By P V Durga:
If you thought that belief in paranormal activity is baseless, and confined only to uneducated people, the work of Kolkata- based Paranormal Research Society will prove you wrong. Its members had been individually working in this field much before it took form in 2010. It functions primarily in West Bengal, and has tie ups with many such societies in USA and UK, with whom they collaborate and exchange help. Their definition of the paranormal is simple: it is anything that is not normal, according to standards set by our daily life.
Their pattern of work is based on science, much in sync with today’s times, where scientific explanations are held in high regard. They use instruments such as electromagnetic thermometers, Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), etc. to detect paranormal activity through electromagnetic fields and sound frequencies. Consequently, they enjoy popularity amidst the educated people, who are in search of explanations for the phenomena they observe in their houses; popular ones being hearing voices and seeing images and reflections. Mr. Sushovon Sen, a Colleague Investigator at Paranormal Research Society mentioned that the cases they receive from households with educated people are, in fact, more in number than the ones they get from households whose members are uneducated. At the same time, he admits to the fact that there have been times when they still felt “something”, which they were not able to explain.
For such an organization to exist in a country that is laden with dogma is indeed a challenge, considering that their work may sometimes involve altering people’s entire belief systems. Also, such abstract experiences are highly subjective and people tend to approach them with preconceived notions. Mr. Sen admitted to finding difficulty in few cases where clients with rigid mindsets refused to be convinced with scientific explanations.
The paranormal world has kindled the interest of the scientific and the spiritual community in equal measure. But people who subscribed to these schools of thought have been at opposite ends of the issue, either dismissing it purely as a scientific phenomenon or caught in baseless beliefs. This organization seeks to establish a balance between these two conflicting groups, by eradicating “blind faith” and at the same time, acknowledging that there are some things beyond explanation. This confluence of science and mysticism is sure to provide wholesome perspectives to people in matters concerning the paranormal world.
It is here that the biggest myths are debunked. First, Mr. Sen mentioned that the cases they have handled have been ones where there was no harm to the clients at all contrary to what movies portray. Second, they do not run after “ghosts” per se and do not believe in Tantra, but seek explanations for certain phenomena. Thus, success, according to them would be in finding the reasons. Mr. Sen says that in 90% of the cases they had been able to convince their clients to come out of their fear and unfounded beliefs through their methods. Additionally they are working in teams on a fifteen- year government registered project in collaboration with other similar organizations in USA and UK to confirm the notion of “ghost”.
Moreover, after the recent incident in the De house in Kolkata, people’s interest in paranormal activity has skyrocketed. Mr. Sen mentioned that there has been a general increase in curiosity about the paranormal world and that the organization holds the pride of pioneering people’s interest in the field. He also said that in a few years from now they might receive government support.
We must remember that science is dependent on measurement and improves only when the tools of measurement do. The approach of the Paranormal Society, in this regard, is commendable because they give primacy to the processes they employ to study the situation rather than attempting to condense such complex occurrences within the realms of limited knowledge. Until specific answers are found it is our choice- either to be fascinated with what is beyond our explanation or try to quantify the abstract through the little knowledge we possess or take a stance that acknowledges the perspectives of the scientific and spiritual schools of thought.