Oddly enough there isn’t much available information on ghouls, or their potential danger, despite that they are not only prevalent in some areas but are also one of the more physical manifestations in magick. Some knowledgeable authors may shy away from the subject matter considering the human nature of ghouls and potential liabilities in instances where someone may try to hunt or defend themselves against ghouls or those perceived to be ghouls. In that regard, I’m making a very clear statement right here that this article is meant only to inform and educate the reader on ghouls, their biology, and their behavior, and to provide basic means to keep oneself safe from such creatures and for self-defense. It should be noted that legally a ghoul may be considered a human with all rights and privileges, and a practitioner should be cautious to respect all local laws regarding humans should they physically attack a ghoul.
To start, the term ghoul must be clearly defined as it is used in magick, because the modern term differs from its original origin, and the term has been redefined many times over in fantasy fiction and role-playing games. The term originates from Persian myths where they were creatures with distorted faces that lived in the dessert and ate human flesh (this description, as given here, very well may be the same thing we are about to discuss). The creature was also associated with the Jinn.
From our perspective though, a ghoul is essentially an animate, decaying corpse. If you see one, they look like what you would expect a zombie to look like (Night of the Living Dead type, not a drugged Haitian). Basically it’s a walking corpse. Blood flow has stopped which causes discoloration in the skin. Their eyes are screwed up. Their flesh is decaying, parts may have fallen off, and there may be large patches of skin that are missing with exposed bone.
Ghouls are a byproduct of psionic vampirism. They were, at one point, a psionic vampire. They died, and yet remained attached to their body, and by utilizing psionic feeding techniques they are able to pull enough energy to animate their corpse, although not enough to fight natural decay.
Intellectually ghouls are mostly animalistic and work off of instincts. They do have some access to their human thoughts and memories, although these are limited and deteriorate moreso as time passes (no doubt due largely to the fact that their brain is dead and deteriorating). Their energy skills are also more limited than they were in life, and they are unable to feed as easily as they could before, eventually being forced to directly eat the victim in order to feed. Some can talk, but generally mutter insanities.
I’ve seen an early stage ghoul walk through a crowd of people unnoticed, which leads me to believe that they may have some sort of natural glamor or invisibility which allows them to blend in, although I don’t have enough information to conclude exactly what was going on.
From second hand reports I’ve heard that psionic vampires may have some control over ghouls, and that ghouls may be naturally attracted to them. The specifics concerning the creation of ghouls, how specifically it happens, and what percentage of psionic vampires end up as ghouls is, unfortunately, unknown to me.
A ghoul’s energy has a strong sense of death and decay to it. It is not the same as what you would expect from a ghost, rather it feels as if you’re tapping into a dead body. They also have a slight human feeling to them, and also a psionic vampire’s taint, although this is much weaker than that of a vampire. A ghouls energy signature is comparatively weak.
Ghouls tend to gravitate towards cities as opposed to small communities and rural areas, which isn’t surprising considering psionic vampires tend to be attracted towards cities too as it offers them a greater opportunity to blend. They tend to be forced into areas where they can either blend as homeless persons or can live and hunt in relative seclusion. Poorer areas of town, ghettos, allow Ghouls to be mistaken as homeless and also provide a larger number of small animals (such as stray pets and rodents) that can be hunted than more well to do areas. They can also be found in more secluded areas such as storm drains, sewer systems, and in the woods, and they also are known to sometimes frequent graveyards at night. Ghouls will generally move out of seclusion to hunt in the night time and sightings are therefor more prevalent then. Also weather or other phenomena may temporarily force them from their natural habitats increasing sightings in places they usually stay out of.
Foodwise ghouls will bite into and eat raw flesh. Alone they will generally go towards smaller animals. Often times they will hunt in packs though in order to take down larger prey, and have been known to even eat men. Slow moving and physically weak, they generally hide in wait and pounce at the proper moment or go after their prey while they’re sleeping or otherwise incapacitated.
The average lifespan of a ghoul is largely limited by their environment. The sack of meat they use as a body is quickly decaying and will one day become unusable. Under the best of conditions a body may last a few years, under the worst of conditions maybe a few months or less. One would assume if a ghoul could not effectively hunt for whatever reason they would run out of energy and no longer be able to sustain animating the corpse.
Never having killed a ghoul or heard of one dying from unnatural causes, I can only speculate as to what may or may not be fatal to them. They are not dependent on any major organ or body part, and they will survive having limbs cut off (in fact they fall off normally). Significant cuts or harming major organs (lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, ect) wouldn’t be enough, although decapitation might theoretically kill them. Anything that would completely destroy the body would, of course, kill a ghoul as the body would no longer be available.
How to defend yourself against a ghoul
A ghoul encounter can be very scary, even for an experienced practitioner, as it represents a physical monster as opposed to something incorporeal. Even though a ghoul may seem scary when you first meet them, don’t panic. They’re slow moving, dim-witted, and physically weak. Once you’ve identified a ghoul, most times you’ll be able to simply run away and survive the encounter unscathed. If possible, head towards your automobile, get in as quickly as possible, lock the doors, and drive away. If you don’t have an automobile available, head towards a crowded, preferably well lit, area. Ghouls typically won’t follow into these areas, and even if they do, it’s unlikely that even a pack would attack a large group of people. Never initiate eye contact with a ghoul as this may provoke it to attack even against a stronger opponent.
Magickaly, you have a lot of options dealing with a ghoul. If you’re good at invisibility magick it does seem rather effective against them. You could also try completely concealing your signature (if you’re able to) or otherwise blending it into the area as ghouls may be physically blind and dependent upon extrasensory abilities in order to hunt and navigate (this could, however, prove disastrous if you only manage to weaken your signature enough to be mistaken for something that can easily be eaten). Ghouls are also very sensitive to psionic attacks and they can easily be used to both hurt them and force them out of the area.
Outside of magick, physical attacks are very effective. However modern day non-lethal weapons, such as tazers, stun guns, and pepperspray, are useless against ghouls. They tend to have an immunity to electricity so they can’t be tazed. Pepperspray may cause some irritation, but not nearly as much as it would a live person.
Considering that ghouls are slow and physically weak, punching is quite effective, and they can feel pain and it is a deterrent. If you are in a fist fight with a ghoul, be very careful about being bitten since ghouls will attempt to attack in this manner. Considering human bites are one of the worst you can get in terms of disease and infection, I can only imagine what it would be like if you coupled that with the bite being performed from a dead body that routinely bites into raw flesh.
If you do end up in a fight with a ghoul, attempt to disable or force a retreat as quickly as possible and then run to your car or a safer area. Ghouls frequently hunt in packs and you may find yourself dangerously outnumbered if you don’t leave the area quickly.
The best defense, though, is to be prepared if you’re going to an area that you suspect ghouls may frequent. Wear scarfs, long sleeve shirts, and (preferably leather) jackets to offer some added protection against a bite. Have several possible escape routes in mind. If at all possible go with a large group as this alone will often times scare away ghouls. And be attentive to your surroundings and pay careful attention to anyone that may be a ghoul (sure it probably is just a drunken hobo, but you’re best off cloaking yourself and watching it’s behavior than assuming it must be). If you identify a ghoul quick enough you can usually get away before it ever notices you.
If you’ve had a personal experience with a ghoul, feel free to share in the comment section as I’m sure others would be interested in what happened and your thoughts on the creatures.