THE TIMES OF INDIA, One Hundred and Fifty years, 3 December 1989.

Russell J. Foulds provides a scientific explanation for ghosts and spirits

Hauntings appear to have made a fashionable transition from decrepit dwellings or abandoned graveyards to luxury hotels. And while scientists try to grapple with this phenomenon, people's affinity for the dramatic impedes research.

Christina is paranoid about hotel rooms. As a flight-attendant for a foreign airline she's perforce to spend a significant measure of her career in several of them. But claustrophobia is not her bugbear and she's not the timorous sort with a self-indulgent imagination. Yet there is a preponderant fear of those things which go bump.

She vividly recounts the night only a few months ago when she was put up at one of Bombay's landmark hotels. As she recalls, it was quite late that evening when she arrived and after picking up the key to her room, took the elevator up. It was one of the uppermost floors of the building, and on emerging from the lift found herself suddenly 'blacked' out by the plunging darkness.

Her room was fortuitously no great distance away and she somehow managed to open the door. Even before reaching the threshold Christina found herself overwhelmed by a bestial odour. The strange miasma failed to dissipate and despite resigning herself to her discomforting surroundings found it impossible to sleep. Walls creaked, footfalls sounded at alarming regularity, while the tap spurted water of its own volition. She decided to find out if there was some truth to her apparent nightmare and was amazed to learn that the very room she slept in was once the scene of a ghastly murder. Several of the employees confirmed her story and voiced their diffidence about venturing into that area, their work notwithstanding. They also reported that there were other rooms similarly haunted.

Christina is not alone in her preternatural experience. For some inexplicable reason hotels the world over have become the abodes of disembodied spirits. While decrepit chateaus and desecrated churchyards seem to have lost their horrifying charm, hauntings now appear to have made a fashionable transition to an updated sybaritic setting.

Though the intransigent sceptic may dismiss apparitions as hallucinatory experiences of the mentally unhinged, the more objective psychic researcher would rather describe a ghost as a picture of something that survives and not necessarily one which originates in the brain of the percipient. In fact the wealth of evidence gleaned on the subject of hauntings pose many a query which cannot be answered by any single theory. The potentially petrifying aspect of ghosts is one reason for their enduring popularity in legend and literature. Headless horsemen, disimmuring nuns and wailing banshees are apt to intrigue and terrify. And it is a truism that the credulity of the human race and its predisposition towards the colourful and dramatic has constituted a serious impediment to psychical research.

In any case a haunting ghost seen by more than one person generally has some disturbing story behind it and is some reason for a particular person's image or spirit happening to be implanted there. The apparent reason for a haunting is usually found to be either intense unhappiness experienced by the person in that place, a great emotional attachment to the place, or some form of violence. A real ghost can be seen anywhere - in broad day-light and in the most common place sorroundings. It has been postulated that if a haunting is caused in some way by the concentration of intense emotion at a particular spot, then whose figures would be likely to appear than those of the people caught up in some ruthless intrigue or conflict at some time in the past. Small wonder that a monumental fortress and prison like the Tower of London, saturated with the excruciation and suffering of thousands of its victims who incurred the wrath of despotic monarchs, is reportedly haunted by a number of ghosts, including two of Henry VIII's wives.

In truth, a haunting can be described as a phenomenon wherein a spirit becomes attached to a physical person or place, or when the physical person is continually focussed on having that presence near him, the spirit moves away from its natural form of growing as a non-physical being. Encumbered by the physical plane which it cannot use and experience fully without a body, and growing in a place for which it is least prepared. It causes a host of problems for the person it surrounds and to itself as well. Spirits are simply non-physical forms of energy, learning and growing in this dimension. All living things, each attached to his own spirit, share this energy non-physically with one another. When a person dies and leaves his body, his energy rejoins his spirit and continues to develop non-physically. Psychics say spirits without bodies can be seen or sensed, and depending upon their ability to condense their energies to physical limitations are often seen as forms of light. They can condense their energies and appear in body forms, and though not actually inhabiting physical bodies can create a sense of physical being apparent to those who are able to use their psychic abilities to see or sense them.

Returning to the subject of hauntings, it has been found that when a spirit haunts a particular place, it either does not know it is only in energy form, having left its body quickly (as in the case of accidents, murders or suicides), or is unwilling to grow in a manner that's best for it, namely the non-physical dimension. Without a body restricting it but nevertheless conforming to density and physical matter to limited extent, this spirit remains confused and unable to develop in its own dimension. Without a physical body it is unable to affect its physical environment and with its energy out of balance it remains within that place, causing disruption to the people in the vicinity. It senses the location and is familiar with its energy but not with new inhabitants. The spirit may not necessarily be negative or evil. It is just attempting to remain in a form that no longer exists for it.

