Saturday, 22 December 2012

Poison Tips

Food that one cannot eat together include prawns and vitamin C, which will cause arsenic poisoning; cold remedy and Coke, which will cause poisoning; eggs and saccharin; tofu and honey, which will cause deafness; kelp and coagulated pig blood, which will cause constipation; potatoes and banana, which will cause freckles; beef and brown sugar, which will lead to abdominal distention; dog meat and eels, which will lead to death; mutton and mud snails, which will lead to retention of food; celery and rabbit meat, which will lead to alopecia; tomatoes and green beans, which will undermine vigor; and goose meat and pear, which will injure one's kidney.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Ethiopian spider

An American mercenary, an old African hand, once told me that in Ethiopia there is a spider that eats only living flesh. It's called the camel spider and is equipped with a prong on its back that emits a local anaesthetic. He told me that at night the camel spider descends while you sleep, gives you a shot, and eats your lips. I slept with my hand over my mouth.

Source: Donald R Katz, "Ethiopia After the Revolution: Vultures Return to the Land of Sheba",  Rolling Stone, 21 September 1978

Prophesying newborns

On Friday, word spread that shortly after a woman delivered twins at the Tirupur Government Hospital, one of the babies died and the surviving baby mysteriously spoke, warning that  an evil spell has been cast due to which several infants would die. After delivering the "message of death", the baby too died. Within no time some people performed special pooja and started breaking coconuts smeared with turmeric outside their homes to ward off evil.
[...] By evening many junctions in the town were filled with broken coconut shells. Incidentally most of these coconuts were broken at junctions where three roads meet, which parents believed was the "entry gate" for Satan.

Source: IBN Live, 27 August 2012

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Melting money

Canada's new polymer $50 and $100 dollar notes melt in intense heat. There have been reports of wads of notes melting together when left inside hot cars, or in metal tins.


Monday, 9 July 2012

The enemy beneath the streets

HWASEONG, South Korea — “Some people think I’m crazy,” says Kim Jin-cheul, a Christian preacher who is convinced that North Korean soldiers are digging tunnels that extend under the capital, Seoul, 30 miles from the border, and have reached this town, 10 miles farther south, where he ministers to a congregation of nine families.

“Imagine hordes of crack North Korean troops streaming out and taking the whole city hostage!”

[…] The narrator in a video shown to visitors intones: “Listen carefully. You might hear a faint noise from a motor running in the dark underground.” He continues, “As long as underground provocations continue, there can be no true peace above the ground.”

Few take this exhortation more to heart than the Rev. Lee Jong-chang, 78, a Roman Catholic priest and veteran tunnel hunter. “I am doing this work so that we won’t have another war and nobody will be hurt,” he said.

Father Lee said he was helping villagers find ground water with dowsing skills he had learned from a French missionary when the government asked him and other civilian experts to join the military’s search for tunnels in 1974. He was awarded a presidential medal for helping find the second tunnel, in 1975.

He has since made hundreds of field trips with his dowsing rod, pursuing what he calls a mission from God. Some church authorities disapproved of the extracurricular activity and sent him to Ecuador as a missionary from 1987 to 1989. That failed to weaken his resolve.
[…] “With my rod, I can see underground as vividly as a good doctor reads a patient with his stethoscope,” Father Lee said. “But some people and the military call me superstitious.”

Thursday, 28 June 2012


Doctor Brown: Here comes I old Doctor Brown
                         The best old doctor in the town.
Anon:               Well doctor what can you cure?
Doctor Brown: I can cure the plague, within, without,
                         Also the palsy and the gout,
                         Bring me an old woman, three score and ten
                         The knuckle joint of a big toe broke,
                         I'll take it off and put it on again.
Anon:               Well done doctor. What is your medicine?
Doctor Brown: A wee bottle in my waistcoat pocket called:
                         Hens pens, peezy weezy,
                         Bumbie's bacon, donkey's treacle,
                         Sap of the poker, juice of the tongs,
                         Three turkey's eggs, nine miles long.
                         Put that in a mouse's blather,
                         Stir it up with a wild pig's feather.
                         Put three drops in Jack's ear
                         And he'll get up and sing a song!
Jack:                 Once I was dead but now I'm alive,
                         God bless the old doctor who made me survive.

