An Indian Ghost Story

While I was traveling this summer, I was lucky enough to visit with an old friend.  This old friend can still remember me when I was a wild, wicked thing with only my own ghosts to chase.  My friend was kind enough to share a family ghost story with me.  My friend is Indian and, according to her, belief in ghosts is intrinsic in her culture and her family.  Because of this, when her uncle began seeing the ghost of her grandmother on a regular basis, everyone believed him.  Her uncle not only saw the ghost of her grandmother, but he would fall into trance states and have fits.  When he fell into these states, her grandmother was able to speak through him.  According to family members, when he is in these states, he knows things that only her grandmother could know.  

My friend's grandmother was a young mother when she died.   She had several young children and so much to live for.   She loved her children and was a good and dedicated mother.  She had married young and was still a youth when death came for her.  Her death was a tragedy and everyone mourned her, especially her husband who loved her like the moon and the stars.  The two had loved each other greatly and everyone believed that she would miss him

The family believes that the grandmother's spirit couldn't rest because she couldn't let go of her family.  This is a great tragedy in her culture because she was never able to be reincarnated like she should have been.  This is made more tragic by the fact that the family believes that the grandfather was already reincarnated in the form of my friend's eldest son.  Supposedly, the ghost knows my friend's son is the grandfather and whenever she is around she is drawn to him.

Ghosts from other cultures always fascinate me.   Ghost stories travel across all cultures and permeate the fabric of human experience.  My friend's ghost story is interesting to me because it is common in India for ghosts to possess people to communicate when they aren't reincarnated.   This is something separate from our culture's tales and adds another shade of darkness to the texture of this sad tale.


I didn't know that ghosts are a very real part of Indian culture. Not that they aren't part of American culture, it just sounds like people in India are more accepting/open about the subject.

That was a cool story, in that the Grandmother loves her family so much, but it's also a sad story if she can't move on.
Jeffery said…
Nice post Jess! Buddhism has a reasonable explanation for just about everything when it comes to the Human condition. This sort of case sounds like the Samsara's explanation for people who have chosen not to move on.
Vanessa said…
Fascinating post. I love reading about ghosts in other cultures and countries :)
Julie Ferguson said…
This was a sweet story of love and family. I hope someday Grandma's spirit can move on.
Jessica Penot said…
Justine... I didn't know how open they were to it until my friend told me this story. It is fascinating.

Jeffrey... Good to hear from you again! She is actually Hindu not Buddhist. Althought, Buddhism celebrates ghosts as well. They even have a ghost festival.

Thanks Vanessa and Adsila

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