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India's 'monkey man' branded imaginary

"Monkey man" tales have caused a media stir in India and also attracted international coverage  

By staff and wire reports

NEW DELHI, India -- The mysterious "monkey man" that instilled terror and claimed three lives in the Indian capital was simply the product of the city's collective imagination.

This was the conclusion of Indian police, who have branded last month's reign of the "monkey man" nothing more than the product of "mass hysteria."

The probe by forensic experts and psychiatrists said the supposed half man- half beast was a "mere figment of the imagination of emotionally weak people," The Times of India said, quoting police sources.

Large colonies in New Delhi were gripped by fear of attacks after dozens of people reported they were bitten or clawed by the nocturnal "monkey man." Asia
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At least three people panicked and fell to their deaths from buildings during the two-week saga because they were convinced the attacker -- described varyingly as a monkey-like creature with metallic claws and a cat with tawny, glowing eyes -- was pursuing them.

Delhi's Joint Commissioner of Police Suresh Roy told Reuters news agency the experts' report had been submitted to the police department during the weekend and would be made public later this week.

Forensic experts and psychiatrists conducted detailed examinations of victims of the attacks and had also visited the locations of the attacks, the newspaper said.

"In most of the cases, the injuries were found to be too superficial to arrive at any conclusion. Most of the wounds could have been self-inflicted," the Times of India quoted police sources as saying.

"It was found many victims changed their statements on several occasions. Psychiatrists concluded most of them were hysterical and could not be relied on."

The Hindustan Times newspaper said at least 35 victims examined by the experts suffered from trauma.

The experts said sensational media coverage of the "monkey man" episode blew it out of proportion.

"It was due to unsubstantiated media reports that people were encouraged to come out with bizarre accounts of the creature though no one had actually seen it," the Hindustan Times said quoting the report.

At the height of the panic, vigilante groups armed with sticks patrolled the streets at night on the lookout for the creature and police announced a 50,000 rupee ($1,067) reward for information leading to its capture.

Police said they received nearly 350 complaints of sighting or attacks by the shadowy "monkey man."

Reuters contributed to this report.

• The Indian Express
• The Times of India
• The Statesman

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