Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

A B C D E F G H I J K [L] M N O P R S T U V W X Y Z


Variations: Leak
On the Indonesian island of Bali, there is atype of VAMPIRIC WITCH called a leyak. By day, the witch looks and acts like everyone else in its community, but at night, it will search through the local cemeteries for human entrails that it will use to make a magical formula (see LIVING VAMPIRE). If there are no suitable corpses in the cemetery that can be pillaged, the leyak will harvest what it needs from a sleeping person. The elixir that it brews will give it the ability to shape-shift into a tiger, as well as being able to rip its head free from its body so that it may fly off in search of prey, dragging its entrails behind it, much like the PENANGGLAN and the numerous other vampires who use that method for hunting. The leyak can also cause crops to fail, as well as start epidemics and famine. In addition to shape-shifting into a tiger, it can also become a bald-headed giant, a ball of light (CORPSE CANDLE), a monkey with golden teeth, a giant rat, a riderless motorcycle, or a bird as large as a horse. Should a leyak possess a person, that person is called pengeleyakan. No matter what form the leyak is in, it should always be considered a highly dangerous and unpredictable monster.
A leyak drinks the blood of both animals and humans, but it is particularly fond of the blood of women who just gave birth and newborn babies. One is often seen wandering along back roads, crossroads, cemeteries, forests, ravines, and the seashore. If on a moonless night dogs begin to whimper, a leyak is near. Gourmet food left outside one's house is usually offering enough to appease one.
The leyak can be restored to harmony with nature through an elaborate, high-level ceremony called mecaru (see MECARU CEREMONY). The ceremony requires blood sacrifice. However, according to Balinese lore, the leyak's magic only works on the isle of Bali. Java and the other small islands are safe from its attack, and if the witch can be moved there, it would be rendered impotent.
There is a temple built in the town of Pura Dalem Penataran Ped, Bali, in honor of Ratu Gede Mecaling, the patron saint of all leyak witches.
Source: Howe, Gods, People, Spirits and Witches, 23, 90, 168, 195; Jennaway, Sisters and Lovers, 204; Mack, Field Guide to Demons, 240

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