Aswang, shapeshifter/vampire hybrid

The Aswang is a Pilipino monster, popular in the Western Visayan area. He’s a shapeshifter/vampire hybrid thing.

A Meaty Shifter

An Aswang appears human by day, and often has a normal ‘day job’ having to do with meat: i.e. a butcher. At night, they can shift into various animal forms or their own true form. They look something like a weredog (which is where their name originates) but also eat the dead (which is where the vampire part comes in, apparently).

I had trouble pinning down some of the legends, but here’s what I’ve got.

A lot of myths have them as the weredog, or a winged thing appearing sort of like a dog. Sometimes, they eat live prey. Mostly, they eat dead things. Which is where the butcher part comes in. Or they break into funeral homes for corpses. Eeww.

They do drink blood, and they like livers and hearts of humans. Especially pregnant women. Double eeww!

In their human forms, they interact like anyone else. They’re not hurt by sunlight. They have feelings. They can get married (although some legends say that marriage transforms the human mate into and Aswang).

Final Death Throws

Interestingly, Aswangs don’t do garlic, salt, or religious objects, much like a vampire. You can kill one with a whip made from a stingray’s tail. Wonder who figured that one out, right?

Of course, you can always go with good old fashioned decapitation. That works.

Oh, and if you look into a human Aswang’s eyes, you’ll see your own reflection upside down. Creepy…

Looking for Yourself

I found the most useful information here. I think this lesser known shapeshifter/vampire/overall pretty gross monster might make an excellent bad guy for a story. Or really, a good guy with a major handicap. Wouldn’t that be interesting to write?





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