Bangungot - Real? ... or Myth?

Dreaming is a part of our life. Every time we sleep, we often encounter peculiar images and feelings we cannot explain. Some may symbolize your personality, and physical and mental wants and needs; and some may show you your very fear. These might be situations and possible problems you don't want to occur, and things (living or non-living) you don't like most. Dreams are ambiguous. Till now, Psychologists are still solving and studying what are those things you see on it really mean and its importance in our lives.

Dreams mainly occur in the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep—when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. REM sleep is revealed by continuous movements of the eyes during sleep. At times, dreams may occur during other stages of sleep. However, these dreams tend to be much less vivid or memorable.

But how if these dreams are not likable? If they turned to something demonic and deathly? This kind of dream, in the Philippines, is Bangungot. The question here is -
Is Bangungot real or just a myth?
Let's have a short introduction about what is this bangungot.

Bangungot is a Filipino word for the English nightmare. It is also the word used by locals in naming the sudden death of persons while they are asleep. Whether you are healthy or not, you may be affected. Victims may have no complications or even any other signs of heart diseases. This medical condition acknowledged by experts is named as Sudden Unexpected (Unexplained/Unknown) Nocturnal Death Syndrome or SUNDS. Filipinos identify the causes of how a person undergoes in the said condition as well as ways on preventing and waking a person experiencing this. But actually until now, no one knows the causes of it which everyone should accept and believe.

The Filipino word Bangungot came from Bangon (which means to wake up or stand) and Ungol (which means to to moan).

Did you know that 43 out of 100,000 young Filipinos die because of Bangungot? Its a small ratio, but alarming.

I included it here because some Filipinos don't believe in Bangungot. Some would just accept it as an urban legend. Bangungot is true! However the causes that local Filipinos identify are a little incredible. Maybe that's the reason some don't believe on it.

Foreign Similarity

Actually, it is not endemic in the Philippines. Other Asian and European countries also know and recognize this. They even have their own names for this. There are differences comparing it from one country and another, but they have more similarities.

  • Thailand. They call it Lai tai. They believe that this disease may have cause in eating a food they called phi am, which means ghost of a widow. This ghost visits young men at night.

  • Vietnam. Tsob Tsuang is their name for bangungot.

  • Indonesia. Digeunton is their name for it.

  • Laos. Dab Tsog.

  • Japan. They name it as Pokkuri. There was a temple called Pokkuri-dera in Nara Prefecture. There, people do a ritual to wish for a pleasant death.

  • China. Bei gui ya is there name for it.

  • Hungary. Boszorkany-nyomas.

  • Netherlands. Nachtmerrie.

  • Nefoundland, Canada. They call the local Batibat as Old Hag.

  • Mythical Causes

    There was this nature spirit dwelling in trees that punishes humans especially those people who cut the specific tree where she lives. It usually takes the form of an old, fat woman. This mythical creature I'm talking about is the Batibat of Ilocanos (more commonly known as the Bangungot).

    She punishes people by means of sitting over them while sleeping in the wooden beds and/or benches made from the tree where she dwell. Of course the person will be suffocated, and if not prevented, the worst thing may happen, he will die. The only way to escape her is to wake the victim up. However, you cannot wake the person by just slapping their body or face. You need to press hardly the thumb toe of that person and, if necessary, shake it.

    Another mythical creature blamed to cause this is the Engkantos, particularly the wicked engkantos. Reasons why they cause this sudden death while sleeping are: (1)they punish them; and (2)they fond the person. Yes! I do mean that if the engkanto fell in love with you, they will snatch your soul and never let you go any more. Thus causing your death. But this often happens to women, and bangungot usually occur to men.

    Natural Causes

    If a Filipino warn you not to eat to much at dinner or before you go to sleep, follow them. Acute Hemorrhagic pancreatitis is a disease caused by eating and drinking to much food and alcoholic beverage, especially beer, and this cause Bangungot. Some foods are avoided by locals like noodles and desserts. Eating Balut and drinking beer at the same time may also cause bangungot, as well as salty foods like bagoong and patis.

    In Thailand and Laos, Brugada Syndrome causes Bangungot.

    Famous Issues

    Rico Yan died at 10:45 am of March 29, 2002. The true cause of his death was acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis, which causes Bangungot. But because he, at that time, was one of the most famous celebrity in the Philippines, his death created many rumors.

    Marky Cielo, a newly discovered celeb, was also rumored that his death was caused by bangungot.

    Some of these bangungot might actually caused by problems and worry (in short stress) that you still put in mind even you're about to sleep. So remember, before going to sleep, you need to set them aside and be relaxed. A warm milk may also help you.

    For some ways on how to get rid of Bangungot, click here [1].