Hungry Ghosts are a subspecies of ghost and the lowest-ranking ghost in the Purgatory Caste System. Like cannibalistic ghosts, they are the ghosts of greedy and impious people, but also those with debilitating physical conditions.
Hungry ghosts, not unlike their close relatives cannibalistic ghosts, are born from humans who were greedy and carnal in life and lacked physical restraint, typically suffering from eating disorders and/or substance abuse. However, they are often more sympathetic than their aformentioned relatives, and can be born out of several other methods, such as willingly rejecting their family, suffering great physical illness (typically self-inflicted), and/or dying substance-related deaths (for example, drug or alcohol misuse). Hungry ghosts by comparison resemble their human counterparts the least of other ghosts, and physical indicators of this type include thin limbs, very small mouths, long and narrow necks, and largely distended abdomens. Hungry ghosts that haunt Earth barely even resemble humans, although in purgatory, they can simply look like thin-necked, potbellied versions of their former selves. Besides a more animalistic appearance and personality, hungry ghosts that haunt Earth lose their ability to speak, instead communicating in noises such a grunts, hums, growls, purrs, etc., yet they retain their sentience and human intelligence.
As a result of their karma, hungry ghosts are afflicted with extreme polyphagia, yet due to their anatomy may choke on their food as they attempt to eat it. Their food may also give a burning sensation in their mouths, the intensity of which depending on the individual ghost, resulting in great discomfort or pain. These ghosts, no matter how much they eat, always remain hungry and are incapable of becoming full, and some may even completely lose their sense of taste from the moment they become ghosts, or find that previously enjoyable foods now taste repulsive. Their perception of temperature is reversed as well, and some (typically ghosts in purgatory) may experience symptoms of asthma if they are overly active. In purgatory, they are usually looked down upon by higher-ranking ghosts in the caste system (especially long-necked ghosts), but sometimes they are desired by soul-reaping teams to store reaped souls, since their stomach capacity allows them to consume several more souls in missions than other ghosts, who can become full or even ill if they overextend themselves. Their eye and Will o' Wisp color is purple.
Relevant Hungry Ghosts
- Regional names for this type of ghost include preta (Sanskrit), agui (Korean) and gaki (Japanese)