“Belief in soul eaters is related to traditional folk beliefs in witchcraft, zombies, and related phenomena. The soul eater is supposedly able to consume an individual’s spirit, causing a wasting disease that can be fatal; “the soul eater is a classical form of the cannibalistic witch”. In Hausa belief, the desire and capacity for the practice, termed maita, is rooted in special stones kept in a person’s stomach. The trait allegedly can be inherited from one’s parents, or can be acquired from an existing practitioner. The soul eater can take the form of a dog or other animal in pursuit of his or her practice—a belief that connects with the beliefs in werewolves, werecats, selkies, and other were-creatures and human/animal beings found in world folklore.
Another belief about soul eaters is that they are men who were cursed by witches and have to eat the souls of humans to live their lives. After the soul eater devours a victim’s soul, the victim disappears as dust.” ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_eater_(folklore)