Did Grave Robbing Ghouls Once Really Exist?
What Is A Ghoul
A ghoul is a monster from Arab folklore that inhabits grave yards and comes out at night to eat the flesh from dead bodies. The ghoul is supposed to be able to shape shift and take on the identity of animals especially hyenas. In Arab countries and Africa hyenas are often seen in graveyards where they go to try to dig up and prey on dead human bodies.
Ghouls are also known as grave robbers. The Grave Robber also occurs in the Appalachian region of the United States from North Carolina to West Virginia. Many people have told tales over the years of seeing grave robbers wearing torn and shredded clothing and long curved finger nails and toe nails.
People in the Appalachian region tell of grave robbers digging up and eating the flesh from freshly buried bodies in remote grave yards. There are even stories of people hiring armed guards who would stay in the graveyard for seven nights until the body had started to decay and then the graveyard robber would no longer be interested.
My own aunt who has since passed away told of encountering a grave robber near an old family grave yard on the side of a mountain in Golden Valley North Carolina when she was a child. She said she walked near a tree beside the grave yard when a strange looking creature that looked some what like a man jumped out of the tree and almost pinned her to the tree. She said the creature had long dirty finger nails and really dirty hands. She said it wore gauzy material over its face and head that it could see through and it pulled at her flesh and clothing several times with its long dirty finger nails. She said that finally she was able to shove past it and run home. She always told how bad it smelled and when her father and older brothers went back armed to the grave yard they didn't find the creature but they did find where it had dug up and partially eaten the corpse of a old man buried two days before.
Sin Eaters Did Once Exist In The Appalachian Region.
Now while I can't prove that there really were creatures that robbed graves there really were sin eaters who came when some one died and you paid them to eat the sins of the newly deceased. This was a very common practice in the Appalachian region up until the late 1930s to 1940s and some people say that in some parts of the Appalachian region that sin eaters still exist today and for a price they eat the sins of the newly deceased and take their sins up on themselves.
Many of the beliefs and customs of the people of the Appalachian region can be traced to pagan beliefs of immigrants from Ireland and the Eastern European countries.
People in the mountains of North Carolina were a very superstitious people and believed very much in witchcraft. They believed that witches could make their cows go dry or cause their crops to fail. Some people would use witch craft like practices to scare their neighbors. For instance they would sneak up to their neighbors house and draw witch craft symbols on their doors or tie hair up with a red ribbon and fasten it to their neighbors door. Often the person having the witch craft done to them would move completely out of the area. And it was much the same way that tales of ghouls and grave robbers got spread.
Real Documented Grave Robbers.
But in 1939 - 1941 something or some one was digging up newly buried people in the grave yards around south Morganton North Carolina. Parts of the newly deceased corpses would be eaten and often the partially eaten remains would be posed and left in weird positions setting on or near the grave they had been dug out of. Before long armed guards were being left in the grave yards at night but before it was stopped people at the time said as many as 30 or 40 peoples graves had been dug up and the persons remains partially eaten. What or who was doing it was never discovered but something or some one was doing it.
Some people at the time told of seeing grave robbers in the grave yards with long dirty fingernails and wearing dirty gauzy clothing. People told you could smell the grave robbers long before you could see them because they smelled that bad.
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