Posts Tagged ‘Bomoh’

This is a ghost of South-eastern Asian mythology and is like a vampire myth, the name is derived from the meaning to remove or detach. The lore in this case is that the creature looks like a beautiful woman during the day, at night the head detaches from the body and she flies around with her intestines and lungs floating like a jellyfish, where she then hunts for blood.

Stories of the origins of the Pennanggalan are that a woman has made a pact with the devil, used black magic or some mystical approach to get beautiful features. Often it’s believed the woman was a midwife, who has been charged with the pact of starving for 40 days but has broken the pact. With the broken pact comes a curse where she must then become a bloodsucking vampire. She will keep a vat of vinegar at home and after flying around all night will be engorged with the blood, she then has to put the entrails into the vinegar to shrivel them so she can reattach to her body. Sounds… lush doesn’t it? But that’s how you can spot one too, the smell.

Victims are usually pregnant women and young children, she will search for a woman in labour and land on the roof letting out a shriek. She can then use a long invisible tongue to get into the house and then laps up the blood of the new mother, the victim is then struck with some unknown disease that is fatal. Even if the creature cannot feed the entrails brushing over the victim cause horrid sores and they won’t heal without the help of a Bomoh (healer).

The Mengkuang plant is recommended to be scattered around the area, this will trap the exposed lungs and intestines. Once the vile thing is trapped she can be killed with parangs (sort of sword) and machetes. A precaution would also be to keep scissors or betel nut cutters under her pillow as she is afraid of these items. Another action is that brave men can take up vigil at night and trap her as she flies.

Another way, non-lethal, to sort out the Pennanggalan is to turn the body over whilst she flies and then she will reattach with her head the wrong way around, that way she is easily identified by others.

The below picture is thanks to a version in the Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons.

Penanggalan.JPG
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