Or, in another version:
MC:                  And what can you cure, Doctor?
Doctor Broon:  I can cure all sorts.
MC:                  And what kind o all sorts.
Doctor Broon:  Liquorice allsorts. I've got a little bottle
                         here of inksy pinksy parleyvous, all covered
                         over wi cats' feathers and midges' ribs.
                         I shall put a little on his nose.
                         I shall put a little on his toes.
                         Rise up Jack and sing a song ...

from Galoshins Remembered, ed. Emily Lyle (Edinburgh: NMS, 2011)

Friday, 15 June 2012

Woman orally impregnated by octopus

A 63-year-old woman became 'pregnant' with 12 baby squid after eating calamari, according to a claim in a bio-tech report.

The real-life 'octo-mum', from South Korea, was eating a portion of cooked whole squid when she felt a sharp pain in her mouth.

The bizarre claim has been made in a scientific paper from the National Center for Biotechnology Information in Bethesda, Maryland.

The lady told doctors that she could feel something in her mouth which they described as 'bug-like organisms'.

When examined, the doctors found 'baby cephalopods' attached to her mouth. These are small pods, covered in a cement-like material to make them stick.

Inside the pods is an 'ejaculatory apparatus' and sperm - with the apparatus expelling the sperm quite forcefully.

After the victim of the 'attack' was hospitalised, doctors removed the baby cephalopods from her gums, tongue and cheek. It was only then that the pods were formally identified as 'squid spermatophores.'

The Center's paper says: 'She did not swallow the portion, but spat it out immediately. She complained of a pricking and foreign-body sensation in the oral cavity.

'Twelve small, white spindle-shaped, bug-like organisms stuck in the mucous membrane of the tongue, cheek, and gingiva [gums] were completely removed, along with the affected mucosa. 

'On the basis of their morphology and the presence of the sperm bag, the foreign bodies were identified as squid spermatophores.'

According to Science 2.0, a spermatophore is similar to a cup of semen.

The site adds that there is still mystery around how spermatophores are implanted into the skin.

A similar case was reported in December last year when a woman in Japan suffered severe pains in her mouth after eating raw squid.

She took the remaining piece of squid with her to the Tosei General Hospital, the NCBI reports, and sperm bags were removed.

Incidents involving the impregnation of human mouths appear to be confined to the Far East where, generally, more raw fish is eaten.

When squid is prepared in the west, internal organs are removed meaning there is no risk of eating spermatophores.

Danna Staaf, a squid enthusiast from Science 2.0, said: 'The skin on your hands, and most of the rest of your body, is much too thick to get stuck.

'I've probably had hundreds of spermatophores ejaculate on my fingers and never felt a sting.' [...]

Fireworks and tinned peaches to save children from Heaven's revenge for earthquakes

BEIJING, June 7 (Xinhua) -- A rumour spread in recent days saying that people need to set off firecrackers and eat canned peaches to save their children. […]

The rumour originated in Cangzhou city, Hebei province, at the end of May and spread across the region, even to the suburbs of Beijing. It came after a 4.8-magnitude earthquake on May 28 jolted north China's Tangshan, the city 200 km northeast of Beijing in which 240,000 people were killed in a 7.8-magnitude quake in 1976.

Locals heard that some of their renowned temples had been damaged or destroyed during the small quake. Some were urged to believe that Heaven will take away their children in compensation for the loss of the sacred buildings. The belief came about that only fireworks and packaged fruit could save their youngsters from this vengeance.

Soon, many rural and urban families in Hebei and the southern outskirts of Beijing were filling the air with the distinctive sound of firecrackers, and canned yellow peaches were snapped up at markets.

