Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Ghosts and Ghouls of Asia:

In Indonesian (and Malaysian) belief, a pocong (pronounced “Poh-Chong”) is the reanimated body and trapped soul of a deceased person who was not given the proper burial rights.
The pocong is described as the decomposing body of a recently buried individual wrapped in a kain kafan; which is a shroud traditionally used in Muslim burials that is wrapped completed around the body, including the feet and head where it is tied with a knot on top, leaving only the face exposed.

According to belief, the soul will remain on Earth for 40 days, and after this period has elapsed, the knot tied around the top of the head should be undone, so that the soul can ascend.

Neglecting to do so will cause the decomposing body to rise from the grave and hop around during the night, often times causing havoc. Many rural villages blame crimes on the pocong.
Pocongs are said to make great distance in seconds and are able to jump distances of 150ft in one bound. Once they lock their target on an unfortunate victim, they are relentless in their pursuit. 
To see a pocong at night is extremely bad luck, as they can be face to face with their victim in a split second.

If you see a pocong, you must run as fast as you can in the opposite direction and resist the temptation to look back- doing so would result in the ghoul appearing directly in front of you.

There are many movies features the pocong, here is a small selection:

Pocong 2 (2006) [ X ]
40 Hari Bangkitnya Pocong [ X
The real Pocong [ X
Sumpah (ini) pocong! [ X
Tali Pocong Perawan (2008) [ X

Wewe Gombel
Wewe Gombel is a child snatching super natural entity in Javanese / Sudanese mythology.
A classic old hag character with a twist, the Wewe Gombel snatches away troubled children who stay out after dark. She is described as an old woman with overly exaggerated long dropping breasts.

 The origin story of Wewe Gomble is that she was a woman from Semarang who murdered her husband after he cheated on when he discovered that she was unable to bear his children. The village chases her away and harassed her until she eventually took her own life.
She became a vengeful ghost who kidnapped mistreated children and cared for them until their parents changed their ways.

Sundel Bolong
Sundel Bolong is a vengeful ghost in Indonesian mythology, and is born of a beautiful woman (often said to be a sex worker) who died violently or during pregnancy. She is sometimes thought to have given birth either in her grave or had the baby removed from her body after death, leaving her with a large hole or open wound on her back or side, which is usually hidden by her long black hair.
Clad in a white dress, she would sometimes appear before men, sometimes  castrating or injuring them in some way.

Sundel Bolong was famously played by an actress named Suzanna Martha Frederika Van Osch- aka. Suzanna, the Indonesian queen of horror.

Suzanna was born in Buitenzorg in the Dutch East Indies and had acting roles in various ghost movies (and other genres) throughout her career.  She starred in the 1981/2 movie simply titled “Sundel Bolong” directed by Sisworo Gutama Putra, which features an iconic scene in which her character eats a large amount of chicken satay at a food shop and drinking boiling hot soup, only for it to spill out of the maggot infested wound in her back.

Watch the scene here [ X
Full movie here [ X

Identified by their backwards facing feet or sometimes upturned features, a Bhoot is a supernatural entity in Indian folklore that can shape shift into any animal at will.
They are the wandering souls of those who met violent ends and had unfinished business on Earth making them unable to move on after death. In some cases they may not have been properly buried.
Bhoots usually do not make contact with the Earth, as it is considered sacred and they cannot touch it, instead they choose to hover above the ground. They are also said to speak in a nasal voice, as if they have a cold.
Much like vampires they have no reflection and no shadow and like ghosts in many traditions they are usually bound to their place of death or a building that is familiar to them.  
Often times people will accidentally make the acquaintance of a bhoot, before they link or even notice the identifying trails of this paranormal being.
To repel a Bhoot, water or iron can be used. Burning turmeric, similar to burning sage, can keep them at bay. Scattering earth on oneself also works, however a bhoot can never be fully destroyed. 

Krasue กระสือ
 (Note: Although the Krasue exists under many different names and with slight variation in behavior, this article will be concentrating on the Thai Krasue กระสือ.)

 The Krasue is an undead, some say cursed, being. It is described as having the head and long hair of a beautiful woman and a string of organs and entrails, including the heart and lungs, hanging from its trachea. It floats through the night sky in rural areas, emitting a halo of light. 

The ghost is said to have vampire like fangs, and has been heavily featured in horror films and horror themed comic books throughout the years in Thailand. In some villages, women who often looked exhausted or were perceived as strange by the rest of the community were though to transform into Krause at sunset and fly around detached from their bodies with an insatiable hunger for flesh. Much like the Mexican Chupacabra, it would drain the blood of local livestock, however would resort to eating vegetation or feces if no living creature was available.

 Afterwards, the Krasue would use the clean laundry left out by any locals to wipe the remains of its meal from its face and mouth. This is why many older Thai’s will warn not to leave your laundry hanging out overnight, for fear of attracting ghosts or ghouls. 

Another characteristic of the Krasue is the threat it harbors to pregnant women. It is said to use its long, thin snaking tongue to infiltrate the womb and eat the baby.
 This is possibly an explanation for miscarriage and disease in a time when reasons for such things were unknown. The Krasue would screech and moan outside the homes of pregnant women, much like a banshee. 
The occupant would place a thorned plant around the perimeter of their home to ward it off. 

After a night of gorging itself, the Krasue would return home. The headless body is cautiously concealed as any fatal damage to it would lead to an agonizing death. This is one way to hunt and kill the Krasue, as well as severing the organs from the head.

 The exact origins of the creature are unknown, however there are stories that the krasue was a Khmer princess, who was burned at the stake for refusing to give up her lover from a lower social status despite being arranged to marry to a wealthy Siamese aristocrat following Cambodia’s loss in the war. 
She was said to have arranged a powerful practitioner of black magic to cast a spell that would protect her from the flames. Unfortunately, the spell only activated halfway through the burning, leaving the princess with only her head and a string of organs hanging down from her neck. 

Other legends speak of the practice of black magic gone awry, possession, witchcraft, bad karma and the consumption of food or beverages tainted with the saliva or other biological secretions from a Krasue.

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