Around the world, indications of supernatural beings that drank blood or ate the flesh of others have existed for hundreds of years. What we now identify as the vampire went by an array of names since the term did not exist in earlier times. During ancient days, if an entity drank the blood or enjoyed similar activities, they were called a demon or spirit. The Devil was also associated with the same practices as the vampire. In this article, you will learn some of the demons associated with the Indian culture.
Vetalas , India
In India, ghoul-like beings called vetalas were believed to possess corpses and stories of their existence were often told. There is a well-known tale found in the Kathasaritsagara that depicts a King by the name of Vikramaditya and his nightly pursuits of capturing a vetala that has a knack for getting away. Hindu myths presented vetalas, who were also referred to as baitals, as possessing vampire-like qualities. Once a vetala entered the body of a dead person, it was able to move. Their presence also caused the process of decay to cease. At any moment, if it so decided, a vetala would leave a body.
When studying Hindu folklore, you will encounter information regarding these evil spirits, who regularly haunted cemeteries in search of their next corpse to take over. While they were thought to cause people to lose their minds, take the lives of children, and cause miscarriages in pregnant women , they were also seen as guardians of villages. Tales often showed vestalas with the power to recall the past, present, and future. It was not uncommon to read about sorcerers seeking them out so that they could catch them for their own purposes with the intent to turn them into slaves.
Pishachas , India
According to Hindu mythology, Pishachas were demons that ate flesh and may have possibly been a creation of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. As one of the Trimuti (associated with great cosmic power), Brahma was highly respected and commanding. Equipped with their own method of communication between one another, these demons have been described as having dark complexions, protruding eyes of red, and veins that bulge out.
Attracted to all things dark, the Pishachas haunt cremation grounds alongside other demons (like the vetalas). However, Pishachas have the ability to shift into various forms at the drop of a dime. They can even become invisible if they wish. Some Pishachas possess the bodies of humans, causing illness and other reactions, like insanity. In order to rid the body of the demon possession, mantras come in handy , a way that individuals would attempt to drive away the Pishacha. In the past, people would give offering during religious get-togethers and festivals as a way to keep the Pishachas away.