If you love the supernatural, there is one creature that stands above the rest. The Manananggal can separate in half, fly, grow fangs and claws, and loves to prey on pregnant women.
Most paranormal stories focus on vampires, witches, werewolves, and banshees. But have you ever heard about a half-person flying about and hunting during the night? This is one supernatural entity that we need to discuss.
What Is The Manananggal?
This supernatural creature called the manananggal gets its name from the Tagalog language – a dialect derived from the Philippines. The word means separator or remover and is quite fitting because this monster literally separates itself into two halves.
That might seem like a masochistic and cruel thing to do to oneself, but Philippine myths do not mention whether this creature feels any pain during the process. This makes it different than the werewolf.
How Does The Manananggal Fly?
The manananggal tears themselves in two in order to be able to fly. Once the upper part is free of the lower torso, the manananggal is able to grow wings, fangs, and claws. Their organs and intestines remain inside the upper half of their body and literally just hang down freely. What a sight!
They move freely among the crowd and often disguise themselves as beautiful women. Most folklore describes these creatures as unrecognizable. But here’s the trick – they aren’t always women! The manananggal can be men as well.
The most beloved prey of manananggals is pregnant women. These women are in the most danger when they are asleep. These creatures usually hunt during the night, but they choose their victims during the day.
The monsters target pregnant women because they are after women’s blood and fetuses’ hearts. In addition to wings and claws, manananggals have very long hollow tongues that they use to suck the hearts of the unborn babies and the blood of soon-to-be mothers.
Manananggals hunt for blood, like vampires, and eat fetuses, but they also love to devour the intestines of grown people – hearts, stomachs, and livers.
Men in love, newlyweds, and men, in general, can become prey to these creatures. Disguised as charming women, the manananggals lure men into dark, isolated places and then eat them alive.
They may target men out of revenge as some myths state that a manananggal was abandoned at the altar.
Recognizing the Danger
How do you know if there is a manananggal nearby? By the sound of their flapping wings. It’s usually described as “tik-tik”. The quieter the sound is, the closer the manananggal is. It’s a tactic the creatures use to confuse their victims and reassure them that the danger has passed.
Some people call manananggals Tik-tik because of this trait.
All supernatural creatures have an Achilles heel. It’s nature’s way to balance things out, and manananggals aren’t an exception.
You can kill the monster by preventing the manananggal from reuniting their body parts before dawn. Like vampires, manananggals can’t survive daylight, but that applies only to their monster form. If a manananggal didn’t find its lower part before the dawn, it dies. If you can find the lower torso, you can hide it, wait until sunrise, and then expose it.
Another way to ensure that manananggal doesn’t put itself together (literally) is to put some smashed garlic, ash, or salt on the open wound of the lower torso. The manananggal won’t be able to get whole again as they hate these things.
They are also vulnerable to daggers, vinegar, and stingray tails. And the best way to keep manananggals from entering your house is to put some salt, ash, or raw rice around your home.
Becoming A Manananggal
It’s believed that manananggals all start out as humans. But they turn into monsters because a black chick that resides in their stomachs and keeps them alive. The creatures crave human flesh because the chick eats some of their entrails once it enters the body, and manananggals have to feed the chick by consuming other people’s intestines.
Once a manananggal is no longer powerful enough to keep feeding the black chick, they have to pass the chick to another person. It’s usually passed to a family member.
But the good news is that the process is reversible. To prevent someone from becoming a manananggal, you have to hang the infected person from a tree and spin them until they throw the black chick up.
Movies and TV shows
The Manananggal myth is very popular in the Philippines, and numerous horror movies are proof of that.
Here are some movies you can watch if you want to see manananggals in action:
- Manananggal in Manila (1997)
- Impaktita (1989)
- The Aswang Phenomenon (2011)
- Shake Rattle & Roll IV (1992)
The manananggals also appeared in some TV series: