Here in the Philippines, there is a folklore and urban legend regarding a creature called a “Manananggal”, a winged female vampire creature that can detach from its torso and fly at night, returning to human or animal form in the day. It has a long tongue that it can shoot out to snatch a fetus out of a pregnant woman, or the heart out of a human victim. It also has the ability to morph into animals such as cats and pigs. Some say the Manananggal is its own species, others say that they used to be human. In Malaysia they also have a similar creature with a similar name.
Wikipedia has an entry on this creature and its legend, which you can read at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manananggal
Now, the concept of such a creature existing is fantastic to say the least, and people of reason and rationality would naturally be skeptical about it. But the thing is, it’s not just a mere urban legend or folklore here in the Philippines. There are many real people who swear they’ve seen it or had an encounter with it.
My girlfriend’s family is one of them. Not only does her whole family claim that they’ve seen a Manananggal, but they also claim that they’ve done BATTLE with it on two occasions! Hmmmm (clearing throat). They are very down to earth sincere people, and yes like most Filipino families, they are very superstitious. But this isn’t about belief in a superstition. They claim to have had two firsthand encounters and fights with this creature! The story is that when my girlfriend was a baby in her mom’s tummy, the Manananggal creature came and tried to snatch the unborn child with its tongue, for food, one night. The whole family tried to fight it off and yelled for help. Soon the rest of the neighborhood came with sticks to beat the creature away, eventually succeeding.
Then when my girlfriend was 6, the family had another similar encounter with one too.
They are not joking about it, and swear to it to this day. In fact, my girlfriend’s mom even saw the creature morph into a pig as it was withdrawing! She is serious.
The thing is, like the Bigfoot legend, lots of people claim to have seen it, yet no one can capture one, present the dead body of one, or take a good clear photo of it. There’s always an excuse.
As of now, the Manananggal is said not to be inhabiting this town anymore, as it’s become too populated for the creature. I guess if there’s too many people around, the creature no longer has the element of surprise on its side and has a hard time hiding out. It’s said that these creatures migrated south to the forest areas of the Visayas islands, and that’s where you have to go nowadays to see one. Convenient huh?
So what do you think? Does this creature really exist? Or is it a case of mass hysteria and fabricated memories? My girlfriend’s family doesn’t seem like the type to lie though. They are very sincere, down to earth people, but they are superstitious.
But Filipino families seem to be like a symbiotic unit. There is little quarreling or struggles for power. If one person thinks something, it’s likely that the other family members agree on it. Rather than assert themselves to others, they are taught to get along in peace and harmony.
Any explanations? Do you know anyone in the Philippines that has seen a Mananangal? If so, did their story sound credible?