Friday, April 8, 2016
The Penanggal Of Ayer Itam Dam (水坝上的飞头鬼)
The Ayer Itam I meant here refers to suburb of George Town, Penang. Ayer Itam has a dam which was built in 1914 and it is in operation until today. The purpose of me mentioning Ayer Itam Dam is not to promote tourism, only to mention that this dam is reputedly to be haunted by a ‘penanggal’ or otherwise known as the ‘flying head ghost’.
In case you are not familiar with penanggal, it is actually half-human and half-spirit kind of creature. It is said that some Malay bomoh (shaman) would practise this kind of black magic. During certain days of a month, the bomoh’s head would severe from the body and flies out from the house in search of human blood and internal organs. This flying head normal can be seen flying in the air with its internal organs dangling beneath. Anyone who is bitten by this penanggal will die; but a penanggal would normally attack pregnant ladies and small kids. If this penanggal failed to return to its body by dawn, it will die.
Some lucky early bird dam joggers would have a chance to witness this creature around 6am or so. The locals believe that this penanggal at Ayer Itam Dam normally flies inside and around the forest looking for preys. There are people who claimed to have seen a head with eerie green glow traversing the dam at dawn probably it want to return to the owner’s body before sun rise.
About two decades ago, a few friends of mine who had nothing good to do and somehow ghost hunting became their favorite pastime. So a group of them ventured to the Ayer Itam Dam during one full moon night to wait for the fying head ghost. They brought together with them a large fish net and some mengkuang leaves for protection.
At first they waited on the dam in a large group, but after an hour or so; nothing appeared except many fruit bats hovering on top of their heads. While waiting for the penanggal, about 5 of them used the fishnet to cover themselves just in case. So they waited and waited until it was around 5am and they heard a very awful human-like shriek. Almost immediately after the shriek, an object flew past their heads.
Their natural instinct made all of them raised their heads and all of them saw the legendary flying head with its internal organs! As the flying head went past above my friends’ face; some slimy liquid dripped onto their faces. According to my friends, they didn’t know what the liquid was but it smelled like blood.
All of them were extremely frightened; they immediately stood up and started to run… But they have forgotten the fishnet. So as the group started to run and they all were entangled inside the fishnet; all fell onto the ground in a big bundle.
My friends stayed in the bundle until some joggers discovered them and cut them loose. All of my pals fell sick for one month and they claimed to have bad luck for three whole years! No wonder old folks would advise us not to hang our clothes outside at night...