The skeletons of De family of Robinson Street have triggered a craze about the paranormal in Kolkata and rest of Bengal. Paranormal Research Society, a city-based organization that is affiliated to the International Paranormal Society in the US, is now flooded with phone calls from citizens who have a variety of demands and queries.
While some want the society to come and investigate their house, or that of a neighbour, for the existence of spirits, others want to enroll for a course on paranormal studies and yet others want to become members of the body and obtain training to be investigators.
The society has already examined about 300 haunted places in Bengal and about 70 in Kolkata itself. It started functioning in 2010.
“At several spots we have recorded unexplained voices that have even responded to our calls. We have also detected electromagnetic fields where there can’t be any,” said Soumen Roy, a mechanical engineer and co-founder of the society.
However, Roy who has been chasing spirits for the past eight years asserted on Monday that unlike story books ghosts never appear in white sarees, or in the form of a moving skeleton.
“After media reports exposed the world of the De family, our phones just keep ringing throughout the day. Every other person seems to have become crazy about spirits and everything paranormal. Earlier we used to get only two or three phone calls a day,” said Roy.
An abandoned house somewhere in Kolkata. (HT Photo)
“Calls are coming from Kolkata and the districts. Some are calling to say they have seen shadows in their house, or heard strange sounds. Some point fingers at the neighbours place as a haunted house. Some want to enroll as members. Some want to be trained as paranormal investigators. Some even want to know black magic and how to bring skeleton to life. The demands are of every possible hue,” said Roy.
In August 2012 following media reports of ghost being sighted on Dumdum flyover the society sent a team to inspect that triggered enthusiasm among the public. The society members conducted investigations under Howrah bridge, at Nimtolla crematorium, at ‘Putul Bari’ in Baghbazar and inside Park street cemetery – all known as haunted spots.
“We have been watching the De family story closely. According to us though Partho De may have psychological problems, he is a methodical man. We believe that he has learnt from broad the techniques of body and skeleton preservation as well as some art of invoking the dead. There are many who practise such things here, but he is more likely to have learnt about it from aboard,” Roy told HT.
To become a member of the society, one has to fill a form that is followed by a detailed interview. One month of studies with society members and months of fieldwork are required before one can become an investigator.
“It generally takes a year before we can call one a investigator. This is because sophisticated equipments and involved,” said Roy.
Investigation findings are shared internationally with affiliate and parent organisations.
The society now has about 200 members, of whom seven are investigators and five are trainees.
A paranormal society member with a device to detect electro magnetic fields. (HT Photo)
Roy claimed they have found ‘success’ in some instances. Once in a Bankura village in 2014 they could recorded voices and electromagnetic fields near an old bed after residents kept complaining of "ghosts". Later at a house in Salt Lake electromagnetic fields (despite switching off all power sources) were recorded neat a mirror on which the residents claimed to have seen images.
"We consider a mirror as a gateway between our world and the world of spirits. The problem vanished after the mirror was removed from the house," claimed Roy.
The society members also stated that given a chance in the near future, they would like to investigate the De house too. "We can try and find whether paranormal activities took place in the house. What we practise is not a science but a proposed idea. We use scientific instruments," said Roy.
The members use imported and sophisticated equipments such as electronic voice phenomenon (recorder to monitor very low sounds), K-2 metre (to detect electro magnetic fields), infrared cameras, motion censors and CCTVs to investigate paranormal activities.
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