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THE EVIDENCE

Welcome, dear readers and listeners! I am thrilled to announce the restart of OBSCURUS and am excited to present you with this captivating story. As you prepare to read, listen, or engage with THE EVIDENCE through immersion reading, I request that you become a site member and join my mailing list. Remember to leave your feedback, whether positive or negative, as it helps me to grow and enhance the content. Thank you for being so supportive, and enjoy the episode!


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INTRO 00:00:00

Welcome to OBSCURUS, your weekly dose of paranormal fiction. Every Wednesday OBSCURUS features new short stories and serialized novels written by novelist, screenwriter, and voice-over artist Biswajit Banerjee. The realm of the paranormal stretches far beyond the usual horror story. So, while you will get to listen to lots of ghost stories on this podcast, there will also be many tales of lesser-known paranormal themes. To get us started, here's your host Biswajit Banerjee.

HOST TALK 00:00:47

Hello and welcome to OBSCURUS. My name is Biswajit Banerjee, and I am your host for the show. This podcast is back after a rather longish hiatus and I am excited to get started with some great new content. My goal is always to write and present exciting paranormal tales. Those who follow OBSCURUS or my YouTube Channels know how much I enjoy writing these stories. However, my purpose is to entertain you; these stories should not be construed as my convictions. And, of course, the paranormal is not just about ghosts and spirits. As I see it, paranormal research is a quest to unearth the unknown and unexplained. It is the search for knowledge beyond what we currently know.

So, let's restart OBSCURUS with a story I took rather long to write. It's about a medical student narrating a bizarre childhood incident.

But before we move into the story, I request my readers and listeners worldwide to visit my website biswajitbanerjee.com and become members. All information about my creative work is available on the website.

I would be happy if you find time to visit obscurus.buzzsprout.com, my second website, which is devoted to this podcast. On this site, you will find all OBSCURUS episodes, their transcripts, and chapter markers.

And you could become a patron of this podcast by supporting this show. We will soon be on Patreon and other forums where you could make your contributions. Dear Readers and Listeners, you could also do me a great favor by subscribing to my YouTube channels. You will find the links in the show notes or the description if you are listening to this episode on YouTube.

In case you are a non-native English speaker, you may consider taking my course ‘Spoken English for Non-native Speakers’ which will be launched very soon.

Okay, now, let's move on to the story. A medical student narrates a strange incident from his childhood during a break between classes in the college canteen. He believes he experienced an out-of-the-body experience when he was a child. His classmates do not believe him as his story goes against the doctrines of traditional science. Does the boy have any evidence to substantiate his ideas? Let's find out.

EVIDENCE 00:04:12

Written and Performed by Biswajit Banerjee

Disembodied consciousness of Peter at age eleven

00:04:31

1953, London. 'Geniuses' - they called us; the three of us were the brightest second-year students of the King's Medical College. On the second Friday of February (the date was the 13th, just in case you are interested), as we sipped coffee in the canteen during the long break between two anatomy classes, Peter said something strange.

"Have you ever been near death?"

"No," John said.

"Why do you ask? Have you been close to death or dying?" I asked.

"Yes, I experienced something terrible as an eleven-year-old boy."

"You never talked about it before, I guess. Did you?" John said.

"Nay, I didn't."

"Go ahead, tell us what happened," I suggested.

00:05:34

"Well, my mother and I visited a cosmetics shop in South London; she needed to buy some stuff from there. While she was busy looking through the items on display, I moved out of the shop with the intention of playing with my tennis ball. Shortly after I started playing on the sidewalk right ahead of the row of shops, the ball fell on a depression on the footpath, awkwardly bounced out of my control, and rolled almost twenty feet to the middle of the road. I rushed to the road, bent down, and picked up the ball. When I looked up, my body froze. A bus at full speed was about to hit me. All my senses at self-preservation completely stopped working. Then ..."

"Then what?" I asked.

"Someone pushed me from behind - it was my mother. And she, too, leaped aside. The bus missed us by a few inches and sped ahead."

"What an escape!" John said.

