2020 Sep 26
Water in My Grave and Other Short Stories is a sinister collection of 24 short stories based on sorcery and urban legends from Sri Lanka that delve into the mysteries of the undead and the unburied said to walk among us. Prepare to be dragged into the dark depths of Eastern Sri Lanka’s supernatural world that is guaranteed to keep you petrified till the last page.
The book was authored by the mother-daughter writer duo – Chandrika Gadiewasam and Nadeesha Paulis – to shine a light on the many superstitions spoken of in hushed tones in various parts of the country.
This set of occult-themed short stories will drag you into the sinister realm of the Eastern supernatural world with a number of visuals by Sri Lankan artists Udara Chinthaka and Kalath Warnakulasuriya. Their hauntingly beautiful illustrations further add to the element of fear. The book is the perfect introduction to the dark and insidious side of local folklore and features jungle exorcisms, haunted ancient relics and cursed properties where evil entities conduct personal vendettas from beyond the grave. The book also addresses superstitions held by many Sri Lankans such as abstaining from eating fried items come dusk for reasons other than cholesterol, and rituals observed by graveyard caretakers to prevent evil entities from pursuing them.
Two stories that are particularly terrifying are that of the “Train to Hell” and “The Feud”.
“Train to Hell” is centered on people dying in vehicles that have stalled on the 600+ unprotected railway crossings around the country.
The Feud, on the other hand, details a grizzly disagreement that takes place between two shamans who practice necromancy. The book elaborates that a pilluwa is a dried-up corpse brought to life by a shaman or gurunanse to do their evil bidding. Water In My Grave is also beguilingly informative, with the authors including a relatively detailed glossary at the end of the book that lists the names and descriptions of various undead entities covered in the book, from prethayas to the Kalu Kumaraya and Mohini, to name a few.
Among the stand-out features of the book is that in spite of it being written in English, the content has been localised, and any terms the reader may not be familiar with (be it kattadiyas or kinduris) are made easy to understand. This makes it an ideal gift for foreigners. There has also been a significant amount of time and effort the authors invested into researching folklore surrounding the occult. The widely espoused beliefs of some Sri Lankans pertaining to demons, ghosts and witchcraft featured in the book stem from personal encounters they claim to have had and that’s what makes it all the more terrifying!
If you’re interested in exploring the sinister parallel dimension of Serendib, Water In My Grave may prove to be a good start and is bound to leave you at the edge of your seat, from start to finish. If you are a fan of the occult and would like to get your hands on a copy of the book, message https://www.facebook.com/srilankanhorror or email email@example.com. The book retails at LKR 1000 and can be posted to you. Happy reading!