Karl Marx vs the Filipino Vampire Ghouls

The Aswang is a wandering Vampire Ghoul from Filipino Aswangfolklore. It’s a daywalking shape-shifter that eats the livers out of children and makes a sinister ‘Tik Tik’ noise that gets quieter as it approaches. If you look into an Aswang’s eyes you’ll see your own reflection upside down. That’s how you tell.

Back in the late 1940s the Philippines was entangled in a peasant uprising against the government. The guerrilla Hukbalahap movement had fought the Japanese occupiers during the war and expected its reward when independence came. Instead the new government decided the Huks were trouble-making communists and arrested the movement’s leaders. The guerrillas went back into the jungle and started shooting.

Draining Blood 

America backed up the government in Manila with weapons and advisers, including Air Force Brigadier General Edward G. Lansdale. Some of Lansdale’s ideas  were pretty unorthodox.

A combat psywar squad was brought in. It planted stories among town residents of an aswang living on the hill where the Huks were based. Two nights later, after giving the stories time to make their way up to the hill camp, the psywar squad set up an ambush along the trail used by the Huks.

“When a Huk patrol came along the trail, the ambushers silently snatched the last man of the patrol, their move unseen in the dark night. They punctured his neck with two holes, vampire-fashion, held the body up by the heels, drained it of blood, and put the corpse back on the trail. When the Huks returned to look for the missing man and found their bloodless comrade, every member of the patrol believed that the aswang had got him and that one of them would be next if they remained on that hill. When daylight came, the whole Huk squadron moved out of the vicinity..”

[from ‘Psywar in the Philippines’, The Aswang Project]

Yes, American-trained soldiers drained the blood out of a corpse to scare communist guerrillas who believed in vampires. Apparently it only happened once. Bleeding corpses is time consuming and messy. The Huk gave up the struggle in 1954. They were exhausted and out-gunned, and maybe scared of vampires.

Remember: you can kill an aswang with a whip made from a stringray’s tail.

For more warlike weirdness, you can buy my  books in paperback or ebook:

Lost Lions of Judah: Haile Selassie’s Mongrel Foreign Legion [or amazon.com]


Katanga 1960-63: Mercenaries, Spies and the African Nation that Waged War on the World  [or amazon.com]


Franco’s International Brigades: Adventurers, Fascists, and Christian Crusaders in the Spanish Civil War [or amazon.com]


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