I am a great believer in the basic interconnectedness of all things, influenced in large parts by the pleasures of reading the wacky novels of Douglas Adams. One of the positives of adopting this line of thinking is the firm belief that to get what you want you may pick at random any method you want and this by the basic nature of the interconnectedness of all things will make sure that you get what you want. To illustrate, if you were planning on being in Spain next Tuesday, you could begin by answering your phone the next time it rings and narrate your life story to the caller on the other end. Its unlikely that this act will basically interconnect its way into your landing up in Spain next Tuesday, but it will definitely infuse a dose of positivity in you to keep you going the rest of the week.
Armed as I was with such positive-ness, it still didn’t stop me from reacting with a twitch of unease to the words of my guest who now sat in the chair opposite me. He had an assignment for me. There was this house he said that had been occupied by this rather strange man. He had been alone, quirky and quite removed from reality. The house now had become vacant as the rather strange, quirky and removed from reality man had also managed to have himself removed from this planet altogether. And as the house belonged to the guest plonked down in the chair opposite, he now wanted me to investigate a rather strange phenomenon that seemed to have made itself felt inside the house.
It appears the removal had not been a clean one. The subject in the process of departing had managed to leave behind a few residual beings. Much like an atom splitting or a cell dividing itself, this old man had in his final moments, managed to shake loose a few parts of his soul which now remained behind. Well, there were four of them. They looked like us. They spoke like us. They ate like us. Only they were not us. They were, well, whatever they were, they were not us. And he, wanted me, to get them the hell out of that place, so he could rent it out again. I must have looked at him with a dumb look on my face because he stared back with a dumb look on his. My look said excuse me I am a private investigator not a ghost-buster and his look said So? The message was clear. One way or the other, this ghost must go.
So that was it. Here I was, a private investigator, about to accept an assignment that I had no business accepting. Investigations, private or otherwise are challenging and exciting and can occasionally give you a sense of achievement also. That was something that I was used to. But walking into a house and ridding it of unwanted life-forms that may or may not actually be life-forms, now that was something else. Its not as if you could walk up to the house, ring the doorbell and say to the first one who answered the door – ‘hey my client would like to rent out this house and he would like to do it minus the bunch of you hovering around, so could you please pack your bags or whatever else it is you use to pack your things in and move on?’ It would be a little more challenging than that. It would probably be dangerous too. I might not be able to convince the little fellows to move on. I would probably end up turning into a free-floating ghostly thing myself. The thought was eerie enough to make my hair do a little jig and my skin turn cold. I made up my mind. I accepted the assignment.
The most difficult part about chasing otherworldly creatures out of their chosen dwelling place is not the not knowing how to do it. There’s tons of material on it in libraries, on the internet and in your friendly neighborhood know-it-all’s head. You can have thousands of advice coming your way in different shapes, forms and sizes if you wanted. So it’s not like you would sit down scratching your head mumbling to yourself – how do I do this? The hard part starts afterwards – should you happen to survive the ordeal and succeed in your endeavor. Once that happens you are a branded man. Labeled. The ghost-buster. The demon-chaser. The soul-cleaner. And there are enough of these evil spirity things lurking around to keep anyone choosing to make this a profession busy for quite some time. Have you ever heard of an out-of-work exorcist?
Once word gets around you are going to be hounded by hordes of unfortunates seeking to be rid of various entities possessing either them or their homes. They will call you at home; they will call you at work. They will get to you when you are having breakfast, they will get to you when you are at lunch. They will get to you when you are about to go to bed, they will get to you when you are about to wake up. In short, they will get to you. Period.
And you can’t really blame them either. If you have had the unfortunate experience of having been possessed at any time you would know the feeling. These creatures are evil. They lurk around waiting for the careless passerby to let down his guard and then swoop down and jump into his body. Wham. Just like that. And so you have a whole bunch of these zombies walking around; the unfortunate ones who have happened to have let down their guards, now making frantic phone calls to all the ghostbusters in the area.
They meet up once in a way, these possessed ones, to exchange notes on how they are doing. In the process they may end up exchanging resident spirits too. Would make for a good change one would think – for the one possessed as well as the one doing the possessing. Imagine having to go through life or whatever it is that is applicable to these things cooped up in the same body day after day after day, looking in at the same set of innards over and over again. Come to think of it, it wouldn’t really make a difference even if they changed homes now and then. Innards are innards and look the same no matter which part of the planet you are from. But then again is it the innards that these guys see when they look around? I don’t know. I don’t want to know. All I know is at that time I had a job of chasing away a houseful of these creatures so that they stayed chased away.
And I had no clue why I was doing it. All I knew was that I had accepted an insane assignment from a weird man whose only requirement was that this ghost must go.