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Friday, October 4, 2019

Creepy Tales About Aswang That You Didn’t Know

Aswang is one of the more pervasive folkloric concepts in Philippine mythology. In Western it is equivalent to Werewolf/Vampire. It is difficult to encapsulate in one sentence what an aswang is but a lot of people agree on a lot of things about it. They are shape-shifting and flesh eating beasts, they are monsters inherently evil in nature that have no other purpose but to harm and devour other creatures.

Weel, I know you might wonder if you could have met aswang without realizing it, so here are some of the facts about aswang.

Aswang, Explained

Aswang manages to do shape shifting. They are evil spirit with the combination of a vampire, a ghoul, a witch, and a werebeast.

They are considered as day walkers different to vampires, because they are not harmed by the sunlight. However, they become weak with the exposure of day light, because they do not merely possess their superhuman strength.

Aswangs have bloodshot eyes during day, because they all stayed up at night looking for flesh. They hunt for their food in the darkness because they believe God is asleep during night.

Aswangs have the same traits as human, they also experience a wide range of emotional breakdowns, from anger to sorrow, from humiliation to happiness. They are also able to form friendships, and will never cause harm to their friends and neighbors, an intimate creature.

They are usually depicted as female in the lore. They frequently walk with their feet positioned backwards and they can use vocal tricks to disguise themselves and harm others.

Aswangs live in a peaceful village as shy villagers. However, when they grow hungry at night, they will transform into bloodthirsty animals.

There are different types of Aswangs: The tik-tik and wak-wak that were believed on turning into large birds. Meanwhile, the zegben transforms into the Tasmanian devil as a crow, a bat, a wild boar, a black cat, or a black dog.

They can also transform into the appearance of objects. They will replace their live victims or stolen cadavers with replicas made from tree trunks or other types of plants, doppelganger.

Aswangs crave to eat the hearts and livers of unborn fetuses and young children. They attack by using their tongue which extends from their mouth reaching the mother’s womb to suck out a meal while the women are asleep.

 Like manananggals, the wak-wak version of an Aswang leaves behind half of its body when it transforms in the middle of the night to a bat-like creature thirst with blood..

If in case an Aswang ends up marrying a human, the partner should also transform into an Aswang on their wedding day. However, it is extremely rare for these creatures to reproduce and have child.

Aswang couples are selfish to each other, because they do not like sharing food. Separating also helps them avoid causing suspicion and getting detected by common villagers.

 human is believed to become an Aswang if he/she desires by tying a fertilized chicken egg to their stomach. Once the chick passes in their flesh, they must bury the shell in a bamboo tube with coconut oil and chicken dung so that they can possess the power of an aswang.

If an Aswang dies,he can transfer all the powers to another person by putting out the chick from him and letting it hop inside the mouth of the inheritor.

Garlic, salt, Holy water, a crucifix, a rosary, prayer, or decapitation can kill aswang. They will also be destroyed by getting whipped with the tail of a stingray, because of its sound slashing through the air making them vulnerable.

Aswangs are not able to enter  temples, churches, mosques, or any other holy consecrated grounds, they will vanish if they do.

Because of aswangs' friendliness, an old Filipino saying "An Aswang is better than a thief" becomes popular.

Your reflection in an aswang eye is upside down, because they are not truly human. You can also do look at someone suspicious to be an aswang upside down by sticking your head in between your legs, if the image appears different than when standing upright, they are an Aswang.

An oil called Hintura will tremble and bubble once an Aswang is in the vicinity or near you.

Some agimats or Philippine amulets could keep Aswangs away, such as red and black bead bracelets that were commonly given to babies.

The word Aswang originated from the Sanskrit word asura, which means demon. The story of this creature started from Filipino folklore in the 16th century. It has been most frequently sighted in Visayas, southern parts of Luzon, and parts of Mindanao.

A lot of bats, Tasmanian devils, and kagwang have been killed because villagers mistook them for Aswangs in their transformed state.

 During the old times, people who were accused to be aswangs were all hunted and killed by the villagers.

Currently, with the instruction of modern science some people believe that the myth of the Aswang grew because of certain genetic diseases like X-linked dystonia parkinsonism and Dystonia of Panay.

Some anthropologists who conducted an in depth study believe that the Spaniards created the myth of the Aswang as a way to keep the population in their hands. They told terrifying stories about the creatures living on the outskirts of the forests to discourage Filipino communities from leaving their town so they could keep their power over them.

Photo Credit: The Aswang Project

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