By Onaiza Drabu
She is a witch and a seductress. Her feet are usually turned backwards. She is known to kidnap men, take them to her cave in mountains and eats out the hearts of men. She is known to seek husbands amongst mortals, but their attachment has fatal consequences, as its object dies in the course of two or three months. Actually, the Rantas’ face is scary & grotesque. She hides her body with long hair that reaches her feet. Though she can change form at will often pretending to be a beautiful woman.
Next is the Agar Pachin, a majestic mythical bird that hovers around forests and lakes, known for lifting heavy objects in its strong claws. It appears in different forms and across geographies, guided by its able wings.
Bram Bram Chok
A wolf-like creature, who in winters carries a torch on its head. Big, old, hairy and scary, he is known to light fire to houses when enraged and to make travelers lose his way. Travelers who cross his path, especially in the winter, travel day and night but never reach their destination.
Similar to the Rantas, is an ugly, grotesque lady who roams naked with her hair running all the way to her feet and covering her body. Her feet face backward. She normally lives in a dense forest but occasionally steps out to meet humans. She is known to love human kidneys and the heart and for this, she resorts to killing humans often by pretending to be a long-lost aunt. More practically, she is used to scare children to keep them quiet when they fuss and blamed for young men’s deaths. The only way to control her is through gaining control of her hair or through prayer and intercession of a saint.
A nocturnal creature can be commanded by his cap. Some believe the Wai Wuf to be an animal, similar to a cat or dog moving around desolate houses, while others think it a midget. Its powers lie in its cap, and once a human is in possession of that, they can control the Wai Wuf till the sly creature repossesses its cap, something that isn’t rare given how cunning and sharp-witted it is
A cannibal giant, with an immense head on his shoulders and large, bulging eyes. The word dev is used humorously too to mean demon or devil, often as a suffix while teasing and taunting.
A fairy. A beautiful feminine being, two-winged like a bird and able to fly and change forms. Often found near springs and water bodies, targeting young men who fall in love with her tricks. If a man resists her charms, she is known to try and drown him. If the man is betrothed to another or even married the peri does not hesitate to put obstacles in their way and harasses the woman. To get rid of a peris shadow, one must take a strand of her hair to a saint who will pray on it, and only then can one get rid of her. They are known to be pranksters and have a peri sisterhood to aid them along their way.
Also known as the Ghar Devta. Guardian angel of a Kashmiri house, he is known to take the face and form of the eldest male of the household. His disposition may be friendly or hostile, depending on the personality but his job is to guard the house from evil spirits. Kashmiri Pandits celebrate a festival to keep him happy, they prepare an offering of fish and rice and place it in the attic of the house.
Yaksh (also known as the yacch)
A feline creature, the size of a fox or a large cat that visits homes during heavy snowfall and utters a peculiar cry. The yacch too has a removable cap-like structure with magical powers. Anybody who succeeded in taking away the cap from the yacch’s head would have all his worldly wishes fulfilled as the yacch as his/her slave.