The night of the Muhnochwa by Orijit Sen

Back in 2003, there were a spate of ‘alien’ sightings and encounters reported from Barabanki and adjacent districts in western Uttar Pradedsh. Hysterical victims variously narrated seeing balls of light, shrieking insect-like creatures with claws, UFO-type objects with blinking lights, and other apparitions that they had been attacked by. Dubbed ‘Muhnochwas'(The Face-Rippers), these ‘beings’— their origins, intentions and implications—attracted a lot of discussion at the time. Within a couple of months, the phenomenon disappeared as mysteriously as it had appeared, with reports of encounters fading away and the media losing interest. As far as I know, no credible ‘scientific’ attempt has so far been made to uncover the truth behind the Muhnochwa attacks.

Within the course of those couple of months, however, the national and local news channels, radio stations and press all had a field day with the story, looking for—and discovering—the most bizarre descriptions and extreme narrations. Local politicians, police commissioners, village elders, journalists, school teachers and every crackpot theorist with an explanation up their sleeve got their fair share of prime-time exposure.

On the prodding of a friend, I researched the Muhnochwa stories from media reports a few months after the entire phenomenon had blown over, and came up with my own crackpot theory in the form of a comic… enjoy!