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Book review: Wiccan retells haunted encounters

Deepta Roy Chakraverti, the daughter of Ipsita Roy-Chakraverti, one of the country's most fabled Wiccan, has penned 12 of her haunted encounters at various places like Bhangarh, Lodhi gardens and Bedlam in London.

books Updated: Aug 03, 2015 18:29 IST
Bhangarh to Bedlam: Haunted encounters

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Her mother introduced the neo Pagan practice of Wicca to India and now she tells tales of her haunted encounters in the ruins of Bhangarh to the mental asylum of Bedlam in London in her first book- Bhangarh to Bedlam: Haunted encounters.

Experiences in the realm of the supernatural and the practice of Wicca form the substance of the debut nonfiction by Deepta Roy Chakraverti, the daughter of Ipsita Roy-Chakraverti, one of the country's most fabled Wiccan.

Deepta has penned 12 incidents she has experienced in real life and observed in India and England.

"I have put them down as I have felt them, and as I have later analysed them. In doing so, I have delved into history, mythology and science," says Deepta.

The author who is a corporate lawyer by profession investigates the presence of the supernatural in the world we inhabit and writes about paranormal encounters she has had ranging from Bhangarh Fort on the Delhi-Jaipur highway, in the Lodhi gardens, the Konark Temple in Orissa, and the mental asylum of Bedlam in London.

So Deepta, her mother and their team of researchers are given a peek at Sooraj Bai, a dancer in the court of Akbar, who is still trapped in the ruins of the old fort in Bhangarh, built by Raja Bhagwan Das of Amber, in the latter half of the 16th century and was later the capital of his son, Madhi Singh.

In Night marchers of Puri, Deepta writes about her encounter of the spirit of Shyama Pallavi whose grief holds her down in this realm.

The Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram is talked about in the chapter God of the Elements and in The Healing Code of Konark, the author finds herself reliving her encounter with the spirit of the Iranian priestess of the Konark Sun Temple.

Deepta explores the energies of the Safdurjung Road house of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who was assassinated and the psychic investigator writes about her experience.

Also in Delhi at the Lodhi Gardens, Deepta says she sees a young Persian scholar who fell victim to court intrigue, still continues her academic learnings.

She recalls a chilling encounter in the chapter Who Walks on Marine Drive? related to a peanut seller on Mumbai's Marine Drive who has a horde of people, including a father-daughter pair flocking to him. The people, says the author are those who died suddenly in the 2011 terrorist attacks and are hovering between the worlds of the living and dead.

Deepta recounts her near death encounter in Bell Yard in London when she was sought out by a ghost in the chapter The Night of the Soul Bell.

In an introduction to the book Deepta's mother Ipsita writes about how she had had documented esoteric experiences in her autobiography Beloved Witch in the year 2000. Ipsita says she had faced an immediate backlash.

"Spirits have stories to tell. One must know how to listen," says Ipsita.

The wiccan refers to the ancient Egyptians who 'believed in the survival of the spirit after physical death'.

Ipsita writes about the 1960s researcher Hans Holzer who said, "A Ghost is a split-off personality that remains behind in the environment of the person's previous existence, whether a home or a place of worship but closely tied to a spot where the person actually died..."

"... We must remember that Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman and Franklin Roosevelt all believed in the existence of spirits. Thomas Edison in fact was working on a machine to communicate with those in the other dimension," says Ipsita.

Since the National Crime Records Bureau started compiling records in 1999, more than 2,300 people, mostly women, have been killed or murdered for being a 'dayan' or witch.

Today in the states of Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra a legislation prohibits witch-hunts.

According to Deepta, there are healing powers hidden within nature and Wiccan practices attempt to bring those powers through their rituals and it has nothing to do with black magic.

She says that wiccan, as a religion or practice, was perhaps the first feminist movement in the world.

Read: Witches or wiccans do exist

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