Encountering Occult and much feared black magic in a town of 21st century: Mayong, Assam

“A lot of cabbies don’t go there no matter the amount of money. We believe, ‘black magic’ is still practised there.”, our cabbie told us when we enquired about Mayong village of Assam.

No no, it’s not that kind of story. So don’t just get scared yet. 🙂 🙂 But first, let me tell you about my childhood.

I spent my childhood in a residential government colony, that was connected with a joggers road. That joggers road infamously morphed into something sinister at night. Many of our friends and neighbors reported seeing unworldly things and beings on that road at night. In mornings, we went there for walks, but at night we closed our eyes, and ran through the distance at the fastest pace possible while chanting Hanuman Chalisa*.

*prayers to a Hindu God who saves you from all ex-humans. Of course, you got to deal with present-day humans on your own.

Inside Mayaong Museum

I also grew up hearing these stories and somewhat got addicted to those. Till I turned 30, I kept watching horror movies, reading about real incidents of people and exchanging such stories. And I used to be scared. Then, something happened. I turned 30 and began to see people for who they are and what they can do to you. Ghosts, not so much. Because they haven’t really changed personalities over the last few centuries. Same dress code. Same expressions. Same tactics. Nothing new!

In my constant battle to fight the existing human beings and managing them & their antics, I forgot all about the terrors of ex-human beings. After all, the most ex-humans can do is – scare me by moving things, fluttering my curtains & showing up. That’s manageable because that’s predictable. What kept me awake at nights wasn’t that but what new ‘political battle’ would I need to fight at work the next day, what part of someone else’s work would be outsourced to me, and how will me and my team manage the steeper timelines, unrealistic expectations of business & people’s behaviours. Yeah, that can scare the hell out of you.

And just like that, I outgrew this phase. But somewhere deep inside me, a version had stayed who still got fascinated with magic, mantras, transfigurations and hypnosis. And when I heard that there is still a place on the map that has hands-on experience with occult sciences, I got intrigued (to say the least). 😀

What and Where is Mayaong?

Mayaong is a small village, situated by the bank of Brahmaputra, some 40 kms. away from Guhawati in Assam.

Dating back to Mahabharata times, Mayaong has found its mention in many records and stories. The famous warrior Ghatotkacha who fought the war from the side of Pandavas, is believed to be from Mayaong, Assam. During the Mughal empire, several court documents talk about the existence of Mayaong kingdom and their invincible, powerful occult powers.

Inside Mayaong Museum

Several stories/ folklores talk about the magic muscle of Mayaong people who eliminated whole Mughal armies, without leaving a trace behind. Can you believe it? These secrets and occult practices were passed on from one generation to another in proper format: documents, SOPs, checklists, list of resources…the works, really!

The first time I heard about Mayaong was when the driver openly declared that he won’t take us to Mayaong village…and why? But then, the more you say ‘No’ to a rebel, the more the rebel wants to do it.

Inside Mayaong Museum
The practice of controlling a Tiger with mantras and chants…imagine?!

Scares and Fears: Dropping Mayaong from the itinerary

We were on our way to Pobitra wildlife sanctuary when the driver told me stories of turning human beings into beasts, controlling (hypnotising) humans and making them lose their senses and sensibilities. Before I could say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to visiting Mayaong, we reached Pobitra, and forgot everything for a moment upon spotting one-horned rhinoceroses. We lost track of time and by the time, we decided to leave, it was evening. We didn’t have enough time to go anywhere else and decided to return to our hotel in Guwahati.

On our way back, I began thinking about the Joggers road near Kamla Nehru Nagar & all the stories that we had heard over the years. Some were too detailed to be untrue but some were pure fiction. Was that the case with Mayaong too? May be, something happened a long time ago, and that story gave birth to many more true and untrue stories. Perhaps Mayaong is a figment of imagination at best! And I settled at that when the driver stopped the car in the middle of nowhere. To my Left was a gated building.

Treating illness with magic!

Enter: Mayaong Central Museum & Emporium

It was a seemingly ordinary building but with an eerie vibe to it. It was getting darker, and I wasn’t sure why the driver took a break here. Before I could ask, he looked at me & said, “Madam, this is Mayaong museum and showcases all the artefacts & documents related to their magical practices.”

“Okay, can we go and have a look?”

“Yes, pls go ahead.”

With an alert mind, a racing heart and bulging eyes, I stepped out to check out the museum. It was locked. Oh, what a relief & what a disappointment. It was like I couldn’t make up my mind if I wanted to experience Mayaong or not. I started to go back to my cab and as I was about to step outside, someone called me. It was a thin, tall man with a glowing face. He offered to show me the museum (even though it was locked) for 100 bucks.

I agreed.

And thus we entered the museum of Black Magic & Witchcraft.

It started like any museum tour with an entrance, long galleries and passages with photographs and artefacts glued to either side of the wall. But soon it turned spooky when I noticed bones, skulls, dead animals – kept as artefacts inside the museum. But I maintained a calm exterior. After all, I am from Ghaziabad. We don’t scare easy.

Turns out, we do. As I explored more of the museum, the less curious I became. Magic practices were described in details with documented SOPs on Palm leaves including list of ingredients needed, mantras & chants during the ceremony. Every 10 steps led to a visual representation of either a magic ceremony or an occult practice. The man who had agreed to show me the museum was floating behind me like a shadow. He kept switching off the lights as I moved past certain sections.

Spookiness

Truth be told, it wasn’t looking pretty. In fact, I was the only person inside the museum. And the museum wasn’t supposed to be open for visitation. And then, this person started to describe some of the museum sections, explaining the magical practices. In hindsight, he was probably acting out of goodwill. But at that time, he was just escalating the situation. I could feel a rush of blood in my legs as if my body was telling me to get the hell out of this place. I fastened my pace and walked through some sections checking out the museum artefacts only with a cursory look. And then I just started walking without looking at anything.

In the end, I just ran through the distance chanting Hanuman Chalisa at the fastest speed known to humankind. When I stepped out, it was dark already. A few goats were roaming around inside the premises. I paid this person as promised, and ran towards my cab.

On the way back to my hotel, neither I spoke nor my driver said anything. But I knew, Mayaong is far from being a story, a rumour or a folklore. An ancient town like Mayaong has been able to survive through the ages and exists even today in the Assam of 21st century – just like magic!

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