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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ghosts around the world

In many societies, the spirit world is accepted as fact, and people's daily lives are interwoven with rituals and beliefs, which take into account the needs of their ghostly companions. Objects and places may be associated with particular spirits, and people will call on spirits to intervene on their behalf to deal with life's problems.

In the East (such as China), many people believe in reincarnation. Ghosts are those souls that refused to be 'recycled' because they have unfinished business similar to those in western belief. Exorcists can either help a ghost to be reincarnated or blow it out of existence. In Chinese belief, besides reincarnation, a ghost can also become immortal and become demigod, or it can go to hell and suffer till eternality, or it can die again and become "ghost of ghost".

Here are a few ghosts from other cultures:

 

The Duppy is a West Indian ghost who will appear if coins and a glass of rum are thrown on its grave. Duppies are pure evil. If they breathe on someone that person will become very sick, and anyone touched by a duppy will have a fit. If they don't get back to the grave by dawn they can no longer do anyone any harm.

The Indian Mumiai (pronounced moo-mee-eye) is like a poltergeist, a ghost who throws things around and attacks people. They especially like to make trouble for people who are lazy or criminal.

The Bugaboo is an Indian ghost or spirit, which is said to be friendly, guarding its village against evil spirits.

The Canadian Wendigo is sometimes described as a ghost, half-animal, half-human who lives in forests and eats people, especially children. Wendigos are said to have made a deal with evil spirits who also lurk in the forest and help them to kill their victims.

The Japanese Umi Bozu is a huge sea ghost who haunts Japanese sailors. It is bald and has enormous, terrifying eyes.

The Shojo, also a Japanese sea ghost is harmless. Shojo have bright red hair and love drinking and parties. In fact they can be lured from their usual pastime of dancing on waves by offering them sake (strong rice wine.)

The Hantu Langsuir is a small ghost with only a head and tail who is always on the lookout for blood.

The Toyol is believed to be a dead baby that has been revived through some demonic ritual. This small creature, which serves the person who has revived it, is said to be green in colour with red eyes and feeds on small amounts of blood.  The Toyol is also believed to be somewhat mischievous and will suck on the big toes of a sleeping person. If commanded to steal, it will only take half of the victim’s treasure.

The Hantu Pisang (Mah Meri) is a beautiful ghost that is supposedly formed when the heart of the banana bud is pierced with a nail attached to a thread.

Among the many other well-known asian ghosts (which, incidentally, are mainly female) on display are hantu penanggalan (similar to the hantu langsuir except that it has trailing intestines), which greets the visitor from its hanging position by the tree, hantu pisang, (also called Mah Meri), pontianak and hantu raya . One of the few male ghosts is the hantu galah (said to be a gigantic ghost with extremely long and thin limbs).

More ghosts on Monstropedia, the largest encyclopedia about monsters.

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