Horror of the Week


If you’ve grown up in an Indian household, you’re probably familiar with the above terms. Even though most Indian husbands would like you to believe so, the actual meaning of the above terms is NOT ‘wife’ or ‘girlfriend’, but something even more sinister (if that’s even possible).

A Chudail/ Churel is a supernatural entity which resembles a human female and is generally considered to live on trees (especially ‘peepul’-fig tree), or along empty highways or on empty roads. A chudail is not to be confused with a Daayan although there are many similarities in their appearances and the terms are many times used interchangeably. However, a daayan is more akin to the witch and I feel it is much stronger than a chudail as such. I will talk more about Daayans/ Banshees/ Witches and more in later posts.

A Chudail is described as long haired, long nailed, pot bellied with an ugly face and the biggest identifying factor is the “Ulte Pair” (Twisted feet). It is believed that a woman who’s wronged or cheated in life or who’s just plain evil, will come back after her death as a chudail. Its also believed that a chudail can disguise herself as a beautiful woman and uses the guise to lure men into her trap. They are mostly known to target travellers especially in rural areas.

As per Wikipedia and a few other sources, there are many myths surrounding the creation of chudails. Some say that a woman who’s killed by her in-laws, or during childbirth or during menstrual phase generally comes back after death as a Chudail. However, I feel these myths are propagated mainly in rural areas to prevent mistreatment of women by her husband or in-laws.

A chudail is widely feared in both rural and urban areas of India. There have been many different urban and rural legends about special ‘types’ of chudails. For instance, in the 1990s, there were very strong rumours of a “Teen-Mundiwali” (Three-headed) Chudail killing people off in Mumbai. The modus operandi of this chudail was somewhat like this: A beautiful woman would ring your doorbell at odd hours and ask for a glass of water. She would then transform into her 3-headed form and kill you once you returned with water. It was believed that this chudail could even impersonate the voices of your loved ones and fool you into opening the door. It became so bad that people had started getting scared of opening their doors to anyone. This legend was even featured in a popular TV Series of that time called “Hum Paanch”. The episode featuring the three headed chudail had become the nightmare of many 90s kids. However, its believed it could’ve been the work of a gang committing crime & purposely spreading rumours about the chudail to scare people off as even shown in the same serial.

There’s another similar urban legend of a chudail in Bengaluru. The movie ‘Stree’ (must-watch) is an adaptation of this legend. The legend states that a chudail would knock on people’s doors and talk to them in the voices of their loved ones’ thus luring them to open the door and finally killing them. The people came up with a unique technique to ward off this evil chudail. They started writing “Nale Ba” (Come Tomorrow) on their doors. Apparently, it worked, such that, even today (as per some websites) April 1st is celebrated as ‘Nale Ba’ day. Don’t even get me started on the funny implications of this phenomenon of ‘Nale Ba’. They are amply explored in the movie Stree in the best manner possible.

There are quite a lot of other things which I found about chudails while researching. Some reports suggest that a chudail seduces men and lures them into their lairs where she sucks their blood and does some other (A) rated things which I won’t be mentioning here. You can find on wiki all those details about how a chudail is filled with insatiable carnal desires which she tries to satisfy through younger men & how they are transformed into older men after partaking food & drinks offered by a chudail (no pun intended).

I haven’t heard much about how to safeguard yourself against Chudails. However, there are the usual techniques of chanting Hanuman Chalisa or throwing the cross in her face or wearing a taaweez (protective amulet) yourself. Although these things would only work if the chudail is secular. If not, its going to be a hell lot difficult and you might have to go for a trial and error with all of them.

All in all, a chudail is one of the most terrifying supernatural entities of the Indian subcontinent, not someone to mess with. Though, one should not actively look to mess with any supernatural entity anyways.  

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