Monkey Man Mystery of Delhi l Kala Bandar of 2001 in Delhi
Hello, friends! On 5th April 2001, summer had already arrived in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad. There used to be too many power cuts back then.Frequent power cuts.That’s why many people would sleep on the rooftops.Anil Gopal was one such man.He was sleeping on his rooftop on the night of 5th April. There was a gentle breeze and he was sleeping soundly. But around 2AM, he was jolted awake, when he was being attacked. His arms and legs get scratched. Somehow, half-asleep, he manages to get away from his attacker. But since it was a dark night, he couldn’t see his attacker properly. All he saw was a monkey-like figure disappearing into the night. What was it? What was the creature that attacked him? No idea. Over the next 2 weeks, nothing happened. And then on 18th April, there was another case in his neighbourhood. A man named Vinod was sleeping on the rooftop, he was jolted awake at 3:15 AM. He was being attacked by someone. Vinod claims that due to the darkness, he couldn’t see his attacker, but it was a creature that looked like a monkey. Before the residents of the neighbourhood could even think about what was happening, there was a similar incident the next night. A man named, Raihasuddin was sleeping in his hut, when he was attacked by a monkey-like creature. The man was so badly injured in this attack that he had to spend 21 days in recovery, before he was well enough to get back to work. And just like that, the terror of the black money had spread all over Delhi and its neighbouring areas. Over the next few days, there were many such cases cropping up where people were being attacked like this. Some people got scratches on their arms, others on their legs, and some were bitten by something. “We didn’t see it, but we believe that it was on the ground in front of us, it was about this high, it strikes in the dark.” Reports started pouring in from all areas that the mysterious being that was attacking people was half monkey and half human. A Monkey-Man. Black money. “Does the monkey-man actually exist in our country?” “We call people monkeys, but not monkeys have evolved into a hybrid of monkey and human. That’s a new development.” “Ridiculous.” “2 inches…” “Black fur all over his body, and nails as sharp as knives.” Between April 2001 and May 2001, Delhi Police received about 100 calls, of people reporting to have been attacked by the Monkey-Man.
The first few attacks were in Ghaziabad, After which reports started coming in from East Delhi, Noida, and eventually from the other areas in Delhi as well. There were more than 65 locations from where these calls had come in, where the attacks were reported. Each attack had the same story. In the middle of the night, when people were sleeping on the roof, or outside their homes, Monkey-Man came and attacked them suddenly, and immediately disappeared into the night after that. Neither its footprints nor its traces were ever found. All that remained were scratches, injuries, and bite marks. There was such widespread terror and fear due to Monkey-Man in Delhi, that 3 people lost their lives to it. When people believed Monkey-Man had come to their neighbourhood, people would shout, “Monkey-Man is coming, run for your lives!” People would actually run for their lives then. In the ensuing panic and chaos, they’d hurt themselves often. Sometimes they’d hide in their homes, and there were even cases where people jumped out of the roofs. Dozens of people suffered fractures due to this. One person died because of jumping out of the rooftop. A pregnant woman die like this too, when she slipped from the stairs in her terror of the Monkey-Man. The woman had merely seen a shadow, and assumed that Monkey-Man had come. Despite so many reports, no one had seen the Monkey-Man up close. Most people said that they had seen just a glimpse of their attacker. So according to different people, the description of the Monkey-Man varied. The primary descriptions claimed that the Monkey-Man was more human-like rather than like a monkey. A man, Ajay, was one of the first victims being attacked by Monkey-Man. According to him, the complexion of Monkey-Man was quite fair. He had blue eyes, a big nose, and he believed Monkey-Man was of Nepali origin. “What did he look like?” “He had a fair complexion, had facial features of Chinese-Nepali people, a big, fat nose, his eyes were big and blue.” But the later victims of these attacks, according to them, he was more like a monkey. Some said that the Monkey-Man was tall and broad, 8 feet tall. Some said he was 4-5 feet tall, and according to some, he was like a housecat. But one of the descriptions of the Monkey-Man which was the most popular was that the Monkey-Man wore a helmet on his head a t-shirt with three buttons, The first button turned the man into a monkey, the second gave him super strength, and the third turned him invisible. Yup, he could be invisible. Apparently, the Monkey-Man had long, sharp, metallic nails, used to scratch people. It was said that his eyes were red, and that he could jump quite high. He was said to be able to jump 20 ft from one roof to another. The most possible reason that gained popularity was that people believed that he wore springs on his feet. Some descriptions even said that electric currents ran through his arms. But the description of the helmet and metallic nails, were the most popular. With each new incident, the description of Monkey-Man turned even more supernatural. From a man, he turned into a monkey, and then a supernatural, super-human being. Since there were so many descriptions popular in the media and among the people, People started believing that he was a shapeshifter. That he would intentionally change his appearance, so that he could mislead and confuse people. On 14th May 2001, the local newspapers were the first ones to report about the Monkey-Man. After that, the cases of Monkey-Man, grew exponentially. The mainstream newspapers and news channels started reporting on it. Over the next 2 weeks, this was the most covered topic by the major news channels.
