The human double or astral body in ancient Egyptian belief. The ka was usually depicted as a birdlike duplicate of the deceased. Egyptologist Gaston Maspero defined it as "a kind of second copy of the body in matter less dense than the corporeal, a coloured though real projection of the individual, an exact reproduction of him in every part." The ka was believed to live in the tomb. Egyptians mummified the deceased's body and filled the tomb with provisions to prolong the life of the ka. If neglected the ka was thought to come out of the tomb and haunt the guilty relatives.
The ka was not to be confused with the soul, called ba or bai, which was believed to abandon the material body and the double at the moment of death.
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.
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