfumes and scents.
If you are about to pass through a deserted area or any source of water, like, well, river, lake, or pond etc., then you should not wear a fragrance.
Kuldevtas (कुलदेवता): Protectors of the Household
Kuldevtas, popularly known as “Detas” or “Devtas” are the forefathers of a household. The Kuldevtas protect children of the house from diseases and difficulties and bless everyone in the family with good health, prosperity, and peace.
Most of the families in villages build a small temple for their Kuldevtas. It is usually a neatly maintained place away from home because constructing a temple inside the house is not advisable. People create these tiny structures with five bricks and paint them white.
Sunday is considered Kuldevtas’ day.
Some households prepare “Kheer” (खीर) (a pudding made with rice, milk, sugar, and dried fruits) to honour the Kuldevtas.
Lady of the house first offers the pudding to the Kuldevtas and then distribute it among the family members and neighbours as “prasad.”
Every new bride is supposed to light a Diya in Kuldevtas’ temple. She pours a mixture of water, milk, and sugar over the temple and bows her head to get their blessings. This process is known as”Jot Jalaana” (ज़ोत जलाना या ज़ोत बालणा) Not doing so may angry the Kuldevtas. Also, the newly married couple is forbidden to make love unless performing this ritual.
During the Wedding
The house where a wedding is taking place is vulnerable to spirits because there are many things to lure evil entities—sweets, new clothes, jewellery and perfumes.
At this time, Kuldevtas are called upon to protect the house from such spirits. It is customary to make a temporary place for them in the house with a Diya lighting 24 hours a day in a heap of wheat or rice.
The Kuldevtas protect the house until all the processions are over, and then, they are thanked and requested to go back to their abode.
The would-be bride and bridegroom are not allowed to step outside their homes 2-3 days before marriage. This time is crucial as spirits keep looking for such boys and girls to possess them if a soul gets to stay with the bride or bridegroom during the “phere” (The ritual when a girl and boy circles around the fire seven times), it becomes almost impossible to ward off the spirit(s).
The spirit(s) can create numerous problems in a married couple’s life, including, but not limited to: constant conflict in the house, bride’s inability to conceive, sufferings and misery in some form or the other.
Daab ka Banda (दाब का बन्दा): A Paranormal Talisman
It’s the root of a mysterious and rare plant that attracts prosperity and good luck irrespective of outer circumstances.
A household in my village is said to have one, though they never admit it. But, my grandmother had once told me that they do possess ‘Daab ka banda.’ And that’s the reason they are one of the most prosperous and wealthiest households in our village.
I hope this article filled your heart with awe and wonder.