Monday, June 22, 2009

Village ghost busters

No politics today for kaytee. Instead I refer to the Star Online’s ‘Mysterious spirit’ haunting housing estate.

The article reported:

Residents of Taman Helang Jaya, Nibong Tebal*, have been living in fear over the appearance of a “mysterious spirit” in the area for the past month, Malaysia Nanban reported.

* presumably that’s the one in my home state of Penang

Residents claim they have heard of the sighting of a headless body** dressed in white, usually appearing around midnight and making noises like a crying baby.

There were occasions when iron gates of the houses were shaken during the night. One resident said he heard this mysterious spirit had knocked on doors and bitten the hands of the house owners.

There has also been an increase in the number of soothsayers in the area hoping to appease the spirit.

** Sounds as if it’s the other component of a hantu penanggalan. In Penang we call it hantu tengelong. The hantu tengelong would usually be a woman who could, through black magic, detach her head from her body to go flying around for blood, especially those of women who had just delivered.

The typical hantu tengelong has a slight baggage problem. Her inner organs (including and especially the intestines) would still be attached to her head as she goes hunting.

When she returns to her body, it has been said that she has to dip her entire appendages (except for the head) into a vat of special fluid, usually jampi-ed (occult incantations) vinegar, in order to shrink them so she could re-insert her innate into her body.

‘Twas often claimed, if one was able to remove the vat of vinegar, the hantu wouldn’t be able to resume her human form. But that's only possible if you know the witch. I have to say I knew a few when I grew up but they were all too pretty and hot for me to bother about their intestinal aspects, when I was far more interested in their other anatomical properties.

I recall as a small boy (age around 10 - 12), whenever there were claims of a hantu tengelong around our village, I would join the local vigilante corps in a hantu-tengelong-hunting exercise. Unsurprisingly, the mob would be a dozen youngsters of my age group.

Come dusk, we would arm ourselves with bamboo poles which would be adorned with barbed wire strands at the attacking ends. The logic then was that we could snarl up the hantu’s intestines with the barbed wires. What we proposed to do after that wasn’t very clear – I bet no one thought through on that possibility wakakaka.

Those who could ‘borrow’ their fathers’ torch lights became instant heroes. Others brought along pathetic oil lamps. We patrolled the village throughout the night (coincidentally a Saturday) and while our time away speculating wildly on who the witch could be - usually the meanest woman in our village, the one who seemed to be able to successfully catch us raiding her rambutan or papaya trees.

The only damage we inflicted was that on the following morning many (adults) neighbours would wonder why some parts of their barbed wire fencing were cut ;-)

Hmmm, I wonder whether the headless hantu in Taman Helang Jaya, Nibong Tebal could be the hantu tengelong sending out its other half to confuse the ‘enemy’, no doubt boys like I once was, and who would be armed with barbed wired bamboo poles.


  1. that's a great depiction of a hantu tengelong, would make a good poster methinks! but probably not in my bedroom...

  2. Oh shit! Reading this at the wrong time of the nite.

    Now nak pi tidoq takut...sheeesh.

  3. If the hantu in Taman Helang Jaya has no head, how could it bite the residents' hands? Is the mouth located on another part of the body?

  4. This is just yet another UFO "sighting" for people who have had too much to eat and nothing to do

  5. I believe its called Si Lor Bhan in Penang Hokkien, or at least that's what our elders used to scare the devil out of us when I was a kid many years ago.

  6. Kaytee I didn't knew you were to kuai lan during your younger days ..haha but I guess most of us were typically the same like you , finding our own enjoyment without computers and the internet . What Yee said is correct , it's called the Si Lor Bhan in Penang Hokkien and at one time there used to be a lot of sightings in Batu Ferringhi beside the Bayview Beach Hotel . I was told you could even hear them slurping away the animal blood which was drain away and flows to the drain outside the kitchen of the hotel .
    What they are also saying is that if you can locate the body when the head is flying around , and turn the body upside down with the back facing upwards , then the si lor ban is in big trouble when it returns . It cannot reattach itself , when happens , I would like to know .
    They are still being found in rural areas particulary in those farming ares out of town areas .Interesting tough , but then you still get news and stories of ghosts appearing in almost every area , even in brightly lit buildings see U Tube on ghosts .

  7. haha - nice story.
    I remember my staff was talking about a "hantu printer" who comes around each time she's on morning shift - it seems the hantu gets the printer started when the PC is off!!
    Then another started seeing someone in white ... then another spoke of kena ludah hantu (when she developed allergies after a kueh udang).
    Very interesting la ... these people.

  8. This hantu tetek is more like the banana flower ghost ? They say when the banana tree flowers with the red flower , tie a red string to the flower and link it to your window .At night you should be able to hear the ghost crying asking to untie the string .