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A jenglot.

Jenglot: Humanoid Creatures or a Hoax? Creepy Bloodthirsty Beings of the Indonesian Jungle


The jenglot is a creature found in Indonesia. It resembles a tiny humanoid doll, and seems to be a creature from modern times, as the first reports of the jenglot’s existence were made in 1997. Till today, however, it is still unclear if the jenglot is really a supernatural creature or merely a hoax, though many Indonesians believe that the jenglot does have mystical powers.

The Jenglot’s Appearance

The jenglot is reported to have first mysteriously appeared in Indonesia, in particular, on the island of Java, in 1997. The creature can allegedly be found in all sorts of places, for instance, under the ground, in the trunk of trees, or even on the rooftops of houses. The jenglot is usually said to be several inches tall, and has the appearance of a tiny human being, though with sharp fangs, long nails, and long hair.

A jenglot. (bronjovi/

A jenglot. (bronjovi/

This creature is sometimes considered to be a type of vampire as it feeds on blood - either animal or human. The owner of a jenglot has to provide it with drops of blood on a daily basis. If the owner does not provide this sustenance, the people around him/her are said to be struck by misfortune. The blood should not be fed directly to the jenglot but placed close to it. Some allege that the creature comes alive to drink the blood when nobody is around, whilst others claim that the jenglot is able to obtain the nutrients from the blood without even having to come into contact with it.

Origins of the Jenglot

Some believe that jenglot were once human beings. Tradition states that the creature was an ascetic or hermit who practiced forbidden magic in an attempt to gain eternal life. When the person died, his body was rejected by the earth, so that it would not decompose, and then shrunk to become a jenglot. The jenglot are allegedly found by native shamans after the performance of some magical rituals, though the creature may also appear on its own. Others are of the opinion that the jenglot is a supernatural being that can be captured and tamed by those who have the knowledge to do so. There are also those who assert that the jenglot is a rare animal species that is unknown to science.

A dukun (Malay shaman) preparing traditional medicine (Dutch colonial period, 1910-1940). (Tropenmuseum/CC BY SA 3.0)

A dukun (Malay shaman) preparing traditional medicine (Dutch colonial period, 1910-1940). (Tropenmuseum/CC BY SA 3.0)

Yet others claim that jenglots are nothing more than man-made objects. According to Muhammad Syakir Muhammad Azmi, a Malaysian Islamic medical practitioner, the jenglot may be made from ordinary materials. The price at which these objects are sold depends on how real they look, though they are generally inexpensive. On the other hand, the object may also be made using animal fetuses. Jenglots made from this material are believed to be more efficacious, and therefore would fetch a much higher price on the market.

As man-made objects, the jenglot is said to not possess any powers of its own. Instead, it is through black magic that these creatures obtain their supernatural powers. It is popularly believed that the jenglot could then serve its master in a variety of ways, for instance, providing protection, functioning as a good luck charm, and even exacting vengeance on his/her enemies.

Artist’s interpretation of a jenglot. (cryptidwiki)

Artist’s interpretation of a jenglot. (cryptidwiki)

Dead Jenglot Exhibits and Studies

The jenglot has been displayed in temporary exhibitions in both Indonesia and Malaysia. Those who do not subscribe to the belief that the jenglot is a man-made object claim that the creature can be killed. This would allow them to be safely exhibited. In order to kill a jenglot, one would need to capture it in a bottle, and deprive it of blood. Therefore, the jenglots seen at these exhibitions are supposed to be dead.

A jenglot on display. (Maurina Rara/CC BY 2.0)

A jenglot on display. (Maurina Rara/CC BY 2.0)

The jenglot has also generated some curiosity within the scientific community, and some studies have been done on these creatures. The results of one such study were published in the Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences in 2009. In this study, hair samples from an alleged jenglot were studied using microscopical and molecular techniques. The researchers concluded that the hairs are of human origin, and that they were implanted on the head of the jenglot. Additionally, the study also disproved, in this particular case, the claim that the jenglot is a rare animal species that lives deep in the jungles of Indonesia.

Mythic Javanese jenglot humanoid spirit effigy. (Keris Indonesia/CC BY 2.0)

Mythic Javanese jenglot humanoid spirit effigy. (Keris Indonesia/CC BY 2.0)

Top image: A jenglot. Source: David Albaugh

By Wu Mingren


All Unusual in Our Lives, 2009. "Jenglot" Mysterious Creature From Indonesia. Available at:

Long, N. J., 2013. Being Malay in Indonesia: Histories, Hopes and Citizenship in the Riau Archipelago. Singapore: NUS Press.

Shaturaev, J., 2013. Mystery of JENGLOT. Available at:

Sherman, A., 2014. Vampires: The Myths, Legends, and Lore. Avon, Mass.: Adams Media.

Zafarina, Z. & Panneerchelvam, S., 2009. Analysis of hair samples using microscopical and molecular techniques to ascertain claims of rare animal species. Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences, 16(3), pp. 35-40.

Zulkefli, A. S., 2017. 'Jenglot' just a superstition.  Available at:



They might be something like voodoo dolls? Keeping them in jars makes them sound like jinn.

dhwty's picture


Wu Mingren (‘Dhwty’) has a Bachelor of Arts in Ancient History and Archaeology. Although his primary interest is in the ancient civilizations of the Near East, he is also interested in other geographical regions, as well as other time periods.... Read More

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