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Yes, you read that correct! ‘Ghost Fair’ or ‘bhooton ka mela’ is one famous event that takes place every year in the village of Malajpur (Betul district), Madhya Pradesh. India is one country where the broad spectrum of people’s beliefs cannot be explained in words! Having said that, Malajpur Ghost Fair has been in existence since the past 400 years and the fair attracts people from across the country.

This annual ghost fair goes on for nearly three weeks, and during this time, people ‘possessed’ by evil spirits and devils, flock the village to get rid of such negative vibes. The story of Malajpur Ghost Fair dates back to 18th century. A holy man named Deoji Maharaj, who possessed some magical powers, visited the village once. As per locals, he had some amazing powers through which he used to feed his friends by turning soil into jaggery and stones into coconut.

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Later, Deoji with his powers started controlling bad spirits and helped people who suffered amid such negativity. This became his legacy and villagers later built a temple-like structure in the village. The priests today call Deoji their ancestor and help people getting rid of evil spirits.

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Every year, thousands of possessed people, especially women come here in huge number. Only a brave heart can come here and watch the violent spectacle of men and women being dragged by their hair and being brutally beaten by brooms in the name of exorcism. Meanwhile, you can hear the priest chant “Guru Maharaj Deoji Ki Jai” the entire time while fighting the spirit.

It’s a common or usual thing for people living here, but for an outsider, it might come as a shocker. The priest will ask weird questions to the ‘possessed’ soul and would make violent gestures to the aggressor inside the human. A few minutes later, he would say that the said woman or man is actually possessed by some djinn or chudail, and that this is the right place to get rid of that otherworldly being.

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Several human rights organisations and activists have been trying to put a stop to this evil practice; they also claimed that most of the time, the ‘possessed’ people are mental patients, but no concrete steps have been taken yet. Well, whatever it is, it’s just strange to see people still possessing such a belief system when the world has moved on to the next level!

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