Live

Watch CBSN Live

Police launch investigation into mystery hair thief in northern India

LUCKNOW, India -- Police are investigating a mysterious raft of attacks in which Indian women say they're waking up to find someone has chopped off their hair.

A top official in northern Uttar Pradesh state says police have advised people not to believe or spread rumors following the death of a 65-year-old woman who was beaten by a mob on suspicion that she was a witch responsible for the hair theft.

Anand Kumar says village committees have been ordered to quash rumors about ghosts or witches cutting off women's braids. Similar complaints have come from neighboring Haryana and Delhi suburbs.

Kumar said Friday police are investigating the claims.

Some psychiatrists believe they may be due to mass hysteria or hallucination.