Was Gaurav Tiwari India's Ed Warren? Paranormal investigators had 'spooky' similarities
In life — although not in death — Gaurav Tiwari's paranormal investigations were very like Ed Warren, the demonologist made famous by the Conjuring movies
It was just a few weeks ago that the Hollywood film The Conjuring 2 was playing in Indian theatres.
The sequel to the highly popular original of the same name, the film continued to showcase the exploits of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren — arguably among the most famous couples or individuals to engage in this field.
While The Conjuring and its sequel are said to be based on real life cases the Warrens solved, observed or came into contact with, it remains open to conjecture, just how much their spooky subjects draw from reality.
The case of Gaurav Tiwari is no less strange than something out of a Conjuring movie.
Known as one of India's leading paranormal investigators — he certainly was the most well-known, with a slew of television appearances and features in magazines and newspapers — Tiwari became the strangest footnote of all in his case file when he was found dead in the bathroom of his Dwarka home this week.
Tiwari's parents and wife were all in the house at the time of his death.
Preliminary reports said there was some kind of mark around his neck and asphyxiation could have caused Tiwari's death. Some news articles also claimed that Tiwari had confessed to feeling a "growing sense of unease", "dark forces" that were pulling him towards them, in the months leading up to his death.
On Tuesday, 12 July, police confirmed that Tiwari had committed suicide, although no motive has been established for his extreme act so far.
Tiwari's parents were believed to have told the cops that their son was depressed, that there were arguments in the family about the hours he kept because of his work, and the fact that it didn't always bring in the steadiest income.
He was reportedly investigating the case of a "possessed girl" in Delhi the day before his death.
While not many details have emerged at this point — and not much corroboration either for the "dark forces" he may have been troubled by (his family dismissed Tiwari's statement as being the result of work pressure) — Tiwari's social media accounts do not show any foreshadowing of trouble.
On Facebook and Twitter, Tiwari seemed happy to be featured on the cover of yet another magazine. The Facebook page for the Indian Paranormal Society, which Tiwari had founded, bore no messages about his death on Monday, 11 July, morning, when news outlets began reporting on his death. One congratulatory message, posted by Tiwari himself, referred to the organisation turning seven earlier this year. The group's website was choc-a-block with articles about lectures by Tiwari, his work, his appearances on various TV shows. A separate website for his GRIP team (the acronym stands for Ghost Research and Investigators of Paranormal) has details for 'customised ghost tours' and 'Be Fearless Camps' headed by "Reverend Tiwari" (as he styled himself; the press termed him "Ghostbuster Gaurav"). Another recent message on social media, posted by Tiwari, asked his followers which haunted site they'd like to investigate along with him.
The answers, we presume, were many.
One Gaurav Tiwari — not related to the paranormal investigator, but a web designer — had been inundated with letters from desperate souls looking to connect with his more famous namesake, seeking help with hauntings.
This Tiwari ("not the ghost hunter" as he succinctly clarifies) wrote about being called in the dead of the night — by people claiming to be terrorised by ghosts. He shared one of the emails he received; its subject line read: "being troubled by 20 ghosts in my home".
The letter — which Tiwari says is typical of the many he received for the other Tiwari — went on to say: "Sir..plz do rply to my msg as soon as possible.Sir itz been 3weeks i havent slept as of the hauntings that are occurin..the spirits want to ruin my life..i live in a rented home n they have been residing here since a long time.Sir plz help me..i cant take it no more..I will kill myself if these hauntings wont stop.Seriously speaking im scared as hell..plz help me sir [sic]".
Incidentally,Tiwari (the paranormal investigator) began his strange career as a result of being 'haunted' himself.
In several interviews, he talked about how he was training to be a commercial pilot in the US, when visitations by ghosts effectively grounded him. He was inspired to look into the world of the paranormal, and received "certification" from the Paranexus Association of USA, among other institutes.
Indeed, a thrust on scientific investigation was something Tiwari claimed he insisted on.
Much like you see Ed and Lorraine Warren walk about haunted sites with all kinds of equipment, including sound and video recorders, Tiwari too — as seen in photos and in footage of his TV shows — took along a whole toolkit when on an investigation.
And while he was quoted as saying that he had been "bitten, scratched and tugged at" by unseen forces, to establish a 'haunting', he would rely on the evidence he and his team gathered via recordings.
In recent years, he had also turned to UFO-logy, and said he had witnessed firsthand, many UFO sightings.
Tiwari was fond of saying that 98 percent of all ghost reports or 'hauntings' were hoaxes. In fact, he labelled the Bhangarh Fort in Rajasthan a hoax, although at the Aradale Mental Hospital in Australia he deemed the presence of apparitions as genuine. In all, Tiwari said he had visited over 6,000 haunted sites, many of which were the subjects of his TV shows like Bhoot Aaya, Fear Files and Haunted Weekends.
Tiwari was often asked if ghosts really existed, and what they really were. “A ghost is nothing but the residual consciousness of a deceased physical body... It’s the anticipation of what a ghost can do which can actually do serious damage — the fear of the unknown. If an evil person who has done evil deeds, leaves behind their consciousness, it will have sinister intent," he told one interviewer.
"I believe for everything to manifest in reality, it has to first exist in our minds," he told another.
Ed Warren — Tiwari's (older and) Western counterpart — died in 2008, at the age of 79. He was in his bed at home, with his wife and fellow celebrity paranormal investigator Lorraine by his side.
The circumstances of Tiwari's death have been vastly different.
In death, if not in life, Gaurav Tiwari moved in a direction very different from Ed Warren.
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