The press office of Hebei provincial government responded several days later on its microblog account that there was no damage to any temples or pagodas, urging the public not to believe or disseminate the rumour. […]

Base metal into gold

KARACHI/TURBAT: Thousands of old one-rupee coins were sold for millions of rupees in the Makran region on Tu
esday in what became a ‘gold rush’ in the area. Throughout the day, people spent their time looking for the humble golden-coloured coin which was being sold for as much as Rs1,000 in some cases -- though no one quite knew why. It was rumoured later in the day that it was being smuggled to Iran which was buying it because “it contained uranium”. Regardless of whether or not there was any truth in the story, the frenzy persisted all day.

“I had heard another rumour in the morning that jewellers are buying it because it’s full of gold,” said Murad Baloch, a beggar in Turbat. “I don’t care about rumours. I sold 150 for Rs45,000 and bought myself a new motorbike.” He thinks he has earned it for he has been begging for coins all his life. [...]

[…] “At least seven people have asked me for the old coins since the morning,” said Ahmed, a paan-shop owner on Tuesday. “I don’t understand what the deal is.” A man offered up to Rs. 1,000 for a single coin to Ahmed, who finds it anything but believable. And he is not alone. Many paanwalas and shopkeepers told the News about being piqued by people asking for the all-but-worthless copper coin that the State Bank stopped issuing about a year ago. There were also reports that the asking price for a coin had reached Rs 2,500 on Wednesday. […] Syed Wasimuddin, chief spokesperson for the State Bank of Pakistan, said that he first found out about the rumour from a regional Sindhi newspaper which called him for his version. “It started in the interior of Sindh. The rumour is that the government has inadvertently mixed gold in the making of the ‘brown’ old coins which it soon realised and immediately stopped issuing.” 

Source: The News International, 7 June 2012

Subsequent follow-up reports in the Express Tribune, The News International, the Telegraph and Forbes.

Menstrual blood as weapon of class war

Maid who spiked coffee with menstrual blood jailed

SINGAPORE: The Indonesian maid who served her former employer coffee spiked with menstrual blood has been sentenced to a month's jail.

24-year-old Jumiah, who goes by one name, admitted to spiking her then-employer's coffee with her discharge on August 31, 2011 at about 6.30am.

Court documents showed that Jumiah said the victim's mother was "very demanding" and she was made to re-do her work if it fell below expectations.

Jumiah, who had worked in the household since July last year, requested for a change of employer but was rejected.

So the maid resorted to mixing her menstrual discharge with her employer's coffee as she remembered being told by a friend that the mixture would make a person nicer.

She stored her discharge in a plastic bottle for 5 days before serving it to the victim.

The bottle was discovered by the victim's mother on the day of the incident.

Jumiah was confronted thrice before admitting to have done so.

In submissions, assistant public prosecutor Lim Yu Hui asked for a deterrent sentence as the act was pre-meditated.

APP Lim added that Jumiah abused her position of trust and lied to cover up her deed when confronted.

She said that there was no ill conduct on the part of the employer and his family and that the act has caused much anguish to them.

In mitigation, Jumiah told the court through a translator that she's "very remorseful" and has" apologised over the foolish act".

She pleaded for leniency so she can go back home for Hari Raya.

In sentencing, district judge said fortunately no serious harm was done, but he agreed that a deterrent message must be sent to domestic helpers and ordered Jumiah to be jailed for a month.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The deeds of heroes

1,383 teeth extracted 'by the same hand'

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sweet snake water

Management of Everpure Purified Drinking Water has vehemently debunked wild allegations that the fast growing company has giant snakes in its huge water tanks.

The allegations are that the snakes make the water pure and sweet to drink. [...]

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Spirits of Thai female warriors warn that island will sink

Rumours that spooked Phuket locals into believing the island was on the verge of armageddon came to an abrupt end yesterday when the latest hysteria about the island ''sinking'' proved to be nonsense.

