Bhuta

(BOO-ta)
Variations: Brahmaparusha
A vampiric spirit from India, a bhuta ("bad nature spirit") is created when a person who has a physical deformity dies or when a person dies before their proper time, such as in suicide. It is described as looking like a shadow or a flickering light and has the supernatural ability to possess a corpse. Once it has a body, the bhuta spreads sickness and disease. It is also able to shape-shift into a bat or an owl.
Although the bhuta feeds primarily on human corpses, it gets the occasional craving for milk. When this happens, the vampire is known to attack infants who have recently been fed.
Typically, this species of vampire is found in cemeteries, but there are occasions of a bhuta being sighted in places that would have interested it back when it was a living person. For instance, if the body of the person that the bhuta possesses was an active alcoholic at the time of his death, the vampire may be spotted frequenting bars. No matter what area the bhuta haunts, its presence will permeate the area and people will experience an uncomfortable feeling there; it may even be strong enough to keep animals away. If a MECARU CEREMONY is celebrated every 15 days to honor and show respect to the bhuta, then it will not attack anyone and will find a way to be at peace with its environment.
Considered to be a companion of the Shiva, the bhuta casts no shadow, cannot stand on the ground, and is so susceptible to the smell of burning turmeric; if it is in its presence for too long, the vampire will dissipate.
Small shrines called bhandara can be found throughout India, especially in regions where the bhuta are revered. These shrines are places of worship and sacrifices are left there to placate the vampires. There is no specific design that the shrine must have, but there is always a cradle or some similar device that allows the bhuta to rest in it so that it does not touch the ground, as the earth is considered to be sacred.
Source: Crooke, Popular Religion and Folklore, 243; Encyclopedia Americana Corp, Encyclopedia Americana, 609; Folklore, Folklore Society of Great Britain, vol. 4, 217­18; Saletore, Indian Witchcraft, 99­105

Encyclopedia of vampire mythology . 2014.

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