1. The word daayan comes from the Sanskrit word ‘dakini’, which means a female spiritual being.
2. The daayan first appeared in medieval legends of the Puranas and the ‘Kathasaritsagara’ by Somadeva.
3. The daayan is a demon who is part of Kali’s train and prefers to feast on human flesh.
4. In 15th Century India, there came into existence a secret society known as the daayan cult in Harangul, Maharashtra.
5. Members of this sect were rumored to have supernatural powers and communicate with each other via symbols.
6. In 2012, it was reported that members of this daayan cult had left Harangul and spread across India in a bid to take revenge.
7. According to folklore, women who die as a result of mistreatment or during childbirth return as daayans seeking revenge.
8. Daayan worship the goddesses Kali and Durga because they view themselves as their disciples, therefore they’re also called yoginis (sacred feminine force).
9. In older temples of rural areas, yoginis will often be carved on the walls of temples of Kali and Durga.
10. According to myth, daayans have their feet facing backwards, but despite this, they are quick and agile in movement.
11. The daayan’s preys of choice are young, handsome and able bodied men with whom she starts sexual relations before “consuming” them.
12. A daayan typically hunts for her prey at night and on lonely stretches of road. If a young man catches her fancy, she appears before him as a beautiful young woman.
13. According to lore, ruler of Kashmir, Maharaja Pratap Singh, once asked a daayan to demonstrate her power in his court. She apparently consumed an apple from inside without breaking its skin.
14. Though it is believed that nothing can save one from a daayan, some tantriks claim to have spells and incantations to help victims.
15. People believe that hanging red chilies and lemons on doorways to the house can prevent a daayan from casting her evil eye.
16. Unfortunately, most women who are killed in rural areas for being daayans are victimized because of their property, family feuds or sexual exploitation.
17. According to National Crime Bureau records, 1,157 women were branded daayan/chudel and killed in Jharkhand between 1991 and 2010.
18. There were 250 cases of witch-hunts in Ranchi in 10 years, 185 in East Singhbhum and 125 in Bokaro.