By Susan Tam | Yahoo! Malaysia Newsroom
A flying head with long hair and dangling stomach sac and intestines.
This is the image of the most horrifying type of vampire known in Malay and Indonesian folklore - the Hantu Penanggalan, a vampire that thirsts for the blood of a newborn baby.
The demon — described as a ghostly head dismantled from its body gets its name from the root word "tanggal", which means to disengage.
There are different versions of how her head was separated from her body, but all versions share the same story about her origin - the Hantu Penanggalan was a result of a beautiful woman dying at childbirth.
Two versions of how the separation process or "penanggalan" happens.
The first involves the death of a beautiful woman after becoming disengaged or "tanggal" from her baby during childbirth. Mediums and black magic practitioners would dig up bodies of these women to create the Hantu Penaggalan.
"The medium or bomoh will use the blood of the dead mother to call or seru its spirit to form this vampire," University Malaya's associate professor Datuk Zainal Abidin Borhan told Yahoo! Malaysia in an interview.
The Malay animism expert explained that the medium or bomoh could become masters of the Hantu Penanggalan if they made yearly offerings to it.
This vampire could appear as an ordinary woman in the day, and turn into the ghastly being by nightfall. Some believed she disguised herself as a midwife to give her access to newborns.
The second dismantling process or "penanggalan" takes place when the woman's head becomes disengaged from her body when she turns into a Hantu Penanggalan.
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