Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day XLV - Penanggalan

Demonic woman,
Disembodied female head,
Entrails go flying.

Vampiric, vicious and visceral in the extreme, the Penanggalan is a petrifying low-flying night terror from Malay folklore. By day, for all intents and purposes, the Penanggalan is a regular woman (most usually a beautiful midwife who's made a pact with the Devil) but when darkness comes the creature detaches its head from the body and flies out looking to feed on human flesh and blood. Dangling its entrails through the air to either drop venomous blood on its victims or strangle them, the malicious demon midwife is said to favour pregnant women and newborn babies as its victims. Women going into labour should keep sharp objects close by (thorny leaves or a Malaysian machete will do) and be wary of the stink of vinegar. When the Penanggalan has done its night's flying, it returns to home to dip its entrails in a vat of vinegar (hence the smell) for easy shrinkage back into the host body. Quite frankly, the idea of a floating femme fatale flinging its guts about is, I think, fantastic. Kudos to the gory Penanggalan: the demonic, disembodied head and icky organ-dangling abomination upsetting Malaysian mothers-to-be.

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