1. From time immemorial, people have spoken about ghosts irrespective of cultures, what do you think about this?
The subject of ghost is very popular amongst all age groups of men, women, boys and girls. It is interesting to note that this is the only subject (of course, besides cricket!) on which every Indian has something to say and narrate gory scenes as though the narrator was present all the time. In fact if you probe into depth, one will confess that he/she never experienced but only overheard the incident from somewhere, sometime!
Surprisingly the experience shared is more or less same throughout the world; in all cultures, sects and religions. What we know is that there is a death of a person; either by accident, or heart attack or due to old age. After death the soul departs from the body. The soul of a pious person goes to heaven and that of sinner goes to hell. But some souls which are not so virtuous and not so sinful (and they have a few wishes to fulfill) remain suspended in between hell and heaven. These unsatisfied souls are named as ghosts. They stay in derelict houses, secluded forts, in isolated forests or on some peepal tree. Like any human being they too have feasts on full moon day or on new moon day but they eat only during night. They too have preference in their food habits; some want chicken, some prefer mutton, some choose lemon, some like butter, some desire vegetarian food depending upon from which culture/religion/caste the ghosts are originated.
Every one of us believes that almost all ghosts runaway if they hear prayer or God’s name (Raamnaam). All of them are without face. They have eyes on their chest. They do not have shadows. They cannot see their image in the mirror. Their feet are turned 180 degrees opposite. All of us are hundred percent sure of these facts and we (except skeptics) do not have an iota of doubt about these facts.
2. Do you think ghosts exist?
Like any living species on the earth there is no species as ghosts. But ghosts are there in our minds. For convenience sake we can assume there are two types of ghosts conjured by our minds; one type is borne out of delusion and other one due to mental/psychological disorder. The delusion may be out of fraudulent intention or due to cultural pressure or suggestive behavior or may be due sensual fantasies. Either of these or combination of them creates an image of the ‘ghost’ in our minds.
Frauds convince innocent public the existence of ghosts to fulfill their vested interests. Cultural pressure creates the ghost since we have been brought up into that atmosphere listening to hundreds of incidents of ghost presence in and around us right form our childhood. This makes us to blindly believe them without questioning their reality. Human beings are prone to suggestions. The whole advertisement industry is surviving because of this weakness of the human population. Our behavioral pattern changes based on suggestions. No wonder if some say convincingly that ghosts are there we immediately jump on it and believe in ghosts. We generally obtain knowledge through our sense organs. But sometimes we imagine things: even though there is a rope on the way we feel that there is a snake. This kind of sensual hallucination makes us to believe in nonexistent ghosts. The belief in ghosts may be due the some mental disorder like psychosis. Without any external influence one is convinced that there are ghosts due to malfunctioning of the brain.
3. People talk about paranormal activities. Many swear that they have seen ghosts, do you believe in this?
Imagine awakening in the dead of night to hear padding footsteps in your bedroom. You have a sense of a malevolent presence in the room, and you may hear breathing. Even more frightening, you find yourself paralysed, unable to move a muscle. The footsteps seem to approach you, then you feel someone or something touching your body. Light fingertip pressure moves over your chest, abdomen, and other parts of your body. You are still motionless, except for your breathing. Try as you might you cannot open your eyes or move your limbs. You may experience a strange sensation of levitation. Then all goes blank. You awaken a little later, able to move normally. The room is silent and dark. This strange phenomenon is due to a neurological condition called sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is a very real phenomenon and may help to explain various paranormal experiences like belief in existence of ghosts, UFOs, abduction by Martians etc.
4. There are many things on earth we do not know about, could we say the same about ghosts?
There may be a few unexplained natural phenomena in the world but definitely not the belief in ghosts. The scientists working in this filed conclude that there is something in the peoples’ mind that need to be studied about ‘are there ghosts or are there not’. There are in depth studies in psychology, human behavior, neurology, brain functioning etc and the latest scientific research points out that ghosts are in our mind and not out in the field.
5. Is it true that if one dies in an accident, the soul of dead person wanders since it has unfulfilled and becomes a ghost?
The concept of the soul appears to have originated in the Middle Palaeolithic era, possibly as an attempt by early humans to explain the nature of dreams and the difference between life and death. The idea, modified by the passage of time, has persisted down to the present because many people find this belief comforting as it can mitigate the fear of death.
However, with the advent of modern science we have discovered that life is wholly explicable in terms of natural physical processes, and that there is no need to postulate an immaterial vital force in order to account for physiological phenomena. Furthermore, we now know that all forms of life, including human beings, have arisen as a result of evolutionary processes, and it seems unlikely that this natural process could produce a supernatural entity such as the soul.
I think that it is a reasonable probability that we are entirely natural creatures without any supernatural component to our beings.
The basis for the existence of ghosts, whether the person died of accident or otherwise, is a soul, which itself is imaginary hypothesis refutes the assumption that soul/ghost wanders to fulfill the wishes.
6. People talk about seeing fairies and angels what do you think?
People not only believe in ghosts but also believe in fairies and angels. When you start believing in heaven you have natural tendency to believe in angels and fairies too. Since there is no heaven, naturally there are neither fairies to share your joy nor angels to bless you.
The fairies and angels were hot subjects of hot discussion in the 19th century world. In fact Dr Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, believed in a photograph of fairies wandering in a garden taken till his friend Houdini, well known magician, exposed the fakeness of photograph. The photographs were taken by two girls with some photographic tricks in it.
7. People talk about planchette and calling of a ghost, what do you think?
I remember vividly when my grandmother died and how much I wished that were not the case. I find that idea of ghost is a wonderful thing so that you could still communicate with them. We see the ghosts as a link with the past. It is a strong urge.
This urge in the loved ones has been cashed by the fraudulent ‘self styled mediums’ who promise to recall the souls of the dead and communicate with you. These mediums believe that they are actually given privilege of ‘after death communication’. The investigation by the skeptics reveals that a big hoax is being played by the involved swindlers to en-cash the grief and feelings of the gullible persons.