In fact, many locals and tourists were shaking their heads in disbelief that so many were drawn into the hype.

Motorcycle taxi driver Sawang said he was amazed that people with much more education than him would believe such an absurd rumour.

"Just use your common sense and you will know that it is impossible," said Mr Sawang, a native to Patong Beach with a Prathom 4 education.

But as the rumour spread across the island, many tourists and Mr Sawang's customers decided to play it safe by leaving the island behind.

Since a 4.3-magnitude earthquake struck Phuket nearly two weeks ago, fears of earthquakes and tsunamis – among tourists and residents – heightened with the rumour that the island would face bad fortune and sink yesterday.

Mr Sawang had no idea where the rumour came from. The word was the two revered female warriors – Thao Thep Kasat Tri and Thao Sri Sunthon, who fought and saved Phuket from a Burmese invasion in the late 1700s – had told a person who communicates with spirits that the island would sink and people should leave.

Mr Sawang said he respected the two spirits but didn't believe the rumour because the island is too big to suddenly sink.

"It's not like a tree that you can cut down," Mr Sawang said.

The story was also covered by Phuket News, 29 April 2012

Friday, 20 April 2012

The breast-sucking turtle

The urban myth surrounding a breast-sucking turtle allegedly forced onto young women by an unknown man has once again resurfaced after a Tsumeb resident and alleged victim, Lina Sames, related her ordeal on the NBC Damara/Nama radio service this week. Sames featured on Monday on the weekly radio programme ‘Crime and Society’, presented by Johannes Mushindi, alleging that she was forced by a middle-aged Indian man to breastfeed a small turtle that grew bigger with every suck.

During the interview conducted by Mushindi and Sergeant Siegfried Geiseb of the Windhoek City Police, Sames narrated how she hitched a lift from Tsumeb on 11 April with the alleged perpetrator to visit a friend in Otavi, 60 kilometers away. After the visit to Otavi, the two reportedly returned to Tsumeb together, agreeing to meet the following day at a popular hotel. On 12 April, Sames and her new acquaintance purportedly drove towards Grootfontein before coming to a halt half-way between the two towns.

Sames, a domestic worker, related how the mysterious man suddenly produced a live turtle, no bigger than the average grown up’s hand and pressed the reptile against the victim’s right breast. “It proceeded to suck, while at the same time growing bigger. I was then forced to drink blood from the turtle,” a traumatized Sames said.

According to Inspector Kauna Shikwambi of the Police Public Relations division, Sames was in a state of shock upon admission to the Oshakati State Hospital and was unable to give a coherent statement to the police. “I was informed that she was so hysterical that she even left her medication upon her release on 16 April,” says Shikwambi.

Inspector Mathee of the Tsumeb police station also acknowledged the incident and confirmed to Informanté that a case was opened, but declined to provide the case number without permission from the Oshikoto Regional Crime Coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Naomi Katjiua. The Commissioner however denied any knowledge of the strange incident.

A neighbour and friend of Sames, known only as Marianne, also confirmed to this reporter the factuality of the reported incident. Sames, who has no mobile and was reported to have been at work at the time of enquiry, could not be reached for comment. The folklore surrounding the breast-sucking turtle first surfaced late last year, after a young woman was lured with the promise of a shopping spree into breast-feeding a turtle on the northern outskirts of Windhoek. Although she was rumoured to have been admitted to Windhoek state hospital and later died, this could not be verified.

The deadly Sphinx

[…] In the year 1802, the emblem of the "Sphinx" was conferred upon the regiments “that helped to defeat Napoleon’s Army in Egypt in the previous year” as a battle honour. […]

Around the same time in a part of the world far removed from the Napoleonic wars a very different drama was unfolding. Both the nomadic and settled populations of Balochistan were experiencing a horrific predicament. It began with stray goats and cattle going missing.