"Oh gosh! That sounds like a narrow escape!" I said.

"I thought I died - I vividly remember the loud thud of rubber on asphalt, the creaking sound from under the bus, and the smell of burning carbon. The strange coldness that numbed my limbs stayed. Moments later, when my mother hugged me, I was still lifeless. 'Are you okay?' She asked. But I couldn't give her a reply. The people around helped us, and they took me to a clinic. I can't say how long it took for some calm to return to my body and mind. My mother was so delighted when I finally muttered a few words."

"A scary experience indeed," John observed.

"The shock of the incident lingered in my heart for a long time. I sat on the edge of my bed for three days and didn't talk much. Only after months of psychological counseling did normalcy return to my life."

"Quite understandable. The shock must have been horrible," I commented.

"But the numbness and immobility return to my nerves every time the thought of the incident comes to my mind."

"Did the thoughts of the incident cross your mind now?" John asked.

"Yes."

"How often do these memories pop up in your mind?"

"Not very often. But each time these memories grip my mind, they don't leave before days."

"Now that the thoughts have emerged, they will stay in your brain for days, you mean?"

"Yes, John."

"Are you still under the counselor's care?" I asked.

"No. I took the counseling only for a year after the incident."

"But you don't seem to be fully cured. Maybe you could go for counseling again."

"Well, counseling can't help me anymore, Richard."

"Why do you think so?"

"The problem is no longer the suddenness of what happened - the counselor helped me fully get out of the shock the sight of death caused in my nerves."

"Hey, moments back, you said the feeling of numbness and immobility returns to your nerves every time the memories of the incident pop up in your mind."

"Correct, but the paralytic feeling is no longer caused by the unease the sight of the fast-approaching bus or the fear of death had generated."

"Then what does it result from?"

"Well, it results from the thing that happened moments before my mother pushed me to safety."

"And what was that thing?" John leaned forward.

00:10:40

"Believe it if you can - I was already out of my body before I sensed my mother's push on the back."

"I am not sure I understand you," John said.

"Are you suggesting your soul had escaped your body at the sight of the approaching bus?"

"Yes, Richard, you are correct though I would prefer to use the expression 'consciousness' instead of the word 'soul.' The instant after I looked up and found the bus approaching, I found myself standing a little distance away from my own body, which was now almost lifeless from the sudden release of consciousness."

"What are you saying, Peter," John said, "are you serious?'

"I am one hundred percent serious. The fear of the impending pain and death caused my consciousness to exit the body."

"So what are you essentially telling us is that consciousness can exist independent of the body?" I pressed for a confirmation.

"Absolutely! Consciousness can exist independently of the body! After what I experienced, I can vouch for it to be true," Peter said.

00:12:28

"But as far we understand, consciousness results from the bodily processes - the physical, chemical, and biological processes happening inside the body. At least, that's what science tells us. How can then consciousness exist separate from the body?"

"The present understanding of science is wrong, Richard. The bodily processes do not give rise to consciousness. It is the other way round - the consciousness gives rise to the bodily processes."

00:13:11

"Did you tell the counselor about your consciousness exiting the body?" John asked.

"Yes, John, I did. But she thought of it as a false feeling. She told me the consciousness never escaped the body and that the experience of standing outside my body was just an illusion caused by my mind."

"Well, yes, she was spot on. It was an illusion caused by a stressed mind in the hope of survival."

"No way, that's not true, John - I was absolutely out of my body when I saw the approaching bus. And I was back in the body when my mother pushed me from behind."

"That sounds crazy, Peter."

"Maybe, but that's the truth."

00:14:14

"But there's no evidence for what you are saying. Ideas such as life after death or out-of-the-body experiences are merely domains of religion. For the sake of goodness, don't mix up science with religion. Sorry for saying so - but you sound so stupid.

"So, you won't believe me?"

"Do you have any evidence?"

"I am myself the evidence, John."

"No, scientific pieces of evidence don't work like that. An experience cannot act as evidence. And remember, our senses are good at tricking us. As the counselor explained, what you witnessed was a trick your senses played on you.

