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A vetala, or baital, is a vampire-like being from Hindu mythology.The vetala are defined as spirits inhabiting corpses. 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.

In Hindu folklore, the vetala is an evil spirit who haunts cemeteries and takes demonic possession of corpses. They make their displeasure known by troubling humans. They can drive people mad, kill children and cause miscarriages but they also guard their villages.

They are hostile spirits of the dead trapped in the twilight zone between life and after-life. These creatures can be repelled by the chanting of holy mantras. One can free them from their ghostly existence by performing their funerary rites. Being spirits, unaffected by the laws of space and time, they have an uncanny knowledge about the past, present and future and a deep insight into human nature. Hence, many sorcerers seek to capture them and turn them into slaves.