Ghouls are a humanoid species with a vaguely canine-like appearance. possessing a rubbery greyish or greenish hide, canine-like muzzle with powerful jaws, pointed ears, sharp claws on their hands and three toed feet with hoof-like nails Though bipedal, ghouls have a hunched forward slumping posture and a loping gait walking in digitrade fashion. They are capable of assuming a fully erect posture when desired and have a preference for squatting when at rest. Generally hairless, some ghouls do possess sparse fur normally gray through to black and at other times a covering of dirt or mould can be mistaken for fur at a distance. Though possessing sharp claws, ghouls fingers are dextrous and capable of fine manipulation as a human, and their strong jaws and teeth are fully capable of crushing bones or inflicting lethal bites.
Primarily carnivorous, ghouls are carrion eaters preferring their meat dead and rotting and with a complete immunity to most known diseases and infections capable of eating corpses in any condition. Likewise with their predilection for burrowing and carrion eating, ghouls claws and teeth are almost guaranteed to carry infection and adding to some rumours about claws possessing a lethal venom. With relatively low metabolic rates, a human cadaver will provide sustenance for almost a year, ghouls supplementing their diet between feeding with a variety of fungi or lichens, insects and are known to also raid garbage in cities. Though not normally a part of their diet, ghouls can consume almost anything a human can without harm.
Originally native to the Middle East, ghouls have spread across the world in the wake of human civilisation, normally dwelling in burrows and tunnel networks, normally below cemeteries and have also been known to make use of sewers and subways and pre-existing tunnel networks. Primarily nocturnal and reclusive, ghouls also display a strong curiosity about humanity often venturing out to explore by night while taking care to remain out of the way of humans. Violence against humans is exceptionally rare, almost all known instances being in self-defence and with a preference to flee or negotiate before resorting to physical violence. If approached openly and respectfully, ghouls are generally friendly and willing to talk with humans, and happy to exchange knowledge. The ghoul language is often referred to as meeping or gibbering comprising mainly high pitched tones, whistles, squeaks and hyena-like whoops and chortles but they can converse in most human languages.
Highly intelligent and very long-lived, ghouls have been known to live for centuries and possibly for millennia and often possess a great amount of knowledge on the history of their home territories, the cemeteries and the cities they dwell under, and an eclectic variety of knowledge picked up over their long lives. They are also believed to have co-operated widely with the Wizarding world and witches in the past with ghouls generally having some knowledge of Necromancy, at least as regards contacting or conversing with spirits of the dead. According to ghouls themselves they walked openly amongst the Egyptians, and provided them with the basis for rituals regarding the afterlife and are known to reverence Anubis as well as their primary deity Mordiggian. Religious observation normally consists of a short prayer spoken before consuming a corpses, ghoul belief being that they take on the spirit of the deceased and allow them painless rebirth in new life. Ghouls generally find human attitudes to the sanctity of their dead somewhat bemusing, their generally secretive approach to feeding a desire to avoid conflict.
Widespread and with a relatively high population, long lifespans compensating for a low reproductive rate, ghouls have recognised that maintaining secrecy is no longer really viable and are preparing to move to a more open relationship with humanity. Showing a high willingness to co-operate and desiring to live in peace, the major objective for ghouls is to reach a working accommodation with humans to allow for their feeding on their dead without persecution or offense. The adoption of such habits as regular bathing and good grooming is also gaining swift popularity to foster greater social acceptance, and though previously nudity was the norm, ghouls have readily adopted clothing, preference being loose and somewhat baggy given the differences of ghoul physique, and human style footwear impossible for a ghoul to wear. The most well-known ghoul Richard Upton Pickman in particular has been noted for being exceptionally well groomed and a snappy dresser.
Though in depth genetic study has yet to be performed ghouls are believed to be fairly closely related to both humans and Sasquatches, most likely branching off from a common ancestor.