The ghosts of Hindu men who have died by violence, and whose corpses have been disposed of without the proper ceremony. They may also be the ghosts of men slain by violence whose parents or relations neglected to perform, or instruct them in, the correct rites for male Hindus when they are alive.

The pretas appear as naked males of diabolical aspect and are remorseless towards living humans, especially their surviving relations. They may strangle them, strike them dead, frighten them out of their senses, or afflict them with crippling illnesses. Probably there is no protection against a preta determined on revenge.