I have recently came across an interesting story of a pregnant Malay woman who had to ward off a fiery and fearsome Hantu Penanggalan in her sister's house.
It got me wondering, and I have stumbled across a list of Malay ghosts which I found it worth to be sharing on my blog.
Penanggal (pronounced as Pe-Nun-Gal) is a female ghost; with a very beautiful appearance which is obtained through the means of black magic or supernatural ways.
They are also in a way, associated with the term of Devil's Disciple/Apprentice and at the same time, they are the living dead who lived among the living.
There are different versions of the origins of this Penanggal; and the following are the other versions:
1. A midwife who made a pact with the devil to gain supernatural powers and in return, she is not to eat meat for 40 days. She broke the pact and she is cursed to live forever on sucking blood.
2. A beautiful woman/high priestess who was bathing in vinegar and a man startled her, whereby she turned in such haste that she detached her head from her body; and the internals trailing from the opening at the neck and she flies after the man for revenge.
The Penanggal is typically illustrated as a flying creature with the internals trailing after her head and there is also reportedly a strong scent of vinegar with her.
The Penanggal preys on pregnant women and newborn babies; on whom she sucks the blood. She is like a banshee who appears at childbirth and she perches on the rooftop of a house in which a pregnant or expecting mother resides and screeches when the woman is in labor. She will insert a long tongue into the house to lap the blood of the new mother; and this could cause the mother to sink into weakness and inrecoverable fatigue.
Also, the entrails of her internals could cause deep wounds on whoever she brushes past and will not heal unless with the help of a bomoh.
The Penanggal is said to fear sharp objects; and to fend her off, the traditional way is to scatter the Mengkuang thorny leaves to trap her internals and at the same time, pregnant women/expectant mothers should keep scissors or betels at bay and under her pillow as the Penanggal is afraid of this.
It is somehow more commonly found in the old Malay kampung where the houses are built of wood and stands on stilts; where the Penanggal would most probably try to enter from. As such, some of the methods used were also to plant pineapples or sharp plants underneath the house to prevent the Penanggal from entering the house.
Pontianak (Porn-Tia-Nuck) is also a female ghost who died at labour and is out for revenge.
They are also considered as one of the undead beings in the supernatural world
Pontianaks often prey on men; and they disguised themselves through the soft and gentle cries. Sometimes they do appear as very beautiful ladies to seduce their male victims as well.
According to folklore, if the cries of the Pontianak are soft, it means they are very near and if it is loud, they are far away.
A pontianak will attack their victims by ripping out the male reproductive organs.
To ward them off, the Pontianaks are also reported to be afraid of sharp objects; particularly long nails.
Langsuir; is another version of Pontianak and they are desribed as the scariest and deadliest of all. They are those who have suffered the death of their children at labor and then died themselves after, and they will possess the victim and suck their blood.
They are often described with red fiery eyes, long hair, sharp claws and long hair (similar as Pontianak).
The Langsuir was also described as one with a hole in the neck.
Ghosts which are wrapped in white cloth (commonly used at a traditional Malay burial/funeral). They appear to be ghosts who are trapped, and they hop around to warn people to release their bonds.
Due to the ties on their feet, they are often seen hopping around.
Kuntilanak, same as Pontianak
Typically an aborted or stillborn child or a foetus, and this ghost child appears as different versions in most of the culture.
The baby child or the foetus are often used by the bomoh through black magic to perform tasks for them; and is usually associated with stealing money/valuables from others.
The toyol is just like a child and is often depicted as one with a big head and small limbs. They are mischievous and must be fed with blood every day. The amount of blood is incremental with time; and if the owner forgets to feed it for a day, it will cause havoc or steal the owner's stuffs.
Typically, the toyol could eat of its owner eventually when its appetite grows and there is no way to satisfy it.
These are very beings which appear at a normal height in front of you, but as you approach them, they grow to be taller and taller; and they can even be as tall as a coconut tree.
Known as the oily man and his body is covered in oil while he runs around raping virgin women. There were speculations that this was actually a man in human form.