(pop culture)

The langsuyar was the most prominent of the several vampires of Malaysia. The langsuyar was described as a beautiful woman who reacted strongly to the loss of her stillborn baby. She flew into the trees and became a night demon that attacked and sucked the blood of other women‘s children. The first langsuyar became the source of a class of vampire beings. If a woman died as a result of childbirth, she was a candidate to become a langsuyar. To prevent such an occurrence, the body would be treated with a needle in the palm of the hand, eggs under the arms, and glass beads in the mouth. On occasion, langsuyars assumed a somewhat normal village life. They would marry and have children—and feed off of others in the evening. They had long hair that covered a hole in their neck through which they sucked blood.

As reported by Walter William Skeat, the langsuyar had a counterpart in the pontianak, a stillborn child who became a vampire. However, in much of Indonesia (such as in Java), what was termed a langsuyar in Malaysia was also called a pontianak. In the 1950s, Catay-Keris Productions began to make a series of films about the Malaysian langsuyar, but designated the star a pontianak, after the broader use of the term.


Skeat, Walter William. Malay Magic: An Introduction to the Folklore and Popular Religion of the Malay Peninsula. London: Macmillan and Co., 1900. 685 pp. Rept. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1966. 685 pp.
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