Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.
How would the world be different if ghouls existed? What would happen if ghouls were real? This article discusses the ways the real world would change if ghouls existed and how it would affect human society.
What Would the World Be Like if Ghouls Existed?
Cemeteries would be a place to visit monuments to your dead relatives, while bodies would be consumed by ghouls out of sight of humans. Those without money for a monument have only their memories.
Cremation would be banned except in cases of public health like burning the bodies of the infected. And that would still be subject to ghoul approval.
Humans who find ghouls repulsive would move to areas that ghouls didn’t live in, whether because of climate or low population density. These would be the few places where burials and cremation of bodies without partial consumption are the norm.
Crime bosses would hook up with ghouls so they have a planned disposal route for the bodies.
Any unsolved disappearance would start with an officer questioning local ghouls. If they’re unable to communicate or not believed, stomach pumping followed by DNA testing of the result would be a solution.
At least one regime would use them to control the homeless by letting them feed on the unwanted living.
Instead of opium dens, you’d have supervised “dens” for anything from drugs to alcohol so that someone cannot be found unconscious on the street from excessive effects and end up eaten by ghouls who don’t know or care if you’re completely dead.
Waking up surrounded by ghouls would replace the nightmare of being followed by circling vultures.
We’d study ghouls as an extension of human development or parallel evolution.
At least one anthropologist would try to be the Jane Goodall of Ghouls, studying them and trying to infiltrate the group. That is aside from people who try to join with them the same way the vampire genre has groupies now.
Cannibalism by humans would be seen as even more dire and dangerous because it is so much rarer.
If ghouls could eat dead animals, veterinarians would use them for “waste disposal” while puppy mills can say there is no moral problem with inbreeding that creates defective animals because they can be fed to ghouls.
If ghouls ate dead animals, pest control companies would favor extermination methods that killed animals while leaving them in a form ghouls could consume. And you’d see teams of ghouls sent through homes to find dead rodents and other vermin for removal and disposal.
Being fed in pieces, while alive, to ghouls would replace hanging and quartering as the worst punishment possible.
If vampires also existed, the ghouls would help the vampires if only to secure a reliable source of food. This would be seen as the origin of the story of vampire minions.
We’d develop clear standards of dead and brain dead far earlier in our history.
Nursing homes would have to be ghoul-proof as well as keep dementia patients in so that they don’t come in, disturbing patients with their presence or eating the newly dead before families have been informed and had a chance to mourn.
Studying the decay of human bodies would be much more difficult.
Scientists would try to study ghouls to develop new methods of controlling infection.
The words of the Eucharist are either taken much more literally or altered.
Modern humans would consider ghouls the real life inspiration for stories of demons stealing people, especially infants.
Abortion clinics would have an ethical justification for existing and convenient method of disposing of waste.
Mummies would be far rarer, only occurring when both someone died naturally in conditions that could create a mummy and no ghouls could get to it. Mummies may still be intentionally created by the elite as a status symbol, while everyone else has to feed the ghouls so that they don’t get hungry enough to kill the living.
“Feed the ghouls” would be a major insult/curse/euphemism.
The price of intact human bodies for research purposes would be far higher.
Mutilated animal carcasses would be blamed on rogue ghouls, not aliens. Weird sightings attributed to the chubacabra get blamed on sick ghouls instead.
Ghouls would be used alongside bloodhounds to find dead bodies.