Then, people began to disappear with no apparent cause or explanation. The young, the old, men and women, lonely travellers and shepherds alike fell prey to this unknown scourge. Even the newly dead were not safe and their bodies were dug up and seemingly devoured. Sometimes, mauled and mutilated bodies and crushed bones were discovered, at other times there was no trace at all. Clearly a beast, nay, a monster was preying on the living and dead alike. Some claimed to have seen it, they said that it walked on two legs and sometimes even ran on all four. It was huge and menacing and had a roar that would stop a heart from beating. The locals gave it a name that, in retrospect, doesn’t sound very menacing.

They called it the “mum” and despite its somewhat cuddly name, bone chilling stories of its boundless hunger kept circulating and still exist in oral traditions. Even as recently as the 1980s, as a child I remember my own mum threatening me with the possible arrival of this other “mum” whenever I used to be mischievous. Oblivious to the details of the Balochi version, I used to brush aside the possibility of another mum being more frightening than my own mum, when  she really wanted to be.

Here’s where these two tales intersect…

Back in the days of the British Raj, Quetta, the current capital of Balochistan, was a beautiful little town. It was the western most cantonment of British India and provided easy access to Afghanistan as the border was much closer as compared to that of today. In fact, the border kept shifting until the boundary commission fixed one permanently, in the shape of the Durand Line. The beautifully constructed colonial buildings, the cherry blossoms and the snowfalls of Quetta earned it the nickname of ‘Little London’. With the high-stakes geopolitical drama, known as “the Great Game” going on, both the Russian and the British empires had their eyes set on Afghanistan. More and more British regiments were being allocated to the Anglo-Afghan wars, among them the elite soldiers who had beaten ol’ Boney back in Egypt. They marched proudly into Afghanistan carrying the Sphinx insignia, but sadly for them, this was no Egypt. The Anglo-Afghan wars proved to be very costly for the British and their men were being slaughtered by the hundreds. Some of the dead from Afghanistan were eventually brought to Quetta for burial and a memorial was erected to honour them. And what else to guard the monument, than the insignia of their parent regiment — a relic of their past glory to crown their fall. The Sphinx! With the construction of this stone lion with the head of a human, the locals could finally put a face to their hitherto faceless terror. The Egyptian sphinx was now the Baloch Mum.

Interestingly, the legend and the statue jelled together very well. Legend had it that the Quetta Mum was a female of the variety that had been left behind when others of her species moved on due to increasing human encroachments.

It was said that she came to life during the nights and hunted for prey, which she used to take up to a cave on the Murdar Ghar peak in the hills behind the cantonment area. This fit perfectly with the fact that the graveyard sphinx sat as still as, well, a statue during the day. Who knew what it got up to during the night? Such was it’s notoriety that even in post-partition Quetta, much of the local population avoided passing alone at night along the Baleli Road where the “Gora” qabrastan (Christian Cemetery) is situated.

However, it was this very notoriety that spelled its unfortunate demise. In the 1990s, the statue was smashed during a protest against the destruction of the Babri Masjid. An enraged mob decided to take revenge on the poor Mum for preying on their ancestors for all those centuries. […]

Olympic floater passed from ring to ring

Enormous Olympic rings have started popping up in London. There's a set at St Pancras, another recently floated down the Thames, and a third set will be suspended at Tower Bridge.

We're told that there's something special about one of the rings. Someone involved in their construction had a bit of a downer on the whole Olympics in London thing. So he took a shit inside one of the rings. And then had it welded shut.

Vampires, cannibals and monkey-men

Vampires and cannibals prey on fear in Mumbai

Over the past week, the fertile imagination of Mumbai's collective consciousness has been in the feverish grip of some dreaded creatures. Vampires, cannibals and monkey men all appear to have chosen the city as the site for their spring rendezvous. While Mumbai cowers under the covers, cops are having a hard time laying their fears to rest.

