Bengali culture, especially Bengali literature is extremely indebted to ghosts. Ghosts stories are there at the heart of most of the folk tales from almost all regions of Bengal, borders notwithstanding.
And unlike ghosts from most other cultures, Bengali ghosts are often friendly and live among humans as neighbours. They often help people [or not], and live a pretty “normal” life… afterlife I mean. So without further ado, let me introduce you with some of the most famous ghosts you may or may not come across while navigating through Bengal.
They are the most elite of all ghosts. Whenever a Bengali Brahmin would die an unnatural death, he would turn into a bramhodoityo. They are said to wear dhoti and the sacred thread and thrive on pure vegetarian food. They are also very helpful and friendly, if not a bit obnoxious, because of their knowledge in the Shastras and Sanskrit.
These poor ghosts are the remains of people whose heads were chopped off from their shoulders for one reason or another. They are constantly in search of their lost heads.
They are the ghosts of married women. Their name comes from the fact that even after death they continue wearing bangles made of conch shells (a typical ornament worn by Bengali Hindu women after marriage).
Petnis are the ghosts of women who often died before marriage or who still have some desires unfulfilled from their living time. They are often very cunning and vicious.
5. Mamdo bhoot
Mamdos are the ghosts of Bengali Muslims who died unnatural deaths. These ghosts often wear skull caps and have long beards.
6. Gechho bhoot
These ghosts live in trees, hence the name “gechho”, which comes from the Bengali word for trees – gachh.
7. Mechho bhoot
These ghosts are obsessed with fish (they are Bengalis after all), and can beg, borrow, steal or kill to get their hands on a fresh piece, especially if it happens to be hilsa.
This is your typical will-o’-the-wisp turned into a ghost. They attract and misguide lost people, who would eventually end up falling in a marshland or waterbody and drown to death.
These fabled ghosts have only one leg, hence the name, Ekanore. They generally live on palm trees and hunt down naughty children. I’m pretty sure you got how they originated now.
They are the literal Bengali versions of witches. Daainis are old hags who practice black magic and live in a secluded area. They are rumoured to abduct children and turn them into animals.
These ghosts can hypnotize people and then drag them to unknown places, and eventually kill. Their typical victims are people who are walking alone on a deserted path at night.
Scared, are you?