Saturday, April 18, 2009

More description on ghosts....

Hantu Raya

Hantu Raya in early Malay animism, refers to a supreme ghost or demon that acts as a double for a black magic practitioner. Like the Toyol it has a master. In Malay folklore, it is a spirit which is suppose to confer the owner with great power. Hantu means ghost and raya, great, in Malay.

Origins
Hantu Raya originates in Malaysia and is said to be the master of all ghosts (hantu). It is the leader of the underworld legion and those who make alliance with it, are considered powerful. Hantu Raya is the acronym for Hantu or Ghost and Raya, large, huge, supreme, enormous, great, as in "Malaysia Raya" and "Asia Raya" and Hari Raya (Great Celebration or Festival).

In modern Islamic Malay culture, the belief in Hantu Raya is no longer valid, but rather it is identified with a demon, Satan and the Djinn (Genie). Muslims believe that djinns and demons are more powerful than man but less intelligent

Spirit worship
In ancient times, the Malay spirituality was a mix of animism, Hinduism and Buddhism. Spirit worship was not uncommon and these beliefs persisted in rural areas until the latter half of the 20th century. In the case of Hantu Raya, the owner is said to have formed a pact with demon or inherited it from older generations in the form known as Saka or legacy which is handed on down the generations. In return for the advantages and power, the owner agrees to provide for the ghost and appoints a new owner for it before dying.[1]

According to legend, people who fail to untie their bond with the hantu will suffer especially during death. Hantu Raya will resemble the look of its owner ever after death and go roaming. People seeing him will assume that the deceased has been brought back to life. It will search for food and new owner at night and goes around haunting people.

Another legend goes that the dying soul will face difficulty in dying and becomes a living corpse or zombie

Hantu Raya is capable of materializing itself into another human being or animals and sometimes makes itself a double for the owner. Among its other trick is to form its owner's shape and sleep with the owner's partners. It can be used to perform heavy duties as commanded by its master, even to harm his enemies. It can also possess or cause death to other people if so ordered.

Normally Hantu Raya feasts on acak – an offering made for the spirits, containing: yellow glutinous rice, eggs, roasted chicken, rice flakes and a doll. In some cases Hantu Raya is offered the blood of a slaughtered animal as a sacrifice. Food offerings must strictly be observed in a timely manner, to avoid any harm caused by the hantu.

Pelesit
Pelesit is a Malay term for an inherited spirit or demon which serves a master.

Origin
The Pelesit is reared by a woman as a shield for protection, guidance, and most probably as a weapon to harm other people. In that way it is associated with a black magic practitioner. It is the female version of Hantu Raya which confers great power on the owner. [2]

In old Malay culture some people chose to live alone thus isolating themselves from society. They practiced black magic in order to gain strength, power, protection, beauty, but not popularity. Some gained a certain level of popularity or renown but there were others who remained in secrecy and refused to mingle with people.

This practice is popular among Malays who are animists and involved in the so-called Saka (the inheritance of a spirit from one generation to another). Pelesit is commonly associated with the grasshopper since it has the ability to turn itself into one. Some say it is the green sharp pointed-head grasshopper.

Pelesit is one of the ghost mentioned in "Hikayat Abdullah", written by Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir, much to the amusement of Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, his employer.

Uses
Typically the owner, the Bomoh (shaman), uses the spirit in an exploitative way for monetary gain. The pelesit is first used to attack someone randomly, then the same Bomoh will be called to exorcise the so-called demon inside the victim (while the spectators have no idea that the bomoh is playing tricks on them). Later, a certain amount of money is given to the bomoh as a token of appreciation.

A bomoh keeps his pelesit in a small bottle and offers it his own blood every full moon

Problem
Pelesit is a dark spirit revered by shamans in Malay culture. It feeds on blood and work as a servant for its master. It demonizes people and causes chaos in society. Pelesit must always have a continuous host and therefore must be pass down from one generation to the next. It should always be taken care of and fed constantly because if not, the demon will soon create havoc among the local inhabitants of its master's village, especially after the master's death.

Pontianak
The Pontianak, Kuntilanak, Matianak or "Boentianak" (as known in Indonesia, sometimes shortened to just kunti) is a type of vampire in Malay folklore, similar to the Langsuir. Pontianak are women who died during childbirth and became undead, seeking revenge and terrorizing villages

Appearance
In folklore, Pontianak usually announces its presence through baby cries or turn themselves into beautiful lady and frighten or kill the unlucky who enter or pass through their vicinity. It usually disguises itself as a beautiful young lady to attract its victim (usually male). Its presence sometimes can be detected by a nice floral fragrance of the ‘kemboja’ (a type of flower) followed by an awful stench afterwords. The distance of a pontianaks cries are very tricky. The Malays believe that if the cry is soft means that the pontianak is near and if it is loud then it must be far.

