Vengeful Ghosts, also known as Vengeful Spirits, are restless angry spirits in mythology and folklore that are said to be the souls of deceased people who returns from the afterlife to seek retribution (revenge) for a cruel, unnatural or unjust death. In certain cultures where funerals and burial or cremation ceremonies are important, such vengeful spirits may also be considered as unhappy ghosts of individuals who have not been given a proper funerary rite.

Cultural Background

The concept of a vengeful ghost goes back to ancient times and is part of many cultures. According to these legends and beliefs, the ghosts roam the world of the living as restless spirits, seeking to have their grievances redressed, and return to the world of the dead after justice is done, but in some cases remain unappeased. In certain cultures vengeful ghosts are mostly female, said to be women that were unjustly treated and died in despair.

Exorcisms and appeasement are among the religious and social customs practiced by various cultures in relation to the vengeful ghost. The northern Aché people group in Paraguay cremated old people thought to harbor dangerous vengeful spirits instead of giving them a customary burial. In cases where the person has been killed and the body disposed of unceremoniously, the cadaver may be exhumed and reburied according to the proper funerary rituals in order to appease the spirit. Others have been known to salt and burn their body, or where they were killed or what they were killed with.

Vengeful ghosts have been featured in many contemporary movies of different countries such as Ju-On franchise (also known as The Grudge), The Pit and the Pendulum, The Fog, The Ward, Cassadaga, Kaal, Left for Dead, Bees Saal Baad, Darling, Ragini MMS, Dark Shadows, the Troublesome Night film series, as well as television series Spooky Valentine, Spooky Nights, Charmed, Ghost Whisperer, and the popular Thai television soap opera Raeng Ngao. They are also part of the theme of novels such as Tamír Triad and Tamsin, comics such as Gentleman Ghost and Judge Death, animated television series like Danny Phantom and adventure games such as Chzo Mythos.

List of Vengeful Ghosts


Lemures in Roman mythology are the wandering and vengeful spirits of those not afforded proper burial, funeral rites or affectionate cult by the living.


Keres (Κῆρες) are spirits of those who have undergo violent or cruel death in Greek mythology.

British Isles

The Green Lady is a restless female spirit said to haunt certain locations in Scotland such as Crathes Castle, Knock Castle (Isle of Skye) and Ashintully Castle. In some tales she was murdered in a green dress, and then stuffed unceremoniously up the chimney by a servant. It is said that her footsteps can still be heard as she walks the castle in sadness.


Mogwai (not to be confused with the fictitious cute animal species from the Gremlins film franchise) is a vengeful ghost or demon in Chinese mythology. Nü gui (Chinese: 女鬼; pinyin: nǚ guǐ; literally: "female ghost") is a vengeful female ghost of the Chinese folklore. She appears with untied hair. Yuan gui (Chinese: 冤鬼; pinyin: yuān guǐ; literally: "ghost with grievance"), the spirits of persons who have died wrongful deaths.

Indian Subcontinent

Chudail (Urdu: چڑیل‎, Devanagari: चुड़ेल), a female ghost of Indian folklore, well known in North India and Pakistan, is a spirit said to originate in a woman who died either in childbirth, in pregnancy or during her menstruation, in a state of ritual impurity.


Onryō, A generic name of the Japanese folklore for ghosts (yūrei) who come back from purgatory for a wrong done to them during their lifetime. Onryō are mostly women and often manifest themselves in physical rather than spectral form.

Funayūrei (船幽霊 or 舟幽霊, lit. boat spirit) are ghosts that have become vengeful spirits at sea. They are mentioned in the folklore of various areas of Japan.

Kuchisake-onna, the vengeful ghost of a woman mutilated by her husband.

Mu-onna (無女), the vengeful spirit of a mother who lost her child to famine or war.

Goryō are a certain type of spirits, usually the ghosts of martyrs, from Japanese mythology.

Latin America

Dama Branca, also known as Mulher de Branco meaning 'Woman in White' in Portuguese, is the ghost of a young woman who died of childbirth or violent causes in Brazilian mythology.

La Llorona, Also known as 'Woman in White'. Can be a female spirit from Mexico who drowned her own children because her husband left her. La Sayona is afemale spirit who believed her husband had an affair with her mother in Venezuela and Colombia.

Patasola, a female spirit from South America that appears as a beautiful woman. She attracts men and lures them to the depths of the rainforest where she turns into a beast and devours the man.

Sihuanaba is a female spirit who had an affair and attacks unfaithful men in El Salvador.

North America

Chindi is a type of vengeful ghost that causes dust devils in Navajo mythology.

Southeast Asia

Krasue (Thai: กระสือ), known as Ap in Cambodia and as Kasu in Laos, a nocturnal female spirit of Southeast Asian folklore.

Phi Tai Hong (Thai: ผีตายโหง) is the restless spirit of a person that suffered a violent or cruel death in Thai folklore.

Suanggi is a malevolent spirit in the folklore of the Maluku Islands, Indonesia.

Sundel bolong, in Javanese and Malaysian mythology, is the ghost of a woman who died when she was pregnant and gave birth in her grave so that the baby came out from her back where she has a large wound.

Tai Thong Klom (ตายทั้งกลม) is a Thai ghost, the wrathful spirit of a woman who committed suicide after being made pregnant and subsequently betrayed and abandoned by her lover.

Wewe Gombel is a female ghost in Javanese and Sundanese mythology. It is said that she kidnaps children.