The dark arts have always been a subject of intrigue. From movies to books, may it be the famous Harry Potter series or Coven, dark arts have had a strange fascination over people. What if we told you that India has a Hogwarts of sorts, where dark magic is taught and practised?
Forty kilometres from Guwahati, Assam, lies Mayong, a village on the banks of the river Brahmaputra.
Mayong today has become a hotspot for many tourists coming from various countries. The major reason that attracts them: Black Magic.
Yes, you read it right.
The residents of Mayong believe in the power of black magic, and some of them still practise it.
The Black Magic Capital of India: Mayong is known as the "Black Magic Capital of India" and is the home to hundreds of "magicians" and "witch doctors". They call themselves Oja or Bej/bez.
These Ojas believe that their power does not lie in some magic stone, but is a skill that needs to be learned only by the members of the family tree. If you travel through the lanes of Mayong, you can see many of them.
Some of the "doctors" will claim to have the cure for any kind of disease, while others will have the remedy to rid ghosts off you. Some others claim to be able to find what you have lost.
They generally call themselves 'Ayurvedic doctors'.
Dark magic is still practised by some of the residents, and this knowledge gets passed down orally, generation after generation. They verbally transferred the magic from one generation to another because they are afraid of the 'knowledge' falling in the wrong hands.
Human sacrifice: Many tools were unearthed during archaeological excavations, including swords and tools similar to those used in human sacrifice rituals in other parts of the country. This excavation hints at the possibility of human sacrifice having occurred during the Ahom era in Mayong. The local museum, the Mayong Central Museum and Emporium, also houses ancient manuscripts on black magic and Ayurveda.
Mayong, the land that no one could conquer: The people of Mayong have heard many stories about how over time, many rulers tried to capture their land but could not.
For example, during the height of Mughal power in 1667, Aurangzeb ordered Raja Ram Singh to conquer the Ahoms. The entire Mughal army rallied behind Raja Ram Singh on this mission but were still unable to capture the Ahoms. One clear reason was the great Army general of the Ahoms, Lachit Borphukan.
However, a belief also goes that some members of the Mughal army were "controlled by magic", and others were too scared because of the blood-curdling stories they have heard.
Now: The magic of Mayong was also believed by former Governor of Assam, Loknath Mishra. Mishra too used mantras to heal - there were regular sessions at the Raj Bhavan where people thronged to get their ailments cured.
World-famous magician PC Sorcar also credited lessons from Mayong in several of his performances.