GHOSTS AT NOON. My friend from London has come to visit me in India and we are both interested in psychic phenomena so we tell each other ghostly tales and such other happenings, as to make the mutual conversations interesting. It seems that such happenings are seen to occur in the west during dimness of night such as the ghostly activities in dark graveyards or within fogy surroundings. They say that Britain has more ghosts per square mile than any other place. It may be due to dampness and the cold weather, which may conducts psychic energies and its electric flow better in damp atmosphere. Personally I have never any ghostly experiences but in order to impress upon my friend, I related the following story changing to the third person narration as it was told to me by one of my friends to first person. * Once I was living in a town house sharing it with other people and life was going on smoothly, busy with the usual chores of living. It was a comfortable but a dull life as people around me were not interested in any intellectual talk or about discussion on deeper part of living as related to arts etc. They were just interested in their daily business of living- producing children, looking after them and their education, buying and selling things and not much thought related to some non commercial except with an aptitude for increasing their bank balance. In that sort of barren surroundings it was obvious that no seedlings of any intellectual or spiritual nature had any chance of taking root. It used to be my amusing ploy that if people bothered me too much or bored me extensively, I took a book of verse and start reciting from it and in no time the space around me was bereft of all people .It seems that poetry is the best mantra for exorcising the noisy influences of humanity. Inside the house there was a spare room which the inhabitants used as a sort of utility room where they stored their unwanted things like furniture, old luggage, crockery, unused bicycles etc. Nobody went there unless they needed something and went there to look for it in among stored things. I observed that whoever went inside the room, came out with a sort of frightened look on his face. When asked they simply stated that it was nothing or it might have been the stale air in that room which affected their moods. These were mostly men and I thought that they did not want to loose face in front of others by telling of their scary experiences and kept to themselves whatever was troubling them. One day when I returned from work in the evening there was a lot of commotion at the house and every one seemed to be upset. When I enquired about it I was told that a woman resident of the house went into that room and came out screaming and that she was very upset and had taken to bed since then. I went to see her in her room and she seemed to be under a shock and was crying bitterly. She told me that she went into the room to look for some old clothes locked into a trunk and while she was rummaging through it, she heard a voice calling her name in her ear and which upset her greatly and frightened her to death. She ran towards the door but the voice kept following her telling her as not to enter the room again and she left the door open as she rushed out screaming. Her screams brought the other people around and when she told her story two other men became pale and confessed that they too have heard something like that in that room but never told anyone. As I was going away the following day on a business trip, I did not try to investigate her story and left it until I came back from my trip. When I returned from my business trip, I was interested in doing some systematic investigation into that interesting topic of psychic phenomena but it turned to be a hard task in persuading the occupants of the house to relate their experiences. Most were reluctant to air these on account of their fears of being looked foolish and ridiculous in front of other people. Some who had those experiences did not want to go through those horrible experiences by reciting them again. I was looking for a suitable occasion when the atmosphere could be right for just such tales as to be told in front of others for everyone to share their feelings of fright and apprehension and thus diminish them by sharing and creating a sort of group therapy. The woman resident who last went into the storeroom slowly recovered and began to talk to the other occupants about her scary experiences in her usual chatty manner. One winter evening when the people of the house were sitting in front of fire and drinking cups of tea, it was obvious that the time has arrived to share their horrors and fears again in that group gathering. As the atmosphere became more intimate, people lost their inhibitions and began to come forward to share their experiences of something weird or full of terrors. Ram was the first and gave the following account. In June the summer temperatures rose high and as they say that mad dog and English men go out in the mid day sun but so were the people who were employed in maintaining the essential public services. Ram was employed as a supervisor on the electric supply circuit in the north of the city covering a large area of the city and the adjoining villages, supplying power via overhead wires through various sub stations scattered all over. It was one of those days when the temperatures rose high; he received an urgent call regarding faulty electric supply to some villages. Before starting on his investigating, he properly covered his head and the back of his neck as the high temperatures and direct sun could bring on heat exhaustion and may be a heat stroke, which if not treated urgently could be fatal due to increase of excessively high temperatures of the body under that impact. It was convenient to use his bicycle on such occasions. So he took his bike out of shed and started on his ride. Soon he left the city and rode into the country side, which was green and pleasant with cultivated land with different crops. He checked two substations and found that these were in working order but when he went to the third, he found that no electric current was reaching that location. On investigation he found some defective overhead wires which needed to be replaced. It took him considerable time and it was already noon and his exertion on the bike had caused him to perspire profusely and he felt dehydrated. The job for replacing the defective wires had to be carried by a skilled electrician from the head quarter in the city and which