In Bhandup-Mulund,  rumours swirl that a tribal group is on the prowl to snatch kids. Imaginations run wild in Ghatkopar-Sakinaka-Marol-Andheri, where residents claim to have seen "vampire-like-creatures". Another fantastical rumour doing the rounds in Andheri-Malad concerns a "monkey man", who"kills people". And residents of Chembur-Trombay are convinced that hungry cannibals lie in ambush nearby.

Mumbai police have been inundated with reports of sightings of these creatures, but have found no evidence to substantiate them. As mass hysteria sweeps the city, terror-stricken residents are caving into fear and altering their daily lives.

Take Vrinda Thakur (name changed). She didn't send her 12-year-old son to school on Thursday, petrified by the news that a group of tribal child-snatchers who have entered the Chembur belt and were kidnapping kids.

"Last night, many people in my area were on the streets. They told me that there are cannibals lurking in the streets, looking for kids to kidnap. I got scared, and decided not to send my son to school," she said.

Residents too prefer to stay indoors after twilight. "We have heard many rumours. There is a group of criminals who enter the colonies, only to kill and loot people. I also hear that the police has taken in many people for questioning," said Dr Vijay Sangole, resident of Pestom Sagar.

L Mandalia, a resident from Andheri (East) said, "A friend told me that he knows of a man who had an encounter with a vampire-like creature in Andheri, and since then has called in sick." Cops, however attributed these to rumours. They have tightened patrolling measures, just in case. Qaisar Khalid, additional commissioner of police, Central Zone, confirmed that such rumours were making the rounds.

"The rumour originated in Mulund-Bhandup, and then spread like wildfire. We are adopting the ignore-and-kill-strategy ” whenever we receive a complaint, we go there, explain to the residents that there is no substance to their claims as no one has seen anything. This way, we hope to kill the rumours," he said.

Source: Mid-day, 24 February 2012
Similar rumours, sometimes with racist overtones, subsequently spread across the region, and are reported in the Hindustan Times, DNA, The Indian Express and the Times of India  

Spring-heeled monkey men

The Bhandup cops were hauled up by the police top brass last week for falling prey to rumours that ‘monkey men’, who could climb tall trees with ease and jump over rooftops, were trying to break into homes and kill residents before committing robberies. […] Policemen were visiting shoe shops in the area in an attempt to identify whether "shoes with special springs" were being manufactured there, sources revealed. […]

“For a few weeks, rumours were floated by some people in Bhandup (West) that have been causing a lot of inconvenience to local residents. They said ‘monkey men’, who were capable of jumping great lengths and climbing tall trees, were prowling around the area to commit violent robberies. With the civic polls coming up, various political parties had also seized upon the opportunity to create patrolling squads of their own,” said a senior Mumbai Police officer, who did not wish to be named. “The Assistant Commissioner of Police of the area ordered men to go to shoe shops and conduct enquiries about shoes that had special springs built into the soles to make people jump to great heights."

Monday, 9 April 2012

Sunday, 5 February 2012

A chain letter

This chain letter was received through the post by Fred del Topo in January 2012:

With this piece of paper, I am giving Tom Zimmer back his Music Shoe and Sex Shoe and taking my Music Shoe and Sex Shoe back from Paddy Lordon.  
Amanda Shiraishi Mullins photocopy this and pass it on.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Earthquake turns sleepers to stone

Rumours force people to flee homes

KANPUR: Rumours on Monday night that a major earthquake may occur and those sleeping would be transformed into stones, besides several villages in bordering district of Unnao caving in, forced the people to run out on the streets.

Panic prevailed all over the city with people receiving phone calls that earthquake will occur. The near and dear ones advising each other to avoid sleep as it would transformed them into stone, besides people should be alert as several villages in Unnao had caved in.

People came out of on streets at around 2am and spent several hours in the open.

Ratnesh, a local of Khapra Mohal, said: "I received a call from a friend who stays in Lucknow on Monday night. He said that a strong earthquake would soon cause destruction, so get up and pray to God."

"I received frantic calls from my friends saying that an earthquake will strike. They warned me not to sleep otherwise I would be transformed into a stone," said Saif, a resident of Jajmau. It seems as it was all a game plan of telecom companies as mostly people remained glued to cell phone, he added.

