Mythology has different facets. In our previous post, we saw some creatures attributed for natural disasters. Now, let’s dabble into another interesting facet: lower mythology.
Several countries may have their own version of a headless monster –— headless goddess, priest, horseman, and even mule!
In the Philippines, the headless creature of lower mythology is called the pugot, which literally means “cut.” The stories have evolved over time, but the most popular version of the pugot is that it’s a headless priest who sometimes carries other people’s head.
In Japan, the headless monster is called nukekubi, which can be literally translated to “missing neck.” The nukekubi is an ordinary person during the day. Its head only detaches at night when it wanders for a prey. It paralyzes its victim with loud screaming – and with terror, too, I assume.
Zombie – undead ghouls that serve as targets for shooting practice – seems like a Western concept. What’s universal about zombies, however, is their perpetual hunger for human life.
In the Philippines, this sounds like the generic aswang, but the Visayans have a more specific term for it: the maranhig. Also known as amalanhig, the maranhig walks on stiff legs and is said to smell like rotting flesh. It can either suck a person’s blood or tickle him to death.
In Japan, their man-chasing ghoul is called jikininki. The jikininki is constantly starving and fills itself by eating the recently deceased. One interesting thing about the jikininki is that it is said to exist when a person does something evil. Talk about karma.
Another Western monster, the cyclops, also has Philippine and Japanese counterparts.
In the Philippines, the one-eyed monster is called the bungisngis. The name refers to how the monster looks, particularly how its smiles – wide grin with teeth showing. The bungisngis is a giant with a huge appetite. Though the bungisngis looks scary, it is known to be stupid.
There are two cyclops-like monsters in Japan: the hitotsume nyudo or one-eyed priest and the hitotsume kozou or the one-eyed priest boy. The nyudo appears with a procession in tow. When travelers stop and stare at the procession, the nyudo appears and chases the travelers. Meanwhile, kozou is known to be harmless except that it enjoys jump-scaring people.
I hope you’re not planning to sleep after this because there are creatures of lower mythology that take advantage of people when they sleep.
In the Philippines, there is the batibat or bangungot. People are warned about sleeping after eating a heavy meal. (The act of sleeping after eating, usually after lunch, is known as siesta, something the Philippines got from Spain.) The batibat or bangungot is a fat woman who sits on top of the sleeper and suffocates him. The heavy weight is associated with the heavy feeling on the stomach right after eating.
In Japan, there is the yamachichi who steals a sleeper’s breath. After sucking the person’s breath, the yamachichi taps the victim on the chest and leaves.
Bonus! There is also the Japanese baku, a benevolent nightmare-eater who children can call by whispering, “Baku–san, come and eat my dream” three times. The only thing to fear about baku is that when called on too many times to devour nightmares, sometimes he also consumes the dreamer’s hopes and dreams.
(February 4, 2013). “Top 10 Lesser-Known Mythical Creatures in Philippine Folklore”. Retrieved from: http://www.filipiknow.net/top-10-terrifying-philippine-mythical-creatures/
(2013). Yokai.com. Retrieved from: http://yokai.com/
(2017). The Aswang Project. Retrieved from: https://www.aswangproject.com/
About the author
Rennie is a writer and editor with quite a background in the ESL industry. For the most part, she’s an ordinary office girl; but once you talk to her, you’ll discover that she’s a mind-wanderer.