There hardly exists a community of people on earth that does not adhere to some superstitions or myths. There are fascinating yet horrid tales that are often passed on from generation to generation. Such mythical stories have also been associated with Kashmir for centuries. There are gut wrenching tales of ghouls, witches, elves, super-natural beings and places, narrated by people down the generations, that evoke both a sense of excitement and fear.
Among the many fables is a famous tale about a grotesque figure of Kashmiri folklore known as ‘Bram Bram Chok’. Many believe that Bram Bram Chok is a wolf-like creature, believed to dwell in marshes, that wanders in times of heavy snowfall in the dense, dark blanket of the night in search of its prey. It has often been described as a huge, hairy monster having a horrific face with eyes on top of its head which blaze as if they were on fire. It is also believed that the Bram Bram Chok carries a lantern on its head and when infuriated, sets houses on fire. This has led some to name it ‘Naar Mokal’. The name of this scary demon is, at times, invoked by parents to keep the behavior of their children in check. When a child misbehaves, the parents may say, “Soyd rooz nath yeh Bram Bram Chok”, meaning behave properly or Bram Bram Chok will appear.
Many suggest that the myth of Bram Bram Chok is, in reality, a phenomenon having something to do with phosphorus that burns near the marshy lands due to fluctuating oxygen levels in the atmosphere. In olden times, when there was no electricity, coming home late (especially in harsh winters) people would see this light and move towards it thinking that there may be habitation in the nearby area. Instead, they used to get stuck in the marshy soil, and then people would say: “Aemis deaj Bram Bram Chokan wath” (he was lead astray by Bram Bram Chok). Confusion still looms over the question of whether Bram Beam Chok is a fictional character or does it exist in real life as well. Many people claim that they have seen Bram Bram Chok in real life. Without any solid evidence, however, we can’t come to a conclusion about its existence.