; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Paranormal Siege in Mumbai

I recently received the following interesting account:

This is my retelling of an experience two close friends of mine had in Mumbai, India in the mid '70s during a riot against our spiritual, philanthropic organization there, whom I'll keep confidential for the anonymity of the members involved. This event included false accusations against our members, and the conjuring by ‘tantriks’ (black-hearted 'witches') of curses and ghost attacks on our compound there.

This is a bit of a long story, partly because I side-track a couple times to other similar strange experiences we've had that help to understand what happened in Mumbai. I'm only able to repeat the events experienced by my two close friends B.D. and J.D. (ah... no relation), who were there in the midst of this paranormal siege. Some of these events may have involved more than one type of ghost, possibly including pisachas, bhutas or pretas over of the course of a week or more.

To start with, I had just gotten out of 3 years in the Marines (drafted, 1970) and wanted a very explicitly peacefully spiritual life. So I joined up with a philanthropic, traveling, progressive-Hindu based monastic group whose members were celibate, vegetarian, and didn't allow any type intoxication. We traveled around in the U.S., India and many other parts of the world putting on presentations of the Vedic (ancient Indian) literature and sciences in colleges and other cultural settings. Spiritual life or not, I still wound up being a sort of bodyguard back then. (I've since become a California P.I. and found some of what I learned in these experiences quite helpful.)

My security role was needed because there were always folks we ran into that didn’t like our spiritual point of view. According to them we were either not Hindu enough, not Christian enough, or not communist enough, depending on what part of the world we were in. For the Hindus, we were a little too progressive: for instance, female members could become fully initiated Brahman priests, not just the males. This was a first back then. Also, at that time in India, westerners were often kidnapped and brutally interrogated by communist folks suspecting them of being CIA and sometimes never seen again.

Back then, you could still see Russian made trucks everywhere, moving at crazy speeds right down the middle of the dusty, sun-beaten highways scaring bullock carts and rickshaw drivers out of the way. They always had festoons and colored ribbons flapping in the wind with corny slogan printed on the front of the trucks in big letters saying things like, “India – Moving into The Age of Progress....” The adobe-like residential compounds along the roadways would often have barbed wire along the tops of the walls and communist slogans tagged on the walls like graffiti.

I wasn’t in Mumbai when these things happened, I was in West Bengal with other members of the group – mostly busying myself with fighting off a serious bout of amoebic dysentery. But apparently there were several different horrific events in Mumbai that seemed to overlap, causing some to also believe it was curse related.

For starters, according to J. D., he left the Mumbai compound with three other members of our group to head out for some shopping in the local Juhu Beach markets for food that would be used for our daily functions. It was our practice to provide meals to the public including a lot of hungry people, along with presentations on Vedic sciences and literature. We were trying to help the indigenous youth there to understand their spiritual and cultural heritage in the face of the cultural onslaught of communism.

When the four of them were returning from their errands they were, much to their horror, stopped by an angry crowd now seething outside the compound. J.D. told me that “our already-beat up little Datsun 4 door we were driving got turned over,” but only after some “friendlies in the crowd helped us get clear of it first.” When they made it on foot back inside the compound, they learned that the unhappy gathering in the street out front was because of the following.

As with most places in India at the time, people would leave their shoes either on the porch, front steps or in shoe slots before entering a building. Well, apparently, a few minutes before my friends tried to return, a shoe thief had stepped up from the crowded boulevard onto the entrance-veranda and grabbed a really nice pair of shoes just as their owner was egressing the facility to reclaim them. The owner of the shoes in question saw the “dacoit” (in this case, “shoe bandit”), sneaking off with his nicer-than-normal shoes. He then shouted, pointing at the thief to two or three nearby constables. A struggle ensued.

The police at the time carried long sticks. Somehow in the melee one constable’s stick came crashing down on the thief’s head making a very graphically loud, messy and lethal impact.

The normally peacefully crowded street began to seethe. The police involved were helpless to deal with the growing disorder and simply left, taking the victim’s body with them, presumably for an inquest. In the meantime, according to my other friend B.D., the thief had friends in the crowd who didn’t like westerners (communist hang-ups about westerners...), even though many if not most of our members there were local people. They went to the police and somehow got them thinking that our organization was the real cause of the thief’s demise. The police were of course happy to take this version of events, in-spite of what they knew actually happened involving themselves. They even arrested some of our groups members, though they were released shortly afterwards.

Right around this time other troubles also started up. Our property lease rather suddenly ran into legal trouble, one or more small fires broke out here or there in the facility. And seemingly fresh food would spoil rapidly. And then there were the ghost attacks at night. (Much more on that in a second)

However, also according to B. D., the first of the troubles, involving at least one invoked entity, actually started a day or two before this time, when a 18 or 19 year old local man joined our group as a full monastic celibate member. And, in B.D.'s words, “his parents had become very upset [most likely wanting him to get married and probably to someone of their choosing]. They sought out a ‘tantrik’ who could give us troubles and thus cause their son to come back home.”

