The ongoing mystery of women's hair being chopped while they sleep has taken on a dark and surreal twist.
Indian police now suspect the role of tantriks or a gang performing black magic as being responsible for asking superstitious people to chop off random braids.
Lately, women from several states - Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Delhi - have been reporting incidents of their braids being chopped when they are asleep or unconscious.
In Delhi, cases have been reported from Najafgarh, Ranhola, Aman Vihar, Mangolpuri and Mundka.
Sources told Khabar Live that during the recent two meetings between community leaders the possible role of tantriks has come to light.
Requesting anonymity, a source said: 'There have been many incidents in which unusual demands are made by the tantriks to the superstitious people who fall prey to them.'
'It is possible that a gang of tantriks asked some superstitious people to chop off braids to achieve a desired result. And these people must have roped in others to help them achieve the target.
Usually, in such cases, the number that is to be achieved is very high so if any tantrik or a group is behind it then the incidents might go up,' said another source.
With such incidents on an alarming rise in the national Capital, Delhi Police has made an appeal to people to not spread rumours related to ghosts or bogeyman.
Police officials told Khabar Live that so far the number of complaints received do not mention the exact sequence of events.
In fact, some victims are changing their statements now. Senior officials said they are 'not ruling out' the possibility of a foul play.
As the delirium spreads with the supernatural dominating the discussion, the police and psychologists are weighing in with their theories.
With more such incidents being reported every day, officials said they are still searching for clues and awaiting results from forensic experts.
Kanganheri, a village in South-West Delhi was spooked after three of its women reported that their braids had been chopped while they were sleeping.
Bogeyman, black magic or good ol' thievery ... the theories are many as the hysteria spreads, blurring the boundaries between superstition and crime in a largely rural belt.
On Friday, two fresh cases of chopped braids were reported but no official complaint was made.
One incident was reported from Mayapuri, while another was from South-East Delhi's Ambedkar Nagar. This is not the first time crimes related to black magic have made headlines.
In June, a 35-year-old man from Shahdara chopped the ears of his three-year-old daughter, claiming that a supernatural power had asked him to do so.
Similarly, a three-year-old girl who had gone missing on July 11, was thrown into a canal by her father to become a tantrik, police said.
The child's body was recovered from thecanal in Faridabad the next day.