You hear the voice of a crying child. Naturally, you check to see what is wrong. As you turn to look at the precious newborn, you are actually met with a horrifying beast, with sharp claws and a vicious bite. You have just encountered the Pilipino mythical creature known as the Tiyanak.
Most often a Tiyanak appears as a infant or child, mimicking their cries in order to lure its victims. However, several other variations exist within Philippine folklore. One version of the Tiyanak depicts the creature as a little old man with uneven legs, causing it to leap rather than walk. Another form in the Mindoro region describes the Tiyanak as a flying infant-like monster, that transforms into a black bird before taking flight. In Pampanga, they are described as small brown-skinned people who float on the air.
Several regions of the Philippines have their own stories behind the origin of the Tiyanak. The most simple theory states that the Tiyanak is merely an imp or demon from creation. Those from the Mandaya and Mindanao regions suggest that the Tiyanak is the spirit of a child whose mother died before giving birth. In other regions it is believed the Tiyanak is the spirit of a infant who died before being baptized. Another theory describes the Tiyanak as the soul of an aborted infant seeking revenge on those who deprived him of his life.
In order to keep yourself from falling victim to this vicious beast, there are a few countermeasures to remember. In order to break the luring cry of the Tiyanak, turn your clothes inside out. The Tiyanak will laugh at your odd ritual and leave you alone. Loud noises can also drive a Tiyanak away, so prepare to scream for your life. Finally, like most other mythical demons, keeping garlic and a rosary handy can also help deter a Tiyanak.
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