(Did you catch that? Shapeshifters? We're screwed...)
A ghoul is a mythological monster from ancient Arabian folklore that dwells in burial grounds and other uninhabited places. The English word comes from the Arabic name for the creature: الغول al-ghūl, which literally means "demon". The ghul is a devilish type of jinn believed to be sired by Iblis.
In the Arabic language, the female form is given as ghouleh and the plural is "ghilan".
In common Arabic everyday speaking, the term ghul (ghouleh for a woman) is sometimes used to describe a greedy or gluttonous individual.
The ghoul is a desert-dwelling, shapeshifting demon that can assume the guise of an animal, especially a hyena. It lures unwary travellers into the desert wastes to slay and devour them. The creature also preys on young children, robs graves, drinks blood, and eats the dead taking on the form of the one they previously ate. Because of the latter habit, the word ghoul is sometimes used to refer to an ordinary human such as a grave robber, or to anyone who delights in the macabre.
ghoul /gul/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [gool]
1. an evil demon, originally of Oriental legend, supposed to feed on human beings, and especially to rob graves, prey on corpses, etc.
2. a grave robber.
3. a person who revels in what is revolting.
Don't confuse them for zombies, they're less interested in eating your brains than tearing you limb from limb. We've all seen Tales from the Crypt. But instead of cowering behind our couch pillows, we should have been taking notes and preparing ourselves. Ghouls are organized (there are ghoul families, ghoul lineages); they're intelligent; they're deadly. Ghouls don't stumble around blindly with their limbs falling off, moaning for blood and brains; they're fast, and they really don't care what part of you they get to sink they're teeth into. A ghoul may prefer to stumble upon your moldering corpse and feast, but that doesn't mean it won't kill you itself and save you for later. (ugh, ghoul breath.)
I think the real danger here is that the ghouls and zombies may decide to team up. With the zombies killing people just for their brains, there's going to be a lot of festering flesh left over: perfect for the ghouls to come along and tidy up.
Until there's nothing left but picked clean bones.
(and then, of course, we have to worry about Voodoo priests and priestesses using the bones for their own fun and games -- I guess, once you've been eaten by zombies and ghouls, you might as well expect to never R.I.P....)
But it may not be too late. I've been saying all along, knowledge is power, know thy enemy, etc., etc. So do it already! A good place to start would probably be Monstropedia (and while you're there, why not brush up on some other Big Nasties?).
Worried you may be a ghoul? Well, there's nothing you can really do about that (sorry), but if you'll kindly let us know what kind of ghoul you are, we'll be sure to dispatch someone to dispatch you as soon as a representative is free...
So what kind of ghoul are you?
(I'm a gloomy ghoul, if you were wondering...)
Hear Neil Gaiman (fantastically) read an excerpt of the best ghoulish chapter ever written, The Hounds of God, from The Graveyard Book:
or listen to him narrate the entire delicious chapter here
The Storytelling Ghoul
The Musical Ghoul
The Hungry Ghoul
- Go here for some creepyickyawesome Ghoul literature
- Or here for Ghouls on the silver screen
- Or, if you really want to, you can look up these ghoul games -- but didn't I just say this is serious?! This is not a game, people.
I hope this has made you decide to take the menace that is the ghoul population a little more seriously.
I personally intend to bone up on my ghoul knowledge by reading either The Good Ghouls Guide to Getting Even or What's a Ghoul to Do?. What about you?
Add your own ghoul link!
Go the the Helluva Halloween main page to share yours now!
Now playing: Kidney Thieves - Before I'm Dead