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


According to a legend about the town of Kolhapur, in Maharashtra, the area was formerly inhabited by a fierce Rakshasa who refused to let anyone build there. The pandits conferred about what to do. They finally decided that to appease the demon, a human sacrifice would have to be made, and the person to be killed would have to be a mother with seven sons.

Elmakaltai is the ghost of this mother, who was killed to placate the Rakshasa and buried beneath the city walls. It is said that she still haunts the city. She appears as a ghostly form wearing a black sari, with seven small child-ghosts playing around her.

When Elmakaltai visits a house, food stores mysteriously start to vanish, cattle begin to sicken, and milk will fail to turn to butter no matter how hard it is churned.


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


In the folklore of Kerala, pangolins — called Eenampechi in Malayalam — were thought by some to be the spirits of aborted human fetuses, most likely because of the way they curl up when threatened.

These scaly nocturnal mammals rest in burrows during daylight, but emerge at night to feed on ants and termites. They are sometimes encountered in paddy fields. They are now an endangered species — threatened by habitat loss, hunted for use in Chinese medicine, and killed by superstitious people who think they are evil spirits.

In folk stories, the Eenampechi is a sort of bogeyman who carries off children in the night.


В фольклоре штата Керала, панголины — называемые на малаяльском языке энампечи, — считались духами абортированных человеческих зародышей, скорее всего из-за того, что при угрозе сворачиваются калачиком.

Эти чешуйчатые ночные млекопитающие днём отдыхают в норах, но выходят по ночам, чтобы питаться муравьями и термитами. Иногда их можно повстречать на рисовых полях. Сейчас это вымирающий вид — им угрожает потеря среды обитания, на них охотятся для использования в китайской народной медицине и убивают суеверные люди, которые считают их злыми духами.

В народных сказках Энампечи — своего рода бука, который по ночам крадёт детей.

Eaka (and Other Beings from the Lower Planes). Статья из «Призраки, чудовища и демоны Индии»

(and Other Beings from the Lower Planes)

The Eaka are a class of ghostly beings in the folklore of the Onge tribe of Little Andaman Island.

The Onge are a highly endangered tribe. In the 2011 census, their population numbered just 101 individuals. Their society, culture, and language have been devastated by colonization and settlement of the islands. As a result, anthropological understanding of their traditional mythology and folklore is limited. What follows is based primarily on interviews conducted by the anthropologist Pranab Kumar Ganguly between 1953 and 1957.

In Onge mythology, there are thirteen planes of existence, six that lie above our world and six that lie below. The six higher planes have no ocean, only endless land. Each of the six lower planes consists of an island about the same size as Little Andaman, surrounded by an ocean. Even lower, beneath them all, is Kwatannange, the primordial ocean, which is full of turtles.

This entry covers the beings who live in the six planes of existence that lie below Little Andaman Island. The residents of the higher planes are discussed in the separate entry on the Onkoboykwe.

The plane directly beneath Little Andaman is inhabited by the Eaka. Like the Onge, they are black-skinned, but have large distended bellies and bald heads. Food is plentiful in their world. They eat fruits, tubers, edible roots, and pork, in addition to meat caught from the sea that surrounds their island: fish, turtles, and dugongs.

The Eaka sometimes come to the human plane and kidnap Onge under cover of darkness. When they catch a person, they bring him down below and turn him into another Eaka.

The Eaka themselves are the ghosts of humans — at least, some of them are.

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


The word Duma (or sometimes Dumma) means “ghost” or “ancestor spirit” in several tribal languages of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

In the Gadaba tribe, for example, there is a process of transformation from life to death to benevolent ancestor spirit. For some time after a person dies, their Duma roams the village, visiting the houses of family members. People who died of natural causes don’t cause much trouble; their relations leave them offerings of rice and beer, and gradually they withdraw. After a few weeks, their individual life-force becomes reincarnated in the womb of a mother.