Despite cold, many residents sat on the roads and in open grounds and returned home only in the morning.

"Rumours spread like wildfire between 2 and 3am and without bothering about chilly weather, the people came rushing out of homes in open areas," said Vishwas, a resident of P Road.

"My cousin alerted me and I ran out of my house with my wife and children," said Farhan, a resident of Chamanganj. It only revived us memories of a strong earthquake in Gujarat on January 26, that killed thousands of people and left lakhs homeless and the recent earthquake which had hit Japan, he added.

DIG Rajesh Rai clarified that they have not received any information about any such incidents, it was rumours spread by miscreants. He warned of stringent action against those found spreading such rumours.

"I have already advised my subordinates to intensify patrolling in the localities during late at night and identify mischief mongers involved in spreading such rumours," he added.

The Malaysian oily man

The 'oily man' strikes fear

While most people would be in deep slumber at 2am, residents of Kampung Laksamana in Gombak were wide awake, roaming up and down Jalan Laksamana 1 in Gombak, Selangor.

Around 40 residents all divided into groups of about five to 10 people each and fully equipped with spotlights and wooden sticks were on patrol in the village located about 2km from Batu Caves that Thursday morning. Although they were joking with one another, you could feel the tension in the air.

An outsider might think that a gang rumble was on the cards. But what the residents of this village were worried about were not humans, instead they were keeping an eye out for not one, but two, supernatural beings. They are under attack from a couple of orang minyak (oily man), they claim. This village has been buzzing with sightings of the two paranormal creatures for the last 10 days.

Many residents claim to have seen and heard the orang minyak around the vicinity of the Pangsapuri Laksamana and Jalan Laksamana 1. And they all say the same thing the orang minyak are clad only in their underwear and drenched in black shiny oil. They can jump from one roof to another with ease, and vanish into thin air within seconds.

It's definitely no laughing matter, stresses Aslam Khan, 33, one of the villagers "lucky" enough to have seen them.

As he describes them, one is tall, stocky and bald while the other is thin and curly haired.

"I saw the bald orang minyak hiding behind the water tank of a house at about two in the morning. It was breathing really loudly, like a cow.

"It was black and shiny. When I shone my light on it, the thing stuck out its head to look back at me. Before I could do anything, it climbed up the roof and disappeared," says Aslam.

He says they also found the possible spot where the orang minyak conducts its ritual of reciting jampi (mantra) and having an oil bath. The villagers stumbled across the spot after chasing the orang minyak into some bushes next to the flat.

"There was a large oil patch there," he says, pointing to the ground.

Adds Aslam, the next night, they found a packet of fried rice and noodles at the very same spot. After returning about an hour later, the food was gone, believed to be eaten by the orang minyak.

Supernatural or real?

According to popular legend, the orang minyak is a person who has undertaken the study of black magic and as a rite of passage, has to rape a certain number of anak dara (virgins) to pass that course.

The villagers are worried because almost every house in the neighbourhood houses a young girl.

One, they said, has already had a nasty encounter with the orang minyak.

As reported by a local Malay daily, the 17-year-old girl did not only see the orang minyak a few times, but also felt "someone" caressing her and calling her to go out of the house.

It reportedly also locked the family members outside the house on Christmas eve, forcing the girl's brother-in-law Kamal Bahari Satar, 36, to break down the door.

"We saw a black heap underneath the kitchen table. When other residents poked it with a bamboo stick, we could see blood stains," he was quoted as saying. It then fled to a neighbour's house.

After being "disturbed" for five days, Kamal decided to move his family out of their house, and out of the neighbourhood.

Unfortunately, all attempts by Sunday Star to contact him were unsuccessful.

Although some of these stories sound incredible and illogical, it is hard to find any Kampung Laksamana resident who doesn't believe in it, even those who haven't seen it.

