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Devchar. Статья из «Призраки, чудовища и демоны Индии»


Devchar, also called Zagevoilo or Bandevoilo, is a spirit of the Konkan coast. He is variously described as a guardian deity, a devil, a mischievous spirit, the ghost of a man who died soon after marriage, or as a forest-dweller who lures people to follow him.

Those who do follow Devchar into the woods are sometimes found dead, other times alive; if they survive, they are likely to be discovered far from home, unable to explain how they got there.

The Catholic Church of Goa translated the Portuguese Diablo (“Devil”) into Konkani as Devchar, so the spirit has often been equated with Christian devils, or with Satan himself. However, many Hindus, and those with syncretic beliefs, reject this. Instead, they revere Devchar as a protector who resides at the four corners of a village boundary. This Devchar is propitiated with offerings of feni (the local Goan liquor, made from coconut or cashew). He also likes toddy, leavened bread, and country cigarettes. These offerings are sometimes left quietly behind Christian crosses, such as those placed at the sites of road accidents.

Devchar is also associated with Rakhondar, another guardian deity of Konkan villages; with Betal, the king of ghosts (see under Vetal); and with the demon-god Maru.

In the Spring, during Shigmo (a Goan holiday coinciding with Holi), Betal temples hold a festival called Gadyachi Zatra. During this festival, in the middle of the night, Devchar is said to appear as a faceless, shadowy form. He delights the crowds by holding flames in his palms and walking in the air. Cameras are strictly forbidden at the festival, and there are several modern legends about would-be photographers falling unconscious or deathly ill.

Deyyam. Статья из «Призраки, чудовища и демоны Индии»


Deyyam is a Telugu word derived from the Indic word Dev. It is usually translated as “ghost”, though not all Deyyams are spirits of the dead.

In folk stories of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Deyyams have many attributes in common with the Hindi Bhoot. But there are some differences. While Bhoots can stretch their arms and legs to reach a great distance, the Deyyam prefers to do this trick with its tongue — extending its glistening, prehensile pink muscle into another room to adjust the volume on a radio, or to turn off the gas burner of a stove. Deyyams also have the ability to transfer their spirit to any other living thing through a bite or a scratch. Sometimes these scratches seem to come from invisible entities hovering in cool air, in which case they are called deyyam barukulu, or ghost scratches. Deyyams are susceptible to fire, and appear to die a second death if they are burned.

Thus, in one folktale, a marauding Deyyam who had been feeding on the livestock of a certain village was caught, and the villagers burnt it to death. Just before the ghost died, it managed to grab hold of a chicken and claw a gash in its side. The chicken then became a demon-chicken that laid cursed eggs, out of which hatched bizarre feathered Deyyams with human heads. The demon chicken was later caught and killed and cooked, and all those who ingested its flesh turned into Deyyams as well.

Dev. Статья из «Призраки, чудовища и демоны Индии»


Six thousand years ago, in Eastern Europe and Western Asia, there lived a people known to linguists and archaeologists as the Proto-Indo-Europeans. They were sheep and cattle herders, probably nomadic, which is why they left few archaeological sites. They had no written script, so we cannot directly read their stories. But the language they spoke is the progenitor from which over four hundred modern languages evolved — everything from Assamese to Sinhala to Gujarati to Greek to Gaelic.

By fitting together clues from these latter-day descendants, some bits of the ancient language and culture can be reconstructed. Among the Proto-Indo-European words the linguists are surest of is the name of a god, Dyeus, the Sky-Father. The name of this powerful deity became Zeus in Greek, Deus in Latin, deva and devata in Sanskrit; it is the root of the English word “deity” itself, as well as “devil”. It has been borrowed into Dravidian languages too, becoming theyyam (“spirit”) in Malayalam and Deyyam (“ghost”) in Telugu.

In Avestan, the ancient Iranian language of Zoroastrian scripture, the word became Daeva; and in later Persian, this evolved to Dev.

In Zoroastrianism, the Devs are a class of demonic giants or “rejected gods”. They were created by Angra Mainyu, the destructive spirit and principle of evil, from the demonic essence, to battle the Yazatas or angels of Ahura Mazda.

There are six arch-Devs:

Akoman, the Dev of evil intent.
Indar, the Dev who constrains virtuous thought.
Savar, the Dev of corruption, lawlessness, and drunkenness.

Daula. Статья из «Призраки, чудовища и демоны Индии»


Daulas are small, mischievous spirits from Assam that look a bit like monkeys. They live in thickets of bamboo.

Daulas harass people who walk too close to their homes by pelting them with clods of earth. Another of their favourite tricks is to hide at the side of a path just ahead of a traveller, and bend a bamboo stem down to the ground. Just as the traveller approaches, the Daula releases the bamboo, which snaps up and gives them a hard and painful whack!

