Frauds love superstitions. There is no fertile ground to make easy money.
Astrologer Hari Pathanapuram had a story to share on the extent to which some unscrupulous people went to dupe people going through a difficult phase.
The astrologer was visited by a teacher from Kozhikode. She introduced herself as Gowri. She said she came to Pathanamthitta along with her husband when both of them were transferred there. They bought a house and settled in Pathanamthitta.
Her father lived in Kozhikode but he had visited her a couple of times. She visited her eight months ago. He seemed particularly frail as he bade her farewell. He said he might not be able to visit her whenever he wants and asked her to go to Kozhikode once in a while.
12 days later, he died.
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The teacher wanted the astrologer to tell her if her dead father was still with them as a ghost. Hari tried telling her astrology knows of no ghosts.
She was not convinced. She just held out a newspaper. It was a daily’s local page, with a photograph marked out. Someone had circled a face in the photograph. The color photo and the reports accompanying it were about an annual predawn ritual that was held in a temple near her house. The reports were from a week earlier.
As Hari gave her a confused look, she passed on another newspaper page, which had carried the obituary of her father eight months ago. The marked face in the news photo belonged to her father!
The photo was first spotted by Gowri’s husband. He showed it her and confirmed it was her father indeed. The couple informed Gowri’s family in Kozhikode, who went to an astrologer in the city. He said the dead man’s soul was still roaming around in Pathanamthitta and he was very very angry.
You have to rein in the soul to prevent any untoward incident in the family. He even said that the ghost had targeted his son-in-law. He knew that Gowri married her husband after an affair and presumed that the family did not approve of the alliance.
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The family had no problem finding the Rs 1 lakh the astrologer had demanded to conduct the rituals to appease the ghost. However Gowri was not convinced. The astrologer’s suggestion that her father was angry about her husband did not cut ice. She knew how much her father had cared for his son-in-law. He considered him as a son.
That brought Gowri to Hari. He wanted a second opinion on the strange incident. The astrologer suspected foul play. He called up the local reporter of the newspaper which published the temple photo. When he narrated the events, the reporter could not help laughing.
“Don’t tell this to anyone. Who would want to lose a good sleep to take a photo of an early morning program. After all the rituals remain the same every year. So I pushed off a photo from last year. That’s what you are looking at,” the reporter said.
Apparently, Gowri’s father had gone to watch the ritual when he visited her last year. The teacher was at peace.
(A part of a series on the fraud passed on as astrology. Watch this space for more reports.)
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