The most popular news channels back then, were Star News and Aaj Tak, through the media, the story of Monkey-Man reached more people. And the fear among people kept on growing. Some news channels started forming teams of reporters and cameramen, and started deploying them to the hotspot areas of Monkey-Man. The areas in Delhi where the Monkey-Man was seen the most. The teams were directed to stay outdoors the whole night, to keep their cameras on, so that they could capture on photo or video of Monkey-Man attacking. Unfortunately, nothing was ever captured on camera, but the fear among people, had turned into paranoia. People stopped sleeping outdoors, People were so paranoid, that they’d call the police even for minor things such as shadows or random sounds. Some groups of people were being formed, who planned to patrol the areas armed with sticks and weapons, so that they could attack the Monkey-Man when they saw him. The paranoia in these vigilante groups was so high that, that they started attacking many random, innocent people. In one such incident, a group of 150 people, attacked a man suspected of being the Monkey-Man. Later, he was found to be innocent. In another such incident, a van driver driving his van early in the morning, in Delhi, was attacked by the vigilante groups, and broke several of his bones. In North-East Delhi, there was a case where a man named Raghunath Pathak was attacked, by his brother, because the brother mistook him to be the Monkey-Man. Obviously, when things were this bad, police had to get involved in this. But what could the police do? They didn’t have a proper description of the Monkey-Man. So the Delhi police decided to talk to the victims and try to come up with a sketch of the Monkey-Man. Based on the descriptions provided by the victims. So the Delhi Police made 2 sketches of the Monkey-Man, and presented them to the public. According to them, the Monkey-Man looked like either of the sketches or something resembling both. In one of the sketches, the man had a broad face with a big nose, in the other, he had a narrow face and a moustache, and used to wear sunglasses. According to the Delhi Police, With the rising incidents of attacks by Monkey-Man Delhi Police deployed more than 3,000 police officers to the hotspots of Monkey-Man at night. Additionally, they also ensured that these hotspots do not suffer power cuts. That they get uninterrupted power supply, so that these problems don’t occur. But despite this, the reports of the attacks did not cease. And so, on 17th May, former Delhi Police Commissioner, Ajay Raj Sharma, announced a reward of ₹50,000 to be given to the person who could nab Monkey-Man, or provide information that would lead to Monkey-Man’s arrest. But despite that, there was no news of Monkey-Man. The mystery of the Monkey-Man remained a mystery. But what next? Friends, after 25th May 2001, the incidents of Monkey-Man slowly declined.
