The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript 'Journey to Nagaland', by Mildred Archer. An account of six months spent in the Naga Hills in 1947

caption: Churungchu, a were-leopard
medium: diaries
person: Churungchu
location: Anangba
date: 7.11.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: Then Churungchu dreamily told us how he is a were-leopard. There are a number of leopard and tiger man amongst the Nagas. Churungchu's leopard lives about thirty miles away. His soul lives in it but sometimes at night the soul returns into his own body for a short time. His leopard only kills pigs and goats. If his familiar were killed then he also would die within a day or two. If it were wounded then he would have similar wounds on his body. He told us how one night in his dreams he heard a bang and found himself lying on the floor. Then he knew a shot had passed close to his leopard. 'There (134) are whole families of men like us,' he said, 'My grandfather and my father were both were-leopards and so are my own children. The leopard of my eldest son lives near mine.'
text: With our minds full of head-hunting tales and were-leopards we stumbled back through the thick darkness to the friendly camp fires.