A malignant Indian spirit of the dead. Bhuta can blight crops, kill livestock, cause accidents, disease, and insanity. Oh, and they eat flesh, too. Pretty gross.
They are restless souls who died by suicide, execution or violence. Their existence is also connected with not having the proper death rituals performed for them.
Bhuta can appear as flickering lights, or as ghostly apparitions, but they always, always hover above the earth.
Because they never touch the ground, you can avoid bhuta by dropping down and lying flat. They also hate the smell of burning turmeric, so that will chase them away, too.
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
by Rosemary Ellen Guiley