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The Seductive Ghost: Exploring the Legend of Mohini in Sri Lankan Folklore

In Sri Lankan folklore, the ghost known as Mohini is one of the most well-known and feared. Mohini is a female ghost who is said to appear in the form of a beautiful woman and seduce men to their deaths. Her legend has been passed down through generations and continues to captivate those who hear it. In this article, we will explore the legend of Mohini in detail and examine the various beliefs and interpretations surrounding this enigmatic ghost.

Origins of the Mohini Legend:

The story of Mohini varies depending on who tells it, but most versions agree that she is a ghost who targets men. Some versions say that she was once a living woman who was betrayed and killed by a lover, while others say that she was always a ghost. Regardless of the origin story, the legend warns men to be wary of beautiful women who approach them at night, as they may be the Mohini ghost in disguise.

According to some versions of the legend, Mohini was a young woman who was in love with a man named Sudharman. Sudharman, however, was already betrothed to another woman and could not marry Mohini. Heartbroken, Mohini threw herself into a river and drowned. After her death, she returned as a ghost and began seducing men, hoping to find a lover who would be faithful to her in death.

Another version of the legend claims that Mohini was always a ghost, born from the rage and sorrow of women who had been betrayed by their lovers. According to this version, Mohini appears to men who have recently undergone a breakup or are feeling lonely, offering them comfort and companionship before leading them to their deaths.

Appearance and Behavior of Mohini:

Mohini is said to appear as a beautiful young woman, often with long black hair and wearing a white sari or dress. She is usually depicted as alluring and seductive, using her beauty and charm to draw men to her. However, her true nature as a vengeful ghost is revealed when she leads them to their deaths.

Many believe that Mohini is a shape-shifter who can take on different forms to lure men to their deaths. She is said to be particularly active during the full moon, when her powers are at their strongest.

Encounters with Mohini:

There are many stories of encounters with Mohini, each one more terrifying than the last. Some claim that she appears in dreams, while others say that she is a physical presence that can be seen and touched.

One of the most famous encounters with Mohini took place in the town of Kirinda, where a man named Anil was walking home late one night. He saw a beautiful woman standing by the side of the road, and she beckoned him over. Anil felt drawn to her and followed her into the forest. As they walked, he felt a strange sensation, as if he were walking through water. Suddenly, the woman disappeared, and Anil realized that he was standing in the middle of a swamp. He struggled to free himself but was trapped, sinking deeper and deeper into the mud. He managed to escape but was deeply traumatized by the experience.

Another famous encounter with Mohini took place in the city of Kandy, where a man named Arjuna was walking home after a night out with friends. He saw a beautiful woman sitting on a bench by the side of the road, and she asked him to sit with her. Arjuna felt a strange pull towards her and sat down. As they talked, he noticed that her skin was cold and clammy, and her eyes seemed to glow in the dark. Suddenly, she stood up and disappeared into the night, leaving Arjuna shaken and terrified.

Beliefs and Interpretations:

The legend of Mohini has many interpretations and beliefs surrounding it. Some believe that Mohini is a real ghost that preys on men, while others think that she is a metaphor for the dangers of lust and temptation.

Many people in Sri Lanka believe that Mohini is a powerful spirit who can cause harm to those who cross her path. Some believe that she can possess people or cause them to become ill or die. Others believe that she is a guardian spirit who protects women from harm and punishes men who mistreat them.

In some parts of Sri Lanka, people perform rituals to appease Mohini and protect themselves from her wrath. These rituals often involve offerings of food, flowers, or incense, as well as prayers and chants.

Despite the fear and superstition surrounding Mohini, some see her as a symbol of female empowerment and resistance. Some feminist scholars have interpreted Mohini as a representation of the anger and frustration that women feel in a patriarchal society, and as a warning to men about the consequences of betraying women.


The legend of Mohini is a fascinating and complex part of Sri Lankan folklore. Whether she is seen as a vengeful ghost, a metaphor for temptation, or a symbol of female empowerment, Mohini continues to captivate and terrify those who hear her story. Her legend serves as a reminder of the power of folklore and the enduring fascination that ghosts and spirits hold for people around the world.

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