Daulas will not stand their ground in a fight. As soon as you start throwing dirt clods back at them, they will scurry away quickly, cackling.

Most encounters with wild Daulas occur in Assam’s Nameri Forest Reserve. Some ojhas are said to keep Daulas as pets, even breeding them in captivity.

There are similar spirits in other folkloric traditions, such as the Cheijunpa of the Chothe Nagas. This spirit is also known for its bamboo attack, but unlike the Daula, it can never be seen by human eyes. Cheijunpas are active at any time of day or night. In Bodo folklore, the bamboo ghost Fagon is said to fear human urine.

Another example is the Besho Bhoot of rural Bengal, who is larger, stronger, and more deadly than the other sorts. When it strikes with its bamboo rod, the blow can be hard enough to snap a spine.

In bamboo groves that are haunted by one of these spirits, the bamboo stalks sway and rub against each other, making eerie creaking noises… even when the air is perfectly still.


Даула — маленькие озорные духи Ассама, которые немного напоминают обезьянок. Живут в зарослях бамбука.

Dakini. Статья из «Призраки, чудовища и демоны Индии»


Dakinis are flesh-eating female demons who accompany the goddess Kali. They appear in ancient Hindu texts such as the Bhagavata Purana. The male version is Daka.

The word evolved and came into North Indian languages as Dakan, Daayan, Dain, or Dainee. These terms indicate a folkloric witch or ghost who is almost always diabolically evil.

In Buddhism, though — as well as in the Bön religion of Tibet — Dakinis have a much more wholesome character. They are manifestations of energy in female form, used as a focus for spiritual meditation.

There are many different Dakinis, including:

Jnana Dakinis, Dakinis of wisdom.
Karma Dakinis, Dakinis of action.
Simhamukha, the lion-headed Dakini, who can overcome and subdue negative energy.
Kurukulla, the lotus-blossom Dakini. She is a goddess of sex magic. She is associated with the colour red, the heat of the sun, and the goddess Tara.
Ulukhamukha, the owl-headed Dakini.
Makaramukha, the Makara-headed dakini, who can bestow supernatural powers on believers.

Another meaning of the term Dakini is any highly-realized human female tantrik or Yogini, especially a practitioner of kamamudra (sexual yoga). The word is also used to refer to the power of the lowest chakra, at the base of the spine.


Дакини — плотоядные демоницы, сопровождающие богиню Кали. Они появляются в древних индуистких текстах, таких как «Бхагавата-пурана». Их мужская версия называется дака.

Daayan. Статья из «Призраки, чудовища и демоны Индии»


In most North Indian languages, the word for witch — Daayan, Dain, Dainee, Daken, etc. — is derived from the Sanskrit term Dakini. Since the original Sanskrit meaning of Dakini in Hindu and Buddhist texts is rather different, we deal with it in a separate entry; but Dakini, like Daayan, is sometimes also used in modern Hindi to mean an evil witch.

The Daayan is a fixture of Indian superstition and popular culture, from Hindi television serials to Malayalam comic strips. In many of these narratives, the power of the Daayan is contained in her hair braid, and the secret to defeating her is to chop off her plait.

Belief in witches and their magical powers varies from region to region. In some stories, they are undead women who have sacrificed children to obtain immortality. On new moon nights, their illusions lose their power and they show their true age, appearing as ancient hags with decaying flesh. They have the power to turn invisible; only by tucking the flower of a betel-leaf plant behind one’s ear may one see them. In yet other stories, they are jungle-dwelling spirits who waylay and abduct young men. They can keep these hapless youths imprisoned for years or even decades, using them as sex slaves and draining them of their life force. Only when a man is too old and weak to be of service any longer does the Daayan return him to his village and whatever surviving family members may remain.

But none of the nefarious deeds described in these fictional tales are anywhere near so monstrous as daayan pratha, the very real practice of witch hunting.

Witch Hunts

Yam Bhaya Akhoot. Статья из «Призраки, чудовища и демоны Индии»

Yam Bhaya Akhoot

The Yam Bhaya Akhoot is a protoplasmic entity believed to haunt Chittorgarh in Rajasthan, the erstwhile capital of the Mewar Kingdom.

The Chittorgarh fort is very ancient, and the details of its original construction are lost to the mists of time. Folk legend has it that Bhim, strongest of the Pandava brothers, travelled here; feeling thirsty, he stomped his mighty foot into the ground, and a gushing spring burst up through the hole. Around the reservoir thus formed, over hundreds of years, the fort was built up. It was controlled by a succession of dynasties — the Mauryas, the Guhila Rajputs, the Umayyad Arabs, the Delhi Sultanate, the Sisodia Rajputs, and the Mughals.

