The toyol, tuyul, or toyul, is a helper spirit seen in the folklore of several countries around the Malay peninsula.
Being the spirits of stillborn or aborted babies, toyol take on the likeness of a distorted child. The spirit itself is usually a green or grey colour, with pointed ears, sharp teeth, and red or clouded eyes. They are usually bald and naked, and have very small hands. While they can be seen by the naked eye, they are hard to spot and it is unlikely to see one without actively looking for it.
However, one account describes it differently. The toyol was said to look like a five-year-old child with dark grey skin, clothes and hair ribbons, and rough patches of skin all over its face. Its eyes were huge, and one was higher up on its face than the other.
In most accounts, the toyol spirit is housed in a static effigy. Most often, this is encased in a bottle, jar, or urn. However, what the effigy looks like varies from story to story. Originally it was the actual corpse of the dead child, treated in order to call the spirit back into it. In Thailand, the corpse was burned until all the skin and fat was charred, then lacquered and covered with gold leaf. However, more modern stories claim that one can carve certain woods and metals into the shape of a child, or it can be made from clay from seven separate cemeteries. Rituals are then performed on the sculpture to invite the spirit into it.
In one story, the "effigy" is actually just a wooden tablet. Family members would take care of the deceased's tablets in order to protect their afterlives, and the tablets of aborted or stillborn children could be used to control the spirit.
- started in Siam/now Thailand
- created by bomoh, can be purchased from them (even found in online stores)
- one story, must be surgically removed from mother in a cemetery at night
- harmless on its own, but can be used to do bad things
- more mischievous, not used for serious tasks (for stealing money or babies, sabotage, hiding important things, spying)
- can be made more powerful and used for murder, but this is rare and usually other spirits are used
- make agreement with toyol to use
- will earn money back to make up for cost
- protect house and owner
- sometimes steals/kills living babies out of jealousy that they got to live
- master will know intuitively when toyol is caught
- can move light things like sheets or pillows
- will bring coins to someone who it wants to become its master, especially when sad
- toyol must be taken care of; cup of milk every morning, some toys, clothes, sweets and biscuits, a black candle with mantras (sometimes a few drops of blood smeared on toyol statue)
- sweets and milk every day, drip drops of blood in bottle or on tablet every fortnight
- or sucks blood from owner's big toe or thumb
- OR rooster blood
- very fast and dextrous
- hidden in dark place until needed
- leaves white ants or termites in place of things it stole
- can be distracted by marbles, beans, garlic placed/hanging, or sand near valuables, will play with them
- likes to play with toys left out in houses
- place money under/in front of mirrors, toyol are afraid of their own reflections
- needles under money, they are afraid of being hurt
- passed down through generations
- toyol with no master will wander until they find a new one
- stray toyol will bring their potential owners money, but can be made to leave just by promising
- to get rid of, bury jar/urn/whatever in graveyard with rituals
- or throw them in the sea (do not open jars from sea)
- can be released to roam free; will live in jungle or observe others in houses without disturbing them