Posted on January 18, 2006

Villagers Shun Man They Believe Is Dead

AP, Jan. 16, 2006

BHOPAL, India—Is Raju Raghuvanshi alive or dead? Ask Raghuvanshi, he’ll tell you he is alive. But ask his friends and family, and they’ll tell you the man you just spoke with is a ghost sent to haunt them.

Believed by his friends and family to have died in prison, Raghuvanshi returned home earlier this month from his short jail stint to shouts of “Help! Ghost!” and the sounds of neighbors locking their doors in his home village of Katra.

“My family thinks I am dead,” he said in a phone interview Monday. “They will not permit me to enter my home because they think I am a ghost.”

Ostracized by the people of Katra, about 280 miles from Bhopal, he’s now living in a nearby village and struggling to prove he’s alive.

The best proof he had — that his feet were still properly attached, not turned backward as ghosts’ feet are thought to be — was dismissed by villagers.