Difference Between Ghoul and Zombie

Folkloric creatures are mysterious creatures that are very popular in fiction, be it written or in a movie. The writer portrays the creature as a part of the world and brings out the mythology to life. The immense popularity of the mythical creature across the decade is rising each day. Some of the creatures are zombies, Dracula, vampire, Banshee, Hydra, Chimera, Unicorn, Bigfoot, Dragon, Basilisk, Griffin Phoenix, Werewolf, Hybrids, Centaurs, Goblins, Mermaid, Nine-tailed Fox, and the list goes on. Many of them were mentioned and seen in the Harry Potter series.

Ghoul vs Zombie

The main difference between Ghoul and Zombie is that the ghoul is a demon-like creature or spirit that feed on dead human flesh while the Zombie is an undead corpse which goes around feeding on living human for their flesh. Both of them are folkloric creatures and are found in fictional books and movies. 

Ghoul vs Zombie

Ghoul is a folkloric spirit or phantom, which is linked to death. They are supposed to dig graves and feed on dead flesh. They have very little intelligence and have a bit of decision-making ability. They are not dead creatures. They may also attack humans but do not feeds on them. They are created by black magic.

A zombie is a folkloric undead created or a dead person who is revived by witchcraft or is reanimated to feed upon living humans. They do not have brain cells, no thinking capacity and have improper locomotion movement. In the Kimbundu-Portuguese dictionary, the zombie is said to be a creature or a spirit that will wonder the earth to torment the life of the living.

Comparison Table Between Ghoul and Zombie

Parameters of ComparisonGhoulZombie
EtymologyComes from the Arabic word ‘ghul’.The Caribbean word ‘jumbie’ means ‘ghost’. Kongo word ‘nzambi’ means ‘spirit of the dead’.
MeaningCreatures living in graveyards and cemeteries.Fiction creature which is undead or having an entranced state.
CreationCreated by black magic or by being possessed by a demon.Created by zombie bite or scratch or by voodoo.
Feeds onDead human fleshLiving human flesh
Thoughts  Have thinking powersNo thinking powers
Human formGhouls are supposed to be possessed humans who un-dig the graves for flesh.They are creatures that are not alive but came back from the dead.
First mentioned inA famous book named “One Thousand and One Nights”.The film ‘White Zombie’ was released in 1932.

What is Ghoul?

Ghoul comes from the Arabic word ‘ghul’. Ghoul is a folkloric creature, a monster, or a spirit that is related to graveyards. They consume human flesh. Ghouls made an appearance in the famous book named “One Thousand and One Nights”. The English novel “Vathek”, written by William Beckford, first mentioned the ghouls of Arabian folklore.

Ghouls are not humans or were once humans but are now turned into ghouls. They have a little intelligence similar to that of an animal or a child. So, they have intelligence, thoughts and are able to make decisions. Ghouls usually feed on carcasses or on dead things. The reason they live in graveyards and cemeteries is they feed upon the dead.

Ghouls can be created by black magic or are supposed to be possessed by some demon. They also attack human beings but do not feed on them. This folkloric creature’s existence is extended to the use of it in a negative sense and is usually seen to be referring to a person who is delighted in a macabre or to people who are directly linked to death, such as a grave robber, gravedigger, etc.

What is Zombie?

Zombie is supposed to have more than one etymology. It is said that the zombie word came from the Caribbean word ‘jumbie’ that means ‘ghost’. Some people believe that the word zombie came from the Kongo word ‘nzambi’, which is used to describe the ‘spirit of the dead’.

A zombie is a fictional creature who is un-dead, or it can be a person having an entranced state. They have been recently popular in horror films and modern fiction. The George A. film ‘Night of the Living Dead’ made the creature famous and gained wide attention. 

Zombies are said to be dead and then coming back alive with no intelligence and emotions. They feed and attack people if not properly controlled. Zombies are created when a normal person gets a zombie bite or is created by voodoo.

It is believed that a zombie bite or a zombie scratch can turn a normal human into a zombie. It is supposed to be a result of the spreading of a contagious virus that eventually kills their brain cells. The zombies have no thinking abilities, no speech, and improper mobility. Some people also believe in a zombie apocalypse, when the zombies will attack humans and take over human civilization.

Main Differences Between Ghoul and Zombie

  1. Ghouls are folkloric creatures living in the graveyards, while zombies are folkloric creatures that feed on humans to make them into zombies.
  2. Ghouls are created by black magic are possessed by the negative energy or some demon. Zombies are created when a human gets bit by another zombie or by the process of voodoo.
  3. Ghouls have thinking powers and are able to make decisions while zombies cannot.
  4. Ghouls have intelligence power which is child-like or animal-like, but zombies have no intelligence. 
  5. Ghouls feed on dead flesh while zombies feed on living humans. Both attack the humans, but their feeding pattern is different.


Mythical creatures are nowadays seen in movies, series, and books, and the popularity is immensely rising. We have shows based on vampires, werewolves, goblins, and many more. One can experience it on digital media or in novels. 

Ghouls are supposed to be alive people who are turned into ghouls by black magic or when they a posses by a spirit or demon. Zombies are made when humans are bit by another zombie. Both of the creatures attack the living humans, but the ghouls feed only on dead flesh while the zombies feed on living humans.


  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1525/irqr.2014.7.3.327
  2. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=plztfOxO1HoC&oi=fnd&pg=PP9&dq=ghouls+and+zombies&ots=jYpSr-FXKt&sig=HxZBMUzzy6YwM2qSlyCbVvO75Tg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=ghouls%20and%20zombies&f=false
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