Somewhere along the course of this history, it became a sacred place for the Gadulia Lohars, a community of nomadic blacksmiths whose ancestors forged the fort’s cannons. The Gadulia Lohars believe that their souls travel back to Chittorgarh after death.

The tallest tower in the fort complex, called the Vijay Stambha, was erected in 1448 by the Raja of Mewar to commemorate his victory in war. It is at the bottom of the stairwell of this tower, in the shelter of its cold and ancient stone, that the amorphous Yam Bhaya Akhoot is thought to reside. At least, it stays here in the daytime: at night, it rests in the Bhimlat Kund, the water tank attributed to Bhim.

Crocotta. Статья из «Призраки, чудовища и демоны Индии»


The Crocotta is a man-eating, hyena-like monster fabled to live in Northwest and Central India. It was mentioned in ancient works on the natural history of the subcontinent by the Greek authors Ctesias and Strabo, the Roman author Pliny the Elder, and the Byzantine author Photius, among others. One account claims that Septimus Severus, Emperor of Rome from 193 to 211 C.E., brought a Crocotta from India to keep in his personal menagerie.

A Crocotta can imitate the voices of other animals — anything from birdsong to mooing cattle to human speech. It uses a human voice to call shepherds out from their homes at night so it can attack them and prey on them.

If the shadow of a Crocotta should fall across any animal, such as a dog, that animal will be rendered mute. The beast also has a petrifying gaze; anyone it fixes with its stare becomes paralyzed, completely unable to move or speak. The effect takes hours to wear off. Together, these two attributes allow a Crocotta to enter a human settlement in silence and go about its hunting without raising an alarm.

Some authors believe the Crocotta is a cross between a dog and a wolf, or perhaps between a hyena and a lion. Its teeth are tremendously strong — capable of piercing thick metal — and it can digest nearly any substance. It is fond of carrion, and is known to dig human corpses out of graves to feed upon them.

Chuti. Статья из «Призраки, чудовища и демоны Индии»


A Chuti is a variety of Yeti that lives in the Himalayas. They walk sometimes on four legs, sometimes on two; when they stand erect they are about 7 to 8 feet tall. This makes them taller than some Yetis, but not as tall as the biggest (see Nyalmo). They have long arms, huge hands, and feet that are human-like except for long claws. Their bodies are covered with grey or reddish fur.

These Yetis are omnivorous. They are known for stealing goats and other livestock, but when food is scarce they may also raid human habitations for vegetables. They are found at altitudes between 8,000 and 10,000 feet. Chutis may attack humans if disturbed, but they are not typically man-eaters.

Some people believe that sightings of this Yeti are in fact sightings of the Himalayan red bear. Others insist the Chuti are supernatural creatures with the power to shapeshift and turn invisible. They are also said to have excellent senses of sight and hearing, and to be able to communicate telepathically.

According to one myth, Chutis grow in size over the course of the day as the sun rises, reaching their largest at night; then they shrink back again.


Чути — разновидность йети, живущая в Гималаях. Ходят они порой на четырёх ногах, порой на двух, а когда стоят прямо их рост составляет около 7-8 футов. Это делает их выше некоторых йети, но не такими высокими, как самые крупные из них (см. Ньялмо). У них длинные руки с огромными кистями и стопами, похожими на человеческие, если не считать длинных когтей. Тела их покрыты серым или рыжеватым мехом.

Churgin. Статья из «Призраки, чудовища и демоны Индии»


A Churgin is a malevolent entity known from the folklore of Central and Eastern India, especially in tribal communities. The stories told about it vary a good deal from tribe to tribe. Some say a Churgin is the shade of a person who died an accidental or unnatural death, cursed to float about in the sky forever. Others say it is the ghost of a woman who died in childbirth; for these, the Churgin is almost the same as a Chudail. Among most tribes, it is considered very fearsome and dangerous.

One legend is that the Churgin hates all those people whom it loved during its life, and loves all those whom it hated. Therefore it will haunt and harass its former friends, and give supernatural aid to its enemies.

The Malto tribe of Bihar and Jharkhand believe that Churgins are witches who have the power to launch attacks in the form of supernatural locusts against their opponents.

Among the Birhor tribe of Jharkhand, the word Churgin is an umbrella term for evil spirits in general. The Birhor recognize eight different types of Churgin:

  • Dainee, or witches. In Birhor folklore, they live in tangles of vines and creepers in the forest.
  • Pangri: evil spirits that live on the banks of forest streams. They are small and blind.
  • Churni: evil spirits that live in trash or junk heaps. They especially like piles of broken bits of clay pots.
  • Draha: evil spirits that live in the ground beneath large trees.
  • Khut: evil spirits that live in the ground beneath giant boulders.