A Pontianak kills its victims by digging into their stomachs with its sharp fingernails and devouring their organs. Pontianaks must feed in this manner in order to survive. In some cases where the Pontianak desires revenge against a male individual, it rips out the sex organs with its hands. It is believed that Pontianaks locate prey by sniffing out clothes left outside to dry. For this reason, some Malays refuse to leave any object of clothing outside.

People believe that having a sharp object like a nail helps them fend off potential attacks by Pontianak, the nail being used to plunge a hole at the back of the Pontianak's neck. It is believed that when a nail is plunged into the back of a Pontianak's neck, she will turn into a beautiful woman, until the nail is pulled off again. The Indonesian twist on this is plunging the nail into the apex of the head of the kuntilanak.

Pontianak is associated with banana trees, and its spirit is said to reside in them during the day.

Some people believe that if you hear a dog howling that means that the pontianak is far away. But if a dog is whining that means the pontianak is nearby.

Langsuir
Langsuir is a version of Pontianak, popular in Malaysia as one of the deadliest banshees in Malay folklore. Different from the Pontianak, which always appeared as a beautiful woman to devour the victim, Langsuir would possess the victim and suck blood from the inside, slowly causing a fatal death. It is believed that langsuir are from women who had laboring sickness (meroyan) as a result of suffering the death of their children and who themselves died afterwords. Portrayed as hideous, scary, vengeful and furious, the Langsuir is further characterized as having red eyes, sharp claws, long hair, a green or white robe (most of the time), a rotten face and long fangs. It is also believed Langsuir has a hole behind the neck(which is used to suck blood) and if people put Langsuir's hair in this hole(or cut their claws), Langsuir will be a human again. These are the common images described by people who claimed to have seen one. Pontianaks are sometimes claimed to be the still-born children of langsuir.

Penanggalan
The Penanggalan or `Hantu Penanggal` is a peculiar variation of the vampire myth that apparently began in the Malay Peninsula. "Penanggal" or "Penanggalan"' literally means "detach", "to detach", "remove" or "to remove". .

According to the folklore of that region, the Penanggalan is a detached female head that is capable of flying about on its own. As it flies, the stomach and entrails dangle below it, and these organs twinkle like fireflies as the Penanggalan moves through the night.

Due to the common theme of Penanggal being the result of active use of black magic or supernatural means, a Penanggal cannot be readily classified as a classical undead being or a vampire as per Western folklore or literature. The creature is, for all intent and purposes, a living human being during daytime (much like the Japanese Rokurokubi) or at any time when it does not detach itself from its body.

Nature
In Malaysian folklore, a Penanggal may be either a beautiful old or young woman who obtained her beauty through the active use of black magic, supernatural, mystical, or paranormal means which are most commonly described in local folklores to be dark or demonic in nature. Another cause where one becomes a Penanggal in Malaysian folklore is due to the result of a powerful curse or the actions of a demonic force, although this method is less common than the active use of black magic abovementioned.

The Penanggalan is usually a female midwife who has made a pact with the devil to gain supernatural powers. It is said that the midwife has broken a stipulation in the pact not to eat meat for 40 days; having broken the pact she has been forever cursed to become a bloodsucking vampire/demon. The midwife keeps a vat of vinegar in her house. After detaching her head and flying around in the night looking for blood the Penanggalan will come home and immerse her entrails in the vat of vinegar in order to shrink them for easy entry back into her body.

One version of the tale states that the Penanggal was once a beautiful woman or priestess, who was taking a ritual bath in a tub that once held vinegar. While bathing herself and in a state of concentration or meditation, a man entered the room without warning and startled her. The woman was so shocked that she jerked her head up to look, moving so quickly as to sever her head from her body, her organs and entrails pulling out of the neck opening. Enraged by what the man had done, she flew after him, a vicious head trailing organs and dripping venom. Her empty body was left behind in the vat. The Penanggal, thus, is said to carry an odor of vinegar with her wherever she flies, and returns to her body during the daytime, often posing as an ordinary mortal woman. However, a Penanggal can always be told from an ordinary woman by that odor of vinegar.

Victims
The Penanggalan's victims are traditionally pregnant women and young children. Like a banshee who appears at a birth rather than a death, the Penanggalan perches on the roofs of houses where women are in labour, screeching when the child is born. The Penanggalan will insert a long invisible tongue into the house to lap up the blood of the new mother. Those whose blood the Penanggalan feeds upon contract a wasting disease that is almost inescapably fatal. Furthermore, even if the penanggalan is not successful in her attempt to feed, anyone who is brushed by the dripping entrails will suffer painful open sores that won't heal without a bomoh's help.

