With Halloween just a little over a week away, we have rounded up some of the creepiest ghost stories from South East Asia.
Popular in Thailand and Cambodia, this story focuses on a young woman who walks outside of her house at night, entranced by a red glow in the sky. As she walks towards it, she sees a female head floating in the air, it’s entrails hanging out. Unfortunately, by this time, it’s far too late. This is the Ap, an extremely common legend in ASEAN countries. Some people believe this is the tortured ghost of a woman who has been meddling with black magic or a victim of demonic possession. She is particularly interested in pregnant women, and gorges herself on blood, fetuses, faeces and other such horrors. The only way to keep her out is to hang thorns around your door, to trap her and her innards, and make sure you don’t share any saliva with her or you’re destined to become an Ap yourself.
The Hantu Tetek
Better known as the breast ghost, this is a common tale in Malaysia where young pre-pubescent boys are smothered by a ghost with enormous breasts. It sounds more like a dream come true for many, but she is responsible for many a disappearance of young boys and men. This legend is often used by parents to keep their children inside and is believed to be Hindi in origin.
More tragic than creepy, this Thai story is one that relives many horror tropes typical of Asia, including pregnancy and loss. Mae Nak is a woman who gives birth to her baby whilst her husband is away fighting at war. Unfortunately, both die during childbirth but when the husband returns, he finds both alive and well. Eventually the townspeople told him the truth and he flees from the home. Angry and seeking vengeance, Mae Nak terrorizes the town until eventually she was exorcised. Similar to other stories throughout Malaysia and Indonesia, this ghost reappears throughout the south east, always seeking revenge and always missing her children.
Common in Malaysia and Indonesia, this is a small doll made of human hair and skin that is believed to contain a mischievous spirit that must be fed regularly to keep it under control. It prefers to be fed blood, of course. Keeping the doll satisfied means that your village and home are kept safe and you are guaranteed good fortune.
This is also fairly common in Malaysia and Indonesia, and is the ghost of someone who is desperately looking for someone to cut off their burial shroud. This is supposed to be taken off before burial but if it is left on, it can inhibit the spirit’s ability to pass on. They are not evil but can terrorize people in their quest for the shroud to be removed. Particularly common in Islamic culture throughout South East Asia, this ghost represents the failure to adhere to local tradition and practices.