For at least the following week or more, disruptive crowds lingering outside shouted curses and tossed rocks at the building, some of them getting in through some of the un-shuttered, open-air windows. When this sort of thing happens, the thrown objects are sometimes wrapped in cloth with Hindi curses written on them though I’m not sure if that was also happening here. But at night in the compound, strange things and very troubled sleep overtook the members.

One by one, just about all of the members’ dreams while sleeping began to be invaded: they would for instance dream of seeing one of their good friends or co-workers there in normal happy ways working around the facility with them. Then suddenly that good friend would stab them in the back with a kitchen knife with a painful realness to it. Then upon seeing each other the next day they would be ill-at-ease with each other. That was just one specific type of ghost attack and it happened frequently. Another type were the 'sex ghosts.’ They would cause semen loss during some of my friend’s dreams, an experience which is disappointing to celibates who may be trying to ‘raise their prana or chi up the spine’ (a type of revitalizing yoga). When failing in this, these types of ghosts also tried to experience the victim's sexuality by inducing sleep paralysis, where the victim wakes up but can’t move. And thus there is a fight for control of the body for that ghost’s purposes. This seldom works against normal healthy people but the ghosts would keep trying when the dreaming tactic didn't work because they were hungry for that type of experience.

Then there is the worst type of attack: they begin by mesmerizing the dreamer. You may dream you are in a beautiful forest. Then you get the feeling that the trees around you are also dreaming, and that they are dreaming of being able to walk like you – it's a strange, fetching thought. And while you are caught up more in the dream, you are 'less in your body.' The trees may then start to take on a gloomy or haunted look – then ka-bamm – your chest feels gripped painfully and you're struggling to breath!

Another more common their ploy I had experienced at our places in the U.S. was when the ghost would cause them to be fascinated in their dream by the idea of, 'it’s just a dream – why not fly, or just float away’ (hence more out of your body). Then suddenly the suffocation-struggle ensued. It can be particularly dangerous for heart failure in unhealthy people when it involves an invoked entity. I give an example in a sec that happened during the Mumbai siege.

There were daytime apparitions too. One of them would put people on edge in the kitchen. Several times, when someone would open a pantry or cupboard door there would appear a laughing, disembodied floating head that JD. described: “It looked like the Zig Zag man with the Robin Hood hat and goatee that looked like the logo-picture on packs of rolling papers used by beedies and ganja smokers...” back then. For all these attacks the members used a pretty simple spiritual remedy which I'll describe in a sec when I relate a more horrific experience of one the the besieged members below.

These people (my friends) are tough about this kind of stuff. They deal with all kinds of incorporeal intrusive phenomena everywhere they go in the world, Russia, South America, Indonesia, etc. It’s like ‘just another day on the ranch’ for them, like wildlife management here and there. In fact, we would normally rent the old Victorian homes (including in New Orleans) in every city we traveled to that were once used as city morgues, because the leases were always a bargain. Of course the nightly ghostly botherations would start up in those places, and then we'd just fix it - pfffft...as described below.

Back to Mumbai: In the one example referred to above, J.D. himself described waking up one night around 3:30 am during, to a knocking on the door. It was the entrance to a large dormitory room where he and many others slept. (We always slept on floors in sleeping bags.) But he felt uneasy about answering it. The building is locked after hours from the outside, and everybody inside knows this inside dormitory door is unlocked for them to come and go on their own different sleeping schedules. Why then, would somebody be just knocking on it?

So with an uneasy feeling, he got up to get the door. As he pulled the old-wooden door open he saw a dark, faceless hooded figure standing there. It rushed him and he suddenly felt painful chest-clenching suffocation. Blacking out for an instant he then suddenly found himself waking up again in the sleeping bag. He realized he did not wake up and go to the door in the first place though he was fully conscious of doing it! (He was out of his body....) Now he was paralyzed on his back with his chest feeling painfully compressed and suffocating by a non-descript darkness over him. Reflexively, he employed our usual remedy. He did what we all had learned to do instinctively.

J.D, said he reflexively started meditating on a single word 'mantra,' (ah...well, it was more like a sudden, panicky mental 'invocation' actually). He fixed his mind on one of the many known 'holy names' of the supreme which are found in many different scriptures around the world. He also needed to be more persistent than usual in this case since this was, after all, a more powerful, 'invoked entity' attacking him. But doing this enabled him to brake it's hold.

As soon as he could move and speak he said the the mantra out loud a few times. This has a more far reaching effect in a given location than persisting with it in silence. Soon the attack was over, although, so was his sleep for a good while. He still felt the pain in the chest a bit.

In J.D.'s case, the mantra-name he used was Nrishingha. Rama, Narayana or Krishna are also some of the more common ones used throughout India and many other areas of Asia. They are thought to be particularly powerful in shaking off demonic attack as well as for clearing locations.

