Ad art from the Hong Kong film Fèi taugh mò néuih (The Witch with Flying Head).
Gender Female
Region Malaysia
Habitat Towns
Active Night
Diet Human flesh and blood

The Penanggalan (aka Krasue or Manananggal) is a humanoid monster resembling an older, yet beautiful woman. However, at night she detaches her head from her torso, and levitates the head while trailing her spine and internal organs from her neck. She can manipulate each of these organs like an octopus's tentacles to help her remove obstacles in her path, and often grows out her hair to assist her as well. In this detached state, she preys on the townspeople while they sleep. With a mouthful of fangs, the Penanggalan will devour newborn infants, although she also may choose to simply drink the blood of either newborns or women who have recently given birth.

Various defenses one can use include attaching onions and cloves of garlic to one's windows to ward her off, as well as attaching peices of a thorny bush to catch her entrails as she tries to come in. However, her real weakness is her torso. When she detaches her head, her body begins to decompose very quickly, so she stores it in a container filled with vinegar to keep it fresh. If one applies ash or a crushed garlic paste to this empty body, the Penanggalan will die at once.


An ordinary human woman can be transformed into a Penanggalan through means of a demonic curse, or through use of black magic as a way to stay beautiful forever. However, sometimes a Penanggalan is created when a woman is greatly startled by a visitor while praying. When she turns her head around quickly, sometimes her head pops off and she becomes this evil spirit.

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