People fear scary creatures roam in the Mumbai night (UPDATE: arrests made)

Vampires and cannibals prey on fear in the Mumbai

Over the past week, the fertile imagination of Mumbai’s collective consciousness has been in the feverish grip of some dreaded creatures. Vampires, cannibals and monkey men all appear to have chosen the city as the site for their spring rendezvous. While Mumbai cowers under the covers, cops are having a hard time laying their fears to rest.

Mumbai police have been inundated with reports of sightings of these creatures, but have found no evidence to substantiate them. As mass hysteria sweeps the city, terror-stricken residents are caving into fear and altering their daily lives.

Tip: The Anomalist

It’s all rumors. Rumors are enough to send very superstitious people into a mass panic, not going out at night, reporting everything suspicious to police. As police try to squelch the rumors, this seems to reoccur. For more on Monkey Man, see here and here.

Some of the rumours are assuredly bizarre. In the eastern suburbs, there has been talk about ‘oil men’ who cover their lithe bodies with some slimy stuff so that they can easily slip away from pursuers.
Another part of the city has been so tormented by tales of child-lifting gangs with painted faces that mothers are worried about sending children unescorted to schools and playgrounds. Some stories, like that of bands of Africans picking up children, are offensively racist, at least for people who pretend they are sensitive about such things.
Other fantastical characters in the telltales wear shoes fitted with metal springs that enable them to jump from terraces of one building to another.

UPDATE (4-Mar-2012) ‘Monkey man’ rumour: Cops arrest 72 in crackdown

The Mumbai Police have finally cracked the whip on rumours about ‘monkey men’ and the ‘chaddi baniyan gang’ floated in city’s suburbs, by arresting 72 people for allegedly spreading the rumours.

Although the East Region police have made the arrests, mostly of local residents, the West and North Region police stations are yet to register a single case – in spite of a death in Kandivali in a stampede-like-situation sparked of by an alleged sighting of a ‘money man’. [sic]

According to Quiser Khalid, additional commissioner of police (East Region), 27 offences have been registered against people for spreading rumours and creating fear and panic.

“We traced the pranksters and arrested them,” said Khalid. “After the arrests, the rumours have died down considerably,” he added.


  1 comment for “People fear scary creatures roam in the Mumbai night (UPDATE: arrests made)

  1. Massachusetts
    February 27, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    It’s hard to believe people could get so excited and frightened without substantial verification from the media, and perhaps even their own eyes. But then I think back to my childhood years, and how kids can whip themselves into a fearful state through stories and imaginings, and I see how it probably happens. I hate to generalize but I do find lots of Indians to be very intelligent and imaginative, which is certainly a plus under normal circumstances, but such qualities, if unchecked by critical thinking, can contribute to the stories and the fear.

    I’m wondering, in that climate of fear, if you do chose to go out, I imagine you’ll encounter others who are very frightened and may take violent action in self-defense, if you surprise them, even innocently enough.

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