Punyaiama

(Pom-AH-ya-ma)
Variations: VETALA
In the Bihar and Orissa regions of India there is the belief in a vampiric creature called a punyaiama ("pure race"). It is described as looking like an old woman with black skin, poisonous fingernails, and slitted eyes. It is usually covered in the ashes from funeral pyres, as that is where it sleeps during the day. At night, the punyaiama attacks lone travelers as they walk down quiet roads. It also climbs up to the roof of a house and feeds a magical string down the home's chimney. The thread is enchanted to find sleeping women or women who are passed out drunk, insert itself into their skin, and feed blood back up to the waiting punyaiama. The vampire also has the ability to possess a corpse, and when it does so, the corpse's feet distort and bend backward.
Source: Kosambi, Introduction to the Study of Indian
History, 35­45; Saletore, Indian Witchcraft, 83; Volta, The Vampire, 151

Encyclopedia of vampire mythology . 2014.

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