Gaurav Tiwari, the country’s most famous paranormal investigator, passed away under mysterious circumstances late last week in Delhi. He was discovered dead, lying on his bathroom floor of his house, on the 7th of July. Two months ago he had spoken rather enthusiastically to MW about his seemingly odd obsession. Here’s a replug of that article.
If you’re familiar with the macabre spaces found in the cracks of India’s primetime TV, you’re familiar with Gaurav Tiwari’s gaunt visage, lending credibility to tales of horror, using his matter-of-fact monotone. His fairly public crusade to expose the supernatural has been televised repeatedly, and Tiwari is one of the few investigators who appear to be extensively trained in the field.
Gaurav Tiwari photographed during one of his investigations
Although Gaurav chases ghosts for a living, he didn’t quite seek out his first supernatural encounter. “I was a skeptic, who came from a family of skeptics. I was training to be a commercial pilot in Florida, US,” says the self-appointed Reverend Tiwari, who recalls nightly visitations from an intangible entity, which began to challenge his beliefs. After exhausting several logical explanations, installing cameras and investigating the matter further, Gaurav considered the possibility of staying in a haunted apartment. Yet despite being a professional ghost hunter who’s visited more than 6000 haunted locations, he spends most of his time dispelling myths. “There are a lot of falsehoods regarding paranormal entities that need to be proven wrong,” he says, adding the fact that “98 per cent of all the cases we have encountered turn out to be a hoax”.
However, the remaining 2 per cent consists of enough bone chilling experiences to warrant such an exotic resumé. Apart from visiting Bhangarh fort (India’s most haunted destination), Tiwari has encountered full body apparitions at the Aradale Lunatic Asylum in Australia, and a few other troubled spooks (there are no other kinds, evidently) in distant locations across the globe.
“A ghost is nothing but the residual consciousness of a deceased physical body,” affirms Gaurav. But can ghosts really do any physical harm? “It’s the anticipation of what a ghost can do which can actually do serious damage — the fear of the unknown. If an evil person who has done evil deeds, leaves behind their consciousness, it will have sinister intent,” he says. To supplement this rather nebulous definition of his nebulous friends, Gaurav constantly ropes science into the picture, relying on forensic methods, spectrometers and other electronic doohickeys to draw conclusions, distancing himself and his organisation from the one group of people who have predominantly flown the flag of paranormality in India — tantrics. ”Our primary objective is to rid people of the superstition surrounding ghosts. We have a neutral approach to all our cases. We investigate several scientific possibilities and only after ruling those out do we come to our conclusion,” he says, citing Bhangarh as the most famous example of a hoax that has cemented itself into a popularly believed notion.
The Indian Paranormal Society team; Gaurav Tiwari on the extreme left
The search for the paranormal has taken Gaurav Tiwari far beyond the earthly realm, and into a branch called Ufology — the study and recording of UFO sightings. “UFOs are very real. I have personally spotted many of them,” says Tiwari. Although most of his work is done pro bono, he does provide courses which cost as much as Rs 75,000. While Tiwari’s Indian Paranormal Society’s effect on society at large isn’t immediately apparent, there certainly are some who are sleeping better than others.