Top 6 Bengali supernatural beings you should know about this Halloween
We are all quite familiar with the concept of vampires, zombies, and ghosts, as we see them in all our favourite Hollywood movies, and during Halloween, these monsters are usually what we resort to imitate. And that's quite sad really, considering how rich our own supernatural folklore is.
And so, for this Halloween, here are 6 Bengali supernatural beings your parents warned you about when growing up.
These are among the most well-liked ghosts in Bengal and are thought to be the spirits of revered Brahmins. They typically show up with the sacred thread wrapped around their bodies and a traditional dhoti. Many Bengali tales, folklores, and films show how friendly and helpful they are to the living.
The word 'dainee' means a witch. Dainee is a living thing rather than a soul or a spirit. Old suspicious women knowledgeable in voodoo, various witchcraft, or black magic are typically referred to as "dainee" in Bengali villages. They are thought to kidnap children, kill them, and then drink their blood to live for a hundred years.
This ghost hypnotises a person and transports him to an unidentified area. The victim goes to a different location that is silent and unsettling rather than arriving at his intended location. The victim then becomes insane. These spirits typically attack at night. Such ghosts prey on lone travellers or individuals who become separated from their group.
The Bengali word Baagh, which means tiger, is the source of the word Begho. Begho Bhoot is found in the Sundarbans, where ghosts of people killed or eaten by tigers roam around. These types of ghosts are believed to exist by the locals. People who venture into the bush in quest of honey or woods are allegedly frightened by these creatures, who then attempt to force them to confront tigers. To frighten the inhabitants, they occasionally impersonate tigers.
Female ghosts known as 'petni' are either widowed or left with unfulfilled ambitions. Pretni, a Sanskrit term, is where the word Petni first appeared (the feminine gender of Preta). The Sanskrit term Shankhachurni is the source of the Shakchunni. It is the ghost of a married woman, who typically carries in her hands the distinctive traditional conch shell bangles known as "shankha" in Bengali, which married Hindu women in this region wear.
Different from petnis, shakchunnis are thought to live in trees in Bangladesh and attack anybody who bothers them on the streets. They are invincible, and the only way to get rid of them is to summon a clergy, who can do so by making a simple request.
The demonic creature mostly feeds on the flesh of the dead. They prefer the shadows and are typically portrayed as haunting cemeteries and crematories. They can change their shapes at will and have the ability to disappear. Sometimes they take control of people and change their minds, leaving their victims suffering from various illnesses and oddities, including insanity.
Photo: Shababa Rashid
Makeup: Shababa Rashid