The Delhi Police started taking strict action against the people making fake calls to the police. They issued a public warning, that people spreading rumours or misleading the police about Monkey-Man, would be jailed. It was found that of the 379 calls received by the police about Monkey-Man 303 of them were fake. Some people were arrested for spreading fake rumours. 2 people were arrested from East Delhi. A doctor from North-East Delhi who had simply inflated his surgical gloves, painted it brown and threw it from his balcony. And then told his neighbours that he had seen Monkey-Man’s hand. After his arrest, people had to straighten up. They were aware that the police could arrest them for spreading fake rumours, the police may even arrest them if they cannot show any proof of the Monkey-Man, so they remained silent. After a couple of weeks, the media lost all interest in the story, as it happens always. And eventually, after some weeks and months, the incidents of Monkey-Man stopped completely. The biggest question here, What is the mystery of the Monkey-Man? What had actually happened? Who was the Monkey-Man who spread terror in Delhi in 2001? If you were there at that time, I recall this clearly, I used to hear stories about the Monkey-Man. If you were born in the 1990s and lived in Delhi, you might remember these things. There isn’t a big secret to this mystery. Rather, it is perhaps a psychological phenomenon known as Mass Hysteria. If you asked the scared people of Delhi in June 2001, about what happened to the Monkey-Man, some people would answer with the stories they came up with. There were some exaggerated theories about it. Some people claimed that it was orchestrated by America, China or Pakistan. Some believed that the Monkey-Man went and disappeared into a jungle, and went away from human civilization. Some even believed that Monkey-Man was an alien from another planet. That had returned. Some even claimed that he ran off to another part of the country. On 27th May 2001, there were cases reported in Assam, about a half man and half wolf creature was going about spreading terror. And that this creature disappeared before it attacked. Could be invisible. People came up with the theory that Monkey-Man had moved from Delhi to Assam. Next year in 2002, there were similar cases reported in Mumbai. But according to psychologists, such incidents can be termed Mass Hysteria. Or a Mass Psychogenic Illness. It is a phenomenon wherein a group of people depict an unusual, irrational behaviour, and start believing in illogical things, and experience irrational feelings. This illness is quite contagious. It spreads fast among people. But it isn’t a physical illness. It is a form of human behaviour, that can be seen among people. Mass Hysteria spreads more in tightly knit communities, The communities which care about and are friendly with each other. In India, neighbours, and extended members of the family living together come under this term. This can be triggered, due to stress, anxiety, environmental factors, and psychological factors. Doctors of the Guru Tegh Bahadur hospital in New Delhi, Dr S.K. Verma and Dr D.K. Srivastava, investigated 397 calls, reporting attacks by Monkey-Man. They found that only 51 calls of them were such that were worth investigating. That required medical examination. They conducted their study and stated that the case of Monkey-Man, was a typical example of Mass Hysteria. Later, they published their study in the Indian Journal of Medical Sciences in 2003. According to them, to be classified as a case of mass hysteria, there has to be a trigger. A smell, sight, or a sound. In the case of Monkey-Man, this was a shadow. People believed that they had seen a Monkey-Man. If they heard any random sound or saw a shadow at night in the dark, it acted as a trigger. This spread fear among people. The fear behaved like a virus. The fear could easily spread among family members, neighbours, and in neighbourhoods. The reasons that the feelings of panic and fear, the behaviours of the people, spread so quickly among people, were given by the doctors. They claimed that these incidents took place in high-population density areas. Secondly, 94% of the victims of these incidents, were from the poorer sections of society. They were living in the poorest locales of East Delhi. 89% of the cases were with people who were from a lower socio-economic status. People who aren’t very well educated, are more superstitious. Instead of using logic, they start using their imagination. And when the people they are surrounded with, start believing in a made-up story, they start believing it to be true. When more and more people found out that Monkey-Man exists, more cases started popping up. People felt like they too had seen Monkey-Man. Any shadow they saw, they assumed it might be Monkey-Man. The third reason given by the doctors was, that the Indian media played a very important role in spreading this virus.
