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1786, in the English translation of Beckford's "Vathek," from Arabic ghul, an evil spirit that robs graves and feeds on corpses, from ghala "he seized."
in popular legend, demonic being believed to inhabit burial grounds and other deserted places. In ancient Arabic folklore, ghuls belonged to a diabolic class of jinn (spirits) and were said to be the offspring of Iblis, the Muslim prince of darkness. They were capable of constantly changing form, but their presence was always recognizable by their unalterable sign: ass's hooves.