The Aswang is a flesh-eating, shapeshifting monster. During the day, Aswangs appear as regular townspeople. Although they’re shy and somewhat reclusive, they can have jobs, friends, and even families. It’s at night people have to worry, for Aswangs shift into eerie predatory forms and go hunting for human prey, preferring children and pregnant women for their flesh and blood.
The Aswang is a cryptid born out of Philippine folklore. Stories of this terrifying creature date back as far back as the 16th century, when Spanish explorers created the first written record of the monster. The explorers noted that of all the monsters in the Philippine folklore, the Aswang was the most feared by native people.
The creature’s name comes from the Sanskrit word “,” meaning demon. This terrifying monster is also sometimes called the tik-tik or the wak-wak. These names come from the sinister sounds the monster is said to make while hunting.
It can take the form of a woman during the day, but at night, it might appear as a bird, a pig, or a dog. Different regional versions of the creature are said to take different forms. The tik-tik and wak-wak become large birds, while the zegben (sometimes described simply as a companion of the monster) takes on the form of a Tasmanian . And as I stated earlier, these monsters have also been reported shifting into pigs and dogs. No matter which animal form it takes, the Aswang differs from a regular animal in various disturbing ways. Most Aswangs have long, proboscis-like tongues, and are frequently described as walking with their feet backward. They have also been depicted as being so thin that they can hide behind bamboo posts. Both the wak-wak version of the Aswang and the manananggals, a different monster, leave behind half of their human torso when they transform into a predatory form during the night.
Besides shapeshifting, Aswangs also can transform into other objects. It’s common for an Aswang to transform plant material into a doppelganger of one of its victims, to hide the evidence of its feeding habits from locals. These doppelgangers might replace corpses, which Aswangs often consume, or they might replace living people. If the doppelganger replaces a living person, it will return to the person’s home, get sick, and die.
Another tactic Aswangs use to disguise themselves is to use sinister vocal tricks. The closer fearsome predator draws to its victim, its call grows quieter and quieter, so its victim is tricked into thinking the monster is getting further away.
The Aswang’s hunting prowess is almost as frightening as its ability to hide itself in plain sight. Aswangs do like to dine on corpses, fetuses, and small children. They often appear at funeral wakes or at the bedside of pregnant women to eat. The Aswang uses its proboscis like tongue to suck blood from its victims or suck a fetus from a pregnant woman’s womb. They also have superhuman strength during the nighttime.
A person transforms into this deadly predator by tying a fertilized chicken egg to his or her stomach. After some time, the chick passes from the egg into the stomach. Once this has happened, the remaining eggshell is buried in a bamboo tube, along with coconut oil and chicken dung. The person now has the powers of an Aswang.
A dying Aswang can also pass its powers along to someone else if it wishes. The Aswang holds its mouth close to a chosen person, and the chick inside the monster’s stomach hops into the mouth of the new person.
The first step towards ridding a town of this deadly assailant is identifying the monster. There are several ways in which you can do this. Aswangs generally have bloodshot eyes, since they have been awake hunting all night. In addition, it is said that if you look directly into an Aswang’s eyes, your reflection will appear upside-down. The most common method of detecting Aswangs, however, involves using albularyos oil, a special oil made of coconuts and holy plants. This oil is said to boil whenever an Aswang is near.
Aswangs are repelled by garlic and religious artifacts like western vampires are, and are at their weakest during the day, while in human form. They can be killed by decapitation or by being struck with a whip made from a sting ray’s tail.