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An artists depiction of a Churel.

LIT HISTORYEdit

South Asian Subcontinent

She hears either as a hideous creature with long sagging breasts (while sometimes she is seen as having no breasts), a starved appearance, while the stomach and navel are protruding, unkempt hair, with long and scruffy pubic hair. Her hands are long and thin, with long thin arms outstretched before her. It assumes the guise of a beautiful young woman to charm men. When she has found her prey, she quickly reverts back to her true form. Her feet are backward, she has an unnaturally long, thick black or bright red tongue with her mouth opened wide; though sometimes she is reported as having no mouth at all. She is either seen wearing a white or a red sari, representing a widow or a bride respectively, with her head covered and carrying a lantern.

They sometimes described as having pig faces with large fangs or having a human-like face with sharp tusks.  She is also said to roam naked.  Though this may mean that the Churel is a shape-shifter a

The Soshi Churel is especially harmful to men from her former family; assaulting them as they return from the field, calling them by name. If you answer the call she will haunt you until death, causing much misfortune to the family as well. If you do not answer, she will continue to call and curse you with ill luck.

Another trick of the Churel is to wait along roads and highways.  They will then seduce a lone traveller to accompany her away.  They sometimes imprison people in a graveyard lair, feeding off their blood little at a time.  Also one legend tells of a young man who is seduced by a churel and eats the food she offers, upon his return to the village at dawn he has become an aged man.

Types of Churel: Edit

  1. Poshi Churels:  These were women who did not enjoy sexual pleasures, so they "fondle" children, but remain subservient to their husbands.
  2. Soshi Churels:  These are the most common of Churels, neglected and harassed by their relatives, they return after death to drain their blood; especially the male members of the family.
  3. Toshi Churels:  These are quite a strange breed of Churel. Once they return from the dead, they give their loving husband joy. They also protect the family for eternity.


Dakini Fatakeshto Arnab Dutta 2010

Within Hindu belief, Churels may become dakinis and serve the goddess Kali.

The churel usually lives near small rivers or springs, but Churels are most often reported near graveyards or squalid places.

Along with this there's also hearsay that a churel is a spirit with enormous power who has sacrificed the flesh of her back in a ceremony to gain power through black magic and that they can sometimes be found at the place of their death too.  Within Hindu belief, Churels may become into dakinis and serve the goddess Kali.

A churel can be prevented from forming by burying the corpse of any woman who is likely to become one face-down to prevent the ghost from escaping and some families would sprinkle mustard seeds on the grave and along the road of interment or cremation; to ensure that the churel do not visit their old family house, then carefully scrape the spot where the woman died and remove it. Also when the funeral is in progress, seeds like mustard or cotton are thrown near her grave. She will only be able to return if she gathers all the pieces of cotton or all the seeds. You can also drive small round headed iron nails into the thumb and forefingers of the corpse, then fasten the big toes together with iron rings. However, in some cases an exorcism has been needed over the burial site.

The way to vanquish a churel is not written anywhere. Elder women in India have told their female children to throw mustard seeds.  As the churel will be forced to count all of them before haunting you again. Also if a girl dies during menstruation or pregnancy, special rituals are held so that she doesn't rise.  

EvidenceEdit

Nothing substantial, it consists of mostly eyewitness accounts and hearsay, which is sadly dismissible. Special rites are also conducted, greatly diminishing the chance of finding one.


Possibility of ExistenceEdit

1. Not probable.

SourcesEdit

  • Calcutta review, Volume 77 pg 180-182
  • a b c d Cheung, Theresa (2006) (in English). The Element Encyclopedia of the Psychic World. Harper Element. pp. 112. ISBN 13 978-0-00-721148-7.
  • Fane, Hannah (1975). "The Female Element in Indian Culture" (in English). Asian Folklore Studies (Nanzan University) 34 (1): 100. JSTOR http://www.jstor.org/stable/1177740 Barnouw, Victor (Autumn, 1956). "Some Eastern Nepalese Customs: The Early Years" (in English). Southwestern Journal of Anthropology (University of New Mexico) 12 (3): 267. JSTOR http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629084 .
  • Hildburgh, W. L. (Oct 1917). "103. Note on a Magical Curative Practice in Use at Benares" (in English). MAN (Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland) 17: 158. JSTOR http://www.jstor.org/stable/2788048 .
  • Melton, J. Gordon (1999). The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Visible Ink Press. p. 372.

External LinksEdit

Calcutta Review, Volume 77