Malaysia Urban Legend – Malaysian Ghosts from the Sabahan

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This post is contributed by C^Lene

Here’s a few things on what I understand of Malaysian Ghosts, from a Sabahan perspective.

  • Hantu Tetek – Anaru Susu (Literally, ‘Long Breasted’) in the Dusun language. Supposedly, she can be identified by her long, shrill whistling, which I guess ayone knows, is no animal if you hear it a night. My mom has actually had an experience when she was younger, where she heard it’s whistle while alone at home, and was taunted by having it whistle at one end of the house, then in a split second hearig it whistle again at the other end. Apparently, as it went on, she began to feel drained, and just as she was falling asleep on the couch (which was in the middle of the house, so she thought it would be fine), she was woken up by my grandmother who had just come home. When she described what happened, my grandmother said that it was a good thing she had woken her up because if she hadn’t, the ghost would have come in and killed her.
  • Orang Bunian – Basically not exactly ghosts, but beings that exist in their reality separate or simply unseen by ours. Think fairies, pixies, Enid Blyton stuff… Anyway, while a lot of folklore do say they are good, they can be dangerous when angered. Their most common way of punishing a person is by ‘hiding’ them, or cloaking them so they’re invisible. There have been many cases (or rather stories) of people disappearing for days only to turn up later saying they were gone for ten minutes, or just around the corner, etc…
  • Hantu Penanggalan – The infamous Balan-balan to Sabahans. Possibly the most famous of ghosts in rural Sabah, even having the district of Kota Belud supposedly famous for their numerous existences there. They prey on pretty much anyone, but have a preference for pregnant women and newborn babies. Personally, in my own home village, we have a road where you can often hear they’re hoarse cackling (a cross between a caw and a laugh) and dogs would howl in succession as if ‘following’ its movements, as well as stories (some from my own relatives) of their presence during their pregnancy, after their pregnancy or during childbirth. It is probably the only ghost type that I don’t dare to dismiss, especially when you see all sorts of people willing to hang lime branches at their doors and windows to ward them off…
  • Hantu Pulos – Or the twisting, or spinning, or rolling ghost. Pulos is Dusun for twisting, and is this ghost’s name due to this ghost being a head that rolls on the ground. Often known to haunt hillsides and rolling down them to pursue its victims, this ghost is also known for its haunting moan/groan/cackle/scream that sounds like a deranged take on a dying cry. Again, my mom has had an experience with this type of ghost, as have a couple of friends and former teachers at my high school.
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One Response to “Malaysia Urban Legend – Malaysian Ghosts from the Sabahan”

  1. Velarry Suan Says:

    Just some additions to your post here. My mother is from the district of Tambunan. She had her own experiences with

    5.Tompu > A shapeshifter. My mother was at the rubber plantation one day. It was a sunny day but it was raining (Hujan Panas) when she was tapping. When you are tapping, you would always bend down to reach the lower part of the rubber tree. After bending for sometime, my mother stood upright to rest. When she was upright, she saw a handsome young man leaning on a rubber tree next to her biting on a “lapus” stem (Rumput Sundal). She got shy instantly and bent down again to continue tapping. She couldnt help herself so she looked again but this time,to her surprise,the guy had turned into a COW! She ran home crying and had fever for a week. She couldnt even get up to go to school.

    6.Tompulalanggoi > A tall and hairy being. He is so tall that he could step over houses on the ground. It has been said that if you lock eyes with this being,you would not be able to move your body.

    7. Ulok-Ulok > A bird during the day, possessed at night! This bird stalks you from outside your window and claw your heart out while you are sleeping. It produces a “Lok! Lok!” sound . When you hear the sound at a high level, its far… and if you hear it’s sound at low level, ITS NEAR!!!! When mom hears this, she tells us to sleep sideways so that the birds would not have a direct hit at your heart. My mother had an experience also with this. One day, she and her parents was spending a night at the orchard. To guard the fruiting trees. When suddenly a circle of fire went around and around the wooden hut they were staying in at the same time making the “Ulok-ulok” sound. My grandpa was so pissed off that he started to bang on the zink walls of the hut but the ball of fire kept on coming. So my grandma took a different approach and threw a piece of meat outside the hut and only then the fire stopped circling …

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