By Kathy Murray
It seems that people have always believed in some sort of afterlife. Spread throughout the world, speaking different languages, with completely different cultures, most concluded that their dead didn't always stay that way.
One of the more unusual spirits in Japan, it appears on roads and takes the form of a white wall with arms and legs. Its purpose seems to be to hold up travelers who are out walking at night. Those who try to walk around the Nurikabe find it impossible, as the wall seems to be endless. Turning around to go back where you came from doesn't work either, as you will find the wall behind you, too. The only way to get past is to knock on the lower portion of the wall. If you try and hit it in any other location, it just might fall over and crush you.
This ghost populates cemeteries, taking on the guise of a one-eyed elderly person. At worst, it will cause death by fright, at other times it will attach itself to a person's spine, causing a chill to run throughout the body.
This is said to be the spirit of a baby that was abandoned in a forest. Its cries are what lures people to its location and once the unsuspecting person picks the baby up, the person finds that he or she is unable to put the infant back down. The baby's face then turns into that of an old man's, while its weight increases to the point where the victim is crushed.
This spirit takes the form of a skeleton, often fifteen times the height of the average human. The Gashadokuro gets its bones from people who have starved to death. It will eat your head if you do not run away upon seeing it.
Headless and reeking of blood, this ghost roams cemeteries looking for its head. The Kubikajiri will proceed to steal and eat a head if it can't find its own.
These bloodthirsty female spirits are said to have escaped from jars that held corpses in ancient Greece. They would search battlefields for dead and dying soldiers, so that they could drink their blood.
A ghost feared in Africa, it can be invisible and is thought to be so evil that many in Africa, especially those in the southern half, keep their beds off the ground with bricks so the Tokoloshe can't hide underneath.
A Bhut is the spirit of someone who has committed suicide or died by other grisly means. You can identify a Bhut by its lack of shadow and the way that its spirit never touches the ground. Therefore, if you see one coming, keep low to the ground, because it’s the only way to escape its clutches.
The Vetala is a ghost that travels to graveyards to find a dead body to possess. They then turn the feet and hands of the body backwards and begin their campaign of terror on the local village. They have been said to drive people to insanity.
Another Indian ghost whose feet are turned backwards is the Churel. Churels reportedly appear with either a long, black tongue or no mouth at all. They kidnap men and hold them prisoner until the man becomes old.
Ifrit and Utukku
An Ifrit is a demon, which rises from the blood of those who have been murdered. They cry out for justice, while wreaking havoc on those who dare cross their paths. Hammering a nail into the blood is said to keep an Ifrit from materializing. And finally, the Utukku is a vengeful ghost that attacks travelers, giving them life-threatening illnesses.
Native American Spirits
It's possible that Native Americans have more types of spirits than almost any other culture. The stories often suggest that these beings travel in a sort of vehicle known as Whirlwinds, through which these spirits are said to kidnap children. One example of such a ghost is the Acheri. These are spirits of young girls who have died of illness. By day, they inhabit mountaintops, but at night, they make their way to villages, where they infect children with disease. People warded off the Acheri by wearing red strings around their necks.
This was only a sampling of the stories about spirits that are feared throughout the world. Reports of different types of ghosts have emerged everywhere, from the biggest city, to the smallest village. Perhaps you have some roaming around your town?