In Indian belief, bhūt is the general term for a malignant ghost, specifically the spirit of a man who has died by accident, suicide, or capital punishment. It has no shadow, speaks with a nasal twang, and is afraid of burning turmeric. These ghosts never rest on the earth, which is why people lie on the ground to avoid them. They are said to be able to assume a number of different shapes, such as giants, horses, pigs, etc.



  • Leach, Maria, ed. (1984). Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend. New York: HarperCollins.
  • Lurker, Manfred. (2004). Routledge Dictionary of Gods and Demons. London: Routledge.