When we think about witches usually Salem, Massachusetts comes to mind. However, witchcraft was outlawed dating back to 1692 in Salem. Even a television series was inspired by some of the events which happened there. Witchcraft stretches far across the world. Known as either Daayan or Daayani are the words used to describe a witch in India. The Daayan cult dates back to the 15th century originating in Haranul. Daayans worship both mother goddesses Durga and Kali.
Daayans are best described as beautiful women with long flowing black hair which is tired by a thick braid. Their feet face backwards, the strength they receive stems from their hair braid. If this was cut then they would lose their powers and vanish for around 20 years.
Medieval legends in southern Asia mentions an existence of malevolent female spirit which feeds upon human flesh. This female spirit was brought forth by Kali who is the goddess of time, creation, change, preservation, power and destruction.
In the village of Jharkhand Khunti a horrific moment took place recently when Restina Horo (a 60 year old widow) was chopped to death by a pickaxe on June 17th, 2016. She was killed by Muni Horo (her nephew). He proclaimed that they suffered by her hand. Muni mentioned that he believes that she was an actual practicing witch. This led to his assault on her. He thinks that she used black magic to curse him. He also was jobless and frustrated.
This isn’t the only incident, another woman named Mangri Mudain age 65 was beaten to death on May 26th for being a known witch. Jharkhand is the designated hotbed of witch hunting activity in India. The National Crime Record Bureau (who maintain records) have reported as many as 464 women have been killed.
Most of them are in tribal area communities. These brutal killings were done in cold blood dating back to 2001. Another statistic mentions that India has seen a total of 2290 different murders related to witchcraft claims. Unfortunately, some young children have been killed as well due to witchcraft branding.
This area suffers from many people being malnutrition ed as well as lack of education. What is believed is that deep traditions have played a part in the persecution of witches here. Not all witches practice dark magic, there are good ones as well.