Malaysian Ghost Stories

Kumkum

Hantu KumKum is a ghost from Malaysian folklore. She is an old woman who goes from house to house, looking for young girls. By drinking their blood, she hopes that it will restore her lost youth and beauty. The word “hantu” means “ghost”.

Kumkum

Hantu KumKum is a ghost that has terrorized Malaysian homes for decades with her insatiable hunger for the blood of young girls. She is a hideous old woman who wears a long, flowing jilbab (a traditional Malay headscarf) to hide her disfigured face. She goes from house to house, knocking on doors and looking for victims. Because of her facial deformities, she can’t pronounce the traditional muslim greeting, “As-salam alaykum” properly. All she can say is “Kumkum”.

They say Hantu Kumkum was once a beautiful Malaysian woman, but she was never satisfied with her appearance. As she grew older and her looks began to fade, she went in search of a way to restore her beauty.

She consulted a bomoh (a Malay shaman or witch doctor) who told her that, through black magic and occult rituals, it was possible for her to have eternal beauty. He gave her a potion to drink and told her not to look at her reflection in a mirror for a period of 30 days.

However, the woman was tormented by curiosity. Each time she touched her face, her skin was softer and she could feel the wrinkles disappearing. Everyone she met was telling her how good she looked. By the 29th day, the temptation was becoming too much and the woman broke the rules. She sneaked a peek at her reflection in the mirror.

The mirror cracked and so did the poor woman’s face. Her skin began to blister and her face started to change. She became grotesquely deformed and was hideous to look at.

In desperation, the horrified woman returned to the bomoh and begged him to do something. He told her there was nothing he could do for her. The only way the process could be reversed was if she drank the blood of young girls.

Thus began the story of Hantu KumKum. Nobody, not even the KumKum herself, knows how much blood it will take to restore her looks. They say Hantu KumKum is still roaming the earth and, to this very day, she continues to attack young girls in an attempt to regain her lost beauty.

A few years ago, there were sightings of KumKum in Malaysia and Singapore. It caused quite a scare and newspaper articles about the ghost were posted on many school notice boards. A lot of worried parents came to collect their daughters after school, fearing that they may fall victim to the blood-sucking ghost.

One Malaysian girl tells of her own encounter with the Hantu Kumkum when she was a child:

“I can still remember when the kumkum ghost ran amok all over Malaysia. They said she was after young girls. I was only 7 or 8 years old at the time. They said she had she had no eyebrows and no nose, except for two gaping nostrils where her nose should have been. Her skin was covered in sores and blisters and she had sharp, yellowed teeth.

One evening, I was on my way home when I suddenly got the strangest feeling that someone was watching me. I heard somebody sweeping the drain in front of my neighbor’s house. When I turned around, I saw a woman sweeping the drain. She was hunched over and I couldn’t see her face as it was covered with a headscarf which drooped all the way to the ground.

Then, she reached up and pulled back the scarf. I froze. Her skin was red and blistered and her yellow eyes seemed to stare into my soul. I knew she wasn’t human. All of a sudden, I heard my brother calling me from the house. That broke the spell and I ran as fast as I could until I got to the front door.

That night, after dark, there was a loud banging and scratching at our front door. The door shook violently. Then we all started reciting prayers. The loud scratching noises stopped, then seconds later, the banging and scratching started on our back door. We were scared out of our wits. This continued for more than an hour. The next morning, when it was safe to go outside, we found deep, bloody scratch marks on the outside of both doors.”

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