'Bewitched' women swept clean

Sydney Morning Herald/February 2, 2005

A newspaper in India says hundreds of women have gathered at a fair to have ghosts beaten out of them with a broom.

The Telegraph newspaper in Delhi says they're being exorcised at the annual ghost fair in Madhya Pradesh state.

The beatings take place at a temple founded by Hindu saint Guru Maharaj Deoji in the 18th century.

Deoji is said to have had the power to exorcise demons and the power is said to have been passed down through generations of disciples.

But local politician Shamim Modi says most of the women taken to the temple are actually suffering from epilepsy, schizophrenia or depression.

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