Watch out for the Mulo on All Hallows Eve
The gypsies have many rituals and beliefs about death. The strongest one is that a gypsy must die in a good way, or he or she will come back for revenge as one of the Mulo, or living dead.
It is traditional for the dead Gypsy to be cremated with all his or her possessions, including the caravan (varda). There is no unseemly squabbling by relatives their inheritance, because there is none – relatives only get what the person chooses to give while he or she is still alive. Anything taken from a dead person is considered bad luck, bad luck. To buy or sell things belonging to a dead person is extremely bad luck, and will surely result in that person coming back as a ravenous wolf or evil spirit.
On June 30, 2003, the UK `Gypsy King” Joseph Smith, was given a traditional Romany Funeral at Brecon, in Wales. Joseph’s modern caravan was burnt with all his possessions, also he was buried in a coffin. (Modern sensibilities to gypsy rights doesn’t quite extend as far as burning the body). http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/mid/3031922.stm
The Gypsy Chief has told me he is particularly fearful that a Mulo, a gypsy vampire, has been seen in the hills above the camp. The Mulo is a terrifying creature, with no bones, and only three fingers on each hand. The Gypsies will all wear red on All Hallow’s Eve, to ward off evil spirits – the campfire with not be permitted to go out – and it is advisable to tie a small piece of iron to a string and wear it round your neck. Hawthorn branches should also be carried – Hawthorn is the only wood that will kill a Mulo .
There will be much singing and dancing and feasting to frighten the Mulo away – she is a life hater, a life taker, and most fears laughter and good spirits. No one will be permitted to wander from the camp fire in case the Mulo is lurking in the trees – and if you do insist on straying off, it will be at your own risk.
The Mulo is a pale thin woman – she may be wearing a red dress to fool you, or be accompanied by two children, begging for a piece of bread to feed them. The children are as ravenous as she, so beware!
If you meet the Mulo on All Hallow’s Eve you will need to be very cunning and quick to escape her.
There is an article on Romany death rituals at the Romany site, Patrin. It mainly concerns modern funeral rites.