Crow incident causes extreme reaction: Suicide

A disturbing story from India that reflects the extreme harm caused by belief in superstition.

23-yr-old engineer ends life. Reason: A crow sat on his head

Anand V H was all of 23, and an engineering graduate to boot. But he was superstitious too — so superstitious that he ended his life on Thursday, all because a crow perched itself on his head — twice — the previous day.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Anand got very upset after a crow sat on his head on Wednesday. He immediately called up his mother and narrated the entire incident to her, expressing fears that it augured ill — a belief among a section of Hindus. His mother tried to allay his fears and told him to visit the Hanumantharaya Swamy temple and light a lamp. Anand, however, was not convinced and went home and locked himself up before taking the drastic step.

“My brother had called my mother, Parvathi, and told her about the crow. He was very tense when he spoke. My mother rushed to an astrologer and on his advice told Anand to pray at the Hanumantharaya Swamy temple,” V H Hampanna, elder brother of the victim, told Bangalore Mirror.

Colleagues told the police a visibly disturbed Anand had narrated the incident to them on reaching office on Wednesday morning. He had told them the first time the crow perched itself on his head, he took to his heels. But he had a second brush with the persistent crow, following which he again fled the spot.

Hampanna, however, said they were awaiting the post-mortem report as no poison bottle was found in the house. “I am waiting for the post-mortem report, but even I think he took the extreme step due to the crow incident.”

The young man took this superstition too seriously for his own good. In the article, another astrologer notes that the interpretation of this event is mistaken. The crow was a warning. He should have sought help. It was not a symbol of doom.

Is this the way curses work? A person who believes they work will actually suffer from them? This is a clear case of harm caused by warped beliefs. One could say this is a mental disorder.

See Whatstheharm.net for more on such beliefs.

Tip: DJ Grothe via Twitter

  5 comments for “Crow incident causes extreme reaction: Suicide

  1. July 19, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Do crows actually perch on people’s heads in India often enough for there to be superstitions about it? We’ve plenty of crows in CT but I’ve never heard of one doing so.

  2. Chris Howard
    July 19, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    I wonder what superstitious beliefs we have here in the states that foreigners find strange and unusual, but we take as just another aspect of our culture?

  3. Richard Cornford
    July 19, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Chris, that might be standing (hand on heart) for your national anthem and regarding flags as somehow sacred. Very strange ;-)

  4. Dang
    July 19, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Standing (hand on heart) for your national anthem would just be a custom, not a superstitious belief.
    Do people really regard flags as somehow sacred? I grew up heard that if the flag ever touches the ground, it is to be burned, but I don’t remember there being any repercussion of not doing that. I also don’t remember anyone ever burning a flag for that reason. I somehow see this as more of a custom than a superstition, but am willing to believe I’m wrong.

  5. jim1950a
    July 19, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Seems to me that the crow did portend his death. Was this a self-fulfilling prophecy?

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