A Penanggal is said to feed on human blood or human flesh although local folklore (including its variations) commonly agrees that a Penanggal prefers the blood of a newborn infant, the blood of woman who recently gave birth or the placenta (which is devoured by the Penanggal after it is buried). All folktales also agree that a Penanggal flies as it searches and lands to feed. One variation of the folklore however claims that a Penanggal is able to pass through walls. Other, perhaps more chilling, descriptions say that the Penanggal can ooze up through the cracks in the floorboards of a house, rising up into the room where an infant or woman is sleeping. Sometimes they are depicted as able to move their intestines like tentacles.

Protection and Remedies
The most common remedy prescribed in Malaysian folklore to protect against a Penanggal attack is to scatter the thorny leaves of a local plant known as Mengkuang which would either trap or injure the exposed lungs, stomach and intestines of the Penanggal as it flies in search of its prey. These thorns, on the vine, can also be looped around the windows of a house in order to snare the trailing organs. This is commonly done when a woman has just given birth. However this practice will not protect the infant if the Penanggal decides to pass through the floorboards. In some instances, it is said that months before birth, family members of the pregnant women would plant pineapples under the house(traditional malay houses are built on stilts and thus have a lot of room underneath). The prickly fruit and leaves of the pineapple would deter the penanggalan from entering through the floorboards. Once trapped, a Penanggalan who attacks the house can then be killed with parangs or machetes. As an extra precaution the pregnant woman can keep scissors or betel nut cutters under her pillow as the Penanggalan is afraid of these items.

Another way of killing the vampire is for some brave men to spy on the Penanggalan as it flies around in the night. Midwives who become Penanggalans at night appear as normal women in the daytime. They however can be identified as Penanggalans by the way they behave. When meeting people they will usually avoid eye contact and when performing their midwife duties they may be seen licking their lips, as if relishing the thought of feeding on the pregnant woman's blood when night comes. The men should find out where the Penanggalan lives. Once the Penanggal leaves its body and is safely away, it may be permanently destroyed by either pouring pieces of broken glass into the empty neck cavity which will sever the internal organs of the Penanggal when it reattaches to the body, or by sanctifying the body and then destroying it by cremation or by somehow denying the Penanggal from reattaching to its body upon sunrise.

Hantu Air
Hantu Air, Puaka Air or Mambang Air is the Malay translation for Spirit of the Water , Hantu Air is the unseen dweller of watery places such as rivers, lakes, seas, swamps and even ditches. It is mainly associated with bad things happening to people which includes drowning, missing, flooding and many more.

Origin
The term Hantu Air may sound spooky to Malays but when the term is translated into English it creates a new understanding of the meaning that besets the culture of the Malay people. For a long time the Malay Archipelago was ruled by animism {the believe in spirits} and people tended to associate almost anything with the spiritual world including nature.

Some people believe that the spirit will haunt places associated with water during or after it has been discarded by its previous owner. The unguided and lost spirit will soon roam the place. When it is hungry, it will feast on anything including humans.

Superstitions arising among the locals tell of this evil spirit dwelling in watery places where it sometimes disguises itself as an old tree trunk, a beautiful lady, fishes or other animals in order to attract unassuming people into its trap. When caught the human will be eaten or perhaps drowned to death.

Superstition
There is a ceremony that is still popular among the local older Malays called Semah Pantai especially in the East Coast of Malaysia. It is a ceremony whereby fishermen and seafarers honor the sea spirits and at the same time ask for blessings and protection when they venture out to sea to catch fish.

Polong
Polong is Malay for a spirit enslaved by a man (most of the time) for personal use. Like the Hantu Raya and Toyol, it has a master. It is an unseen ghost that can be used by a black magic practitioner to harm someone. It is particularly meant to harm other people, especially when the owner has wicked intentions towards these people.

Creation
Polong is said to have been created from the blood of a murdered person and this blood is put into a bottle for one to two weeks before the spirit is invoked with incantations and magic spells.
After two weeks, the owner will start to hear sounds coming out of the bottle. It is the sound of crying. By then he should cut his finger and drain the blood into the bottle to feed the demon. This is the sign of allegiance and of loyalty to serve the master. The blood which feeds the demon is said to have tied both parties together: one as Master and the other as the servant.

No one has ever illustrated the figure of the demon but all agree that it is evil and hideous.

Task
Polong has almost a similar role as Pelesit, furious when not fed and will start to harm society. Normally the owner will keep the Polong inside the bottle but unleashes it when needed. People who have been attacked by Polong are left with bruises, a few markings and almost always have blood coming out of their mouths.

