In the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed that the souls of the dead could return to earth and haunt the living. The belief in revenants (someone who has returned from the dead) are well documented by contemporary European writers of the time.

According to the Encyclopedia of Things that Never Were, the revenant rises from the dead (particularly in France during the Middle Ages) usually to avenge some crime committed against the entity, most likely a murder. The revenant usually took on the form of an emaciated corpse or skeletal human figure, and wandered around graveyards at night.


Nachzehrer (German; "afterwards (nach) devourer (zehrer)") is an undead entity of German origin. While similar to vampires, they share more in common with Zombies, but have several unique features. The Nachzehrer usually feeds on dead bodies, like a ghoul, but also will feed on the life-force of living beings, like a wraith. It is also said that by devouring themselves (including their funeral shrouds) they drain the life-forces of their families. They exhibit the powers of shape-shifting (forming into pigs to drain the life-force of unaware beings) and the ability to kill by having their shadow fall on a victim and by ascending bell-towers to ring the bells, anyone hearing these bells dying.

The best method of destroying a Nachzehrer is to place a coin in its mouth, then beheading it or hammering a steak through its heart. These creatures are usually the products of suicides, accidental death and plague death, but it can also "just happen" to a corpse. They can be identified in their graves by a corpse holding its thumb in its opposite hand with its left eye open.


In Romanian Mythology, the Strigoi are souls of the persons who died and never married before, so to avoid the corpse of rising again it's necessary to marry the corpse with a living person of the same age that also never married before.

If a cat walks closer to a corpse, it's certain that the corpse will become an Strigoi. To prevent this from happening, the Romanians bury a bottle of wine close to the grave where the corpse is buried. After 6 weeks, they return to drink the bottle. It's believed that someone who drinks that bottle will be free from the Strigoi attacks. The Strigois have red hair and blue eyes. They also have the ability to transform themselves into animals, such as the owls. Additionally it's believed that some Strigois are actually human beings with magical power.

Romanians usually pierce a needle through the corpse body, put a candle, a little money or a towel in the corpse's hand with the purpose in order to prevent the corpse from rising again. Garlic arranged in the shape of a circle is also capable of warding off Strigois.


A form of Scandinavian revenant, these undead beings are typically depicted as animate corpses that have come back from the dead to spread disease and attack the living. These creatures are typically the result of suicides, but can also be created from the murdered or from murderers. Their intentions vary in folklore depending on the era, ranging from creatures who require the assistance of the living to be at rest in their graves, to deadly disease-spreaders that can kill with an illness-inducing pinch.

They are featured in Viking myth, and can be dispatched or warded off by carrying the coffin around a church three times, using or wearing crucifixes to ward off the creatures or carving inscriptons in the grave of the dead facing the body.


Another Scandanavian undead creature from Norse Mythology, Draugr are dead Vikings that have come back to life. These creatures attack and feed on the living and are capable of superhuman strength, increasing their physical size and carry the unmistakable stench of decay. They can crush victims using their increased size, eat them or suck their blood. They can also rise from their graves in a whisp of smoke. Animals that feed or linger near the grave of a Draugr eventually go mad.

It is said that the only kind of person capable of dispatching these creatures is a hero, one possessed of great courage and moral fiber. They are often physically wrestled back into their graves, or beheaded and burnt to ash depending on the myth. Wealthy Vikings and noblemen who were buried with great treasures guard them jealously, unable to let them go in the afterlife, and will attack any who attempt to claim them.



Vetala are spirits of Hindu mythology that haunt charnel grounds and posess the bodies of the dead. In their mortal vehicles, these spirits harass the living, driving people mad, killing children and causing miscarriages. However, they also guard villages. Not bound by the laws of space and time, they have an awareness of the past, present and future and a deep understanding of human nature. For this reason, they are sought out by sorcerers as slaves.

They can be dispatched by reciting holy mantra and performing the funeral rites of the dead.

Jiang Shi[]

Jiang Shi (litterally meaning "Stiff Corpse) is a kind of vampire/zombie from Chinese Myth. These creatures are victims of murder, those who have committed suicide or those who simply refuse to enter the afterlife who's souls do not leave their bodies. Their appearance can differ from the recently dead, who look normal, to rotting, moldy corpses (this mold is often described as a white "fur" covering their bodies) and long white hair. They are only capable of traveling by silent hopping, and are capable of leaping great distances.

They can be foiled by throwing rice or coins on the ground (they will not pursue their target until they have picked up all the grains of rice or coins, allowing the target to escape) or can be "deactivated" by placing a sacred piece of paper on their foreheads.


