Witchcraft - it's not just the stuff of fantasy novels and films, or at least that is what Ipsita Roy Chakraverti claims. India's most well-known open practitioner of witchcraft, Ipsita has dedicated her life to dispelling myths about it.
Chakraverti has adopted Wicca as her religion and together with more practising Wiccans across India, she seeks to rid the country of fears about witchcraft that plague even the so-called modern Indian.
Ipsita's initiative in India is famous as The Wiccan Brigade and the 'Brigaders' carry out psychic investigations in search of what lies beyond the grasp of the naked, skeptical eye.
"The Brigaders believe in not just subjective observations but look for evidence in every form. It is with this mission in mind, that the Wiccan Brigade has commenced psychic investigations into old sites across the country. Many ancient places which have seen extreme upheaval often bear a psychic imprint."
- The Wiccan Brigade
In two such expeditions to Bhangarh in January 2012 and 2013, teams of 10 members each, led by Chakraverti sought todocument and investigate the alleged haunting in the village.
The old fort and its surrounding complex, that dates all the way back to the 16th century, have long been rumoured to be a center for paranormal activity and feared for it. And guess what they found.
"Our findings revealed that this was no ordinary ghost story. We photographed [from eight different cameras] strange lights, dusky shapes which followed us around, and luminous orbs in the 'exorcism chamber'."
They reported that parts of the building had a malevolent energy which was also aware of the teams' presence.
"That chamber responded to our thoughts and prayers for peace, and many trapped souls seemed to find a healing and release. It was akin to a cleansing"
In yet another instance when the 'Brigaders' took on the challenge of studying psychic activity, teams led by Ipsita explored a heritage hotel in Puri, Orissa in June 2012.
The Chanakya BNR Hotel is a property said to be more than 100 years old and has a reputation for being haunted by the past.
"Strange manifestations were seen and felt by many of the team, and inexplicable signs came forth in photographs."
A film based on the experience of the 'Brigaders' in the hotel, 'Trapped' shows us the paranormal activity and the merging together of the visible with the invisible that the team sensed during their investigation.
Showcased at several seminars and informative talks, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti's findings have been revealed at multiple public forums and it is intriguing to say the very least.
Well, regardless of how many of us believe what we hear or read about psychic activity, it's good to know that there's someone out there working towards unravelling the phenomena that mystify us.