Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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PISACHA

(Pa-SITCH-ah)
Variations: Hatu-Dhana, KRAVYAD, Pis?ch?, Pischca, Pishacas, Yaksha, Yatu-Dhana
In India, the word pisacha ("bloodthirsty savages" and "eaters of raw flesh") is used to collectively refer to all ghosts and vampires. There is a vampiric spirit called a pisacha that is created from human vice or as the by-product of the anger of the Brahma. Hideous in appearance, the pisacha feeds off human carcasses and is known to rape drunken women, an attack which is almost always fatal as it is very fast and strong; its blood is a contact poison. Pisacha live in cemeteries and at crossroads, and unless one wants to be found, the pisacha is unable to be detected by any means. On occasion it can be enticed to cure a person with leprosy, a disease it is known to spread; it is particularly fond of good conversation, as it is an intelligent and otherwise polite being.
Should a pisacha attack, it can be driven off by soaking it with holy water, but this is a temporary fix, as it will return as soon as it dries off. While it is gone, the victim must assume that he has contracted leprosy if not some other horrible disease. He must go to the crossroads with offerings of rice and perform a ceremony every night until the pisacha arrives. It will want to eat the rice, but the victim should offer it in exchange only if it heals him of the disease. The only way to truly destroy a pisacha is to burn it to ash.
Source: Agrawala, India as Known to Panini, 447­48;
Bkah-Hgyur, Tibetan Tales, 23­25; Crooke, Introduction to the Popular Religion, 153; Wright, Vampires and Vampirism
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