Horror in the Hamlet: South Kashmir’s Witch of Winters

Reality check of Horror noises of South Kashmir

By Javeed Ali

What we think in our subconscious mind seems real to us. Particularly, when inimical elements make scary noises using modern gadgets and propagate rumours that some kind of witch or what in Kashmiri is called a Raantas is roaming around.

We should do our best not to spread such kinds of canards. There can be multiple reasons why they are doing so. Conventionally, the major reason could be that someone wanted to loot your belongings including your cattle.

Additionally, there are many wild animals who make different sounds as per their living adaptations. During winters, they come near our dwelling places in search of food. When our subconscious mind is already fed with these concocted stories of Waiwoph (a witch of winters according to Kashmiri oral storyelling) and Raantas/withces, it jumps to mistake the sounds that animals make as the sounds of the supernatural ghosts.

As if these stories on social media weren’t enough, a local channel broadcasted this rumour as a news piece. Truly, a gala time for those of us interested in exploring the blurring lines between truth and untruth in today’s day and age. Nonetheless,  the absurdity of this “news” piece is quite embarrassing.

On a note not touched by many, it’s a very alarming situation especially for children. While elders can very well dismiss this as a joke and can go about their business as per usual; children do not have the cognitive strength to distinguish between what is real and unreal. Please inform your children that these are only pranks being pulled for reasons unknown. Let them know these threatening cries are being created by miscreants using Mobile applications or software for reasons best known to them.


The author can be reached at j[email protected]

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