Sunday, January 20, 2008

Asian Myths

As I said, I wanted to work on some cultural myths, for this post, and some, after. I'd like to focus on myths from the areas of Asia. For those only familer with the modern, western media image of vampires, it is a nice switch. The vampires in these myths range from corpses that feed on the living, to spirits. What I wish to cover are three examples: the Penanggalan, the Kuntilanak, and the Jiang Shi. I'll not go too deeply into each, not being anywhere near a cultural expert, but enough to give a fair bit of information. I'll cover each, over 3 days.

We first have the Penanggalan, which is a myth from around the Malaysian area. The name means, roughly, "to Detach", which fits, well, due to the strange way this being hunts. It will remove it's head, which will fly around, with organs, such as it's lungs, et cetera, hanging below, said to twinkle as it flies. The body, as a whole, is said to be that of a beautiful older or younger women, whom gained her looks from black magic or other supernatural means. Another myth is that a demonic curse caused this, by a midwife making a pact to gain powers, but brakes it by eating meat within 40 days, which was part of the pact. It is also said that as the head flies, the body is kept in a container filled with vinegar, and so, the smell is always with them, which is how they can be told apart from other women, during the day.

It is said to feed on human blood or flesh, but it prefers that of pregnant women and young chilren, like new borns. They will perche themselves outside of a home, as a women is giving birth, then shreik out. The Penanggalan will then work it's tongue into the home and lap up the blood. Whomever has their blood taken will soon waste away, and die. It is also part of the myth that, if it's entrails brush against a person, they get painful, open sores, which will not heal without the help of a shaman, or healer.

To prevent it's attacks, one can place plant thorns all around their window, if they are close to, or have given birth, so that if a Penanggalan tries to enter, it will catch it's organs on them, ripping them, and dying. Some myths say, though, that they can pass through walls, and even ooze up through floor boards, with the ability to use it's organs as tentacles, of sorts. The way to deal with the creature, more permanently, is to try and follow it back to it's lair, and identify the person they are pretending to be. Then, the next time it goes to hunt, fill the body with glass, so that when the creature tries to reattach, it slices apart it's organs and dies, or to sanctify, then burn, it's body, before sunrise. There are a few differences that can be found between similar myths, but these are the common themes. I hope someone learned something new, here, and, if interested, read, next time, for some new myths. Farewell.

1 comment:

Ai said...

I'm interesting in seeing your updated posts.

Until then....