Two yellow eyes with split pupils on a dark, blood smeared face, snarling at you with its white glistening fangs. What would be your reaction to a creature like that breathing down your neck? Possibly a blatant scream and a swift marathon towards safety!
Human beings are inherently scared of the paranormal, yet they can't stop obsessing over them. The unknown, the inexplicable, is fascinating for those who are not satisfied with the normal or the usual. Not all ghosts are terrifying though, some are nice and helpful like Casper or the Maitlands from "Beetlejuice."
Remember the ghosts of the little twin sisters from Jaya Ahsan's "Debi?" Every time they appeared, the viewers let out a cry in the cinema hall. Something about demon nuns in the closet and creepy children under the bed just aren't things everyone likes. But, human beings are famous for exploiting nature and reaping selfish benefits. So why leave the 'unnatural' out of it?
Bengali ghosts or spirits are far more intriguing than the western vampires with pointy ears and black capes, or green witches with ugly warts and brimming cauldrons. Our ghosts or bhooths as we call them, go straight to business, they have solid appearances and they possess many useful skills which, if we could harness, might help us in our everyday lives.
Mechho bhooth can smell machh or fish from miles and anyone who carries fish late at night or even during afternoon, can fall into its grasp. Next time you're chomping down a fish curry, check if one of them is standing behind you so that you can instantly strike a deal with it. Such as, the mechho accompanies you to the fish market, sniffs out the fresh ones so the seller doesn't get to sneak you any stale pieces and the mechho gets free pieces as rewards!
In Bangla gachh means tree, and the tree spirits or gechho bhooths live on trees. There might be a property feud with birds but apparently they co-exist in peace. What happens is that when someone walks past a tree, gechhos suddenly jump on them. Don't let this high jumping skill go to waste, form a team of gechhos to enroll in the Olympics and win gold for Bangladesh, it's been some time since we won anything!
Whoever named the Mamdo bhooths must have been very racist because the name originates from Mohammedan, a slang used to identify Muslim men. These eerie beings like to snap open human necks. So when you want to solve a Rubik's cube, ask for a Mamdo to help you.
As opposed to real world, the world of Bengali ghosts is actually dominated by female spirits who are experts at stretching their limbs as long as needed and they are also great at cat fishing human males! More often than once, a Shakchunni will eat up a human wife, take her shape, and go on living blissfully with the family until she gobbles up the children too. If there are no children around, I bet they'll be amazing yoga instructors! Women can also use them to fool their exes, without being eaten of course!
Nishi or nishir daak is a kind of ghostly beckoning where the person who falls prey to it gets lost or killed. This usually happens late at night when you are walking through empty roads or fields. Instead of using phones, if we could start beckoning each other through Nishi, it would save us so much time and money. The environment too would be saved from phone radiation.
Like aurora borealis or australis (Northern or Southern lights), the Bengali version of a mysterious ball of lights is called Aleya which hovers over water to lure fishermen into oblivion or sometimes to show them direction when they are lost. In any case, if we could each have an Aleya in our homes, offices etc., it could come as handy during power cuts.
Who needs banks if we have jokhhos/jokhhs? Jokhho or jokhhs are ghosts who fiercely guard other's money and riches till eternity. Why bother with maintaining bank accounts if jokhhs can be kept to save our precious wealth?