Jay Alani is a Delhi-based paranormal investigator who has investigated 40+ haunted locations and 110+ cases of alleged paranormal activities. Recently, when he came down to Pune for the International Literary Festival, The Tilak Chronicle caught up with him to uncover his story and learn about his freshly baked start-up, The Paranormal Company.
How did you begin your journey as a paranormal investigator?
I visited a temple with my parents in Rajasthan when I was 17 in Rajasthan. I won’t name the temple, but it is the only place in India where exorcism is legal. It was evening. We were waiting in a queue when I saw the priests of the temple dragging women by their hair. They brought the women to the aangan of the temple and started beating them. The brutality I saw there shook me to my core and made me ask a question to myself: Are ghosts real? And if they are real, do they exist in the same form as we have been perceiving them?
At that time, I did not know that paranormal investigation could be a career option. In fact, I did not know that such a term even exists. I got to know about this term in 2011-12 and thought that it sounded really cool. I was about 22 that time, and in college. I wanted to impress girls, be the leader of my circle, and in general, have a good time. I started using this term ‘paranormal investigator’ because it sounded cool to me. I started getting a lot of friend requests [on social media] from girls as well because of it.
However, gradually, I began to realise that paranormal investigation is not just about playing around with a few gadgets which you buy on Amazon or going to haunted locations at night. It is about paranormal awareness and reality.
What led you to feel fiercely about attacking blind faith?
It’s a good question but I do not have an answer for it. Nothing has happened to me, my family or anybody close to me. This may sound like a heroic statement, but the brutality I have seen in society women getting raped, children getting beaten up, animal sacrifice etc. – all of it really got to me. If God exists, then he will not be unfair to a particular segment of society. This is a form of social injustice. Blind faith which does not harm anybody in particular – for example, a black cat crossing your path – this I do not attack.
However, blind faith which victimises some individual in the form of witch-hunting or exorcism is what I have an issue with. My ultimate objective is to have one anti-superstition law for the entire country. I want to follow Mr Narendra Dabholkar’s path, he is my idol.
I would like to clarify here that I am not against God, ghosts or any belief system in particular. In fact, I believe in God devoutly; I keep a Navratri fast for nine days. However, I wish to change the perception and the stereotypical portrayal of ghosts and spirits, and I am strongly against blind faith which harms people.
Could you tell us about your recently launched Paranormal Company?
This is going to be India’s first ever paranormal start-up. Some people may think that this is a business initiative and not an act of social service. To those people I would like to clarify that yes, it is actually the case. This company and the earnings from it would be my bread and butter.
We are going to initiate paranormal tourism in India, take groups of people to haunted locations for a few nights so that they figure out the reality of the location by themselves. We also plan to conduct paranormal seminars and discussions wherein people come together and share their personal experiences regarding these issues. It is basically a platform to open dialogue about paranormal incidences and experiences.
We also share information of haunted locations. We have our own production house and we develop paranormal content in the form of videos, web series and podcasts/audio web series. We want to be the biggest of all horror content providers.
We have initiated a paranormal helpline in India which will be open 24×7 and will help counsel anybody who has experienced paranormal occurrences. I am also planning to have my own merchandise like T shirts etc.
What are your experiences regarding the victims of blind faith? How are they affected by it?
Their condition is terrible. I have seen people go mad, become homeless and be branded as ‘mentally ill’. Their own families have no concern for them. I have seen little girls raped by godmen and husbands forcing wives to sleep with godmen. I had once been to a godman posing as a guy who desired a particular (fictional) woman. This godman gave me a drug to rape her. Such godmen also take advantage of the social taboo on premarital sex.
The emotional trauma of experiencing a paranormal activity along with the social unacceptability of
such victims is a doubly complicated issue. Along with other social causes like gender and caste, we need to consider paranormal awareness as a social cause as well. These issues are very close to mental health issues.
Paranormal trauma is terrible, and people ought to listen to the victims, support them and build a platform for such discussions.
What journey do you anticipate for the Paranormal Company in the coming days?
I see the Paranormal Company standing up for two things. Firstly, for the creation of paranormal content and secondly, for helping the victims of blind faith. The vision is to have a uniform anti- superstition law for all 29 states as I mentioned earlier.
The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Tilak Chronicle and TTC Media Pvt Ltd.