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Throughout northern Pakistan, there are tales of a unique Djinn found deep within our valleys which only appears on roads to serve one purpose: Calamity upon every traveller which crosses its path. Though one can find their tales from Skardu to Chitral, one of the most prominent of Chitral goes centuries back to banks of a river in the small the village of Singur.

On the wayward demons of the north.

The story of the demon goes such that a certain Xandaar (the khowar term for djinns) infested an area near the confluence of the Mastuj and Garam Cheshma rivers. This Xandaar used to harass travellers and kill those who dared venture into its lair. It’s method was such that it used to slowly go up to the travellers from behind and gently whispered their names in their ears.
When the startled traveller used to look back, it grabbed them as tightly as it could and killed them instantly.

From my own knowledge through the stories narrated to me from natives living in the vicinity of the region, a Xandaar’s method of attacking is such that they grab their victim from behind, putting their arms around a persons waist and their chins on the juncture of one’s chest and shoulder. Once a person is perplexed whilst held in this manner they begin their method of punishment.

The story of the Xandaar who Singur goes such that after a long time had elapsed of the people being victim of its terror, a strong warrior arose and went to Singur to finish the calamity once and for all. He is said to have tricked the Xandaar into grabbing him from behind when he at once took out his sword and inserted it into it, warding off the danger and saving the day.

The most creepy portion of the story however was not this. Just at the the moment when I first read this tale last September, I was working on an article on supernatural creatures of Chitrali folklores and had asked people to share their stories of the supernatural. A Chitrali boy texted me telling me his brother’s story of how his brother whilst travelling on his bike near the river once felt as if something heavy had suddenly sat at the back of his vehicle. I believe he mentioned that something whispered in his brother’s ears before winds started blowing and something grabbed him from behind. His brother was fortunate because for one reason or the other, he managed to save himself and flee. He suffered from high fever, as is the norm after meeting the supernatural. The creepy part? All of this happened right in the village of Singur!

Could it be the same demon? Or one of her progeny? Could be both. Throughout our folk stories these creatures are said to exist throughout much of Northern Pakistan. Travelers are often advised not to travel alone. There are roads in Ghizer valley neighboring Chitral which are avoided by drivers because calamity waits at every turn. Much similar stories are narrated by travelers Far East in Skardu. One thing is certain, Only the ill fated have a meeting with these wayward creatures of then north.

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