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


The Barola is a whirlwind or dust devil. There is a folk belief in some Punjabi villages that these whirlwinds have evil spirits in their centres, and that people who get caught up in them will be afflicted with mental problems. Some even say the Barola can be fatal to young children.

The spirit of the Barola is thought to be wealthy. There is a superstition that if you urinate into an old shoe and throw it into the whirlwind, the shoe will be full of coins after the wind passes. 

Ref: 50. Brar, Gurnam Singh Sidhu. (2007). East of Indus: My Memories of Old Punjab. Hemkunt Press.


Барола — это вихрь или пылевой дьявол. В некоторых деревнях Пенджаба существует народное поверье, что в центре этих вихрей находятся злые духи, и что попавшие туда люди будут страдать от психических проблем. Некоторые даже говорят, что барола бывает смертоносна для маленьких детей.

Считается, что дух баролы богат. Есть суеверие, что если помочиться в старый башмак и бросить его в вихрь, то после того, как ветер пройдёт, башмак будет полон монет.

Ист.: 50. Brar, Gurnam Singh Sidhu. (2007). East of Indus: My Memories of Old Punjab. Hemkunt Press.

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


A Barambha is a male spirit in the mythology of the Warli tribe of Maharashtra. The Thakurs* call the same spirit Munja.

A Barambha is usually invisible to human eyes, though when he does choose to show himself, he appears as a tall and handsome albino. His skin and hair are pure white. So are his shirt, his loincloth, and the towel which he always keeps draped over his shoulder.

Most of the time, though, he keeps himself invisible.

Some say that he carries a long staff with a bell fixed to the top, and that even when he is invisible, the faint, rhythmic tinkling of his bell can be heard.

Barambhas live in peepal trees*.

This ghost often becomes enamored with young human women. During the day, it follows the object of its affection through the forest as she goes about her work. Then, at night, he sneaks into her room and tries to lie with her.

If the woman isn’t happy about this, she can tie a piece of leather cord around her neck, and sprinkle a few drops of water from a cobbler’s pot on her skin. A Barambha abhors the smell of leather, and as long as a woman wears this protection he cannot touch her.

On the other hand, if the woman is willing, she may let the Barambha visit her every night. She may even make love to the invisible Barambha secretly, while lying next to her sleeping husband.

The Warli once believed that albino children were fathered by a Barambha.

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


This powerful spirit from the forests of Himachal Pradesh has a taste for old, rusty metal. It makes its home in a deodar tree — the Himalayan cedar. In old British accounts of folk beliefs in the region, Banshira is described as a Bhoot or hobgoblin; today he is also worshipped as a Hindu deity, a lord of the forest.

The Banshira has some limited shapeshifting ability. It can appear like a giant ape, a monkey, a jackal, or a goat, but it seems to always be covered with short fur.

If any branches are taken from its tree for firewood, the Banshira becomes furious and attacks the perpetrator.

On the other hand, if the spirit is treated with respect, he can protect a village against malevolent spirits. Whenever someone from his village has to go on a nighttime errand, the Banshira will walk nearby unseen; and since all other ghosts tremble in fear of him, the person will reach their destination safely.

In olden days, iron sickles and other implements used to be left on the branches of the Banshira’s tree. Today, Banshira shrines contain piles of rusty machine parts and old automobile number plates.

Whenever a new village is to be founded in a fresh area, a few pieces of metal from an old Banshira’s tree are brought to a new Deodar tree, and thus a new guardian spirit is created. It is said that the guardian spirits of all the villages in Kullu Valley are descended from eight original parent Banshiras in this way.

Banji-Banmang. Статья из «Призраки, чудовища и демоны Индии»


In the mythology of the Donyi-Polo faith, as practiced by the Adi people of Arunachal Pradesh, Banji-Banmang is the first-born son of the primordial couple Pedong Nane and Yidum Bote, who are also the ancestors of humans. He is an evil and bloodthirsty spirit.

The term Banji-Banmang is also used to describe this first-born son’s progeny — a whole clan of destructive, malevolent supernatural beings. The Banji-Banmang reside in their own land or plane of existence, separate from our own.

Occasionally they visit us. A Banji-Banmang comes in the shape of an eagle, flying high over the land in search of smaller birds and mammals to prey upon. Sometimes they take human babies.

They can also take a humanoid shape when they need to walk on the ground. In this form, they are seen to always be carrying a gourd full of human blood.

