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Cyclic Hotline
18th May 2001, 07:06
'Monkey Man' Hysteria in India

Panic in India over reported attacks carried out by a hairy, 4-foot-tall ape-like creature being called the "monkey man."

At first, residents of New Delhi wondered if they were simply going bananas in the scorching heat of the Indian summer.

Certainly, the reports of people being attacked by a hairy, ape-like creature approximately 4 feet tall seemed like an episode out of X Files or, closer to home, a chapter of the mythological epic Mahabharata.

But over the past three nights, media reports said dozens were injured in the mysterious attacks and two people jumped to their deaths in a panic. Delhi police recorded 39 calls of attacks by the so-called monkey man from panicked residents of eastern Delhi.

On Monday night, a pregnant woman slipped while fleeing a panicked scene where a "sighting" reportedly occurred. She later died in a city hospital.

The death, along with pictures in the local dailies of victims with scratch marks on their upper torsos, have shaken Delhites - many of whom initially dismissed the occurrences as "superstitious mumbo-jumbo."

The weather only added to concerns. Power outages in summer are common in Delhi, forcing residents of congested lower-income housing projects to sleep on rooftops to beat the heat.

And the darkness not only added to the mass panic, it also contributed to an astonishing variety of descriptions of the strange "creature."

A Man, a Monkey, or a Cat?

Descriptions by witnesses reported in local dailies often portrayed the mysterious creature as a hairy simian. But other descriptions included an agile, feline-like creature, an individual covered from head-to-toe in bandages and in one case, a mysterious being wearing a helmet.

Multiple sightings of the "creature" in over short time frames has led to speculation more than one creature involved in the attacks.

The rich variety of descriptions has predictably not gone down well with rank-and-file police officers, who blamed the panic on the superstitious beliefs of poor, largely uneducated people.

"There is no identification or description to depend on," a police officer told the Hindustan Times. "Not content with the fact that we had to keep running after false calls all through the night, we are now being asked to continue the hunt for the next couple of days."

A Serious Matter

But as the number of injuries increase, senior city police officers have started taking the matter seriously.

"Many people laugh and say how can such incidents occur but injuries have to be taken seriously," Suresh Roy, the joint commissioner of police, told ABCNEWS.com. "We're trying to help by posting police on rooftops and keeping areas well lit at night. We have also posted border checks at entry points to the city and have been holding meetings with the public to keep the panic under control."

The panic only seems to be spreading. Residents of the area talk of sleepless nights spent waiting for cries of "bandar aaya hai" ("the monkey is here").

But while some newspapers, such as The Times of India have dismissed the "half-monkey-half-human apparition," many experts advise caution before drawing conclusions.

"There's certainly mass hysteria here," said Ashok Nagpal, associate professor at the University of Delhi's Department of Psychology, "But there's definitely something more to it. It's too early to reach a conclusion though and until I probe further into the matter I can't see where to pitch my views."

'Shoot at Sight' Orders

Man or superman, ape or super-ape, the Delhi police are taking no chances. Police officers have "shoot at sight" orders, said Roy.

Two "identikit" portraits based on victims' description have also been released. One showed a swarthy, hirsute "man" with a flat nose, thick lips and a piercing stare. The other, depicted a "man" with a moustache and dark glasses.

The police are also working with authorities at the Delhi Zoo, but those investigations have not shed much light on the mysterious monkey man. "Reports say the creature is around four-feet tall and that does not correspond with any known creature," said Roy. "Secondly, monkeys do not normally indulge in such extraordinary acts. This is highly unusual."

But monkeys have been known to run wild in New Delhi and on the outskirts of the city. Residents often complain of the creatures pouncing on unsuspecting pedestrians and entering houses and government offices as overpopulation has forced many monkeys into urban areas.

ickle black box
18th May 2001, 15:02
Apparently, two blokes have been beaten up by mobs, after being mistaken for the 'monkey man'. My god, those two must be ugly!!

Cyclic Hotline
19th May 2001, 01:13
New Delhi TV website....

Enigma of ‘monkey man’ assumes levels of mass hysteria
Friday, May 18, 2001 (New Delhi):

Fears and rumours on the existence of a monkey man have reached levels of mass hysteria in the national capital region. Dozens of people have been injured in the last few days after they were attacked by what many reported to be a half-man, half-monkey. However, as the hunter becomes the hunted, innocent bystanders are becoming victims in what has become one of the most bizarre law and order problems in the capital.

