Five Scariest Malaysian Ghosts

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All Hallows’ Eve, or Halloween, is popularly celebrated in western counties.

It is believed that Halloween falls on the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. This, according to Wikipedia, initiates the triduum of Hallowmas, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead. Some even believe, or claim, that this is when spirits roam among the living.

If you believe that this is the day when spirits and ghosts roam freely among the living, do you think they come in the form of vampires, werewolves and witches? What about the local spirits and ghosts? Yes, the locals in Malaysia have their own versions of what these creepy creatures look like and what they are called.

Here are five scary Malaysian ghosts and demons you should know off, just in case you ever come across it.

1) Pontianak

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The Pontianak is the local version of a vampire. They are sometimes referred to as matianak, kuntilanak and kunti. But, unlike the western version of a vampire, the Pontianak is believed to be the spirit of a woman who died while pregnant. In fact, there is a city in Indonesia called Pontianak. It was named after this creature because it apparently haunted the first sultan who lived there.

How to Identify a Pontianak

How to tell you are faced with a Pontianak? Simple, when you see a beautiful pale-skinned woman with long hair and dressed in white, beware. If you are a man, and you come across this sight in the middle of the night in an isolated area, especially when driving alone on a deserted road, do not stop your car. In the village, or in housing areas, one will usually know a Pontianak is near when they hear a baby crying. The softer the crying, the closer the creature is, and the louder the cries get, the further away it is. When the Pontianak is near, you will get the scent of a floral like perfume, followed by an awful stench. During the day, the Pontianak is usually hiding in a banana tree.

What Will It Do?


A Pontianak usually kills by digging into the stomachs of its victims using its sharp nails. If they are seeking revenge against a man, they will rip out the man’s sexual organs. Remember to close your eyes though, because they are known to suck it out.

How Do I Fight it?

The best way to fight against a Pontianak is by plunging a nail into the hole located on the nape of her neck. That is, if you dare get that close.


2) Lang Suir

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Many often get confused between a Pontianak and a Lang Suir. The Lang Suir is sort of related to the Pontianak, but they are considered to be more dangerous. The word Lang Suir is said to be derived from a Malay word for eagle. The Lang Suir is a spirit of a woman who suffered through childbirth, resulting in both mother and baby dying. It is believed that this woman will turn into a Lang Suir, 40 days after her death.

How to Identify a Lang Suir

The Pontianak may appear beautiful at first to draw its victims, especially, men, but a Lang Suir is hideous and downright scary looking. It has red eyes with long sharp nails. They are usually depicted dressed in white or green. The Lang Suir loves to prey on pregnant women.

What Will It Do?


The Lang Suir preys on pregnant women and kills them, or causes them to have a miscarriage. The Lang Suir is usually found wondering near the shore of a river or sea. If they can’t find a human victim, the will settle by eating fish. No, seriously.

How Do I fight it?

Many locals believe that when a woman suffers and dies in childbirth, it is best to place glass beads in the corpse’s mouth. This is to prevent the woman from turning into a Lang Suir. If it is too late to prevent it from turning, just remember that the Lang Suir usually sucks the blood of their victims through a hole behind its neck. So, put the Lang Suir’s hair in this hole, or cut its claws, and they will become human again. Or so it is believed.

3) Pocong

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A Pocong is supposedly the ghost of a dead person trapped in its shroud. Old folklore believes that when a person dies, their soul will still be on earth for 40 days.

How to Identify a Pocong

When a Muslim is buried, their body will be wrapped from head to foot in a white fabric. Like a mummy. The fabric will be tied over the head, under the feet, and on the neck. If the ties are not removed after 40 days, the body will, apparently, jump out from the grave to let people know that its soul needs to be released from its shroud. Because the tie is around its feet, the Pocong will not be able to walk, causing it to hop around.

How to Identify a Pocong

Simple, when you see a mummy like figure hopping about, you will know that it is a Pocong.

What Will It Do?

Nothing. It just wants to warn people that someone needs to remove the ties binding it so it can leave earth, never to return again.

How Do I Fight it?

Do the poor thing a favour and remove its ties. How else will it move on?

4) Hantu Raya

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No, this is not the ghost of Hari Raya. ‘Hantu’ translates to ghost in Malay and ‘Raya’ translates to great in Malay. The Hantu Raya is a strong and dangerous ghost which takes its commands from a human master. Said to be the master of all ghosts, the Hantu Raya is commonly likened to a demon. The Hantu Raya forms a pact with its human owner by providing them power and certain advantages in life such as acquiring wealth. In return, the owner, or master, must provide for the ghost and ensure it has a new owner before dying. This usually ends up with the Hantu Raya being passed down from generation to generation.

How to Identify a Hantu Raya

This is not an easy task but if you observe well, you will find clues pointing in its direction. When its owner dies without untying its bond with the ghost, the owner will suffer tremendously while dying. The Hantu Raya will then take on the form of its owner and roam around for food and a new owner. It only does so at night, and it will also haunt you. People who see this will be confused, thinking that the deceased has come back to life. Another story says that if the owner does not untie its bond with the ghost, they will not be able to die at all. They will suffer and become a living corpse, like a zombie. The Hantu Raya usually eats a type of offering which contains yellow glutinous rice, eggs, roasted chicken, rice flakes and..a doll! They’re also seen drinking the blood of a slaughtered animal.

What Will it Do?

The Hantu Raya can be a tricky one, aside from being dangerous, that is. It will, sometimes, take on the form of its owner, when the owner is still alive, and sleep with the owner’s partners!
As instructed by its owners, the Hantu Raya is capable of harming people, possessing, causing death and miscarriages.

How Do I Fight it?

We are not too sure about this. As mentioned above, the Hantu Raya is usually passed down from generation to generation. If you know of a way of getting rid of this, do let us know. Until then, just pray your family does not hand you a ghost for your birthday.

5) Pelesit

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Pelesit is another kind of inherited spirit or demon which works under a master. It is said to be the female version of the Hantu Raya. It gives its owner great power, and is usually kept by women who uses it for protection, guidance, and yes, to harm other people as well.

How to Identify a Pelesit

The Pelesit is commonly associated with grasshoppers because it can easily turn into one. So if you see a green, sharp pointed-head grasshopper, squash it with your boots. Or better yet, just run away.

What Will it Do?

The owner of a Pelesit will usually use it for monetary gains. Usually controlled by a shaman, or bomoh, in Malay, the Pelesit will be ordered to attack a random person, making people believe that a bomoh is needed to exorcise the spirit in its victim. Once the bomoh has “exorcised” the Pelesit from the victim, they will be paid a sum of money as a token of appreciation.  This may sound harmless, but it is not. Things can go wrong and all hell may break lose. The Pelesit is a dark spirit. It feeds on blood, usually that of its master, and basically causes fear by terrorizing people. The Pelesit must always have an owner, which means it will have to be passed down from one generation to the next. It needs to be taken care of constantly and fed. If not, the demon will create havoc in the area it is kept in, especially when its master has passed on and it has no one to hang on to.

How Do I Fight it?

We are not sure on how you would fight this one as well. The best you can do, if you find yourself with a Pelesit thanks to your ancestors, is to take care of it properly. If you know of a way to get rid of it, do let us know.

Homepage highlight photo credit: fotografoil, Flickr

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