It is believed that the spirits of soldiers who have died in wars travel to the plane of the Banji-Banmang to spend the afterlife.

The Banji-Banmang once tried to take control of our world as well. They were thwarted by a goddess named Misum-Miyang, who cut off her own fingers one by one and planted them in the earth. Her severed fingers then grew into the sacred ginger roots that bind the worlds together. This legend is recounted during the Adi marriage ceremony, in which several varieties of ginger (galangal, cassumunar ginger, etc.) have ritual significance.

When a woman cannot conceive, the Banji-Banmang are thought to be responsible.

One of Banji-Banmang’s daughters is Banji Medeng Sene, the spirit of lies, treachery, and vanity. She remains active in the human realm today as the force that inspires con-men and scam artists.

Ban Jhakri and Ban Jhakrini. Статья из «Призраки, чудовища и демоны Индии»

Ban Jhakri and Ban Jhakrini

This being occurs in the mythology of the Tamang people, many of whom reside in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal and the state of Sikkim, as well as in Nepal.

Ban Jhakri means “shaman of the forest” in Nepali. He is a Himalayan teacher-spirit who appears as a short (3-5 foot tall) dark-skinned ape-like man with large ears and matted golden dreadlocks. He usually goes about entirely naked, though he sometimes wears a skirt made of feathers. According to some, he is a small type of Yeti. There is disagreement as to whether there are many Ban Jhakris or only one.

Ban Jhakri is a nocturnal shapeshifter with the power to turn himself invisible. He can see well in the dark. Like other types of Yeti, he eats from the backs of his hands; but unlike them, Ban Jhakri is a vegetarian. He plays a golden frame drum, called a dhyangro.

Ban Jhakri searches for human children who are pure of heart and body and who show promising spiritual talents. Once he identifies such a child, he abducts him. He usually selects boys between the ages of six and ten, but there are a few stories of Ban Jhakri abducting girls as well.

Once the child has been captured, Ban Jhakri brings him to his lair to train him to become a shaman. This lair is a beautiful golden cave in the mountains. It is said to be a blissful place, where one has a view of the whole world.

But there is a complication. As long as the child stays in the cave, he is in danger of being eaten by Ban Jhakri’s wife, Ban Jhakrini.

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


Balvala is an Asura who appears as a character in the Mahabharata. He was the son of Ilvala, and shared his father’s hatred of sages and rishis. Like many other Asuras, he had the power to conjure storms of filth.

The story goes that Balvala was tormenting the rishis of Naimisharanya, a forest near the Gomti River in what is now Uttar Pradesh. Whenever the rishis who lived in this forest lit a sacred fire to perform a yajna ritual, Balvala would summon downpours of disgusting, putrid rain to extinguish the flames.

Frustrated, the rishis pleaded to Lord Balarama, elder brother of Lord Krishna, for assistance. And soon, he came to their aid.

But just as Balarama arrived in Naimisharanya, Balvala sent a dust storm which filled the sky. Hailstones started to fall. A noxious stench filled the air. Then angry torrents of pus, hair, blood, liquor, piss, shit, raw meat and bone began raining down from above.

Finally the demon appeared. He flew through the sky towards Balarama brandishing his trident. He was gigantic, with shining coal-black skin; his hair, beard and moustache were the colour of blazing copper. He had a terrible scowl on his face, and long yellow fangs protruded from his mouth like blades.

But Lord Balarama easily dragged Balvala to earth and smashed him in the centre of the forehead with his club, cleaving his head in two.

From then on the rishis of the forest could perform their rituals in peace.

Ref: 449. Prabhupada, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. (1970). Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead.

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


The Kumbri Marathi community of the Karnataka coast speak a dialect that combines Marathi and Kannada. They are thought to be the descendants of troops in the service of the Maratha warrior king Sivaji during his invasion of Karnataka in the 1670s, who then left the army and settled in the hills.

In the Kumbri Marathis’ complex taxonomy of ghosts and spirits, a Balishtamaru (plural: Balishtamarava) is an extremely malignant spirit, even more evil than a Padosomaru. Possession by this type of demon causes serious illness. It sometimes happens that a person is afflicted by a Balishtamaru and a Padosomaru at the same time, and these cases are the most deadly of all.

Interestingly, a Balishtamaru is not the ghost of a single dead creature. Instead, the spirit is formed as a result of a rare and unlucky event when the deaths of several people or animals occur simultaneously.

