Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Do ghosts really exist?

The modern science has tried to kill many wonders of nature by explaining them. For instance, we have now learned that the phantom lights we often see in the swamps are the swamp gas and the spook lights seen in graveyards are the lights emitted when phosphorus present in human bones comes in contact with oxygen. But those lights do not always appear in the swamps or graveyards. It seems we still have some phenomena which challenge logical thinking and reasoning. There seem to be still many wonders in the universe which science has not yet been able to fully explain. The stories of ghosts and ghostly activities are common in our society. We often hear people talk about their experiences of seeing such unusual spirits. Yet we compel ourselves to believe that ghosts do not exist. Although many of us do believe that such unusual phenomena do exist, we would like to deliberately believe that they are just our illusions and that they are unreal. Unless you see it with your own eyes, you will never believe in such mysteries. There are many people who do not believe in the existence of ghosts saying it’s just a psychological phenomenon. But I met a man in 2004 who was forced by circumstances to believe that such a thing does exist.

In May 2004, I was attached to Zilukha Lower Secondary School as a temporary teacher during my summer vacation and whenever we had free time, we the teachers used to sit together and talk about many interesting subjects. It was during this time when I met a senior teacher named BS Giri. One day while chatting about ghosts, he shared his own experiences with ghosts. He told me that he never believed in ghosts although so many people had told him how they had sighted them. But a night in 1998 in Zhemgang where he was working was enough to make him realize that ghosts really exist. He said that both the parents of one of his fellow teachers had died in the bloody Namling bus accident on their way back to Mongar from Zhemgang after visiting their daughter and their bodies were brought back to Zhemgang for cremation. He told me that every night, he used to go to his friend’s house to give her company but always returned to his own home to sleep. He was driving a motor-bike at the time. So, this went on for weeks. It seems one night it got too late as he had got engrossed in gambling at his friend’s house and by the time he stood up to go home, it was already past midnight. But despite his friend’s request to stay back, he insisted to drive home at that odd hour. So he started driving home and as he drove downhill through a small blanket of forest, he could see at a distance a couple walking uphill towards him. When he got closer, he thought the man appeared like his friend who was a cashier at the bank. He stopped right in front of them and asked them where they were going at that odd hour but he did not receive any response. It seems they kept staring at him with a serious look on their face. Thinking that they might have quarreled, he decided to move forward a bit and park his bike to talk to them nicely. But when he pulled his bike to the roadside and looked back, the couple had simply disappeared. So with a heavy head, he had to rush home and even as he drove fast, the sensation of someone sitting behind him haunted him until he got home. From that moment onwards, he told me that he has started believing in ghosts. Then later when his sister also died in a military truck accident in 1999 on Trashigang-Samdrup Jongkhar highway, he said he heard the footsteps of his sister repeatedly walking towards his house in Thimphu and knocking the door and he found nobody when he opened the door. Likewise, we have so many chilling experiences of people who have seen or heard ghosts in their life time and this makes me wonder if ghosts really do exist and if they do, how should we understand them fully.

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