Thanks to TV shows and creepy ghost stories our classmates used to tell us, we’re all no stranger to Malaysian ghosts and monsters. While we’ve heard thousands of stories about them, how much do we really know about these creepy “hantus“? Well, wonder no more because we’ve done our research (so you don’t have to) and found the origins of some of Malaysia’s most common ghosts. Here’s how they came to be (proceed with caution):
1. The notorious Toyol
What is it?
Toyols are commonly known to be stillborn fetuses brought back to life by bomohs. They usually look like hairless human babies with the scary ability to walk and are used by people for mischievous things like stealing money or valuables. On rare occasions, Toyols also act as tiny assassins. Creepyyy.
Not much can be found about the origins of Toyols but it is believed they originated from Mecca near Kaaba during the Pre-Islamic Era where many Arabs used to kill children and bury them all around Mecca. The spirits of the children came back to haunt them and thus, the Toyol was born.
2. Jiang Shi
What is it?
“Jiang Shi” in Mandarin is a Chinese “hopping” vampire, somewhat similar to the Hantu Pocong. The Jiangshi is often depicted as a corpse that hops around with its arms outstretched and kills people to absorb their “qi” or life force in hopes of becoming a living human being again.
It is believed the Jiang Shi originated from the Qing dynasty where the practice of “transporting a corpse over a thousand miles” was common. This practice basically took place when a family member died in a faraway land and the relatives of said person were financially unable to transport the body back. In such cases, the family would hire a Taoist priest to reanimate the dead person and “teach” them to hop home.
3. The Penanggalan or Hantu Penanggal
What is it?
The Penanggalan is said to be a sort of vampire that looks like a detached female head that flies around looking for victims. While it flies, its inner organs (like the lungs, intestines, and stomach) dangles from its head and often leaves a bloody trail. The Penanggalan only comes out at night and usually preys after pregnant women and children.
This particular creature is said to have originated from Sabah when a female midwife who wanted supernatural powers made a pact with the devil. To keep the pact, the midwife was to avoid consuming meat for 40 days (that’s quite long leh), but long story short, she failed and was instead cursed to be a bloodsucking vampire forever (that escalated quite quickly). And because she was once a midwife, it explains why her “diet” often consists of blood from pregnant women or women in labour.
4. Hantu Tetek
What is it?
Known as the “Breast Ghost” in English, the Hantu Tetek is known to be a female ghost with huge (yes, you guessed it) breasts. It is believed this ghost attacks her victims by suffocating them to death using her breasts. Many have said she comes out in the evenings and goes after young men and children.
It’s been said that the Hantu Tetek originated from the Balinese witch ‘Rangda’. Once known as Mahendratta, she was a Javanese princess who married the Balinese Prince Udayana. They gave birth to a son named Erlangga.
Not long after, Mahendratta was banished to the forest for practising witchcraft where it is said she changed her name to Rangda. Rangda continued haunting the young Erlangga and his men who tried to kill her. No wonder the Hantu Tetek goes after young men! According to folklore, Rangda had long dangling fingernails, a head of fire, long coarse hair, bulging eyes, large fangs, a tongue that reaches the floor, and yes, large, dangling breasts too.
Fun fact: If you’ve ever visited Bali, you probably saw the Rangda everywhere without even realising it. This creature is often printed on Batik, made into tattoos, even sold as plush toys, key chains and more!
5. The slippery Orang Minyak
What is it?
Tha Orang Minyak (or Oily Man) is often seen as a lustful supernatural creature who looks exactly like a man covered in black grease. The Orang Minyak is known for abducting young women. Its slippery coating allows the Orang Minyak to slip away easily whenever someone tries to capture it.
Dating back to the 1950’s, folklores say that the Orang Minyak was a product of a lustful young man who ended up turning to the devil for help in order to win back the love of his life. In doing so, the Orang Minyak was required to worship the devil and rape 21 virgins.
This folklore has become extremely popular so much so that there have been cases of actual knife-wielding rapists who cover themselves in grease. One of the latest sightings took place in a kampung in Gombak, Selangor back in 2012.
6. Last but not least, the infamous Pontianak
What is it?
The Pontianak (a.k.a Kuntilanak) is believed to be the ghost of women who died (with its unborn child) while giving birth. Described as pale-skinned with long black hair and red eyes, dressed in a long white gown, they tend to prey after men and helpless people out of anger for losing her child.
Legend says the Pontianak originated from Indonesia and was sighted by the first sultan of the Pontianak Sultante (Syarif Abdurraham Alkadrie). The Pontianak Sultanate was built on the swamps West of Kalimantan where in Southeast Asian cultures, it is usually not advised as swamps are considered a place for spirits to dwell. However, the Sultan refused to listen and fell victim to the Pontianak. This terrifying event is how Pontianak city in Indonesia got its name.
Well, that’s it for now but don’t worry, there’s more to come!
In fact, if you’re someone who loves a good thrill and enjoys the occasional scare, here’s a Halloween Horror Night event you might want to check out!
Happening from 27 September ’till 31 October only, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore is having their very own Halloween Horror Nights that will give you the scare of your life.
There will be, not one, but multiple haunted houses inspired by different scare-worthy themes to check out including the Pagoda of Peril, Killuminati, Pontianak and more! Also, if you’re a Stranger Things fan, there’s a haunted house catered specifically to you guys too! Ermegerd time to visit The Upside Down!
What’s more, there will be multiple scare zones and shows that you can check out too.
Sounds super thrilling! Brb, gonna book my tickets now.
If you’re interested to book your tickets too or you’d like to find out more about Resorts World Sentosa and their insane Halloween event, click here now! Don’t say we bojio!
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