Back in 2001, new and private news channels were recently established. Several news channels were competing for maximum viewership. So they had started sensationalising news back then. People were eager to be on the media, to see themselves on the news, so many people made up false stories, claiming to have seen the Monkey-Man to the media. So that they could get a chance to appear on TV, if they told the news channels their stories. Another thing was that 2001 was an era when people were moving away from DD News, and had just begun watching private news channels. So many people, in fact, almost everyone, blindly believed the news channels. Today, we are well aware, that news channels and their rubbish cannot be believed. But 20 years ago, people were naive, they didn’t know that news channels aren’t always reliable. People believed everything that was shown as news, they believed that if something was shown on the news channel, about the existence of Monkey-Man in this case, they assumed it to be true. Police blamed the media as well, for this mass hysteria. Apart from the media, doctors also believed that the cases of Mass Hysteria are most commonly seen in those people who suffer from psychological or environmental stress. This was evident in the data as well. 2/3rds of the cases of Monkey-Man’s attacks, were reported to have taken place against 20yo – 30yo men. These men were working in low-income jobs. They had stressful jobs, had high levels of physical stress in their lives, it was the summer, and there were many power cuts, so they were under a lot of environmental stress too. Due to the heat wave and power cuts. Due to these reasons, the Monkey-Man incident became the perfect case of mass hysteria. Doctors believe that the cases of mass hysteria spread exponentially in society and decline at the same rate. This was exactly what happened. In only a couple of months, Monkey-Man disappeared from everyone’s lives. One burning question you may have, if the whole phenomenon of the Monkey-Man, was just an illusion, then what about the cases where people had scratches on their arms and legs, and had bite marks? The thing was that the injury marks shown by people were real. Delhi Police had carried out investigations, had called in doctors to investigate this, to find out if the injuries suffered by the victims were real or not. After conducting medical examinations, doctors found that the injuries were real. But the doctors said that though the injuries were caused by an animal, but it wasn’t a supernatural Monkey-Man, with metal claws. Rather, these were bite marks of rodents and stray dogs. Most of the scratches on people, after the investigation, it was found that they were caused by a blunt object. It shows that when people were running in panic, they collided with various objects, and suffered scratches from falling. Another fact hinting at this that the 2/3rds incidents of Monkey-Man’s attacks, were between midnight and 6 AM. And when there were power cuts. People used to be in deep sleep. So when people were jolted awake and had to run in panic, they would hit walls and objects, get injuries and scratches, it was that simple. Indian Rationalist Association went as far as to state that some cases of Monkey-Man, were actually cases of Mass Self-Delusion. They said that some people had intentionally affected the injuries because some attention-seeking people, wanted media’s attention. By using Monkey-Man’s attacks, they wanted to gain recognition and to establish their unique identity. Later on, Delhi Police even started suspecting, that the areas from where they were getting the most calls about Monkey-Man, were the areas that faced the most power cuts. They suspected that people were calling them, because they knew that to increase the safety in the area, the power would be restored there. That they simply wanted electricity in their area. Whenever there was a power cut in a neighbourhood, they started getting calls from there. Police noticed that it had become an easy way for the people to get back electricity. Interestingly, this had actually happened. the city authorities found a pattern that the areas where Monkey-Man was reported to be in, once they restored the electricity, it would calm the situation and people would go inside their homes to sleep. This was the reason why later the Delhi Police had said that if someone made false reports, and spin tales of attacks by Monkey-Man, the caller would be jailed. And once the police actually jailed some people, it warned people that they shouldn’t call unnecessarily fewer cases were being reported.Overall, this was an interesting cultural phenomenon, friends. from which we can learn so much. The same incident was depicted in this film Delhi 6 starring Abhishek Bachchan. If you want to know about more examples of Mass Hysteria, there are many of them. Perhaps the most famous case of it is England’s case of Spring-Heeled Jack, from 1837 to 1904. Where the people in London thought there was a man going about wearing a trench coat with red eyes, and metal nails and would scratch women. No trace of him was ever found. Apart from this, there’s another example from India, the Braid Chopping Incidents in 2017, taking place near Haryana and Delhi.Where in women reported that they would faint,and when they’d regain their senses, they’d see that their braid was chopped off.As always, the same factors are responsible. These happen in the areas where people aren’t very educated.Are from poor families, with low socio-economic status, the highly superstitious people suffering through psychological and environmental stress,and the rumours and media play a significant role.Found the Article informative?You can go Read the Post on the mystery of the time traveller, Let’s meet in the next Article. Thank you very much!