It's said that the sound of the “ancient seed syllables” (or “psycho-active sounds”) that form many of the known 'holy names' of God, puts 'dark or evil' entities into a state of mind we think of as grave, mortal fear, and they are forced away by it. It's also well known to the people who practice this type of defense, that correct pronunciation of these mantra-names, or even particular faith in them are not necessary. Only sincerity is needed, and of course sincerity pretty easy to muster in yourself when under fire. But its a good thing to practice it and bad dreams are a good place to start. You can actually see how the negative nature of a bad dream always changes in a sedating, pleasant way once your intention to use this kind of defense works its way into your dreams.

As mentioned above, because of the kinds of locations we stayed in, we did this all the time.

(Back to the siege in a minute): We once rented one of those old Victorians in New Orleans that was previously used in the early 1900s as a city morgue, right across the street from the famous St. Louis Cemetery that has all the crypts raised above the ground. This became my own 'boot camp' for this sort of experience.

I was sleeping on the basement floor (yep – in an old New Orleans morgue...) with maybe ten or twelve other members nearby. Suddenly I woke up in a sitting position except that I was above my body and I couldn't re-enter it. I knew 'something' kicked me out. I could even see other friends sleeping nearby who weren't there when I went to sleep. I was in a strange state of panic and grogginess at the same time as though the entity was trying to keep me unconscious or non-lucid. So I meditated on “Nrishingha” (my usual) and was able to drop back into my body and back to sleep pretty quickly. Suddenly I woke up again, in my body now, due to hearing other members being disturbed in their sleep. This entity was some kind of a classic 'sex-hungry ghost,' as opposed to the 'crush your chest while you can't move' type. We were told that the sex-hungry types are especially drawn to to celibates.

And just as I would experience in so many other similar places in other cities since then, this entity moved through us one by one. I heard one person suddenly gasp for air two sleeping bags over from me, then in a flash that ended, presumably with that person's silent mantra meditation upon their waking up. Then a few seconds later somebody else a little farther away from me went through it. Then when it had enough frustrated attempts in this group, I started hearing these little disturbances from people sleeping on the floor above me, one at a time until someone just woke up and chanted some of these mantra-names for a few minute out loud and then it was all over for the night.

But in the Mumbai case these events were obviously more involved because it (well... ah, it was India...) but it also involved a specific invocation against us of one or more summoned beings. It was likely either one or more of the bhutas (human ghosts under the control of the tantrik, typically including the ghosts of dead black-hearted brahmin priests). A classic pisachas may have been involved though too, though they didn't present in their natural form in this case, but they don't need to. They are a non-human entity sharing some of the description and characteristics of the kinds of flying beings that have been reported in the Midwest U.S. In recently: big with dark skin in their own natural form, but they shape shift and can be either physical or not. They are able to suck life-energy from a human through their big red eyes without physical attack (that might be why similar beings with wings in America just fly around and shockingly stare at people a lot, without actually attacking...). They are known to live in areas where high mortality from disease or battles are anticipated so they can draw on the life-force (prana or chi) that is released by violence or unexpected loss.

In what I recall described as the final peak of the attack, one night there were multiple nerve-shattering manifestations. Sometime around 2:00 am every alarm clock in the building suddenly sounded off at the same time. This was even though they were old fashion mechanical wind-up alarm clocks, most set at different times. At the same time all the internally latched window shutters in the building began to fly open and slam repeatedly with horrific noise.

Instinctively, various mantras were then heard from the mouths of startled sleepers. The horrendous cacophony stopped. A few of them were assigned to begin a bhajan, singing sweet melodies with these name-mantras as they strolled through the building, while the main crew went back to sleep. They had to do this a couple more times as the trouble waned, and things gradually got back to normal again. Our daytime struggles described above also subsided in as if in unison.

B.D. told me that within a few days afterwords the mother of the the young man who joined us against her will, the one who had engaged the tantrik to summon the malefic being(s) against us, came to the us asking for help! The normally stately looking woman now looked really ragged. Apparently the entity(s) was now attacking her and her family. However, since our members don't specialize in that particular “Vedic science,” they patiently explained how they themselves had overcome it. We never heard back what the outcome of was for her.

When we got back to our usual leased old flats in Mid-town Manhattan, NY, I didn’t know this stuff had happened yet. I was busy trying to discontinue looking like a skeletal prisoner-of-war victim due to continuous fasting due deal with my amoebic dysentery in Bengal at the time. My main activity now that we were back in NY was eating stacks of four or five plantain pancakes as big as the plates they were on along with other wholesome things until I started looking recognizable again. It was around that time that I heard from my friends about the Mumbai siege. In fact, we were always hearing reports of these types of misadventures coming into our NY office from our members around the world. But this one seemed kinda up there to me, and it also involved my good friends. J.D. had repeated it a couple different times to me over the years including in front of others who were there, and the details were always the same. I had only heard B.D.'s story of his experience there once. Their stories showed me that they were just different experiencers of the same strange ordeal, and didn't show any inconsistencies. - G. Hooper

The Science of the Rishis: The Spiritual and Material Discoveries of the Ancient Sages of India

Mystic Universe: An Introduction to Vedic Cosmology

Sadhus: Holy Men of India

Occult Science in India and Among the Ancients: With An Account of Their Mystic Initiations and the History of Spiritism (Forgotten Books)