Artwork by woofer1212.
I was doing research on different types of ghouls & ghosts in Asia, and this particular ghoul seemed to stand out the most.
Pronounced as "Maa- nang- gal", this ghoul of the night is one of the most feared ghosts/ghouls in the Philippines. It is often described as a flying female vampire-like creature with hideous features & a long tongue, and it feeds on babies, toddlers and pregnant women in the deep countryside of the Philippines. (And it would also attack men & women who are traveling alone at night as well.) The stories about this creature are most prevalent in the the Visayan region of the Philippines. (Especially in the western provinces of Capiz, Iloilo, and Antique.)
The creature is said to take human form in the morning, but the upper half of the body would separate from it's lower half at night, and it would return to it's full body in the morning. One of the ways to kill it was to pour salt into it's lower half of the body before it returns in the morning. (Like European vampires, the creature is said to be repulsed by garlic.)
Apparently, the legend & stories of this ghoul has been around for centuries, and it was around long before televison & movies were made about vampires. There were numerous accounts & stories from people in the provincial areas who have claimed to have seen this ghoulish creature. One terrified person claimed that the creature was scratching her closed window & screeching angrily in an attempt to get inside her house. (It's too bad that that lady didn't have a 12 gauge shotgun, and she should have blown a big hole in both the window and into the "Manananggal".) In some of the stories, the ghoul would land at the roof of a house, (Keep in mind though that some of these houses in the deep provincial areas are basically, still grass shacks, and not modern houses.) and would try to lower her long sharp tongue in an attempt to eat the fetus of a sleeping pregnant woman.
There are also other similar legends like the "Manananggal" in the Southeast Asia regions like Indonesia & Malaysia. (Although the ghoul goes by different names in those countries.) In Japan, there is a similar-like flying ghoul creature that is called the, "Nukekubi". (Although in the Japanese version, the ghoul would detach from her head, and the floating head would scream & attack her victims.) I also noticed that the description of the "Manananggal" bears some close similarity to the ancient Greek "Harpies" from the Greek mythologies. (Which makes me wonder if the ancient Greeks really did see something similar, or heard something similar in the past.)
Does this ghoul really exist? It's very easy to dismiss it, and say that it's unlikely in the modern world. But to be frank, I don't know, and I don't think I want to know. I certainly am not going to go out of my way to go & look for it in the Visayan regions. Some of the modern city folks in Manila today will scoff & laugh at the existence of such a ghoul, but the name "Manananggal" is still spoken with great fear in the deep provincial areas in the Philippines to this day. (Some of the country folks to this day, in the deep provincial areas would swear that it exists.) It is not a surprise that this infamous ghoul was the subject of numerous Filipino comics, books, movies, and T.V. shows.
I will say this though, whether this ghoul really exists or not, the stories that I've heard about this ghost/ghoul are far more hair raising & scarier than most of the haunted ghosts stories that I heard in the West.
Interestingly enough, this ghoul has now also appeared in American comics. In the episode 5 of Japanese anime version of the famous vampire hunter, "Blade" from Marvel Comics, "Blade" goes to the Philippines to hunt down a "Manananggal". There's also a popular fan art circulating in the internet of DC Comic's Batman whooping the living arse out of a "Manananggal".