Berbalang: The Firefly Vampire
This evening’s entry is another favorite, the berbalang. This Filipino oddity is a monster only found on a remote island. The inhabitants of this island appear human during the day, except for their yellow, catlike eyes. At night, however…well, things get weird.
A favorite story about the berbalang is about a Western explorer in the area who goes looking too far into the fringes of the land. A friendly local gives him a warning—don’t stay on the island after sundown.
Of course, who listens to good advice in those old “ghost” stories?
The explorer stayed until after sunset, at which point he heard a horrible buzzing on the horizon that drowned out all other noise. Looking up, he observed a terrible horde of fireflies, and the buzzing began to sound like a moan.
The traveler escaped. Of course he did, for how else would we have the truth that happened that fateful night? 😉
Beyond the berbalang’s false human appearance and their hive-like form of swarming insects, the berbalang is also said to sometimes shapeshift into a floating head, retaining their glowing cat eyes. Their ears are replaced by feet that flap like wings and allow them to fly.
As if the swarm of insects wasn’t bizarre enough.
P.S. – TRIVIA TIME! The berbalang is also a monster in the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game, appearing as a leathery, ghoulish vampire with wings specializing in leaving its body in astral form to hunt its victims.
We prefer the flying, feet-winged head with cat eyes ourselves.
So, if you happen to be on a remote island this Halloween season and a kind native gives you a warning…heed the warning and leave before sundown!
Happy Halloween 2014!