The Werewolf is a well documented legand in everyday lore. Hollywood has made umpteen movies with this theme. But the warewolf does not form part of eastern thought and this type of evil spirit is unheard of in India and the east. This is true to an extant, but there is a similar type of spirit that is supposed to be prevalent in Himachal Pradesh in North India. This is referred to as the Chaleda and the local people in Himachal Pradesh swear that such an evil spirit does exist.
The chaleda is an evilspirit that can change its form
Himachal Pradesh is a mountainous state with thick forests. The villages in this state are far and wide from each other and as is wont in the hills darkness sets in early and there is all around silence. villagers generally hurry home before the sun sets as after that the dark powers come into play.
I visited my village which borders on the edge of Himachal Pradesh. A number of villagers mentioned to me about the Chaleda, but frankly as an educated man I did not believe all they told me. I even met a man who claimed to have met a Chaleda, but I put it down to a figment of his imagination in the dark jungles. But I was in for a shock and now many decades later I am tempted to agree that the Chaleda is something real.
One evening I walked down towards a distant clump of trees in the forest and sat down to enjoy the cool evening breeze. the sun was setting and I felt on top of the world. As i sat i heard a rustle and looked to see a large black cat staring at me. The cat had yellow eyes and that created an uncanny feeling. the cat was not the friendly type and I felt a slight chill down my spine. I was carrying a large stick, for my defence against robbers and I got up and tried to hit the cat. Why I did it, I cannot explain now, but my stick sailed in the air and the cat had vanished. Inrigued, I looked around and saw the cat some distance away, further in the jungle. I followed the cat and each time the cat disappeared till I suddenly realized that I had come deeper into the forest.
Suddenly I saw a child crying. Wondering as to what a child was doing in the jungle and also a little in awe, I approached the Child. I assumed his mother must be somewhere around and looked around. I lifted up the crying child to console him and then I observed that the child had started getting heavier. I now knew that I was face to face with an evil spirit. The child now laughed as I dropped him like a hot coal. Praying and reciting the Jap, the prayer of Nanak I ran all the way back to my village.
The incident made a deep impression on me and I realized that a Chaleda was a reality. Now I can say that a Chaleda is an evil spirit who is denied entry into the after life for some terrible crime that he may have committed. Such a spirit is doomed to roam the earth till his day of salvation.Its not exactly a warewolf but the closest to it. Greater study is called for in this field.