Baiju Parthan

Another common misconception is that ghosts and spirits are one and the same thing. But this is not true. A ghost is not a whole state of energy, but only part of the energy of a spirit not a non-physical being. It could be explained that when a body dies, the energy within it returns to its spirit. When death comes unexpectedly as in accidents, murders, suicides or war, some of the spirit's energy during the transition from physical to non-physical is left behind. This fragmented energy is referred to as ghost, which is nothing but traces of the energy of the spirit. And since these energy traces are not the whole spirit energy, they do not contain a consciousness of the person. They do not house any body senses or conscious thought, nor do they carry any non-physical perceptions or knowledge. All that these 'ghosts' of energy do is repeat movements of the energy left behind until they are dissipated by the movements or reabsorbed by the spirit in a non-physical form. For example, if a person committed suicide by leaping out of a window, the energy left behind may open the window repeatedly. A ghost differs from a spirit in that it cannot communicate or take on a semblance of physical form. It simply repeats a movement. A ghost is a mindless part of energy that can be reabsorbed by the spirit to add to its energy form.

It can be said that any haunting merits an investigation. And while a sceptic could unearth evidence to support his assumption that ghosts and spirits are often a person's own creation, the agglomeration of all the world's hauntings and apparitions constitute one of the most baffling and controversial mysteries science has ever attempted to solve.

Meanwhile, the next time the privacy of your hotel room is invaded by the interloping presence of some unseen alien, be not alarmed. It may only be the resident phantom checking in.

Printed on Gravure at The Times of India Press, Bombay.

Masthead and Design: Links Graphics, Bombay.

THE RAJA BAHADUR MANSION: Once the residence of the Governor

To : The Editor, Times of India Daily,

D.N. Road, Bombay 400 001.

Dear Friend, 15.12.1989

One of our members have sent me a paper clipping from your news paper dated 3.12.1989 of the article "MOVING SPIRITS" by Russell J.Foulds providing a scientific explanation for ghosts and spirits. In the article it is mentioned rooms in one of the Bombay's land mark hotels are haunted. I would like to verify the haunting and therefore I shall be glad if you will kindly let me know the name and address of the Hotel so that our team could verify the same.

All the stories of such happenings do not give the name and addresses and as there are non to verify the truth, the readers believe them as truth being published by prestigious newspapers like yours.

In 1981's there was a story of such ghost haunting and poltergeistic phenomena in one of the Buildings in Bombay published by DAILY. As the name and address of the building was give when I was in Bombay I visited the place and was amused to find that this building was occupied by Reserve Bank of India and none of the people there had known about the ghosts and poltergeistic phenomena happening there.

If you are unable to give the name and address of the hotel I shall be glad if you will kindly give me the address of Mr. Russell J.Foulds, the author of the article. For your reply I am enclosing herewith a stamped envelope with stamps worth 60 n.p.

Hoping to hear from you soon and with my best wishes,

Yours sincerely,


Russell J.Foulds, Sub-Editor/Reporter, Times of India, Bombay 400 001.


Dear Mr. Premanand,

I received your letter dated December 15th, and in reply I must first say that whatever I wrote in my article "Moving Spirits" is true to the best of my knowledge as I was witness to what occurred at that hotel. Unfortunately it may not be possible to give you the name and address of the hotel for obvious reasons.

The explanation given for the psychic phenomena was through a psychic together with some research undertaken by me.

In case you want to undertake scientific investigation, I would suggest a place like "Bassein Fort", a 16th century Portugese Fort situated a little north of Bombay. The ruined church there is supposed to echo to the sound of religious music.

Thank you for your interest in my article.

Yours sincerely,

Sd., Russell J.Foulds.

To Shri Russell J.Foulds, Sub-Editor/Reporter, Times of India,

Bombay 400 001.


Dear Friend,

Thank you for your letter of 30th December 1989 which was waiting for me here. I had been to New Delhi on 18th December at the invitation of the Science & Technology Department to give lecture demonstrations on miracles and psychic phenomena and then had to go to Kerala and returned only yesterday after noon.

I remember an instance in the early 1981's when DAILY published about the ghosts in a building at Bombay. When I visited Bombay I made it a point to enquire about the ghost phenomena and found that the building was occupied by the Reserve Bank. None of the people there were aware of the ghosts in the building as they never encountered the ghost. It was a false story.

When you claim that the moving spirits in the star hotel is true to substantiate it, YOU should give the address of the hotel without which it would be difficult for the researchers to investigate into the phenomena and see if it is true. I have been in search of ghosts for the past 48 years and though I tried to investigate such cases where clues were available, I found that some people were behind such phenomena and it was not ghosts or spirits. Under the circumstances I shall be glad if you will kindly let me know the address of the hotel so that our committee investigates into the phenomena and find out the truth. I hope you will co-operate with us in this.

I also would be glad if you can send me the research papers about the phenomena which was undertaken by you to come to the conclusions given by you in that article.

When I visit Bombay I shall seek your help to investigate the supposed echo to the sound of religious music in a 16th century Portugese Fort situated a little north of Bombay.

Hoping to hear from you immediately so that I may fix my tour to Bombay in February or March.

With my best wishes and with the hope that you will co-operate with us to investigate the "Moving Spirits" phenomena.

Yours sincerely,


Shri Russell J.Foulds, Sub Editor/Reporter, Times of India,

D.N.Road, Bombay 400 001.


Dear Friend,

This is just to remind you of my letter of 26th Jan.1990 and shall be glad if you will kindly let me know the address of the star hotel where you had seen the moving spirits.

If I do not receive the address I will have to think that your article was false story to exploit your readers and keep up their blind beliefs in ghosts and spirits, and will be moving the press Council for publishing such false stories.

Yours sincerely,


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Last update: 15 July 1998