Are ghosts real? Should we be afraid of them? Are there any scientific explanations for them? Around Halloween, it’s unsurprising to find yourself wondering more often than usual about the paranormal and the supernatural. So what better time than this month to talk to investigators at Indian Paranormal Society (IPS).
The IPS was founded in 2009 by the late Gaurav Tiwari, and is headquartered in New Delhi. They are pioneers in the field of paranormal investigation in India, in promoting subjects like Metaphysics, Quantum Mechanics and Psychology with respect to paranormal studies/research. Since the IPS started, there have been 21 paranormal societies registered in India as NGOs, with more than 5000 members.
We spoke to Meghna Porwal, a member of the G.R.I.P. (Ghost Research & Investigators of Paranormal) Team, which is the core investigative team of IPS, about all things spooky:
What is the aim of the Indian Paranormal Society (IPS)? Tell us a bit about what it’s like being a Ghostbuster.
The IPS always aims to help people. Our main goal is to eliminate the fear of the unknown and educate people about the paranormal. We are not here to scare people and spread rumours or false notions in people’s minds.
We help eliminate superstitions among people at the same time respect their beliefs as well. We are not here to make people or convert people into believers. We are here to capture evidence and present the proof of the existence of the paranormal.
We are not Ghostbusters or hunters.
We are paranormal researchers and investigators. We are an open-minded team and our members are highly trained and experienced in the field.
How many investigators are there in the IPS? And how does one join the society?
The core members of the IPS consists of 4 members but we do have other members representing the society across the country (click here to read more about them).
We acquire our members through a rigorous and meticulous selection process. Applicants must complete a course and assessments to be certified by the IPS. However, to join the team, it’s important that they also gain practical experience in the field as well, so the course requires applicants to undertake investigations, analzye and present evidence to the team.
It is for us to judge if the members understand the paranormal and if they are really serious about being an investigator and helping others.
Only if you have enough experience investigating can you become a part of the core team.
How do you investigate the paranormal?
There’s a lot of research work required before we start an investigation. We’ll usually visit the client and discuss the history of the place and their experiences in it first. Once we decide to investigate, there is quite a lot of paperwork involved. But once the client and the team signs the paperwork, and it’s confirmed, we get to work.
We set up our gadgets and ready ourselves for the investigation which usually last the entire night. Once the investigation is completed, we analyze our recordings and visit the client again to present the evidence, if any.
What equipment do you use for your investigations?
We have night vision cameras, full spectrum cameras, Go-pros, digital cameras, digital recorders, EMF detectors, motion censors, FLIR cameras, thermometers, laser fields and many more. The gadgets we use varies from case to case.
What do ghost movies get right about the paranormal and what do they get wrong?
Movie directors and writers really need to start consulting paranormal investigators as few things portrayed in the movies are correct. What they do get right are the loud bangs and the noises, the sudden moments, the cold spots, feeling of someone watching or standing behind you.
But many things in the movies are incorrect. There is no woman wearing a white saree with long black hair walking around with a lantern or a candle in her hand (seeing and capturing apparitions on our cameras is something paranormal investigators long to capture.)
People don’t get possessed as often as they show in movies. No blood shot eyes, no ghostly children on swings, and no one comes out of the TV screen and possesses you.
What are the three most haunted places in India?
As far as my personal experiences go, I haven’t encountered aliens or vampire or werewolves as yet (although that would be fascinating), but yes, I have seen ghosts and evidence of paranormal activity.
I have always been a believer in ghosts. My first experience was when I saw my father a year after his passing on the eve of my mother’s birthday. That was what got me into exploring the paranormal.
As a member of the IPS, my first encounter with a ghost was seeing an apparition during one of our cases. Unfortunately, we did not capture it on our cameras. This was a residential case. My second experience was when I actually captured an apparition manifesting in a series of photographs that I had taken in another residential case. My third experience was capturing the face of a monk in a cemetery on our cameras.
There are actually plenty of experiences with ghosts. Sometimes, these stay with you for a long time, and sometimes when you have something paranormal attached to you, it can follow you home. That was one of my experiences that really shook me up. It took me almost a week to recover from that investigation.
If there is one thing you’ve learned from being a paranormal investigator, what is it?
As a paranormal investigator you get to investigate a lot of locations that have powerful stories. The people that you interview who are attached to the location are very emotional and the experiences they have had have left a deep impact on their lives.
For some people, these are so traumatic that it is difficult for them to narrate their stories as the people they have spoken to have dismissed their claims.
So, as paranormal investigators, we need to be very sensitive. You need to be able to make people feel comfortable so they can open up to us. And it’s important to be sensitive to the places you investigate too, so the spirits know that we are there and are there only to communicate with them.
Written by Aishwarya Menon
All images credit: Indian Paranormal Society
Featured image credit: Open Magazine