But those who die bad deaths stay volatile, their spirits wandering in the forest with malicious intent. Women who die in childbirth become Sunguni Duma; those who fall from trees, Mursu Duma; those killed by tigers, Bag Duma; those who hang themselves, Utshki Duma; and those who are struck by lightning, Betani Duma. Pacifying these spirits requires a special sacrifice of twelve animals. If the ritual is not done correctly, the Duma transforms into a horrifying demon called a Sagbo Duma, who causes people’s necks to swell up and makes them vomit blood.

It is said that some magicians can capture a peaceful Duma and turn it into a Betani Duma, using it as a weapon against their enemies.

Every three or four years, when there is a good harvest, a Gotar or Duma Puja is performed. This is an elaborate month-long ceremony in which the spirits of the deceased are pushed into a buffalo. The ceremony culminates in the sacrifice of many buffaloes, by slicing open their bellies and tearing out their intestines while they are still alive.

It is thought that the Gotar ceremony brings the Dumas peace, allowing them to join the benevolent ancestor spirits. Without it, the Dumas would go on wandering restlessly, attacking people and causing crops to fail.

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


In much of the world, Dragons are the most familiar of all mythological beasts; but they are rarely associated with India. However, long ago, things were different. The area around the Jhelum and Chenab rivers, in what is now Punjab and Kashmir, was once thought to have been a home to Dragons. They are mentioned in the works of several ancient Greek and Roman writers, whose descriptions of India were based in turn on the accounts of European or Persian travellers.

These dragons did not have wings, nor did they breathe fire. Instead they resembled oversized snakes. It’s possible that Western legends of the drakon indikos — the Indian dragon — are based on the Nagas of Hindu mythology.

The Roman author Aelian, writing in the 3rd century C.E., described a species of Indian dragon that preyed upon elephants. These dragons would climb up into large trees and hide there. When an elephant came to the tree to feed on its leaves and branches, the dragon would spring at it and bite out its eyes. Then, keeping its tail anchored to the tree, it would wind itself around the pachyderm’s neck and constrict it to death. Finally, it would swallow the animal whole.

According to Philostratus, a Greek author who wrote around the same time as Aelian, India was chock-full of dragons. He described three sorts.

Marsh Dragons were the smallest, around 30 cubits (14 meters) in length. They were also the most sluggish. They had large, black scales on their backs and smooth heads without crests.

The Plains Dragons were larger and very fast-moving. These were silver in colour. Young plains dragons started out with small crests on their heads which grew taller as they aged; a serrated dorsal fin developed as well. The plains dragons were said to have magical stones in their eyes and huge indestructible teeth.

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


Dohts are spirits known from the folklore of Assam. They are pitch-black, gaunt, and enormously tall — about 5 or 6 meters (16-20 feet). Their fingers and toes are unnaturally long, as are the claw-like nails that grow from them. They have oily, slippery bodies: it is nearly impossible to grab hold of one of these beings, or to wrestle it down. They have disheveled mops of hair on their heads. Male Dohts always go naked, whereas female Dohts sometimes wear tattered rags.

Like the Baak, a Doht always carries a little round black pouch under its armpit, similar to the kind used to carry betel-leaves. This bag is made of a supernatural net-like cloth.

Dohts live in family groups near mosquito-ridden swamps, ponds, or slow-moving rivers. They love to eat fish, and sometimes steal them out of fishermen’s traps, or even creep along behind a person to silently snatch fish out of his bag. They also eat shellfish and the cocoons of Assam silkworms, which they consider a delicacy.

All Dohts are spiteful towards humans, but to varying degrees. If they encounter someone by chance, they might beat them black and blue, or they might stick them upside down in the mud with their heads buried until they nearly suffocate. Some Dohts refrain from attacking if they see a way to steal some fish. Others are merciless killers, ready to take a human life at the slightest provocation.

Male Dohts are most ruthless and dangerous when they are on their own, away from their families. They are less prone to violence while their wives are watching them.

A thicket of tall bamboo at the water’s edge is often a home to a Doht. If you notice one of these thickets suddenly starting to shake, it is because the Doht that lives inside is trying to scare you away.

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.