Pontianak (The name “pontianak” is reportedly a corruption of the Indonesian/Malaysian words “perempuan mati beranak”, or “she who has died in childbirth”) are Indonesian and Malay undead that are created when a woman dies in childbirth. These vengeful undead attempt to lure their victims to them with the cries of a baby or by taking the guise of a beautiful human woman, only to frighten or kill their victims. They are said to attack and kill victims by using their sharp claws to tear out the guts of a victim, devouring them to sustain themselves.

The most popular way of "dispatching" a pontianak is to push a nail into the back of their neck or the apex of their head, turning them into beautiful women until the nail is removed.

Bake Kujira[]

Literally translated as "Ghost Whale" is a Skeletal Whale wandering at the seas of the Japan. It brings bad luck to anyone who dare to sail on it's seas.It's said that the souls of dead whales may come back to seek revenge over fishermen by bringing all sort of chaos to the village around where it is spotted, like "Invasion of flames", diseases and poverty in general.

The bakekujiras are usually spotted with some weird fishes and birds around it. They appear at rainy nights near whaling coastal villages


Gashadokuro are a Japanese undead creature, a skeleton fifteen times larger than any normal person, who if it spies a human will grab them and bite their heads off. Gashadokuro are created by the assembled bones of those who have starved to death.

The only way to avoid death is to flee before the Gashadokuro has a chance to grab you. Normally, one can hear a ringing in their ears when a Gashadokuro is about to strike.


In Japanese mythology, Izanami was the younger sister and wife of Izanagi. She gave birth to five children, the islands of Japan, and died giving birth to a sixth, which Izanagi killed in rage, creating a number of dieties. In a myth similar to that of Orpheus, Izanagi unable to deal with his grief went into Yomi, the Japanese underworld, to retrieve his beautiful wife, only to discover that she had become a worm-ridden rotted corpse. Terrified, he fled with the now undead goddess chasing him along with eight vicious hags. When Izanagi came to the entrance of Yomi, he sealed it with a boulder. Izanami cursed Izanagi, and threatened that, if she were to ever escape, she would kill a thousand people a day, to which Izanagi furiously replied that he would create 1,500 more.


One of the most feared ghosts of the japans is the Onryo. It's said that the souls of persons who died with strong emotions, like jealousnes, hate or rage can't pass on and, instead, will turn into the Onryo. They will appears as they did when they died. They will destroy anything and harm anyone on its path, regardless of being related with their deaths, feelings or not.

They will also usually appears with marks or wounds hinting how they died.


In Japanese Mythology, the nuppepo is a formless undead youkai that usually appears on temples, deserted streets and graves during the sun down , usually walks with no certain place to go. It has 1,5 height. It also unleashes a strong rotten fleshed odor.

The Nuppepos are passive and calm creatures. Some rumours says that anyone who eats a Nuppepo flesh shall be blessed with youth by the eternity. Some persons believe that this monster is formed by  decaying flesh.


Literally translated as Bone-Woman. As the name says, a hone-onna is a skeleton disguised as a handsome woman who attracts unnawary men and drains their vital force. Even after death, the Hone-Onna will keep up strong feelings for her lover, what will make her rise from her grave every night and wander to his loved's house. Her vision, at first will be shocking for those who believed in her death, but can quickly become a reason of happiness, that blinds them form the fact that something can be wrong. Even Hone-Onna is not aware of her situation, as she is just moved by love, and return from the deads to saty with him again.

The Hone-Onna will appear to their lovers win the same way as she appeared when alive. Only those who were involved in her love will see her like this. Those who weren't involved, or that have a strong religious faith will see through her disguise. Once her true form is not revealed, she will keep appearing every night to her love, and will begone every morning. In each relationship they have, she will drain his love's life force little by little, who will usually ends up weak and sick. Without interference, the man will die and both will be taken by the arms of death.

Those who can see through her true appearance, may try try to warn the victim of the situation, which after fidning the truth, may reject her, or not. Even if rejected, the Hone-Onna will keep coming back every night for her lover. As her body putrefy, she will look even more attractive to her lover. The best way to protect a place from ghosts like Hone-Onna is with enchantings and prays, but only as long as the owner of the place wants to.

South America[]


A myth well known in the Southeast and south region of the Brazil. According to the myth the dry-corpse was a man so evil in life that after his death his soul was rejected by heaven and hell alike and the earth refused to claim his flesh, making of him a skeletal zombie wandering around.

His only purpose is to scare people.

See also[]

Voodoo Zombies
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