Shorty – Hide Yo Wife, It’s a Leyak
Hey there creeper!
For our shorty this week, Kalai covers the demon Leyak from Bali. Listen to our episode on the Leyak and check out the stuff below to get to know more about this Asian cryptid.
Pronunciation – leh-yahk
What is a leyak?
Leyaks are magical mythical creatures from Bali, Indonesia. Their name literally means Bad Witch, Le meaning Witch and Ak meaning Bad.
The only time you’ll see a leyak in its true form is when it’s hunting at nighttime.
In their full Leyak form, its head and entrails separate from its body and fly off to go hunt. They have messy black hair, big bulging eyes, unusually long tongue, and large fangs with their entrails just hanging right below the neck but during daylight, they can appear like an ordinary human.
Leyaks are known to be malevolent creatures who prey on pregnant women so that they can suck the blood of the fetus or in some cases, a newborn child.
It is said that they need embryonic blood to survive.
They are also known to be shapeshifters. They go and haunt cemeteries to feed on the corpses which give them the power to shapeshift into animals or fireballs.
It is also known that the Leyaks can’t use their powers outside of Bali, hence why Leyaks can only be found in Bali. However, there are similar creatures like the leyak found in other parts of Indonesia, some are called “Kuyang”, “Poppo”, “Parakang”, “Selaq Metem”, depending on which part of Indonesia you’re at.
When traveling to Bali, you’ll be seeing statues and wall decorations of a monster with a long tongue sticking out with big eyes and large fangs sometimes just a head with entrails, and sometimes with a full body with big breasts and sometimes holding a head. When you see those, those are leyak statues. (Take a picture of it and share it with us!)
It is Balinese practice that their people will occasionally blame certain illness or deaths to leyaks. Whenever this happens, a family will usually consult with a Balinese traditional healer called the Balian. The Balian will then conduct a seance using witchcraft to identify who is responsible for the death.
During the seance, the spirit of the dead will directly or indirectly point to his/her attacker.
However, the Balian will advise the family of the spirit that they shouldn’t act upon revenge. Vengeance or any other action should be left to the spirit themselves.
Leyaks are known to serve their queen, Rangda.
Rangda is the queen of the leyaks and demons, and mother of all spirit guardians in Bali.
In Bali, they have a statue of Rangda in Ngurah Rai International Airport.
According to traditional Balinese mythology, the terrifying Rangda leads her army of leyaks and demons against the Balinese diety, Barong, the king of spirits and the leader of the forces of good.
Their mythical battle is featured in the Balinese traditinal presentation called the Barong dance.
In the Barong dance, Rangda is depicted as a mostly nude elderly woman, with long, bushy black hair, drooping breasts, and long sharp claws. Performers traditionally wear a horrifying fanged and goggle-eyed mask, with a long, protruding tongue.
They believe that Rangda is the incarnation of Calon Arang, the legendary witch that wreaked havoc in ancient Java during the reign of King Airlangga (sometimes spelled as Erlangga) in the late 10th century.
Even though Rangda is seen as fearsome and by many as the personification of evil, she is also considered a protective force in certain parts of Bali.
Similarities found in other cultures
In Sri Lanka, thousands of miles away from Bali, legendary demons and healing rituals show some astonishing similarities.
The term ‘Yak’ is used to identify the powerful demons lived in the past in that Island.
The legends say those Yak or ‘Yakshas’ spread their power all over Asian region. ‘Le’ in Sinhala means Blood. ‘Le-Yak’ in present day Sinhalese language means Blood Demon or blood sucking demon.
There are also creatures found all over other South East Asian Countries that are quite similar to the description of a Leyak, a flying head of a woman with entrails hanging below.
In Thailand they have the “Krasue”, In Cambodia, they have the “Ahp” and In Malaysia, they have the “Palasik” and the “Hantu Penanggal”.
A leyak statue in Bali
Rangda (left) and Barong (right) traditional Balinese costumes for the Barong dance.
Leyak in the 1981 movie Mystics in Bali
Another movie still from Mystics in Bali
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