The Invisibles – Unseen Creatures

Posted on 06/25/2010
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Humans rely a great deal on sight to live. The eyes are always seen as important whether they are metaphorical windows to the soul or simply the way to assess one's surroundings. The movement to create special tools and instruments for the blind to get along by themselves without constant assistance by a loved one is relatively new as going blind (without gaining super powers of seeing into the future that is) really was seen as a slide into a lesser quality of life if not death all together since the person could not contribute much to the household as so much depends on sight. Therefore, creatures that can fool human sight—that is ones who can become invisible or are constantly invisible other than their actions on humans—can be considered to be a very scary concept. The innate fear humans have of the unknown or invisible is legend in itself. Yet, the creatures who make themselves unseen by human eyes are found in many cultures but tend to keep with the motif of being something to fear. They are playful tricksters in the least and downright dangerous at their worst. Either way humans tend to stay away from them if at all possible, meaning these “Invisibles” must seek out human interaction to play their tricks or bring their bad omens; and seeking out humans to engage with them becomes the specialty of these mythological and legendary invisible creatures.



A brownie (also known as brounie or urisk) is a creature from the folklore of England and Scotland. They are mostly domestic or household creatures who live in human homes, making their own homes in a secluded or unused portion of the house. Certain manor houses would even leave a seat close by the kitchen fire unoccupied for the household brownie. While they were very kindly and helpful to humans (generally aiding in household tasks for small payments of honey and porridge or other small gifts), they will only work during the night and do not like to be seen by humans. They would use their skills of invisibility to roam around the nighttime shadows in order to complete their chores and even take their gifts back to their residences or enjoy them in secret where they are laid out by the human owners of the home.



While most people only think of the Hebrew culture as something that revolves around the Torah, the foundation of the Christian Old Testament, they are an old civilization who have their own laws, social structure, and previous mythology that is not necessarily included in the widely published and spread religious documents of the culture. In Jewish mythology (not related to the religion of Abraham and Moses), there are a breed of small invisible demons known as the mazikeen that were also occasionally known as shedeem or shehireem. They are similar to the Arabic jinns and probably were culturally related since the two groups lived geographically close to each other. The mazikeen loved to play tricks on humans since they could remain invisible as long as they wanted and could take on any shape. A well known mazikeen story is a servant who mounts a donkey he finds abandoned and it continues to grow with him riding it until the man is several stories in the air. Some of the older ones were actually dangerous bearers of bad omens though.



The Betobeto-san is an invisible creature from Japanese folklore. The form of the creature is generally basic when described by any human it even allows to see its physical body. A mostly spherical body without arms, eyes, or ears but with a relatively large mouth is mounted on a pair of small, skinny legs with rather large feet in comparison to the rest of its form. Its feet are so big as they play a large part in its tricks on humans. The Betobeto-san likes to follow humans walking alone at night, making sounds of clacking footsteps behind the person as a funny way to scare them. However, it is said that if the person steps to the side of the street and asks the Betobeto-san to go ahead then the footsteps will stop and the human can continue their nighttime journey in peace.



The polong is an evil invisible spirit from Malaysian folklore. The main attribute of this invisible spirit though is that it is controlled (actually enslaved) by a human for that man's personal use. They are created by placing the blood of a murdered person into a bottle for a week or two before invoking the spirit with a spell or incantation. After the invocation the person must then wait for the demon to start making noise in the bottle before he cuts his finger to drain his own blood into the container in order to feed the spirit and link it to him in servitude. It takes a human practitioner of black magic, such as an evil sorcerer, to order this unseen spirit to cause harm to another person—usually because of a grudge or simply because the the human wishes to do harm to the other human without getting officially blamed or caught by government/legal authorities for illegal actions against another person. While this human owner has possession of the polong, it will only listen to the person's orders and those of no one else. People attacked by the polong will generally have bruises or cuts but almost always have blood spilling from their mouths. The only people to see the demon in its true form rather than its invisible side are the masters of the demon spirits, meaning that illustrations of the polong are almost nonexistent, but it is agreed that they are hideous and evil looking.



The sigbin is a creature of Philippine mythology that seems to take on several roles. It is similar to a vampire or chupacabra as it comes out at night to suck the blood of victims. However, rather than attacking their physical bodies, the sigbin sucks blood through the medium of a person's shadow. They have the ability to become invisible to many creatures but especially humans who do not easily see supernatural creatures anyway. The nauseating odor emitted by this creature though can help someone know that the invisible sigbin is near enough to attack or draw out a person's life source like it wants. The sigbin also apparently enjoys seeking out children during Holy Week who it will attack in order to steal their hearts which it then fashions into amulets that the sigbin wears. Yet, there are apparently some human families (Sigbinan, meaning “those who own/control sigbin”) who possess power to command these frightening invisible creatures, keeping them in jars made of clay to bring wealth and luck to the family rather than letting the sigbin run rampant in the nearby village or community. The creature itself (when it is not utilizing its skill of invisibility) is said to look like a hornless goat with very long ears that were capable of clapping like a pair of hands and a long, nimble tail that could be used like a whip.

Author: Brooke Windsor Copyrighted ©

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