Most cultures have a rich paranormal tradition, but sometimes such beliefs can wreak havoc in the modern world. I share these stories out of a fascination for how other cultures view the paranormal, rather than belittle their views.

Factory riot result of bathroom ghost

Some cultures believe ghosts inhabit bathrooms and that they can cause accidents and illnesses. One such incident happened just last month in Bangladesh.

Thousands of garment workers rioted and demanded factory owners remove a ghost from one of the building’s bathrooms. Dozens of employees vandalized the facility before police used tear gas to quell the upheaval. This all stemmed from a woman saying a ghost in the toilet attacked her and made her ill. When asked if she saw or experienced anything paranormal, she said no, but had assumed that since she got sick in the bathroom, the supernatural must’ve caused her illness.

To appease their employees, the owners brought in specialists to perform a ritual exorcism where special prayers were made to remove the ghost. After keeping the building closed for a few days, they reopened the factory for business.

“Invisibles” derail plans to build highways in Iceland

Snaebjorn Jonasson, Iceland’s director of roads, knows public sentimentality toward “invisibles” (a term used to denote all types of paranormal entities) can complicate road building. Near the northern town of Akureyri, a biologist went to Jonasson to construction that would cut through an elf community. To prove it, the man drew a map with details, including the elves’ town center. In another instance, Jonasson’s chief engineer tried to construct a road through the Pass of Giants. As ground was broken, local townspeople protested the project. They said the road work was disturbing the invisibles, which had been plaguing the villagers with nightmares.

Nigerians protest mass burial in their neighborhood

Last summer, an aviation disaster in a Lagos suburb claimed 163 lives: 10 on the ground and 153 in the plane. Some residents vocally opposed government plans to bury the unidentified victims of the Dana Air plane crash in a nearby mass grave, fearing the accident’s ghosts would torment them. Many believed if the dead were not buried with proper rituals and rites, their spirits would wander, seeking vengeance on the living. One resident said that if the victims were buried nearby, many locals would be forced to flee to escape harassment from the spirits.

The government relented after the victims’ families petitioned the governor to stop plans to dig a mass grave.

Does your culture believe in ghosts? If so, please share it with us.