Trigger warning: This article covers topics of suicide.
True crime docuseries on Netflix have a way of bringing to light different, unheard of cases. Take for instance the House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths. The three-part docuseries covers the death of 11 members of the Chundawat family in Burari, Delhi, India. The deaths were believed to be a result of a mass suicide, but some people still wonder who killed the Chundawat family.
The docuseries goes into detail about what happened to the 11 people across three generations of the Chundawat family. And although the case is essentially closed, the bigger picture deals with mental health. The docuseries itself sheds light on an untreated potential diagnosis in a group of related people.
Who killed the Chundawat family in Burari?
On July 1, 2018, a friend of the Chundawat family discovered all 11 members, ranging in age from 15 to 80 years old, dead in their home. What followed was an investigation by authorities, who uncovered 11 diaries kept for 11 years by the Burari family members. And, it appeared, they died because of ritual gone horribly wrong.
According to the journals obtained by the police, on the night of their deaths, the Chundawat family performed a ritual which involved binding their hands and feet, taping their mouths shut, and blindfolding themselves. They then hung themselves in a courtyard of the family home. The 80-year-old grandmother of the family, however, was found strangled in a room of the house.
Although there was never a clear answer as to who killed Narayani Devi Chundawat, it is believed that she, too, was part of the ritual outlined in the family's journals. The diaries revealed that the family were following instructions seemingly given by the family's deceased patriarch, Narayani's late husband, channeled via Lalit Chundawat. Journal entries claimed that the father would save them all from dying during the ritual.
'House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths' discusses the mental health issues behind the deaths.
Filmmaker Leena Yadav investigated what happened to the Chundawat family from Burari and how the family could have, what police referred to as a shared psychosis, without anyone outside of the family noticing.
"The whole idea of the documentary was to highlight that it's easy enough for all of us to look at a case like this and pretend this doesn't happen in our families," she told Vice. "But this case is just an exploded view of the secrets all of us hold, the truths we like to hide, and the traumas we ignore."
Leena added that when she discovered friends and extended family members who only had positive things to say about the Chundawat family with no hint at what was to come, she realized there was a bigger story.
She explained it was a "continuation of the front that all of us put up, that the secrets of the house should remain inside."
Watch House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths on Netflix.