Ghosts from Around the World
A ghost is a spirt or specter from some place that exists beyond death. According to western beliefs, ghosts are often the remnants of a living person with unfinished business, but the rest of the world often believes otherwise. The truth is that throughout human history, we’ve always had a fear of ghosts, of ephemeral shades that may mean us ill.
Take a look at these terrifying ghosts from around the world, and remember that just because you do not see them doesn’t mean that they’re not there!
The fetch is also known as a double or a doppelganger, and it is a type of spirit that predicts a death. This type of ghost often appears to the doomed party or their family members before the death. When one sees ones fetch, death is not far behind. The fetch is a familiar figure in western European folklore, and several famous people, including the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and the Vice Admiral George Tryon. Tryon’s case is especially famous, as he was sighted in his home in London by loving family members at a time when they knew he was on the high seas. News of his death came mere hours after the sighting.
Animals die just as humans do, and when they pass, they can leave behind spirits as well. Some people report having a beloved pet return to comfort them, but other animals are far more disturbing. Consider the case of a tortured cat that returned to act as a death omen for an Irish family. The famous Bell Witch haunting had many cases of phantasmal birds and vanishing dogs that appeared and disappeared. The next time your beloved cat or dog is staring intently at the corner, ask yourself what it might be seeing!
Hungry ghosts are a concept from Chinese folklore that long predates the practice of Buddhism. It was believed that in the case of a traumatic or particularly sinful death, a person would rise again as a hungry ghost. This ghost would roam the world as a pitiful wretch, only able to eat specific things. Sometimes the ghost could eat pleasant things like favorite foods and sweets. In cases where the ghost died in a state of evil, it might only be able to consume things like dog feces or urine. Eventually, these ghosts would rot and die a second, final death, but not before they had potentially killed and eaten innocent people.
The Nordic countries are cold and unforgiving, and no one knows that as well as the ghost called the myling. A myling is the ghost of a child that was left out to die in the winter. The parents were unwed, or perhaps there was simply not enough money for another mouth. These infants died, but because they were unbaptized and not given a decent burial, they were barred from heaven. Mylings are chained to the places where they died, but if someone passes by, they may leap on the person’s back, demanding to be taken to the graveyard. As the person they are riding moves forward, the myling gets heavier and heavier. If you cannot take the myling all the way to the graveyard, it kills you in a fit of pique.
The huaka’i pō are also known as night marchers are a type of ghost specific to Hawaii. These ghosts form a mighty army of fallen Hawaiian warriors, and a few times a year, they take sacred ghost roads to the sites of their most famous battles. People who live along these routes regularly hear chanting and marching, and when they do, they must immediately go inside their houses. To be caught by the huaka’i pō is to be killed instantly unless you have a relative marching with them.
El Silbón was once a young Venezuelan man who killed his father. He was so evil, he whistled while he committed this crime, and so after his death, he is bound to whistle still. He wanders the rural roads of Venezuela, carrying his father’s bones in a bag and whistling. When his whistling is the faintest is when he is the closest, and he kills those he catches alone.