Ghostly Global Glossary – A

Ghost Spirits and Other Paranormal Beings of the World

Acheri
(India)

Traditionally the spirit of a small girl that passes sickness and infection, to all ages but especially to the young. It is said to live on the tops of mountains and travels to the lower lying land at night for fun and games, spreading sickness and infection by allowing its shadow to fall on its victims. Amulets of red twine are fastened about the neck In order to protect children from the acheri.

Afrit
also: Ifrit, Efreet, Efrite, Ifreet, Afreet, Afrite (Middle East)

According to Arabic folklore, the Afrit is the ghost of a homicide victim returning to avenge their murder. Legend has it that the spirit materializes from the victim’s blood when it makes contact with the ground and has similar characteristics to smoke. The prescribed way of laying this spirit to rest is said to be by driving a nail into the ground where its blood was spilt. Hence the term “nailing down the ghost”.

The Afrit are in a class of evil Djinn renowned for their strength and cunning, and are said to appear as an enormous winged creature of fire,( either male or female) who lives underground and frequents ruins. Afrits live in a society structured along ancient Arab tribal lines, complete with kings, tribes and clans. They generally marry one another, but they can also marry humans.

While ordinary weapons and forces have no power over them, they are susceptible to magic, which humans can use to kill them or to capture and enslave them.

BELOW: An Afrit as portrayed by Warner Brothers True Blood.

Angel
(Global)

A powerful spirit who mediates between the gods and mortal man. Angels are said to be responsible for all life and nature, as well everything in the multiverse. “Angel” comes from the ancient Greek “angelos”, meaning “messenger.”

When I put this page up back in 2014 there was no footage available for angels, there is quite a bit now (December 2016). Why?

Ankou
(United Kingdom and Europe)

The Ankou is found all over Europe and is the spirit that guards cemeteries. The spirit originated from an ancient tradition that whenever a new cemetery was opened a selected victim would be buried alive to provide the place with a “ghostly guardian”.

In The British Isles, the Ankou is said to be the origin of the phrase; “Someone is walking over my grave.” The Ankou is the henchman of death and he is also known as the grave yard watcher. Legend has it that he protects the graveyard and the souls around it and that the last dead of the year in each parish, becomes the Ankou of his parish for all of the following year.

There are many tales involving the Ankou, which appears as a man or skeleton wearing a cloak and wielding a scythe (The Grim Reaper?) and in some stories he is described as a shadow that looks like a scythe, often atop a cart for collecting the dead. He is purported to wear a black robe with a large hat which hides his face.

Legend dictates that he was the first child of Adam and Eve, while other versions have it that the Ankou is the first dead person of the year (though he is always depicted as adult, and male), charged with collecting the others’ souls before he can go to the next world. He is said to drive a large, black coach pulled by four black horses; accompanied by two ghostly figures on foot.

BELOW: A really frighetning and creative use of the Grim Reaper character.

Adaro/Aunga
(Malaya)

In Malayan mythology it is believed that every human soul has two parts – The evil Adaro which can be dangerous but has a limited life-span and will eventually die, and the benevolent Aunga. Tradition states that the Aunga is immortal and will live on forever, watching over the living, provided as it is treated respectfully.

Aumakua
(Hawaii)

In Hawaiin mythology a protective family god spirit. The aumakua are related to the ngods of nature, and they abide in all of nature in similar manner to the native American Manitou. They are venerated and appeased to safeguard the family. The aumakua are iare tied to one family generation after generation. They have only a limited dominion, which is normally in theimmediate vicinity of the protected family. Contravention of the lawsof the aumakua canlead to families being chastised for generations.