"As a medical student, you ought to have a better scientific temperament, Peter," I said.

"What do you mean, Richard? Should a medical student not rely on his or her experiences? Look, I am telling you - I was indeed out of my body."

"Experiences can be misleading. Don't you understand our senses aren't perfect?" John muttered.

"I understand all that, but my experience was a real one. And I am convinced consciousness does not result from physical, chemical, or biological processes inside the body. In fact, the reverse is true. The processes inside one's body result from one's consciousness. Consciousness has an independent existence, and it is eternal in nature."

"Essentially, what you are telling us is every animate has a soul?" I asked him.

"You can call it a soul if you like."

"But how can we reconcile your experience with the scientific fact that consciousness is a product of the body?"

"Come on, Richard, I have already said science doesn't fully appreciate the workings of consciousness. It is still operating in a materialistic world view which is limiting in nature. The current understanding of science is wrong - dead wrong."

"There is no way to scientifically verify your experience, Peter," I said.

"I don't need scientific verification, Richard. I know what happened to me."

"If you say so, Peter." John smiled skeptically.

"Looks like you are mocking me, John." A frown appeared on Peter's forehead.

"Not really, but I am disappointed that you, of all people who should know better, are talking such nonsense."

"What! So, you think I am talking nonsense."

"Well, I don't like saying it, but to tell the truth, yes, I do think you are talking nonsense. Your experience is unverifiable and therefore not worth giving any credence to."

"I am sorry to hear that, John. I really thought you would have been more open-minded."

"I am open-minded, Peter. I am just not convinced by your story."

"I see. Well, there is nothing more I can say then."

"No, there isn't," John replied.

00:18:19

Things were turning ugly. I could see the frustration in Peter's eyes. He was looking daggers at John. The best thing I could do now was to change the subject.

"Hey, you guys do remember the picnic we have planned for the weekend, right?" I said.

"Yes, of course," John said.

"Picnic with you guys is the last thing on my mind right now," Peter said and got up from his chair.

00:18:50

"Peter, where are you going?" I said.

"The pathology lecture will be starting soon," Peter replied.

"That's still half an hour away," John responded.

"Well, I will check my notes before the lecture," Peter said, picking up his books and notes.

"Okay, see you later then," I said.

But Peter didn't reach the canteen door.

00:19:27

He slipped and fell just as he was about to touch the handle. He hit his head hard on the ground and lay there, motionless. The other students who had been behind him gasped in shock.

00:19:45

A girl bent over him and shook his shoulder gently. "Peter! Peter, wake up!" But there was no response.

The girl looked up at the others, her eyes wide and scared. "We need to get help! He has lost consciousness. Someone go and call the medical officer!"

Stupefied, John and I just stood there, looking at each other. Then we rushed to Peter's side. John checked his pulse while I loosened his collar. There was no response from him. He was completely unresponsive.

00:20:27

The campus medical officer arrived within minutes. He checked Peter's pupils and took his blood pressure. "It seems he is in a state of fatigue and shock. But don't worry, he will be fine."

The doctor opened his bag and took out a syringe. He injected Peter with a clear liquid. After a few moments, Peter's eyelids fluttered, and he regained consciousness.

"What happened?" he said, looking around, confused.

"You fainted," the medical officer replied. "But you are going to be all right."

The color began to return to Peter's face, and he slowly sat up. "Are you okay?" I asked. "Oh yes, I am just fine." "Should we take him to the medical room," the girl asked the medical officer.

"No, I don't think that will be necessary. If he feels discomfort, he can come to the medical room."

"Okay, thank you, doctor," she said.

Peter got to his feet and dusted himself off. "I am really sorry about this. I don't know what came over me."

"It's okay, Peter. You just need to take it easy for a while," the doctor said.

"Yes, I will. Thank you, Sir."

"Get in touch with me if you feel the slightest discomfort."

"Yes, Sir."

The doctor smiled and picked up his bag. "You should eat something heavy now. You will feel better after that."

"Yes, I think I will," Peter said.

We thanked the girl as the doctor left, and then the three of us returned to the canteen table.

