What IS that?: Ghoul

Hello again everyone!! I am back with another ‘What IS that?” post. Since Halloween is coming soon I was inspired by some other bloggers to do some “spooky” posts in celebration of this holiday. I wracked my brain for a little while after my nap this morning and finally a subject came to me. A ghoul! Those have been talked about around Halloween for centuries. Thankfully the anime Tokyo Ghoul has this exact topic in its title, so it is anime related. But how accurate is Tokyo Ghoul’s interpretation as to what a ghoul actually is. I just thought it was a kind of ghost.

So here I am with the 2nd What IS that? post:

What IS a Ghoul?

So what is a Ghoul? It is a creature that originates in Arabic folklore and was first mentioned in writing in a book of Arabic folktales called “One Thousand and One Nights”. The first time it was brought up in English writing was by 1786 by William Beckford in his novel “Vathek” which basically just mentions that the ghoul is present in Arabic folklore. The ghoul is described as a creature that lives in uninhabited areas and graveyards and eats human flesh. The ghoul was believed to be a kind of demon that as created by the devil. The ghoul was believed to by found mostly in deserts, and is a shape-shifter that can change its body into that of a human or an animal. They lure unsuspecting people into the desert wasteland or abandoned area and then eat them. They often eat young children, also drink blood, steal coins, and have been believed to dig up dead bodies to eat the flesh. Lovely. It is also believed that the last person that a ghoul eats is the form that they take next. So after you get eaten the ghoul will turn into you and then use your form to go after its next meal. No one knows what the true form of a ghoul looks like because they are always taking on a different kind of form. Some illustrations of them, however, make them appear to look like this:

So what are the ghouls in Tokyo Ghoul like? They are only able to eat the flesh of humans and other ghouls, but can tolerate drinking coffee and water. They are almost identical to humans, having the same physical appearance and intelligence as a human. The only exception is their diet and their inner biology is different. They reproduce like a normal human, and under the right conditions a ghoul and human can have offspring. In some cases, the organs of a ghoul have also been successfully transplanted into a human. Wait. Is that a spoiler? It happens in the first episode though…maybe not….well if that spoiled anything for any of you I am terrible sorry. My bad. These ghouls are 4-7 times stronger than an average human and have a high regenerative ability. Despite that fact, they still age at the same pace as human. They are also not immortal and can die under the proper circumstances. These ghouls also live either hidden from society or try to attempt to live a lifestyle similar to that of a humans. The ghouls also posses an extra organ called a kakuhou which produces a special cell eventually allows for a muscle-like….thing to stick out of their body. It is usually what the ghouls use to fight other ghouls.

So how do the two types of ghouls compare. In a general sense the ghouls in Tokyo Ghoul are just like the ghouls from Arabic folktales. They eat human flesh and are feared by the humans in which they encounter. The differences only being that their inner biology is just like a humans with only a few minor (but important) differences. They do not turn into whoever they eat and have a weapon used to fight humans and other ghouls. In my opinion I would much rather have to encounter the ghouls in Tokyo Ghoul than the ones in Arabic folktales.

And that my friend is what a ghoul is. I guess I was wrong. It is not just a ghost. Well maybe it is and the internet lied to me…..nah. I hope that you all may have learned a little something. Maybe this will make you go as a ghoul for Halloween. Maybe. I also hope that maybe you will go and watch Tokyo Ghoul to learn more about these ghouls. I recommend you go and watch it if you have not done so already. It is a pretty good show.

What do you guys think? Would you want to encounter a ghoul on the street? If you did which kind of ghoul would you rather meet? Does seeing where the idea of a ghoul originated from change your mind about the ghouls in Tokyo Ghoul? What about Halloween, are you going to dress up? If you are what are you going as? Let me know down in the comments below!!

See you next time!!

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2 thoughts on “What IS that?: Ghoul

  1. Lazarinth November 5, 2015 / 2:54 AM

    The way they used the ghoul definition was one of the many things that surpised me about this anime.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Matthew October 31, 2015 / 3:04 PM

    I only read the first volume of Tokyo Ghoul, it was pretty cool. The first I ever saw a ghoul in anime/manga is volume 6 of Rosario Vampire.

    Liked by 1 person

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