would be done when he returned to the city. In the meantime he had to rest and refresh himself with food and water. He looked for some shady spot to rest and saw a cluster of trees far ahead and to which he rode and had his meal. A cool breeze was gently blowing and stirring the leaves and there was cooing of doves and other birds up in the trees. He gave into the pleasant sensations and soon was asleep. He had not slept for long when he was awakened which he thought was by a tap on his shoulder. He straightened his body in a jolt and looked around for that person through half closed eyes. He found the palace to be empty and nobody being around. He pricked his ears and detected sounds coming from some distance and these became audible and inaudible like a wave formation of some music and singing but he could no envisage music making at that time of the year when farmers were busy with their workloads. His curiosity increased and he wanted to find out the source of the sound. He tuned his ears towards it and slowly began to move in the direction of the sound, which he eventually traced to be coming from a group of trees with their thick undergrowth. He reached the spot and lay in the undergrowth and peeped through an opening. Every thing was hazy and misty like an out of focus camera image first, but slowly got it clearer by concentrating on it. He saw a group of people; nearly half naked dancing around in a circle. The dancers were of mixed company, both men and women but there was some oddity about it. Though the women’s breast was well formed but they were at the wrong end instead of being in front, they were growing out of the back. He firstly thought it was just an illusion and ignored the scene for few moments but when he looked again, he found that his first perception was true. He felt giddy and wanted to move away from the scene and ran out of that spot towards his bicycle, which was parked away at a distance. He had a feeling that he was being watched and followed. He reached his office in the afternoon, pale and harassed as if by some unknown cause and wanted to share his experiences but he knew all his junior staff and seniors would only laugh at his story and that would not be the end of the story. It will be remembered for few years afterwards and if anyone who did not like him or wanted to take an emotional pot shot on him, would style him as ‘loony” or something worse. So he wanted to keep silent. He took leave from the office on account of ‘feeling not well’ and went home. Everyone assumed that it must have been the effect of hot sun. He reached home but a profound sadness came over him and he felt cold and miserable even amidst that sunny hot day. Although he had not eaten anything since his breakfast, he did not feel like eating anything as his appetite had vanished. His inside tummy inside was burning and this was clouding his judgment and thinking. He took to bed to sleep it off. His sleep was not any better and he felt that he was hallucinating with strange and dreadful pictures of some fearful happenings. Some how he managed to sleep, even with his nightmares and utter exhaustion. He woke and it was dark, he looked at his watch and it was already 10 pm. His mouth was dry and he had a burning fever. He got up and managed to sip small quantity of cold water and then went back to his bed. When he did not get up at his usual time of 7am to take his daily bath, an occupant of the house called on him and found him in high fever and perspiring profusely all over the body and his bed sheets were wet too. A doctor was called, who diagnosed heat exhaustion and high fever and prescribed him some medicine and plenty of rest in an airy space. A lady came to look after him and put water soaked lintels on his fore head and other parts of body to take away excessive heat as to bring his body temperatures down. In the evening all his housemates came around and assured him that his fever would be down soon and they were all there to help him in any way he wanted for his recovery. But as the days went, the fever did not abate. Ram knew in his heart of hearts that the cause of his illness was more than the physical malfunction and so he told his story, of his experiences of that afternoon in the fields. It was a thing hard to swallow but as his friend wanted to bed. The sensitive sat near him and asked him various questions especially about that afternoon in the countryside where that supposed psychic phenomenon occurred. He further stated that he had to perform a Puja to get to the bottom of things and he would require a certain sum of money as his fees and expenses. As he seemed to be a sincere person so the sum required was paid to him and he promised to return in two days time to give his full report. In the meantime he gave packets of some white powder to be taken in by Ram with plain water to lower the body temperature. The sensitive returned after two days and stated that he had found the cause of his sickness. When he left the haunted place that afternoon, a couple of ghosts followed him and as a result of which he became ill, these phantoms sapped his human energy for their own consumption. He could see two ghostly forms lying on a cot next to him in the room. He described the woman as having something unusual about her, with her breasts at her back. The truth of his statement hit Ram hard as to its authenticity and in fright he urged the sensitive to prescribe a remedy for his ills. He was further told that one of the phantoms had become very fond of his cot and it should be left un-occupied and reserved for the ghost and furthermore he would perform another ceremony to make them leave Ram’s body and stop extracting any more energy from it. When he told these things to his friends, they were convinced that the sensitive was telling the truth except one skeptic who called the whole thing as mumbo jumbo and in order to prove his point, he stated that he would sleep in the said cot. But when he tried to get onto the cot, it mysteriously moved away and out of his reach, he tried few other times but the result was same. He then told two other friends to hold the cot tight while he climbed into it and to everyone’s laughter; the cot was turned upside down with the skeptic underneath it. He never tried it again. It was decided to move the cot into the spare room and which became out of bound for the occupants of the house. Ram recovered and arranged a party for his recovery and which everyone enjoyed greatly including the ghosts in the storeroom. Durlabh Singh © 2015.