Dead things are always in a culture’s legends, and we have records of many of the types. Many creatures are so similar to others that they don’t get credit as separate creatures, but there is always a difference somewhere.
A ghost refers to a spirit of a dead person who came back, usually because of unfinished business. Also known as a Spook, Haunt, Phantom, Apparition, Wraith, Spirit, Spectre (England), Specter (America), or others. It is an English term related to Ghast or Gheist. Some say they are made from some sort of solidified spirit, and that unsolidified ones just give a bad feeling. Ghosts are here instead of the Afterlife either as a punishment, to get revenge (See Hamlet or Mourning Myrtle), or because they chose not to die. Sometimes seeing a ghost is a bad omen, like seeing your own ghost (or “fetch”) means death is soon, or a Banshee, or White Lady, is a Harbinger who died a tragic death and has to stay and warn her family line of death. Ghosts often haunt a specific spot, and their choice is made by which place was most dear to them. Egyptians believed your ghost goes to the afterlife if your heart is light enough. If it weighs more than the feather of Matt, it is given to the monster Ammit. Your shadow is always present, so it was thought to have part of you in it. So does your statue. The Pharaoh had his shadow in a box. The shadow was also a servant of Anubis, and appeared as a black figure with a role not unlike the grim reaper. After death, your personality becomes a bird with a human head, named (hilariously) Ba! Ghosts appear in the books of Homer and look as they did when they died, or, when going to the underworld, as Vapor. I could probably write a whole other paragraph, but I’ve typed like three hundred words.
On to Zombies!
Zombies come Haiti, where they are dead corpses reanimated through various methods, usually Magic. (This is similar to Inferi in Harry Potter.) They are used as servants. In the book Magic Island by W.B. Seabrook, he introduces America to one of our favorite horror themes.
Modern interpretation does not always use magic, and instead uses radiation, virus, etc. The movie Night Of The Living Dead is the foundation for all our ideas and has inspired what is sometimes called the Zombie Wave, not to mention the Far Side cartoon Night Of The Living Dead Chipmunks. Here are some Zombie films: Dawn of The Dead, Day of The Dead, Return of The Living Dead (Introducing brain Eating), Zombi 2, and I Walked With a Zombie. The TV series Walking Dead is a popular thing, in it Sherriff Grimes awakens from a coma to find the world covered with zombies. Zombies are also known as walkers. It is based on the comic book series. And how could I forget Frankenstein by Mary Shelly!?
The term Zombie Apocalypse is now very recognizable.
ZOMBIE LIKE CREATURES
Some creatures similar to zombies will now be stated.
Daedites are possessed dead bodies.
Jingashi are Chinese zombies and they are stiff from being dead they have to hop everywhere.
Time Zombies are from a tear in time.
Draugr guard treasure hidden in their graves.
Revenants are blood sucking zombies.
Zombie Ghosts are ghosts who possess their own dead body.
Necromorphs are a parasite born in a dead body.
Zombie Villagers are Villagers killed by zombies. They can be healed by golden apple and potion of weakness. They live in the overworld of Minecraftia.
Mummies are Egyptian dead fellows who haunt their Pyramids and are covered with grave rags.
A Lich is a corpse that is as intelligent as it was before death, and sometimes uses magic to get more Inferi. They are oft depicted as having goat horns, and they put their soul into a phylactery, an item of their choosing which if destroyed leaves them dead as normal. See also Horcrux.
A vampire stays sentient by drinking blood from the Living. In Europe they caused trouble in their home towns, and had a ruddy dark countenance. Similar thingamajigs are in many cultures, my favorites being vampire pumpkins, vampire bunny rabbits, and Death Heads, with entrails trailing behind them. Often vampires, similar to zombies, spread by sucking blood from your neck. Thus people as well as corpses could just be VAMPIRES MWA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes the other creatures we discussed such as Revenans and Deadites were mixed in. Also, the teeth and white skin is newer. They can be warded off by garlic, wild rose and hawthorn, or sacred items. They are vulnerable to sun and cannot go in a house without the owner’s permission, however once invited they can go in as much as they want. To kill them stab them with a stick in the belly, mouth, or heart.
In Minecraft there are ghasts, but they are not undead. They are herbivores and can shoot bombs if they have full range of sight. They aren’t aggressive and only shoot if you come to close to their Nether nests. Ghasts are sometimes a stronger kind of ghoul, like in D&D. Night ghasts and Cliff ghasts are creatures in His Dark Materials by Peter Pullman. Cliff ghasts are flat headed creatures which gang up on aerial vehicles. Night ghasts seem to be representing dead people, and they sometimes haunt if their bodies are disturbed.
Ghasts are a race of humanoids in the underworld in H.P. Lovecraft’s books. The others are Gugs, Ghouls, and Night-Gaunts.
Ghouls are monsters in Arabian myth that consumes human flesh and live in graveyards. The name is derived from the Mesopotamian demon Gallu. A type of Jinni fathered by ilbis (A.K.A. Satan), They live in deserts like Husks and take the shape of a Hyena. They are sometimes depicted as undead remains of cannibals or as another name for unfriendly ghosts. They steal coins, drink blood, and eat children. The female is ghoulah and plural is ghilan and other variants include Chameleon Ghouls, which shapeshift into books or suits of armor and Thouls, living creatures which are a cross between Ghouls, Trolls, and Hobgoblins.
A wight is a dead body with a soul decaying inside it. This makes it more dangerous and smart. They drain life or energy from their victims. The earliest use of this idea is Barrow Wight, a variant of Draugr. These appear in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring and are either Orc Ghosts, Evil Men, Fallen Maiar like Balrogs*, or Fallen Avari Elves. The name comes, oddly, from the old word for alive.
DDEMENTORS AND HOODED DUDES.
Dementors are non-beings from Harry Potter that eat happiness. They guard Azkaban. They can eat your soul. Nazgul, also called Ringwraiths or Dark Riders, were the humans given rings by Sauron. They later became connected with him inseparably and became spectral. Two are known, the Witch King and Khamul. During the Third Age and Sauron’s rise to power as Necromancer, all nine became visible. Their weaknesses are Fire, and Sun. They were afeared of water, but it did not harm them much. They had horses stolen from Gondor, but later got “Fell Beasts”, some dragon thing. Any weapon that struck the king would be destroyed, making him hard to kill, and they could also send out fear. The King was prophesied to be killed by a woman, this was fulfilled in the battle of Pelennor Fields. The rest died in the eruption of Mount Doom. The grim Reaper is an incarnation of death. He comes as a skeletal cloaked figure who carries a scythe and collects your soul. You can trick him or bribe him, but it takes a fairy-tale trickster for that! In Greece Death is not Evil, and takes the form of a young boy or a winged and bearded man. In Scandinavia Hel (Also known as Hela), Goddess of death and daughter of Loki and a witch (Siblings: Fenrir and Jormungandr), collected dead dudes. Also, Pesta, the Plague Hag, came with a broom or rake. If broom, all would die of the Black Plague. If rake, some survived.
A shade is a spirit that is made of pure shadow. They are a type of boogie monster. Also see Inheritance series where a shade is a sorcerer possessed by a spirit to powerful for him.
OTHER WAYS TO BECOME A GHOST
Atomic ghasts are made when a nuclear blast blows their body away. Unicorn ghasts are when you drink unicorn blood** and then your body rots.
Well, hope you enjoyed this article, and if you did, subscribe, like, or comment! If you already did those, good job, now go read Mimi’s corner! New readers, if you enjoyed this please read the other things starting with Elf Authority!
**Unicorn blood in Harry Potter makes you immortal, but it’s a half life.