00:22:39

"We will order something for you, Peter," I said.

"No, that's okay. I am not really hungry."

"You have to eat something," John said sternly. "The doctor said so."

"Okay, fine," Peter relented. "I will have a veggie sandwich then."

I went to the counter and ordered the sandwich. When I came back, I found John and Peter in a heated discussion.

"What are you guys talking about?" I asked. "Nothing," John said quickly. "Peter is again talking rubbish."

"What is wrong, Peter?" I said. "Well, you guys don't like listening to the truth. John got mad at me when I started explaining what had happened to me close to the canteen door."

"But we all know what happened to you. Fatigue and stress caused you to fall down and lose consciousness."

"That's not true, Richard," Peter spoke in a raised voice.

"Here he goes again," John murmured.

The sandwich arrived, and I placed it in front of Peter.

"What caused you to faint, Peter?" I said.

"Well, I don't wish to speak about it. If I tell you, you will behave just like John."

"No, I will not," I said. "Please tell us what happened?"

00:24:17

Peter sighed and spoke in a low voice as he took a bite of the sandwich, "I didn't tell the doctor or anybody else what happened and pretended as though I wasn't sure what happened to me."

"Oh yes, Peter, I understand that much. But what happened to you?"

"I died."

"What?"

"Yes, Richard, I died close to that door. My consciousness left my body, hovering over it for a while."

"What are you talking about?" I said. "You suffered from fatigue and fainted. That's all."

00:25:02

"No, Richard, don't give me that rubbish like John. I saw everything that was happening around me. People were rushing toward me, the girl was trying to revive me, and the medical officer gave me an injection."

"That's not possible; you were unconscious."

"Well, you think I was unconscious, but the truth is I was dead. All along, my consciousness was close to the canteen ceiling, watching everything happening below."

I looked at John, and he stared back at me; I could see the disbelief in his eyes.

"Peter, this is impossible; you are just stressed out and imagining things."

"No matter what you say, I did live through an out-of-the-body experience again."

"And how did you get back in the body?"

"Oh, I did nothing; He made me enter the body."

"What do you mean by 'He?' Did you meet God?"

"No, He wasn't God, but an angel for sure. A beautiful angel with a halo and large golden wings. The divine touch of His hands is the best feeling I have ever experienced. A surge of joy and peace entered me when our palms met. Then he said, 'I pulled your consciousness out by mistake, Peter. It is not your time to leave the material world. Someone else should have been here.'

"Enough," John said. "don't say another word, Peter. How disappointing; I never thought you would stoop to this level. Just because you want us to believe that you had an out-of-the-body experience in your childhood, you have now cooked up another story where you had a similar experience."

"It is not a cooked-up story," Peter protested. "It is the truth."

"Shut up," John said and got up. But he couldn't move from his place.

"What is wrong, John?" I said.

"There's this sudden pain in my chest," John placed a hand over his chest. The next moment, he gasped for breath and fell to the ground. Soon after his head hit the floor, his eyes went lifeless. Peter and I bent over him, trying to revive him, but John didn't respond. A commotion started in the canteen again as people gathered around us.

"What the hell is happening in the canteen today," the girl remarked as she looked at John's lifeless body, 'call the medical officer again."

The medical officer arrived again and was perplexed to see John in the same state as Peter was a few minutes back.

"What is happening here?" he said. "First, one boy faints, and now another."

After checking John's pulse and pupils, the medical officer looked up, "He is dead."

"What?" I said, incredulous. "But he was perfectly fine a minute ago."

"I don't know what to say," the medical officer said, shaken. "The boy is gone."

Even in the middle of the noise, I heard Peter whisper, "The angel said someone else should have been with him. So, someone else was ... John. Poor John learned the hard way that consciousness can exist independent of the body."

OUTRO 00:30:24

Thanks for listening to OBSCURUS. If you like what you heard, please subscribe and visit biswajitbanerjee.com for more information about Biswajit's books, movies, documentaries, and other creative pursuits. We shall see you next Wednesday with another episode of OBSCURUS. Till then, take care!

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