Mythos Monday: Creatures of the Night

Okay, I couldn’t help myself, I just had to post this:

It fits.  Honest it does!  Well, sort of.

While perusing the internets for fabulousness to share with you, I stumbled across a post about the mythical creatures of the Philippines.  Knowing absolutely nothing about Philippine mythology, I decided to check it out.  What I found was really, really cool.

Imagine, if you will, your friendly neighborhood butcher.  He is, perhaps, a little quiet and shy, but he smiles as he hands you a package of beautifully marbled steaks and asks how your family is doing.  You chat with him a moment before heading to your car.  You notice his eyes are a little bloodshot, but you think nothing of it.

The next day your neighbor stops you for a chat as you head out to pick up the morning paper.  “Did you hear about the old man down the street?”

Of course you have.  The old man died the day before and his body was laid out for burial later in the week.  You are planning to pay your respects later.

“His body went missing,” the neighbor tells you.  “Bet it was an aswang.  Keep the kids in tonight.”

As the neighbor walks away, a frown creases your face.  You remember something from last night.  Something odd.  It was late.  Far too late for man or beast, but as you got up to get a drink of water, you spotted the butcher’s van parked outside the old man’s house.  A shiver runs down your spine.

You know a thing or two about the aswang, but until now have brushed it off as myth.  Unfortunately, you can no longer do that.  Because while by day the aswang may appear as any normal neighbor working quietly in the village (often as a butcher or in other meat related jobs), at night it turns to a ravening ghoul who feasts on the bodies of the dead.  Even worse, an aswang will sometimes snatch young children for a midnight snack.

Maybe your friendly neighborhood butcher isn’t so friendly, after all.

But there is more than one kind of aswang you’ve got to deal with.  The zegben is a like a giant Tasmanian devil, only with spotty fur.  Not so easy for it to blend in.  The dangga, however, is said to appear as a handsome gay man who hunts women (say what?) and eats fresh blood like a vampire.  Now there’s an interesting baseline for a story or two.

Not to worry!  You can reveal this evil creature for what it truly is.  Just pray over some plants and boil them with coconut meat.  Place a pot of this special oil near the door and when an aswang is near it will boil.  Voila!  Aswang revealed.  But how do you kill it?

Well, apparently phallic object terrify the aswang.  (That one made me snort with laughter.)  But I can’t imagine carrying such a thing around just in case you run into an aswang.  May I instead recommend salt?  It’s said to cause an aswang’s skin to burn.  A few handfuls ought to do it.  And a silver sword will finish that baby off.  Beheading seems to work rather well.

Have you heard of the aswang before?  Can you think of interesting ways of including an aswang in a story? (Huh, maybe Morgan needs to fight one.)  Or do you suspect an aswang is lurking in your neighborhood?

13 thoughts on “Mythos Monday: Creatures of the Night

  1. Wow interesting info! Never heard of it. Silver and salt… well it’s said that werewolves can be killed with silver and salt is a pure element and can protect houses or rooms from evil spirits if spread around the desired area 🙂 so I’d say it’s a half werewolf half evil spirit…? and somewhat ghoulish!
    Great post!

  2. What a fantastic creature! I love these interesting mythology posts, thanks for introducing us to the creepy, creepy aswang. I had not heard of him before.

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