12 Scary Asian Demons and Ghosts
Asia is home to many interesting cultures, each with varying traditions. With this comes a huge assortment of spirits and ghosts that haunt the midnight streets. From underwater ghosts to mummified zombies, here are 12 of the scariest Asian entities.
Ox Head and Horse Face
Extremely popular in China and Japan, these two spirits guard and confine the spirits within hell. They also escort dying souls there, much like the Grim Reaper.
Initially farm animals, Ox Head and Horse Face were worked to death by their farmer. Understanding their plight, the king of hell turned them into soldiers and escorts, keeping their animalistic characteristics, but turning them into intimidating humanoid figures.
Though supposedly folklore, sightings of these spirits are common, and they appear everywhere from deathbeds to the site of fatal accidents.
Known as the “hopping zombie,” a Jiang Shi is typically a reanimated corpse with superhuman strength and is often dressed in Qing-era attire.
One odd and well-known account in China describes how a young man encountered three Jiang Shis on a bus one night. The story goes like this:
One evening, three Jiang Shis boarded a city bus. Despite the astoundingly odd appearance of the spirits, the bus driver and conductor brushed them off as actors. Regardless, the passengers felt uncomfortable.
Eventually, only the young man, a fellow passenger, the conductor, driver, and three Jiang Shis were left on the bus. The fellow passenger suddenly accused the young man of stealing, so the bus driver dropped them off to walk to the nearest police depot.
Once they were off the bus, the fellow passenger confessed to the young man that she had made up the accusation because she’d noticed the three Jiang Shis had no feet. It’s a good thing the pair got off the bus when they did.
A few days later, that same bus was found inside a reservoir with three awfully decomposed bodies trapped inside. One belonged to the conductor, another to the driver. The third was unknown. Rumor has it that the bus’s petrol tank was filled with blood instead of oil.
A more ‘traditional’ ghost by Western standards, a Shui Gui is the spirit of a person who has drowned in a body of water. These ghosts roam the ocean at night, haunting seafarers and anyone foolish enough to be near the water.
Depending on their cause of death, these ghosts may be out for blood. They often pull unsuspecting swimmers below the surface when no one is looking.
Once they drown their victim, Shui Guis assume the deceased’s body while the victim’s spirit becomes the new Shui Gui. Be wary when you are close to a body of water, or you may become a ghost yourself.
The Okiku Doll
A young man bought a doll for his two-year-old sister Okiku to play with. Okiku loved the doll, always hugging it to sleep and bringing it along on outings. However, a year later, Okiku passed away. Bereaved by the loss of their daughter, Okiku’s family started worshiping the doll and named it after her.
Strangely, the doll’s hair slowly started growing. First, it extended beyond the doll’s shoulders, then its waist, and then its knees. Day by day, the hair grew longer. Eventually, the family to donated the doll to a nearby temple.
Ever since the doll’s arrival, priests at the Mannenji temple have trimmed its hair. Legend has it Okiku appeared in one of the priest’s dreams and asked that they trim her hair, thus beginning an 80-year-old tradition.
In ancient Japan, legend claimed women who did not eat would eventually grow a mouth at the back of their heads. Soon enough, this ‘mouth’ would demand twice the amount of food one would normally eat. If unsatisfied, the second mouth would scream in anger and cause immense pain to the bearer.
Eventually, the mouth would use the lady’s hair as tentacles, grabbing and gobbling as much food as it could. Though a mere legend, the Futakuchi-Onna has since caught on as a popular icon in Japanese media.
In this popular legend, an extremely beautiful lady had an affair with a lowly soldier. Her husband, a Samurai, was enraged, and he mutilated his wife by cutting her cheeks open from ear to ear, creating a Glasgow smile. She then committed suicide, and now her spirit seeks revenge.
They say she wanders quiet streets at night, wearing a mask and asking passerby if she’s attractive. If they say yes, she reveals her face. Those who gasp or scream, get their own hideously carved smile.
A mischievous and playful entity, a Kuman Thong is a child spirit trapped within an amulet or effigy. Often times, the child was stillborn or aborted, and witch doctors allegedly performed necromancy to trap the newly deceased spirit. Sometimes the fetus itself is encased within a statue.
Kuman Thongs are commonly sold to households as a way of protecting property and ensuring good fortune. However, homeowners must buy refreshments, clothes, and toys to keep Kuman Thongs happy. If angered, these child spirits will grow restless and eventually bring misfortune to the home.
Many people insist Kuman Thongs are the stuff of legends and myths. However, these spirtis are a very real presence for Thais, and many households have reported unfortunate events.
Krasue are female demons damned to become ghosts for acts of fraudulence and sin done in their previous lives.
Often illuminating like a traditional will-o-wisp, Krasues hunt for food late at night, seeking flesh and blood from humans and animals. During the day, however, she could be anyone walking down the streets of Bangkok. There have been many alleged sightings of this creature in provinces across Thailand and Cambodia.
Though never attacking anyone directly, the Krasue has allegedly attacked livestock on multiple occasions, and sightings of strange lights and body-less entities continue to persist.
Phi Kong Koi
The Phi Kong Koi are one-legged entities roaming the northern hillsides of Thailand and Laos.
There are mixed opinions on what kind of creature the Phi Kong Koi is. Some say they’re ghosts, while others, especially locals, claim they’re a long-lost tribe of pygmy humans.
Traditionally, however, Phi Kong Kois are ghosts who hop around the jungle with one leg. They are small in stature and often hunt for humans with crossbows. At night, they allegedly shout “Koi Koi Koi,” hence the name Phi Kong Kois.
The Orang Minyak, or “Oily man,” are humans who gain the flexibility and viscosity of oil through dark magic. This allows them to shapeshift and go through locked doors. Orang Minyak often spy on, molest, or rape women in the dead of night.
There are many reported cases of Orang Minyak raping women, especially in remote villages. Often, search parties and nightly patrols roam the area to ward off the ever-present threat of Orang Minyak. However, this superstition can backfire when real rapists get away with their crimes due to blame falling on the mythical creature.
Likely the most well-known, and ferocious, Malay/Indonesian ghost, Pontianak roughly translates to “woman who died in childbirth.”
A vicious spirit that knows no bounds, Pontianaks tend to attack anyone and cause them to fall sick or faint afterwards. They even fought a famous battle against a group of soldiers in the aptly named Indonesian city of Pontianak.
Often carrying the scent of fresh frangipanis, these spirits find solace within these trees. Going near them might disturb their rest, which would result in their ungodly appearance and blood-curdling screams.
The Pontianak is likely the most common spirit in Southeast Asia as sightings of these spirits are scattered across the continent.
Wrapped in white fabric, the Hantu Pocong is a lot like the Chinese Jiang Shi, except for its ability to teleport.
In traditional Malay practice, the deceased are enshrouded by the Islamic Kain kafan. Knots cross different sections of the body, and are subsequently removed before burial.
However, if the knot is not removed, the soul is unable to leave its body for 40 days (as Muslims believe the soul remains that long after death). They then hop out of their burial grounds. Oddly, these spirits can roll faster than a sport car, but are typically quite harmless.
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Ghost and Ghouls
20 Jun, 2019
12 Scary Asian Demons and Ghosts
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