In colonies in east Delhi, there were hysterical mobs brandishing hockey sticks and laathis to protect themselves against rumoured monkey men. They had caught a person who they think is a member of a gang that has been striking terror in the hearts of Delhiites. However, the man caught has neither talon for fingers nor can he jump seven stories in flight. He is just one unfortunate person caught up at the wrong end of many a stick as frenzied mobs bay for blood. When the police arrived to save the bruised and battered man from the rampaging mob, the jubilation and cheers that ensued sounded hollow.

Whether the mysterious monkey man or gang exists or not, mobs on the streets of Delhi panicked at the reported attacks and are taking the law into their own hands. What triggered off all this lawlessness was a report of an intruder while all slept. Nineteen-year-old Sarfraz claimed he saw a man in black on a pitch-dark night. A panicked teenager first accosted a person he saw with a dumbbell then rushed in to find a knife. When he returned, the apparition had disappeared.

This mania about the mysterious monkey menace turned into mass hysteria as mobs turned violent in their frenzy and panic. But as dawn broke calm finally returned to the area, thus belying notions of the possibility of there being such a thing as the monkey man.

Meanwhile, Narendra Kumar Sagar, a doctor, was arrested by the Delhi police late last night who for a brief moment thought they finally had their hands on the elusive creature who has been terrorizing the city.

Dr Sagar was taken in by the police and has been charged for creating panic and adding to the fear psychosis in the capital after he threw a stained pair of surgical gloves he had used to dye his hair out of his second floor apartment. He had also inflated the pair of gloves and tied them with a string. There was instant panic as residents saw what they thought were a pair of black monkey paws. The police rushed to the spot in the hope that finally they had some clue. This is the second incident since yesterday of mistaken identity.

As the rumours about the infamous monkey man spread, fear seems to be escalating in several parts of the city. People are keeping vigil each night, hoping to protect themselves from something, which is still unknown.

In north-east Delhi, people are afraid to sleep at night. Wide-eyed little children pick up snatches of conversation about the mysterious half-man half-monkey creature that is alleged to have been stalking the area since the past month. According to a resident of the area, "It had a horrifying face." When asked what it looked like, the man replied, "It was all black, that's all I saw. I was scared. It resembled an ape that could leap to great heights." Nearly a week after police were called in to catch the so-called monkey man in east Delhi, they still have no leads. Many feel it is actually a group of people at work but for policemen on vigil at night the truth still eludes them.

At 11 pm (IST) in Preet Vihar in east Delhi, the police had got an urgent call asking them to rush to Old Seelampur where residents had apparently caught the monkey man. The Station House Officer, Inspector Mahendra Singh was at the spot fending off the mob and trying to get to the bottom of what turned out to be one in many hoax calls. "Our control room told us that someone had caught a black monkey. But when we reached, there was just an old lady who said she got scared when she saw what looked like a shadow of a monkey, which turned out to be nothing," informed Mahendra Singh, SHO, Gandhinagar, east Delhi.

It has been the same story for him for almost a week, rushing into the night in search of a constantly changing form. "A woman in Kailash Nagar said she saw a pair of hands that were blood red. But in Dharampura another woman said she saw a white coloured elephant-like feet and in Ajit Nagar, a resident said he saw a black face," added Mr Singh.

A man was taken in for questioning for being part of a mad mob that beat up people in a van, thinking they were part of the terrible monkey brigade. Later, bloodstains were found in north Delhi. After a desperate two-hour search nothing could be traced that could provide leads to the attacking monkey men.

Inspector Singh has been attending to calls from people all over north and east Delhi about the monkey menace. Nevertheless, at the end of six long nights where he has been continuously up till about wee hours in the morning, he is still no wiser as to the cause of this menace.

As the mystery surrounding the monkey man deepens, the lines between fact and fiction become even more blurred.

PTI adds

The Police Commissioner had yesterday announced a cash reward of Rs 50,000 to any person providing information about the "monkey man" whom he described as "mischief monger(s)" and warned that stern action would be taken against rumour mongers.

Virtually ruling out the involvement of any animal in the attacks, Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi range) Suresh Roy said in all probability some mischief mongers were involved in the attacks. "We will be able to sort it out quickly," he said.

The fear-psychosis gripping the capital has taken a toll of two persons so far besides injuries to several people. One person jumped to death in the Shakarpur area of north-west Delhi on Wednesday night following a false alarm raised by his neighbour while a pregnant woman fell from the stairs and died while rushing out in panic in the Anand Vihar area of east Delhi earlier this week.

[This message has been edited by Cyclic Hotline (edited 18 May 2001).]

21st May 2001, 14:12
Hey, what's all the fuss about? This guy has been working with me for the last 2 years and seems perfectly normal to me... :)

Back in the Barrel
21st May 2001, 18:40

Are you at RAF Waddington? Apparently, the flight engineers there have a tyre to swing about on. I love those goofy bastards.