An Ex TV producer's diary excerpts on her true experiences with the paranormal.
Entry 1: The first shoot location of a reality-horror series where the makers lived through a night of possession.
29th Aug, 2011
It’s so hot here that the pen keeps slipping from my hand. Jaisalmer in August is a BAD idea…seems the AC is just a ghost too…
Stop bitching - This is going to be a kickass show - 3 hot scantily-clad girls in a “haunted” location screaming their lungs out whenever they “see” a “ghost” equals major eyeballs, which in turn means a big fat promotion pour moi next appraisal season.
Kuldhara seems to be a good place to start; the story made even me queasy the first time I heard it:
About a century ago, Kuldhara used to be a thriving village of brahmins where everything was perfect…until one day when the king of the region saw the headman’s daughter. What happened next was pure horror – he beat up and tied the headman to a tree in his own courtyard and proceeded to brutally rape the headman’s daughter right there. He made everyone watch. After he was done, he cut the headman loose and left for his capital. The people of Kuldhara were so outraged, that the entire village abandoned their homes and their lives. Overnight, they moved away – but not before damning the land where such blasphemy had taken place. Nothing and nobody would ever be able to live here – now only evil remains.
Well, that’s a good story…I’m about to see my first “haunted” village tomorrow
30th Aug, 2011
This place is strange. There is something in the air here…a predatory silence that keeps inching closer, creeping up along the edges…watching, waiting.
I felt it as we did the recce. What disturbed me more than I thought it would was that there were many structures that looked like temples, but they were all empty. It seems that when they left, the people of Kuldhara took away all idols of their gods because god himself had forsaken the place.
It really bothered me.
1st Sept, 2011:
I don’t know what’s happening. I have not slept in 36 hours. It’s bizarre that we have not abandoned this dangerous idea yet…after what happened last night.
The plan was simple – get the girls in, tell them about the dark history of Kuldhara, watch them sweat their way through the night. That’s it.
About an hour after the girls went in, I heard the director’s raised voice above the inane conversations to stave off sleep. Apparently, one of our associate producers (who was on perimeter duty) was not responding. Once. Twice. Thrice the director tried…but there was no response. The person closest to him was sent to see why he was not answering.
All that was found there was his fallen walkie-talkie.
Quickly it was decided that the director, the creative director and the line producer would go search for our missing associate while the show would continue being shot by those of us still there.
In the 1 hour that the search party was gone, the mood was one of anxiety. FACT – we recced the place, we rigged it with our equipment and NOTHING happened. There was no reason for us to gasp when the loud static of the walkie-talkie slashed through the uneasy silence. It was the director asking for the on-site doctor to meet him near the vanity vans ASAP. Sensing something amiss, I rushed to the vanity myself. All I saw before being gently, but firmly escorted away was the associate producer having convulsions. Hysteria bubbled to my lips as the irony hit me – the makers of a horror show spooked on site.
After about 30 minutes that felt more like 500, our ashen-faced director came to speak with me. What he told me jarred me to my bones. The search party did not find the missing associate anywhere…until they spotted him about 2 kilometres away from our shoot location – near a river – just standing and looking in their direction. I will never forget what the director told me about his face – his eyes wide and bulging – frozen in a fierce expression, sweat pouring down his face and body and lips twisted in a grinning grimace. As they moved closer, they could see that he was mumbling something – he said it sounded like “Sssaidar Sssaidar Sssaidar” with a sibilant hiss on the S. Every few seconds his tongue would dart out and flick around before his mouth resettled into that horrific grin.
The director screamed at him, yelled, pleaded with him to be…normal. But nothing except “Sssidar Sssidar Sssidar”. Finally, fed up of this, the director held his arm. The minute he touched him, the associate grabbed the director’s neck in a vice-like grip. The other two men threw punches at the associate, pulled his hair, kicked him to dislodge him from the director, but their efforts were nothing. Pulling the director’s face close to his own lolling tongue with superhuman strength, he opened his mouth wide and licked the director’s face from temple to neck, emitting a high pitched cackle.
Then the convulsions started; his eyes rolled up to show the whites and he started spewing gibberish. His convulsions were so strong, that it took all 3 of them to hold him down. Somehow, they managed to get him to the vanity where the doctor had to inject him with a sedative to calm him down. He was unconscious. As we wondered what to do – there was no hospital nearby – he finally regained consciousness. He remembered nothing of what had happened. The last thing he remembered was standing in his position when someone tapped him on the shoulder. He turned and the rest was…blank. He was very shaken…as were we. The rest of the shoot was spent with us looking over our shoulder – every rustle, every gust of wind jumped us into overdrive.
The associate has no medical history of convulsions, epilepsy or nervous disorder. There was no auto-cam surveillance we had rigged in that spot – he was stationed there for a “maybe” situation. No other crew member was there who might have tapped him on the shoulder. There was no way of knowing how he landed up 2 kilometres away near the river.
The associate is leaving today. No one is stopping him, though it leaves us one valuable member short. I wish I could return too. But no one who wasn’t here believes us. My boss thinks I’m being a girl and has made it clear that I need to stick with this or stay home. The director and the rest of the crew are just as disturbed as I am, I think. What do you say to anyone, even yourself? I saw a man possessed by a GHOST?
We move to the next location tomorrow…I want it to be boring and uninteresting and fake. Please God, let nothing else happen.
By Rachna Mahadevan