Ghouls are undead scavengers who hunt in packs, typically near the cemetery where they dwells, and eat the flesh of the living and dead peoples. Ghouls have animal or child-level intelligence and typically haunt cemeteries that are no longer holy ground, either because of the passage of time or because of some unholy ritual. Ghouls regard non-ghouls as either potential food or "something to run from".
- Ghouls are undead beings who feed on the flesh and blood of dead or undead creatures.
- They are pack animals, and will not normally travel any great distance between cemeteries and usually do not attack living beings unless the potential prey is wounded and defenseless, but in large numbers ghouls can be bolder and more likely to swarm a live target.
- Easily afraid of fire.
- Their intelligence is only slightly above that of an ape; they are capable of human speech but communicate with one another through high-pitched squeals.
- Can be injured through conventional means, but cannot be permanently slain unless decapitated, burned alive or delivered a similar destructive blow.
- Unlike zombies, ghouls' bodies are not in a state of decomposition.
- Ghouls have physical strength greater than that of normal humans, being able to rip a human body limb from limb.
- Their skin is paler than it would have been in life, giving the impression it was dipped in silver-gray paint; their teeth and fingernails grow, the latter becoming long black talons, and their eyes glow a crimson red.
- Ghouls are not active during the daylight hours, but begin activity earlier in the evening than vampires.
- When they eat they will disembowel their food, cracking open the prey's rib cage to eat the internal organs.
As yet, animators in the Anitaverse do not know why most ghouls rise from the dead, although in one case, a pack of ghouls apparently rose when Zachary, an animator, was buried and rose from the dead.
Zachary himself speculated that ghouls are created from cemeteries where animators have been raised from dead. This is not corroborated as discussing such a possibility with another animator could have lead to the discovery of his true nature.
- Anita Blake - Guilty Pleasures Handbook.
- In Arabian folklore, ghouls are evil demons that robs graves and feed on corpses. But in Anita Blake series they are undead beasts. The oldest surviving literature that mention ghouls is likely One Thousand and One Nights. The term is first attested in English in 1786, in William Beckford's Orientalist novel Vathek, which describes the ghūl of Arabian folklore.
- By extension, the word ghoul is also used derogatorily to refer to a person who delights in the macabre.