March 2002 - Place Pune, India.
Although I personally witnessed the below incident, I was not the driving force behind it. For me, it was always going to be more like an experiment and I had already decided to be just a spectator with an open mind and that is exactly what I did. Let me share it.
Zoyanal was my senior colleague and friend in the amateur forum that we had formed sometime back to discuss the paranormal. His was a strongly opinioned personality and he paid little attention to what others had to say. He firmly believed that the smallest of the discussions or the conversations that occurred in the past always remain alive at certain level. They fade away only when the majority of the wandering souls that were part of those scene or discussions are reborn somewhere else. Since for each soul, the waiting period can be different, the scene can remain intact for few seconds or thousands of years.
According to Zoyanal, each scene has an aura associated with it depending on the underlying emotional intensity felt by the characters involved. This aura forms a handle when one tries to witness the scene again using certain mantric techniques and chants. Stronger the aura, more are the chances that mantric will succeed. At times, especially in case of tragedies, deaths and other violent incidents, the aura associated is so strong that the scenes get reconstructed without any invitation. When we witness these uncontrolled scenes we call them haunting.
I did not really fully agree to this but I was aware of the large collection of powerful chants Zoyanal had and was very curious to find out how he managed to witness something that happened in the past. He never used Ouija boards saying that it added no value. It took me some effort to convince him to let me be present for one his experiments. Once he accepted me he was quite informative and helpful. He said that it was only the second time when he would be attempting the reconstruction in the house he lived in now. He said, he preferred his ancestral house in the northern part of Goa to carry out these activities, because it took less effort overall. Perhaps because the place was quite old and more responsive. But we did not have time for a two day trip so decided to carry out the experiment on one weekend when Zoyanal was going to be alone in the house. He explained to me that he had no control over what we would be seeing. Factors like humidity, weather condition, state of the moon, position of the stars and aura of the incidents hovering in the zone at that time, will largely influence what we will see.
I went to his place on Friday right after the dinner. His study room was dimly lit except for the small but strong red light bulb which he had wrapped with a towel to reduce the intensity. On the ground there was a fairly large shiny brass plate. One half of the plate was coated with some sort of thick black material that Zoyanal had created specifically for the occasion. He was carrying a small sack in his hand in which he had kept all the material he would need for the night.
Zoyanal pulled out a white chalk from his sack and drew a rectangle on the floor. The rectangle was slightly larger than the brass plate. He then kept the brass plate at the center of it. Zoyanal then pulled out few hard flour balls from his sack and pressed them on the material coated side of the plate. He then took out a piece of coal and started drawing symbols outside the rectangle. He placed four lemons on the four corners and inserted a pointed pin in each of them. He then applied touch of wet vermilion to his forehead as well as mine. The rest he scattered in the air. Finally the preparation seemed to be complete to his satisfaction as he sat cross legged outside the rectangle and opened his notebook of chants.
Before he began, he told me not to get diverted by anything that I may hear or see happening in the room. I was supposed to focus in the other half of the plate that was not covered. I leaned forward and took a look. The surface indeed was very shiny and I could see my face clearly. I asked Zoyanal if this was going to be something like a crystal ball viewing to which his nodded and smiled. Once we settled back, Zoyanal folded his hands and started a prayer. It was not fully Sanskrit but sounded more like a fusion of Sanskrit and some other native language which I could not understand. I did not realize when he jumped from the opening prayer to the main chants because the pronunciation was quite similar. After every couple of verses, Zoyanal would pull out a candle from his bag and light it. He did not bother to check if they remained lit or not. Some of them burned and some of them did not.
For the first few minutes I felt nothing. After that I started getting a mild sensation that there was some kind of charge building up in the atmosphere. I could hear very faint chatter like noise but could not exactly figure out where it was coming from. Still I could see nothing in the open section on the brass plate. I then remembered Zoyanal's instruction of not paying attention to the change in the atmosphere and tried to focus on the plate itself. Zoyanal himself seemed to have moved into kind of trance now. He was no longer referring to his notebook and was reciting chants from his memory. Quite a few candles were now scattered around him. He was not lighting any new ones though. Instead of that, after every few seconds he was throwing some kind of black powder behind him by stretching his hand over his head. I still could think clearly but at the same time was having a feeling that if I let my guard down, I may get dragged into some kind of hypnotic spell. I shook my head and focused back on the plate.