Weaknesses
During possession, a Polong will not listen to anyone except its owner. The owner will come and pretentiously exorcise the demon in order to get money from people. But in some cases a polong which is "sent out" by its owner refuses to free the body that it has attacked. In fact it goes a step further by causing more suffering to the victim. At this stage a Bomoh (witch-doctor) or spiritual leader such as an Imam is called to cast out the polong.

Many of them know that the polong is easily weakened by black pepper seeds (mix with oil and few cloves of garlic). Normally, the shaman will place the seeds on certain parts of the body to cast off the polong. If he is a Muslim, this may be followed by Quranic recitations. The tormented polong will cry and plead, asking for the recitations to cease. It will then confess to the shaman the name of its master. However, it is not uncommon for the polong to name some other person to misguide the pawang (shaman). Hence, the admission must be taken cautiously.
Toyol

A Toyol is a mythical spirit in the Malay mythology of South-East Asia. It is a small child spirit invoked by a bomoh (Malay witch doctor) from a dead human foetus using black magic. It is possible to buy a toyol from such a bomoh.

A person who owns a toyol uses it mainly to steal things from other people, or to do mischief. According to a well-known superstition, if money or jewellery keeps disappearing mysteriously from your house, a toyol might be responsible. One way to ward off a toyol is to place some needles under your money, for toyols are afraid of being hurt by needles

Origins
Some say that toyol has its origins from Mecca near the Kaaba (the belief refers to the Pre-Islamic Era where the Arabs used to kill their children and bury them all around Mecca. The Chinese (Cantonese) name for the toyol is guai zai (literally "ghost child"). The corresponding term in the Hokkien dialect is kwee kia with "kwee" meaning "ghost" and "kia" meaning "child".
Appearance
People normally associate the appearance of a toyol with that of a small baby, frequently that of a newly born baby walking in nakedness with a big head, small hands, clouded eyes and usually greyed skin. More accurately, it resembles a goblin. It can be seen by the naked eye without the use of magic, though they are unlikely to be spotted casually

Invoking a Toyol
Keeping a toyol has its price. In essence, the spirit is that of a still-born (or aborted) child, and its temperament reflects this.

According to most Asian practices and beliefs, the afterlife of a person is taken care of by the family, in the form of a tablet. It is usually made of wood, with the name of the deceased engraved. A collection of tablets at an elaborate family altar is a typical item in a large (and often wealthy) family. Following the same principle, the master of the toyol keeps its tablet and cares for it. He must feed it with a few drops of his blood everyday, usually through his thumb or big toe. In addition, it requires certain coaxing and attention, along with offerings. Such offerings might include candy and toys, for the toyol is essentially a child and must be kept happily entertained. According to other stories, a toyol must be fed with blood from a rooster.

Tasks
In old village tales, people keep toyols for selfish but petty gains. They use such spirits for theft, sabotage and other minor crimes. Serious crimes, like murder, are usually beyond the capability of these toyols. A person who suddenly becomes wealthy without explanation might be suspected of keeping a toyol. The toyol is kept in a jar or an urn, and hidden away in a dark place until needed.

What happens at the end of the "contract" is not very clear. It could be that the tablet, along with the urn, is buried in a graveyard (with the relevant rituals), and the spirit is then laid to rest. An alternative method is to dispose them in the sea. Or else, a toyol gets passed down in a family through the generations. This seems to suggest that once you obtain a toyol, not only are you stuck with it for the rest of your life, but all your descendants will also be condemned to own it

Weaknesses
Although seemingly cunning, toyols are supposedly not very intelligent. It is said that they are easily deceived by marbles and sand and strands of garlic hanging on the door post or placed on certain parts of the house. The toyol will start playing with these items until it forgets its task at the intended victim's house. Money placed under mirrors has the potentcy to ward off toyols due to a phobia of their reflections

Orang Bunian
Orang Bunian are supernatural beings in Malay legends, similar to elves.

They are said to exist in large communities, mimicking human social structures, with families and clans. Orang Bunian are said to inhabit the deep forests, far from human contact, but they are also known to live near human communities, and are even said to share the same houses as human families. Some hauntings are attributed to orang bunian.

Orang bunian possess great supernatural powers, and have been known to befriend and assist humans, in particular pawangs or bomohs (malay shamans). Orang bunian are known to abduct human children, and are often blamed for leading people astray in the deep forest.

As orang bunian are very similar to human beings (except for the fact that they are usually 'ghaib' or 'halimunan', i.e. invisible and have supernatural powers) it is not unknown for them to intermarry with humans. Orang bunian live far longer than human beings. Stories are recounted of men who married orang bunian, but pining for their families they left behind, decided to leave the orang bunian. Upon their return to human society, they found that everyone they once knew has died, and that many years have passed- similar to the tale of Rip Van Winkle

(the description about ghosts was taken from http://en.wikipedia.org)

1 comment:

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