Saturday, May 14, 2011

Malaysian Mythological Beasties

[photo courtesy; Flickr Creative Commons; joost]

So, as anyone who has ever strolled by my blog will know, I love mythological creatures and use them in abundance in my writing. My latest crush is with Malaysian Mythological beasts, commonly known as 'ghosts' in Malaysia.

Why Malaysia you say? Well, I go their fairly regularly to visit family, and two of my books are based at least partly there. Magical Gains, is partially based in Kuching, which is in Malaysian Borneo, and my current work in progress (Magical Redemption)  is based significantly in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia is a fascinating country, where amongst the highrises and designer stores, belief in witchery and the arcane still exists, and superstition is strong.

In my latest novel I've decided to use two myths, that of the Bomoh (witch-doctor's who still exist and practice today) and the pelesit. The pelesit in particular fascinates me because it is essentially an evil grasshopper, who does the bidding of the Bomoh and must be fed blood. Gross huh? If not fed it may reek havoc on society... I'm not sure what havoc a pointy-headed grasshopper filled with an evil spirit could yield but, I don't really want to find out either.

Two other interesting mythological beasties of Malaysia are; the polong and the toyol. The polong often works in league with the pelesit, but of them all, I find the the Toyol the most disturbing. Click on the links and you'll see why! I haven't used either  of them in my writing because I don't have the space nor time to introduce any more paranormal creatures into the book and they're just getting too creepy for me to use!

Bomoh's aren't always bad either. They are often aiding families through to catching 'Djinn' (a race of spirit-beings who sometimes cause trouble in peoples households). The Djinn are caught and placed in bottles... sounds familiar doesn't it? :)

If you want to read something bizarre, read this recent news report on some Bomoh's catching Djinn here.

I find it uttering intriguing that in our science-explaining world, myths and their outrageous creatures haven't completely died out. Amazing huh? ;P

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