It happed all of a sudden. There was no prelude. One moment the shiny surface was empty and next moment a scene was unfolding on it. It was like switching on a television. Only indication I got before the surface became live was the strong smell of fried fish.
The first thing I saw was an old primus stove and lantern with a small tank that fits with it. Something was cooking on it in a half burnt aluminum utensil most probably rice. On the ground there was plate full of fried fish. It looked like a cheap river fish variety. It was like watching live telecast of what is happening inside the house from a small window. You get a clear but restricted view. A radio was playing Hindi songs somewhere in the background.
Looking at the kind of furniture I could see and what I could hear on the radio, my guess was we were around 50 years back in the past. I was looking into a household of lower middle class working family. A middle aged woman in her late forties was sitting on the ground near the stove and was talking to someone. She was wearing a cheap sari and almost no jewelry. I could not see with whom she was speaking to, as the other person was out of focus. It was a female voice and the casual friendly tone suggested that she might also be from the same age group. For a brief moment I shifted my focus from the plate to what was happening around me in the room. The room was still charged up; Zoyanal's face had a strange withdrawn look as he continued his chants. He was looking into the plate as well but his eyes looked vacant. I doubted if he was actually seeing anything. He had pulled out a rosary from either his sack or his pocket and he was holding it tightly in this right hand. The visibility in the room had dropped and the room felt colder.
I shifted my focus back to the plate and tried to hear the conversation. They were discussing a family marriage that must have taken place recently. I could hear the other woman saying that the guests were happy and elders were satisfied. It was a good ceremony which pleased everyone.
For couple of minutes the conversation dragged on the similar dull lines when all of a sudden I heard the sound of a crash, then a thud - as if - someone was falling to the ground followed by a female voice yelping in pain. Most probably the other woman whom I could not see seemed to have fallen down. Perhaps the chair or whatever she was using broke. The woman that I could see stood up and rushed out of the focus. I could hear angry voices and moans. I then heard someone coughing but that sound was not coming from the scene. It was Zoyanal who had gone very red in the face and could not continue his chants. He seemed to be hit by bout of cough. He waved at me, indicating to relax back and close my eyes. I was reluctant to but did what he suggested.
Zoyanal still continued to say chants but was gasping for breath intermittently. The charge in the room was diminishing slowly. I could sense that. I cannot account for the next two minutes. Perhaps I went into some sort of trance. But when I came back to my sense, Zoyanal had got up and was drinking deeply from the jug of water on the center table. The brass plate was clear and all I could see was my own reflection. The air had cleared up and the room felt normal. I helped Zoyanal to wrap things up. He looked very tired so I decided it best not to ask any questions that night.
He could not throw much light on the scene itself. He said sometimes, setting up this experience could be very demanding on the body and he had little energy left to actually witness the scene. We both tried to think why we witnessed this particular scene. But except for a rather lame guess that the women who fell might have sustained serious injuries, we could draw no conclusions. Zoyanal, however was sure that the location of the house that we saw in the scene was the same as the one where we carried out this experiment. Before the new six storey apartment was built and Zoyanal's parents moved in some 22 years back the area was occupied by families of workers from the nearby garment factories. They had this habit of building makeshift houses, just about better than a typical slum or a hut. Zoyanal had seen these houses from other angles in his previous attempts and had recognized the surrounding area.
From my point of view this was a novel experience but I had never doubted Zoyanal's ability as a mantric or tantric whichever he preferred to call himself. But this did not help much either to prove or disprove his theory. In 2005, I accompanied him to his native place for one more session in which he used similar technique to find out a thief. I will write about it some other time