Out on a work-related visit, to one of the most enchanting states of India – Rajasthan, hauntings, and stories of paranormal became our constant partner. Every nook and corner of this state has a paranormal story attached to it, most of them related to the rich history of this place. Also, the daunting forts and stories of battles and massacres make the stories highly believable.
My tryst with the Paranormal
I ended up visiting a fort, 80km away from Jaipur, which was “the most haunted fort in India” according to one of my friends. Although it sounded scary, the adrenaline rush of facing the unknown was a good reward.
Reaching Bhangarh fort, we realized there was nothing else in the village, but just that fort. And even during the pandemic, the fort was buzzing with visitors ( 280 on the very day we visited the fort).
The outside of the fort was brimming with vendors and guides. Everyone was selling something or the other related to the ghosts of Bhangarh.
We went in and were welcomed by the ruins of a seeming city. After a 1km walk, the majestic fort unveiled itself. It was a stunning piece of architecture. We also came across multiple boards that said ” No one is allowed to stay in the premises from sunset to sunrise”.
Doesn’t it sound weird that so many people come to the “most haunted fort in India”? Aren’t we supposed to stay away from ghosts? When did Paranormal become the new normal?
The adrenaline rush
Adrenaline is the hormone of fight, fright, and flight. It is the hormone responsible for the sudden increase in blood flow to the muscles, widening of the pupil, and increased pumping of the heart. Originally a defense response for our ancestors, it has been converted to a recreation. Roller coasters, sky diving, bungee, high-speed driving, and many more activities are enjoyed because of the associated adrenaline rush. Paranormal activities and visiting haunted places have been added to this long list of such activities. At least for me, it was facing the unknown, the adrenaline, and the feeling of accomplishment, of doing something a lot of others wouldn’t have done.
Why have these stories existed through all these years?
Paranormal is defined as ” not understandable in terms of present known scientific laws and phenomenon”. Still, these stories, which almost make no sense have existed over so many years? Why?
Reading more about haunted places, I realized almost all these places had historical significance or history of massacre, killings, corruption, or stories with deep cultural roots. I realized people have propagated these beliefs to ensure such important stories reach the next generations. And whatever seems inhumane, unexplainable or not fitting the norms of the society, like genocides, Holocaust or massacres are labeled as haunted to emphasize the taboo nature of such things.
The business side of it!
A booming number of ghost enthusiasts and multiple places with stories of hauntings, have proved to be a fertile ground for a new niche in tourism industry – Ghost Tourism. Places with such stories, have converted this taboo into an amazing marketing gimmick.
Staying in haunted houses, going to haunted museums, forts and churches have become almost normal for our generation. There are websites that exist for planning your next trip to a haunted place too.
Dark tourism has been on the rise over the past 10-15 years. Dark tourism is a sister niche of paranormal tourism which deals with “traveling to places associated with death or suffering”. Both these forms of tourism tap a big chunk of the tourism industry.
Also, for the locals, this has become a consistent and stable source of income. Which makes it a very good reason to continue the penetration of these stories across generations.
What surprised me and made me write this!
When I visited a place that is hailed as the “most haunted place” in India, I was left wondering about the number of people that might be visiting this place reading that title itself.
Thus, I ended up reading about Dark Tourism and Paranormal Tourism, and how they have become prominent niches of the tourism industry, given to the high demand amongst curious millennials. Also, with the booming number of tourists, it has become a prominent stream of revenue for people living near these places. This has made haunted stories a self-perpetuating cycle with a solid customer base and ample suppliers for it.
I personally would belong to that group who would definitely do ghost tourism, but it amazes me how we humans, have changed the purpose and meaning of an innate response – the adrenaline surge, and have been using it for our own pleasure.
Tell us if you have ever had a paranormal experience or what is the next haunted place you plan to travel to?