The The Orang Minyak is one of a number of supposed ghosts in Malay culture. Orang Minyak means 'oily man' in Malay.
There exist several different versions of the legend and the creature. According to one legend, popularised in the 1956 film Sumpah Orang Minyak (The Curse of the Oily Man) directed by and starring P. Ramlee, the orang minyak was a man who in an attempt to win back his love with magic was cursed. In this version, the devil offered to help the creature and give him powers of the black arts, but only if the orang minyak worshipped the devil and raped 21 virgins within a week.
In another version it is under control of an evil bomoh or witch doctor. Another movie based on Orang Minyak was produced in 2007, showing this theme remain popular until now. As at 24 November 2006, a burglar was arrested, stark naked and covered with oil, reminiscient of orang minyak in Malaysia.
In the 1960s, the orang minyak supposedly lived around several Malaysian towns raping young women. The orang minyak of the 1960s was described as human, having a naked body covered with oil to make it difficult to catch. However, there were also stories of the orang minyak where it was supposedly supernatural in origin, or invisible to non-virgins (possibly from the oil) or both.
The mass panic has also led to unmarried women, typically in student dormitories, borrowing sweaty clothes to give the impression to the orang minyak that they are with a man. Other defences supposedly include biting its left thumb and covering it in batik.
In short, the orang minyak is a supernatural serial rapist that is hard to see and hard to catch. Some have speculated that the orang minyak is a regular criminal who uses black grease as a night-time camouflage. Due to the use of black grease, it makes the orang minyak hard to catch, as pursuers would not be able to hold on to him. However, in some encounters with the orang minyak, the situation is not explainable from a non-supernatural angle.
It is possible that different versions of the legend were used as a cover for things other than actual rapes. Reputed sightings of the orang minyak, or events later ascribed to it, have continued with reduced frequency into the 2000s.
In 2005, there have been cases of rapists covered in oil roaming around, armed with knives.
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