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Book: Contesting Authority

Chapter: An immured soul: demonological narratives as a reflection of contesting ritual traditions (a case from Mongolian culture)

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.29224


Contemporary Mongolian devilry inserts a variety of locuses connected with demonological narratives: natural objects, haunted houses, abandoned roads, cemeteries, etc. In the rural tradition one of the most popular topics devoted to “guideltei gazar” or “gazarin guits” – “area with movements, restless activity”. It is a special, marked in local traditions, fixed places with “bad reputation”, something like “haunted places” or “ghost-places”. These places can include different small areas generally in the steppe. The results of passing such places for people could be various – problems with a transport, problems with business and health and even death. These places are regarded in Mongolian traditions as a kind of demonic possession and at the same time as a demonic creature itself. According to some beliefs the cause of its existence and bad influence are referred to bones, remains of deceaseds, buried under those places. The revised materials allow to presume that the basis of the topic about “restless place” related with the changes in ritual practices and reflected a conflict between different funeral traditions and ideas connected to them.

Chapter Contributors

  • Alevtina Solovyova ( - asolovyova) 'Russian State University for the Humanities'