India is a land of surprises. It has something different to offer every day that makes India interesting. Its culture, diversity, folklore, heritage and food are so vast that it varies from region to region. Most traditions and beliefs are heavily influenced by folklore and stories that have been passed on from generation to generation. These are also a source of entertainment, curiosity and fear for people. Below listed are a few interesting urban myths and legends from all over India:
- Jatinga bird suicide
Can you imagine seeing flocks of dead birds lying on the road every time you step out? This is a reality in Jatinga, a small village in the Dima Hasao district of Assam. During monsoon, migratory birds that fly over Jatinga are strangely found dead in the village with their necks broken, skulls crashed or wings injured. The villagers believe that the birds commit suicide there because they might be possessed by evil spirits. There are others who believe it might be because of fog and rain that their vision is disturbed and hence crash into the trees. There still has been no accurate scientific explanation as to why the birds are dying in masses there, but it surely is a bizarre instance.
- Naale Baa
This is one of the folk legends that became popular in the 1990s in Karnataka. The legend says that there’s a witch who roams the street at night and knocks on the door, calling the name of the resident in the voice of their kin so that they open the door. If the door is opened then, you might cough blood and die or the witch might take away the children or you might end up dead. Terrified of this word going around, villagers and residents came up with the idea of writing “Naale Baa” outside their doors and walls of the house so that the witch reads it and goes back to come again and hence the cycle repeats that the residents are safe until and unless the words “Naale baa” is written.
Now, this is one of those spooky legends that will freak anyone out at night. Huge, deep scratches on your face and hands without knowing who did it are enough to make a bunch of people go crazy. A UFO-like light-emitting entity dubbed as Muhnochwa (face scratcher) was seen and rumoured that the entity attacked people in the thick night by blowing huge scratches in their faces. Some even faced a slow, agonising death due to the scratches. It started out as a rumour but became a frantic situation in the outskirts of Uttar Pradesh. Various other districts in UP also faced this uncanny situation where the victims suffered from serious scratches and bruises on their bodies. It might have been alleged extraterrestrial genetically modified insects or a UFO or a supernatural entity with huge claws, that led to mass hysteria among the people.
- Wolves of Pavagada
In 1983, a small girl from the taluk of Pavagada in Karnataka went missing at night. In the next couple of weeks, the villagers saw the trend of how only a girl child was being ‘kidnapped’. It was observed that all the places from where the children were abducted had paw prints but no marks of dragging. Within a few weeks, more girls were missing and found murdered. These murders were then said to be done by man-eating wolves but it did not make sense why it was young girls only. Officials became suspicious if they were really wolves or not because of the skulls being left behind. Even after extensive investigation with dog squads and trackers, the people believed that it was the result of tantrik or black magic activities or a group of cannibals who might have relished the young girls. Quite a chilling urban legend.
- Bullet Baba
India had its own Ghost Rider-like story even before the movie came out! In 1998, the son of a local village leader in Pali, Rajasthan, Om Singh Rathore also known as Om Banna or Bullet Baba, met with a serious accident where his motorcycle fell into a ditch and he died on the spot. When the motorcycle was taken to the police station, magically it appeared on the site of the accident. When the police took it back, chained and with an empty fuel tank, the next day the same motorcycle was found at the site. And hence a new urban legend was born. It is still believed that Om Banna’s spirit resides in the motorcycle and protects the people there. The motorcycle is kept in a box at a temple in Pali, where people worship it. It is not only a religious shrine but a popular tourist spot as well.
Such myths and legends in India are a dime and dozen with different variations from region to region. These are meant to scare and create emotions of awe in people. These were only a few of them but there are many more legends that might sound ridiculous and unbelievable to this generation but you never know it might be true.