Tag Archives: monsters

Manananggal

CONTEXT/BACKGROUND:
The interlocutor (JP) is the mother of the interviewer (INT). She and her family grew up in Bacolod, Philippines, and lived there up until she moved to Los Angeles in her twenties.

DESCRIPTION: (told in person)
(JP): “The manananggal is this mythical creature that separates from their lower body. She usually has fangs and wings, like um… a vampire witch, and she likes to hunt for her victims at night.

Most of her victims are pregnant people since she can such the blood or heart out of the fetuses, or, um…. or even the mother, but she also will attack newlyweds and abandoned grooms. A lot of people who fear the manananggal will put out salt, holy water, or garlic to keep her away from their home. She also doesn’t like the sun, I think.

Some people say that since the manananggal leaves her severed legs just standing in the middle of the forest… if you see the legs, you should sprinkle salt or ashes or even put garlic where the body is supposed to meet. And they say that…if you do that, you will kill her.”

FINAL THOUGHTS/OBSERVATIONS:
There’s a lot of similarities between the manananggal and other monsters and legendary figures we’ve studied, such as the Balkan vampire. While there may not be a distinct cultural connection, it’s definitely interesting how different cultures can come up with similar mythical creatures that are meant to scare people. It definitely reflects the cultural fears people have. In this case, based on the fact that the manananggal is represented as a woman with the ability to suck blood or eat fetus hearts, I believe the manananggal could possibly reflect a fear of miscarriages or other issues regarding childbirth, as well as divorce or young relationships being ruined.

The Rougarou

Informant: “Ok, I don’t know a lot, except that when I was a child, I had these, you know, grandparents that were both from Cajun country. These big Cajun families. One of them had seven siblings and one of them had nine. And so I had all these aunts and uncles who were Cajun aunts and uncles, and the two most mischievous of them were Clarence and Lawrence who were twins. They were about five-foot-eight and they were twins, and were always causing trouble, and they used to tell us all the time, all the kids, the next generation, the grandkids, that we better be careful and not go out late at night and behave ourselves or the Rougarou would get us. 

And the Rougarou was like a big, like wolf kind of thing, and he lived in the swamps. He got the children when they were bad or when they were out when they weren’t supposed to be, or doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing. It was a generally known thing in Cajun country, the Rougarou.

I was terrified as a child. It kept me in line a little but, until I was old enough to know that they were just old nutty Clarence and Lawrence, but it was pretty scary, like there was this big hairy creature in the swamp. And there were swamps everywhere, I mean, thats like saying in the backyard theres a monster.”

The legend of the Rougarou is a common one in Cajun country, and is used primarily to scare children into obedience.