06 August 2009

Vampires in Cambodia

A severed head floats alone through the night air. It is a horrifying sight, with blood-shot eyes and antennae protruding from its nose, but the unwary victim rarely spots the ghoul before the feast of blood begins. "In Vietnam and parts of Cambodia" blood-drinkers are not limited to a fully resurrected revenant. "Parts of the body, it seems, can be almost as virulent as the entire body itself" (Curran 127-128).

In Cambodia, "the idea of a 'living vampire' prevails. Vampirism and the drinking of blood is strongly associated with witchcraft, and it is thought that some magicians either travel in the guise of animals or else send parts of their body in order to fulfill their evil designs" (Curran 128). There are various types of threatening blood-drinkers and associated creatures in Cambodia.

The Kampuchean (natives of Cambodia) are superstitious. They believe in a type of revenant called khmoch-long and the khmoch-preay, which are goblins that appear to the living in the form of a ghostly light (will-o-the-wisp). Also, there are the smel who are werewolves (paraphrased from Revue Scientifique).
Les Cambodgiens sont superstitieux. Ils croient anx khmoch-long qui sont des revenants, aux khmoch-preay qui sont des farfadets qui apparaissent aux vivants sous forme de feux follets, aux smel qui sont des loups-garous.

Khmoch can be used to describe a "corpse as well as revenant. Khmoch are nearly classic reanimated corpses with rotting skin, sunken eyes, a foul odor, and a taste for human flesh and blood" (Mayberry 175). In general, a khmoch is a cadaver but a khmoch-long is a revenant--a reanimated corpse.
khmoch, defunt, mort, cadavre
khmoch long, revenant
(Moura 70)
These beings were evil and "could drink blood or spread disease" (Curran 128).

Recent reports of vampirism have risen in Cambodia. In 2007, blogs reported that a boy developed enlarged canine teeth, but failed to produce any incisors or molars. These reports also claimed that the child preferred a diet of live meat and blood. I can find no official report of this child nor can I establish his relationship or similarity to vampires. I caution you against believing this account, but welcome any reputable sources regarding that particular individual.

One verifiable case of vampiric behavior in Cambodia was reported by the Associated Press in 1999. "A Cambodian man" who was "accused of killing people and drinking their blood in the belief it would cure him of AIDS" was arrested and accused of murder. "Described as a 'vampire' by local villagers, Pheach Phen, 20, was arrested ...after allegedly killing a 5-year-old boy...The suspect allegedly slashed the boy with a machete and then sucked his blood, according to the report...Pheach Phen, who is HIV positive, told police that a traditional healer convinced him" that "he could halt the onset of AIDS and prolong his own life if he killed people and drank their blood." Perhaps this man did not consider himself a vampire, but his actions and the villagers reactions indicate that the notion of vampirism is still alive in Cambodia.

Read the blog article about an even more threatening blood-drinker in Cambodia

Juab khnia thngay kraoy,

Associated Press, The. "Cambodia Cops Arrest Vampire." Phnom Penh. 15 Dec 1999. http://www.aegis.com/news/ap/1999/AP991212.html
Curran, Bob. Ian Daniels. Vampires: a field guide to the creatures that stalk the night. 2005.
Maberry, Jonathan. Vampire Universe.
Moura, Jean. Vocabulaire fran├žais-cambodgien et cambodgien-fran├žais.
Revue Scientifique. V 32. Paris. 30 Jun 1895.

1 comment: