The Orang Minyak (or Oily Man) is a supernatural creature from Malaysian folklore who attacks young, unmarried girls at night as they sleep in their beds. Due to a deal made with the devil, his skin is black and covered in shiny, black oil.
The Oily Man (or “Orang Minyak” in Malay) is a human being who has studied black magic and made a deal with the devil. At night, he sneaks into the bedrooms of young girls and attacks them while they sleep in their beds. The Oily Man has a bald head and his eyes are red. He is completely naked and his entire body is covered in shiny, black oil.
According to legend, the Orang Minyak was originally a deformed man who lived in a small Malaysian village (which is called a “kampung”). The man’s face was disfigured and he was a hunchback. Because of his physical deformities, everyone in the kanpung made fun of him and bullied him mercilessly. The men beat him and spat on him and the women refused to have anything to do with him.
The disfigured man fell in love with a woman who lived in the village, but he believed she would never love him back. Driven by anger and frustration, he began studying black magic and occult rituals. He made a deal with the devil to restore himself to a handsome appearance. However, there was a price to pay. He was cursed to transform into an Orang Minyak after night falls and is forced to victimize young, unmarried girls as a sacrifice to satan.
Under cover of darkness, the Oily Man sneaks into a girl’s room and stand over her bed, watching her sleep. The girl suddenly wakes up, only to see a dark form staring at her with with penetrating eyes. She feels paralyzed, unable to struggle or cry out. He attacks her and she isn’t sure if she is dreaming or if it is really happening. Afterwards, the Oily Man leaves a black cross on her forehead and escapes into the night. When she wakes up in the morning, she finds black oil stains all over her clean bedsheets.
They say the Orang Minyak is almost impossible to catch. The oil makes him difficult to see in the dark and also makes him very slippery which helps him to evade capture. He is also very strong and agile and can climb walls and jump from one roof to another with ease. Using black magic, he can walk through walls and vanish into thin air. Some say he is even able to become invisible, squeeze through narrow spaces and bypass locked doors.
Some girls try to protect themselves from the Oily Man by borrowing sweaty clothes from boys. They wear the clothes at night while they sleep, hoping to trick the Orang Minyak into thinking they are male, so he will leave them alone.
Another way to protect yourself from the Oily Man is to sprinkle banana heart petals and bera taro leaves around your bedroom. This will trap the Orang Minyak and you can throw a piece of batik cloth over him to weaken him and sap his powers. Then, if you bite his thumbs, the Orang Minyak will die.
You can also kill him by striking him with a branch of a Petai plant. Orang Minyak is afraid of rains because water will make him visible to others and it is believed that he is also afraid of mirrors.
Whenever there is a sighting of an Orang Minyak in a kampung, the local people arm themselves with wooden sticks, machetes and axes and patrol the area to protect their girls. Others stay indoors, sleep with all of the lights on and pray every night for protection from evil spirits.
In one kampung, there were reports that an Orang Minyak had been spotted nearby. One man didn’t believe the stories and dismissed them as silly superstitions.
One night, he went out with his family, leaving his 17-year old daughter alone in the house. She woke up when she heard a strange noise outside. When she peeked out of the window, she saw a black figure sitting on the wall with its back facing her.
The girl immediately called her father and told him what she had seen. He rushed home and found his keys didn’t work in the locks. He had to break down the door to get inside.
The man rushed to his daughter’s bedroom and saw a black heap crouching underneath a table. He stabbed at it with a bamboo stick and it fled the room, climbing like a spider onto the roof of a neighbour’s house.
After being disturbed for five days in a row, the man decided to move his family out of the kampung.
Another young Malaysian woman told the story of her horrifying encounter with the Oily Man:
“This happened to me a few months ago when I was working as a waitress. One night, work late and I was exhausted by the time I finished, so I took a cab home. It was after midnight by the time I got to my apartment building and there was a man getting into the elevator. I stepped in behind him, without noticing anything out of the ordinary, and pressed the button for my floor.
“A few seconds later, the lift arrived at its destination. I was walking out of the lift when the man grabbed me by the arm and held me back. I was shocked and tried to pull away from him, but he was too strong. Suddenly, he said to me in a rough voice, “Look at my face!!”
“I turned around and looked at him. His face was black and oily and his eyes were red. After that, I must have fainted. When I woke up, I was in the arms of my mom. I asked my mom what had happened and she told me that our neighbour was coming home from work and found me lying on the floor in front of the elevator. I was HALF NAKED!!! Only my blouse was still on.
“After hearing that, I cried. I knew that I had been attacked by an Orang Minyak. After that, my mom took me down to the police station to make a report. I told the police what had happened and the officer said that there`is no such thing as an Orang Minyak. My mom got angry with him and told the officer that the Orang Minyak has returned to prey on young girls… So, watch out girls… he has RETURNED…”
In another story, a 13-year old boy saw an Oily Man at his sister’s wedding. All of his family and relatives were there and, after the ceremony was over, they held a reception in a large tent outside the house. There was an outdoor toilet at the back of the house.
It was really scary at night and his mother asked him to accompany his aunt when she went to the toilet. His aunt went into the outhouse to do her business, while the boy waited outside.
Suddenly, he heard his aunt screaming from behind the toilet door. Then, she ran out of the toilet, half-naked with her skirt around her ankles. The boy was shocked, but he was even more shocked when he looked through the doorway.
Lurking in the darkness was something that looked like a man, but his whole body was covered in black, shiny oil or grease. The boy only caught sight of its face for a split second, but he said it was something he will never forget as long as he lives. It had red eyes and they were staring at him.
“Before I could do anything, the oily man darted away and disappeared into the bushes. As it disappeared out of view, though, I noticed how it moved in a very inhuman way… almost like a spider with two legs. No human moves like that. My aunt ran to me and I consoled her. She was so scared, she was having trouble catching her breath. I was scared too, but I brought her back to the crowd and told my mother what we had encountered. She was shocked, but one of the ladies at the wedding overheard our conversation, and told us it must have been an Orang Minyak. She said they were quite commonly seen in that area.”