The residents have been carrying out patrols from midnight to dawn. Every now and then, a team of youngsters can be seen riding their motorbikes in a convoy around the neighbourhood.

During the Christmas weekend, some 200 people patrolled the street, waiting for the orang minyak to appear and many carried parangs (machetes) and axes, says Aslam.

"Until we manage to catch this thing, we are going to carry on with our patrols. I don't feel calm although I don't have a wife or younger sister," he vows.

Muaz Amran, 21, another resident who has been patrolling the area every night says he did not believe in such a thing before this.

"I thought the thing existed only in the movies but it seems to be happening in real life," says the fresh graduate, referring to the 1956 P. Ramlee hit movie Sumpah Orang Minyak. He says that although he hasn't seen the orang minyak for himself, he believes his neighbours.

Another resident who only wants to be known as Man says he did not believe his neighbours at first.

Then, on Christmas day, he was woken up at 3am by a commotion outside his house.

"Apparently, the orang minyak had run into the next door neighbour's house but I just brushed aside the incident," admits the bank officer.

The next night, his niece, who is a university student, saw the orang minyak sitting on the wall of his house.

"She woke up when she heard something. When she peeked out of the window, she saw a black figure sitting on the wall with its back facing her," he says.

P. Mohan, 48, also claims to have seen the orang minyak at a house opposite his flat at about 12.30am.

"It was crawling up the stairs of the house, just like Spiderman. When it reached the top it suddenly jumped onto the roof. I don't think a human could do that. It then just disappeared," he says, adding with a slight shudder, "The hair on my hands just stood up. We can laugh and joke about it, but this is serious. All the families here have young girls."

K. Chandran, 49, has yet to see the orang minyak but he too is afraid that it will harm his 14 year-old daughter after hearing stories of how it appeared in an abandoned house next to his.

"I feel very scared now. All of us sleep in the hall with the lights on," says the scrap metal dealer, whose lack of sleep is evident around his eyes.

Chandran shares that he has even installed two additional lights in his house, each costing RM500.

"Ever since these sightings, we have been feeling uneasy. I even dreamt about one of them recently," he says.

Zaki Zainudin, 42, agrees that it has been difficult to get any peace of mind these past few days now they are startled by the slightest sound and get suspicious of every little happening.

"Last time a broken plate was just a broken plate. Now, we wonder why it has broken," he says, before checking to see why a dog was howling nearby.
Zaki then takes out his phone to show photographs as proof of the existence of the orang minyak oil stains and footprint of the orang minyak in Kamal's house. He has also taken a picture of a banana tree leaf with an unusual tear. It has been said that the orang minyak is attracted to the banana bud (jantung pisang).

What is clear is that this stress has caused residents to lose sleep. Those on patrol only manage to catch a few hours of sleep before heading off to work in the morning. All the residents also sleep with all their lights on these days.

Almost at their wits end, the residents have made a police report as well as getting help from a few alternative healers, including a bomoh. They have also been holding prayers almost every night to ask for protection from the evil "spirits".

Their frustration at the menace, and exhaustion, however, is growing by the day.

"I dare it to come and confront me now," says office worker K. Paramasivam, his exasperation evident, echoing the feeling of every Kampung Laksamana resident.

He claims to have seen the bald orang minyak in an abandoned house, before it climbed up to the roof.

His main concern is for everyone in the neighbourhood, especially the young girls.

"I also have a younger sister in my house. We can't be sleeping two or three hours every day. We are not robots."

But in a way this orang minyak episode has been a blessing in disguise for the residents of Kampung Laksamana.

Man observes that the slight "tension" between the supporters of the different political parties has disappeared in the past few days.

"Everybody is helping one another out. Everyone is together as one," he says.

The residents also agree that they are friendlier with their neighbours now.

Paramasivam admits that he never really spoke to his neighbours and got to know them before.

"At the most, I would just acknowledge them. Now I actually talk and get to know them. The neighbourly spirit has been enhanced by these happenings," he says.