I recently came across the following account:
My mum is from the Philippines and there are many tales of supernatural creatures roaming every stretch of the country. Most sound ludicrous and exaggerated, but none more so than the “Duende” and the experience I am going to relay.
My grandmother kept some chickens and dogs, who roamed the grounds, including a pair of turkeys who would wander underneath the house and freak me out as a child.
One day when I was still small enough to walk underneath the house dodging cobwebs and such, I came across some tall thickly painted red crosses on the stilts and by the high walls surrounding one side of the house. Having never noticed this before, I asked my mum about it, who proceeded to tell me what they were about.
To set the scene, it is important to know details about my mum’s family home in the farming provincial area of North Philippines. My grandparents were rice farmers and my mum and 3 of her siblings lived in the house with them, either studying at University or working in the nearby City in Finance.
A typical “Tagalog” house, raised on stilts, was built sometime during the 1950s, and had dark, dark mahogany type floorboards and furniture. The floor where the dining room crosses into the kitchen however is made from bamboo and is springy when walked across. There are small gaps in between these whereby you can see down into the ground underneath the house. The whole compound was fairly sized with concrete and brick walls 8 foot high studded with broken glass for security.
My mum lived with her other female siblings and chores always shared including laundry. No one's clothes were kept separate, and everyone’s clothing went into one wash basin. The clothes were then hung on the various clothes lines in the backyard.
Her youngest sibling Ella was around 21 at the time, and started to notice her underwear missing from the washing line, prominent gaps where panties were supposed to be drying in the sun. Thinking nothing of it, and putting it down to birds or another sibling pulling pranks on her, she learnt to ignore it.
Weeks passed and buying knickers was getting to be a very expensive habit. Angry and frustrated about the “prank”, Ella questioned everyone about why they were picking on her, and her underwear only.
No one owned up to stealing her panties, with everyone absolutely firm and adamant that it wasn’t them and retorts of “why on earth would we do that?” Ella grew less angry and just remained frustrated at why it was only her underwear missing from a line of 6 other people.
The maids were questioned, and again, firm shakes of heads followed. There was absolutely no reason for the stealing - the knickers were not expensive and (dare I say it) some full of holes! There was completely no reason as to why they were being taken - and of course to where and for what purpose?
The washing was monitored for signs of animals or birds stealing them, and nothing noted. If it was an animal, it would be very clever for them to only know to steal from one particular person.
After so many weeks of this happening, my grandfather, having had enough of the whole situation, called a local “Manghuhula”, or psychic to take a look at the house and investigate who or what might be causing the distress.
The Manghuhula took a walk around the compound and immediately picked up that my family weren’t the only ones living at that residence.
She sat the family down upstairs and revealed that she had discovered a small family of Dwende living under the coconut trees, stretching their territory right up to the area underneath the house itself. Everyone was shocked and slightly bewildered as no one was particularly superstitious. Yes they had all heard about the “little folk”, as folklore, but never had any connection with them.
She mentioned that the Duende were usually tree living beings, and because they were invisible to people with their “third eye” closed, only certain people could pick up on their existence. Third eye being the psychic or sixth sense that allows people to see through the veil of our normal world, and into another crossover.
It is customary in Filipino culture to always say 'excuse me' when walking under trees or in long grass to avoid stepping on the creatures. If you do not, the Duende can cast revenge, either making you sick or injured shortly after. There are both good and bad, trickster and malicious Duende.
The Manghuhula was able to see that the culprit of Ella’s panty stealing was a Duende of that family living there. She was able to attest to the reason why as well. You see, that particular Duende had a huge crush on Ella, and would steal her panties, probably to become noticed or for other unmentionable means.
Ella and the family were then led under the house, whereby every single pair of missing panties were found - tightly and nearly folded and stuffed into cracks underneath the house.
The Manghuhula blessed the house with holy coconut oil and prayers were said to move on the family of Dwende.
Afterward, it was advised that red crosses were to be painted underneath the house, and white crosses placed in windows to draw away and discourage anything spiritual to reside there again.
To this day, the house is still standing, with its fortress of crosses. Who knows whether or not anything managed to slip past the warnings and is residing there currently, dormant, against the will of my family. LC
Chasing American Monsters: Over 250 Creatures, Cryptids & Hairy Beasts
How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (And They Will)
Shapeshifters: Morphing Monsters & Changing Cryptids
A Menagerie of Mysterious Beasts: Encounters with Cryptid Creatures
Lon's Suggested Reading List - Books & Films / DVDs