Aghori Stories: Lost Keys | Talks with the Dead

India is a land of the strange. Aghori is one such queer element that still breathes amongst us. Numerous uncanny Aghori stories are still prevalent here, some of which are outright odious. Some are spine-chilling too, owing to the concept of the dead that it induces.

It is not difficult to pin point an Aghori primarily because Aghoris aren’t exactly hiding. Ascetics wrapped in a lifestyle that speaks of unchecked immorality, they are constantly messing with the dead. Found close to charnel grounds they reek of the unworldly, and there are many who don’t doubt their abilities. Yet in their apparent sense of decadence, a majority of people all across the globe look down upon them as barbarians who waste their lives away in cannabis, inebriation and assertive baloney.


One such powerful Aghori story that had me scratching my head was the one narrated by my mother. Her father, my grandfather, a saintly man, was a sage himself. He entertained unusual guests that used to scare my Ma beyond limit. Being a Pandit who dealt with exorcisms too, he was more like a learned scholar who encountered the unworldly on a day to day basis. It had become a way of living for the in-laws too, so nobody would complain ever.

One time she found my Grampa notably miffed by a missing key that opened the lock to some of his precious files. It must have been something like property papers or something she couldn’t recall. Uptight and organized as he used to be in reality, there was no margin for error. So he scoured every possible corner in the house, and yet he couldn’t find the keys. Convinced that the keys were lost, he gave up.


After a few days, his meticulous study demanded him to learn something that only an Aghori knew about. It skimmed the surface of the supernatural, and in hushed talks children in the house would discuss their father’s new subject.

So, the inevitable happened and one of my Grampa’s friends showed up at the door. My mum opened it to find a strange looking uncouth man with a stick in his hand. He was an Aghori Baba, an ascetic Shaiva sadhu, who had come to teach my Grampa some unfamiliar charnel hymns.

My mother showed him in. He asked for two chairs.

“Is anybody else coming?”

My mother inquired. The Aghora looked at her; Grampa cut in to handle the situation.

“Just do what he says!”

Another chair was brought in, and for a second my mother thought the Aghora was loco. For he sat on one and kept a choke chain on the other chair. Then as he was left alone, my mom sneaked to look at what was going on. The ascetic was talking to somebody nodding to things in thin air, head pointed to the chair. But there was no one there!

Crazy old retard!

My mother thought.

She was asked to serve him lunch. So she came in with a plate full of food. The Aghori wanted two. Another plate was arranged for that invisible thing on the chair.

It was all so crazy she went inside to tell my young maternal uncles all about it. My uncle then tiptoed to a hidden corner to hear what the talk was all about. From what he gathered, an impending bizarre ritual (an aghori sadhana) seemed to be on the cards the same night. He couldn’t have missed it for the world.


When the clock struck 12 AM, hushed voices didn’t wake up my uncle. For he was ready and all prepped up to follow the strange man and his father. The topic of Aghori was too thrilling to miss. So, when both of them stepped out, my uncle pursued them too. He maintained a discreet distance so as to not get caught.

When my maternal uncle realized that they were heading straight towards the cremation ground, his steps faltered a bit, but the bold in him didn’t give up the chase. When they reached the place, they lit up one of the pyres, and the ritual began. All this time my uncle stood behind a tree, trying to figure out what was going on.

Amidst thousands of chants and hymn, the Aghori spoke to the fire. Flames would leap unusually like a high tide. Then what my uncle saw blew his mind away.

animation of the aghori ritual on a charnel ground

A conspicuous image of an incinerated hand appeared in the fire. It handed the key my Grampa was looking for all this time.

“Is this your key?”

The Aghori carefully touched the key on the plate with a stick. My Grampa looked at it, and replied:

“That’s the one.”

My maternal uncle was taken aback. He nearly fell down, then scampered to return, scared as hell.

“What was that? How did it? How….?” 

A billion questions clouded his mind, but he ran as fast as he could, for the fear of it might get him.


Notorious Aghoris. I consider them the male version of witches. They are scary as hell to look at, and they do black magic. But unlike witches, they act on doctrines that are simply outrageous. It entails cannibalism and breaking such colossal rules. If you have an aghouri tale to share, send us one through the Contact the Darkest Blog page or leave it in the comment area.

Special Thanks to Punam Singh

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