Mysterious and invisible, ‘Orang Bunian’ are believed to be forest spirits in Malay folklore. They are also often speculated to be responsible for various disappearances in the forests.
For a long time, the forests were believed to be a place full of magic — blessed by the best of Mother Nature without the interference of Man — and thus, were inhabited by diverse mythical beings with superhuman powers and characters who appear in human form.
Just like humans, some of them seek to do good while some of them have evil intentions. Inhabiting the deep forests or high mountains, ‘Orang Bunian’ can sometimes be heard singing, laughing, or talking amongst each other but you won’t be able to see their shadows. And if you wish to trespass the areas they inhabit, you must first go through certain rituals and customs.
It is also believed that when an ‘Orang Bunian’ falls for a human being, they will whisk the human away into their world and marry them. These humans are often never seen again — some even say that the world of ‘Bunian’ is so enchanting that the human voluntarily chooses to stay, crying upon the thought of being sent home.
There have also been cases of babies being kidnapped by ‘Orang Bunian’. Plenty of stories of women in labour end with them delivering only their placenta – their child, missing. Frighteningly, it is said that ‘Orang Bunian’ have the ability to take away babies while they are still in their mothers’ wombs to raise as their own.
So it’s important to be respectful and display good manners when you are visiting the forests or other isolated places. You never know whose wrath you might evoke.
*Cover image via Wattpad