This evil spirit is one of the best-known in Southeast Asia.

Victoria Tunggono   08 August 2016 12:04

Brilio.net - Indonesia has a long tradition of ancient animistic and mystic beliefs, that coexist with much modern religions, and many people believe in ghosts, spirits and demons.

Suster ngesot, babi ngepet, genderuwo, tuyul, pocong, leak, kalong wewe, jelangkung, jenglot and kuntilanak are just some of the better-known spirits around the country.  

One of the most famous is the Kuntilanak or Sundel Bolong. The Kuntilanak is often depicted on TV and in horror movies. It is a female, vampire-like demon. Kuntilanak is also known as pontianak or puntianak in Malaysia, which is an abbreviation from “perempuan mati beranak” or “woman who died while giving birth”.

Here are all the facts you need to know about this horrifying demon!

1. The capital of West Kalimantan is named after it

Legend has it that the first sultan of Pontianak, Syarif Abdurrahman Alkadrie (1771­–1808), was haunted by a vengeful Kuntilanak. The Sultanate was built on the swamps that run along the west coast of Kalimantan (the word used to describe the Indonesian part of Borneo island). The Sultan ignored the advice of local Dayak people, who warned him that he was building his city in the Kuntilanak’s home. He built the city anyway and fell victim to the demon.

2. Changing appearance

Kuntilanak is usually portrayed long black hair covering most of her face, long sharp nails and a loose white dress. But she only turns into this form when the coffin nail is removed from the back of her neck or head! With the nail in place, she appears as a charming woman. They say her appearance is accompanied by the smell of frangipani flowers. She is said to have a hollow back, hence her other name — Sundel Bolong (bolong means hollow).

3. Getting revenge against men

The Kuntilanak isn’t always horrifying. She can also look beautiful and attractive when she wants to seduce men. It is said that the Kuntilanak got pregnant after she was raped by local landlord. The landlord then blamed her for the pregnancy and outraged villagers buried her alive. The Kuntilanak seduces and traps men before eating their genitalia!

4. Harassing pregnant women

Another part of the Kuntilanak myth is that she likes to steal unborn babies from the bellies of pregnant women, an act of revenge for never having her own child. People believe expectant mothers should keep a sharp object under their pillow to scare the Kuntilanak away.

5. Kidnapping babies

People believe the Kuntilanak likes to kidnap babies and raise them as their own child. Babies are not to be left alone, especially in remote areas. Mothers are also told to keep a sharp object near the crib.

6. Beware empty buildings!

The Kuntilanak often takes up residence in half-built structures or abandoned homes. Buildings that are empty and quiet at night, such as schools, government bureaus or old hospitals are also some of its favorite place.

7. Laughing and crying

There is apparently one easy way to identify a Kuntilanak. She, at first, will be weeping and sobbing, but slowly that cry will turn into a giggle and then a mad, evil laugh.

8. It loves Banyan trees

People say the Kuntilanak likes the banyan tree, which is often called the Waru Doyong. Javanese people tend to cut these trees down to avoid having a Kuntilanak make its home there. The demon is also known to occupy banana trees, bamboo trees or parts of swamps and forests.

9. You can beat it by doing good

One known way to avoid Kuntilanak is by enlisting the help of a dukun (shaman). The Kuntilanak is believed to be the ghost of deceased pregnant woman who is trapped in an intermediate realm, in a state of accumulating karma to proceed to the afterlife. The dukun will perform exorcism rituals at the grave of the deceased person to avoid them turning into a Kuntilanak.

In Thailand, they use an oil extracted from the deceased person’s bodily fluids that came from the dripping fat from the chin burnt with candle.

Wouldn’t that be a perfect horror movie scene?

 

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