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A Vetāla (Sanskrit) is a ghost-like being from Hindu mythology. The vetala are defined as spirits inhabiting cadavers and charnel grounds. These corpses may be used as vehicles for movement (as they no longer decay while so inhabited); but a vetala may also leave the body at will.

Gray (undated: c2009) provides a survey of chthonic charnel ground accoutrement motif such as skull imagery in the textual tradition of the Yogini tantras and discusses 'vetala' (Sanskrit).[1]

In popular culture[edit]

The most popular vetala story is Baital Pachisi. Vikram Aur Betaal was a television programme directed by Ramanand Sagar that aired on DD National channel that was based on it. Vetala are also part of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel and have appeared television shows such as Supernatural and Sleepy Hollow.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gray, David B. (n.d.). 'Skull Imagery and Skull Magic in the Yogini Tantras'. Santa Clara University. Source: [1] (accessed: Tuesday February 2, 2010)