Love horror stories? Head to this open mic night in Mumbai to listen to them

04 June,2023 08:17 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Christalle Fernandes

The fourth round of an open mic dedicated to horror draws on the age-old tradition of narrating ghost stories around a campfire

The rapt audience at the last edition of Kasa Kai Mumbai’s horror open mic

Imagine a dark room, filled with the heaviness of silence. No one moves. Bathed in an eerie red light is the narrator, weaving a tale that causes shivers to travel down one's spine, despite the heat outside. This is the chilly scene at Kasa Kai Mumbai's horror open mic, where lovers of the paranormal come to get spooked or inspired.

"[Our aim was to] share stories and have open-ended discussions about horror and the whole genre of ghosts and spirits," says Atharva Naik, a representative of Kasa Kai Mumbai, a community-based platform for sharing creative and artistic experiences. The idea of a horror open mic stemmed from nostalgic remembrances of summer vacations, where friends and family gathered around a campfire and shared scary stories. First, it began as an online story-telling and story-sharing community called Spooky Nights during the lockdown, with as many as 50 to 60 people participating from across the country and even overseas. Then, it was launched in a physical space, where attendees could participate as performers or simply watch the storytelling sessions.

The twist? It's not just tales spun out of the imagination but real-life experiences as well. The category of performances ranges from dark poetry to horror comedy to creepy music, where performers draw upon their own experiences as well as recite fictional narratives. Manasi Singh, 27, who was a performer at the last session, says that horror storytelling is the art of making the listener wonder whether what they've experienced is real. An author of four books, Singh narrates an incident that she experienced at a beach in Vishakhapatnam. "We happened to go there in the evening, when the energy in the village changes," she says. "We ended up encountering a person, who we later found out was not really a person, and that one chance encounter led us to uncover a really dark secret about the village."

For the upcoming June 10 session, the fourth such event by Kasa Kai, paranormal investigators and demonologists Pooja Vijay, 45, and Sarbajeet Mohanty, 26, will be present for a Q&A session on what exactly defines the realms of the nether world.

The two co-founded Parapsychology and Investigations Research Society (PAIRS) in 2016, which works to investigate places that supposedly contain spirits and demystify the concepts of supernatural entities. "The aim was to help out souls of both worlds - the living and the dead. Pooja and I both began our journey from a place of fear," says Mohanty. He explains how his journey to uncover the otherworldly experiences he'd faced made him want to help others who'd been affected by similar incidents.

While there may be sceptics out there, Singh believes there is another plane of existence. She describes writing a book about a haunted house, in which an Army colonel was murdered, only to later find out that a place like that actually existed. "The story just came to me. It almost felt like someone was whispering in my ear."

WHEN: June 10, 6 PM to 9 PM
WHERE: Recreate Spaces Studio, Andheri West
PRICE: Rs 220

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