There are different types of Balishtamaru listed below. Each one arises from a different set of circumstances.


A Devati comes into being when three cats die at exactly the same moment. This spirit causes fever, weakness, cough, cold, and vomiting in humans.


A Rav is created when seven tigers die all at the same moment.

This cruel demon causes its victims to vomit blood. A person afflicted by a Rav will die within 3 to 12 days unless a ritual is performed for them by a gadiga (diviner) assisted by a Yakshi spirit.


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


Bakasura is a Rakshasa who appears as a character in the Mahabharata.

A gluttonous demon who lived in a cave in the forest, Bakasura had made an arrangement with the raja of the nearby city of Ekachakra, whereby the raja would send him a bullock cart loaded with food once a week. Bakasura would devour not only the food, but also the bullocks and the man who drove the cart.

The citizens of Ekachakra held a weekly lottery. The chosen household had to volunteer one of its members for the grim duty of driving the cart to Bakasura’s cave. In return, the city was spared from the ogre’s wrath.

It was around this time that Kunti and her sons the Pandavas (the five brothers who are the heroes of the epic) were wandering through the forest. They had been exiled from their homeland and were trying to keep a low profile. Near Ekachakra, they met a villager who lived with his wife and two children. He kindly welcomed the travellers into his house and let them stay on as guests.

Shortly after they arrived, it happened that their host’s household was selected by lottery to provide the weekly sacrifice to the Rakshasa. Every member of the family was willing to sacrifice themselves to spare the others; but Kunti insisted on sending one of her own sons. As guests, she said, they should be the ones responsible.

Kunti chose to send her second son, Bhim, who was the strongest of the Pandava brothers. He was also the hungriest, renowned for his gigantic appetite.

Bhim traveled to the city, loaded the cart high with provisions, and drove it towards Bakasura’s cave. But on the way, he started feeling peckish, so he decided to have a snack.

Bai Thappikne Seithaan (and other spirits of misdirection). Статья из «Призраки, чудовища и демоны Индии»

Bai Thappikne Seithaan
(and other spirits of misdirection)

Many parts of the country have a folkloric spirit that causes people to lose their way at night. Afflicted travellers start wandering around in loops and circles, unable to find their bearings, even when they are very close to their destination.

Bai Thappikne Seithaan, a spirit from Kasaragod, Kerala, belongs to this category. The word Seithaan is the local Kasrod-Malayalam dialect version of Shaitan, so the demon is presumably some sort of evil Jinn; but in most tales, he is actually fairly harmless.

After he selects a person or party to confuse, he simply follows some distance behind them in the shadows. He chuckles silently at all the anxiety he’s causing as they get more and more lost and distressed.

Luckily, there is a method by which the spirit’s enchantment can be defeated. The lost person should pick up seven stones and proceed to drop them one by one as he walks, letting go of each stone a few paces apart, as if leaving a trail. As he drops the stones, he should count them out loud. Finally, as he drops the seventh stone, he should confidently say, “EIGHT”.

The demon gets terribly confused at this, and rushes back to see where he lost count. In the meantime, the spell is broken, and the person can find their way again.

People who claim to have successfully used this trick report that they have heard Bai Thappikne Seithaan’s deep bass voice behind them, counting and recounting the stones, sounding very perplexed.


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


Baalu is a dwarf-spirit that lives high in the mountains of Ladakh.

It is said that if you stand at a crossroads and wait for a Baalu to walk by, you can catch him. Keeping a captive Baalu brings tremendous luck and riches to one’s household.

However, the Baalu will continually throw tantrums and demand to be let out. It is vitally important to ignore it. As soon as you let yourself get drawn into a discussion with a Baalu, it will hypnotise you and persuade you to let it out of its cage.

The people of the remote Himalayan settlement called Sumda Chen claim that they are descended from Baalus. There is also a ruined fortress in the area called Baalu Mkhar, or Dwarf’s Castle, which is so inaccessible that not many people even from the closest village have ever set foot there. The fort is said to have been built one thousand years ago by Baalus. To support this claim, people point to the tiny doorways, and the fact that the architecture is very different from other ancient structures in the surrounding area.

Tibetans claim that Baalus derive their power from the Yül Lha, the ancient gods of the soil.

Ref: 397. Vohra, R. (1982). Ethnographic Notes on the Buddhist Dards of Ladakh: The Brog-Pā. Zeitschrift Für Ethnologie, 107 (1), 69-94.