Keith Thompson - Tikbalang
Tikbalang is a creature of Philippine folklore said to lurk in the mountains and forests of the Philippines. It is generally described as a tall, bony humanoid creature with disproportionately long limbs, to the point that its knees reach above its head when it squats down.
It has the head and feet of an animal, most commonly a horse. It is sometimes believed to be a transformation of an aborted fetus which has been sent to earth from limbo.
Often eerily mimicking the appearance of victims’ relatives, this forest spirit will lead lone people out to the heavily wooded depths of the mountain ranges, occasionally breaking the increasingly uncomfortable silence with short bursts of reassurement, and stilted gratitude for the assistance.
The suddenly pungent aroma of tobacco and drunken swaying motion adopted by the false family member is noticed before their face blurs into something that resembles more that of a horse’s than a humans. Delirious town folk who have stumbled their way into town after long absences tell of how this apparition pushed and slapped them, often knocking them over and not allowing them to right themselves; all the while shaking with nervous, childish giggling.
People say that the cessation of resistance or protest will suddenly lead a victim to find themselves alone in the woods, plunged into darkness; the sun long set. The path home, recalled by the few who return after a disappearance, is hampered by a severe sense of disorientation and a forest that seems to curl in on itself repeatedly.