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Monday, September 14, 2009

Spotlight On: Ghouls

There's an often ignored deadly menace out there, my friends, and because I don't want to see you fall victim, I'm going to shine the spotlight on: ghouls. Ghouls are good at slipping under the radar (and under cemetery fences), but it's time to stop turning a blind eye. Anyone whose read Anita Blake knows how dangerous ghouls can be. And if you've read The Graveyard Book, you know how silly they can be while they're being dangerous...

from Wikipedia:

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".[1] The ghul is a devilish type of jinn believed to be sired by Iblis.[2]

In the Arabic language, the female form is given as ghouleh[3] 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[4] 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.[citation needed]

The star Algol takes its name from this creature.[5]

(Did you catch that? Shapeshifters? We're screwed...)

ghoul [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

Famous Ghouls:

The Storytelling Ghoul

The Musical Ghoul

The Hungry Ghoul

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
via FoxyTunes


  1. Misty, I love this post, you should relink it somewhere.

  2. Where would you suggest I relink?

  3. I would suggest vvb32 reads- oh wait! It's already there! XD
    That was a great post! I hadn't thought of what might might happen if ghouls harnessed the power of zombies ("teaming up" doesn't seem like the right term since one half of the contengent lacks the use of their brains)! *shudder*

  4. This is such a great post! I am now informed on the danger of ghouls.

  5. The teaming up of these two nefarious creatures is quite terrifying. Especially since one is organized. Imagine an army of them. Whoa. Great info, I'll keep an eye out the next time I go to a cemetery!

  6. Very informative post. Now I know all about ghouls, thanks!

  7. Wow, I did not know that ghouls were so creepy! I definitely hope that you're wrong about a possible zombie/ghoul team-up since that would basically be the end of the world as we know it.

  8. The only ghouls I've read about that I can think of off the top of my head are from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress Series.

  9. Hahaha this is so great I never know so much about ghouls. Now when the apocalypse comes i will be ready for them.

  10. Triskaideka -- no matter how much you prepare, you're never ready...

  11. That was a great and fun post Misty ! :) Velvet was right to link it !

    I would definitely be a musical ghoul. Probably rejected by my Ghoul family because of my addiction to The Sound of Music soundtrack. Not creepy enough for them.

  12. "taking on the form of the one they previously ate" I REALLY want to read a book with this aspect of ghouls in the mythology =D

  13. LOL, Charlotte.

    Ninefly, that would be AWESOME!

  14. hahaha this is great! Very informative =)

  15. Thanks for posting about ghouls! That's interesting!

  16. Misty, I have no idea where I was thinking you should relink. (LOL) I still like the post though.

  17. Lol I laughed at your banter with zombie grl there. Too funny. I'm thinking musical ghoul for myself. :)

  18. I'm with you - that Neil Gaiman chapter IS the best ghoul chapter ever written! Man, he is awesome!
    I think ghouls are way cooler than zombies. . .


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