The Oily Man


“Oozing charm from every pore,
He oiled his way around the floor.
Every trick that he could play,
He used to strip her mask away.”
lyrics from “You Did It” (My Fair Lady)
Those lyrics tell of a slick operator with perhaps too much grease in his hair, applying his smooth moves to charm and disarm the ladies. I have always liked those few lines of prose. I find it amusing. But this “oily man” is quite benign compared to the one that this post is primarily about.Still in keeping with the Halloween spirit which is sticking around like peanut candy between the teeth, I am going to share with you the story of one of the Malay legends. I refer to the “orang Minyak” or Oily Man.

The Oily Man is basically a man who creeps about at night, completely naked and covered in black oil. The oil covering makes him hard to see in the dark and also makes him very slippery which helps him evade capture and also helps him squeeze pass tight spaces such as between the bars on a window.

There were in fact a rash of burglaries and rapes in Malaysia in the 1960s which were committed by men who had disrobed and covered themselves with oil and grease. Such cases still surface from time to time even till today. The perpetrators in these cases are entirely human.

However, the legendary Oily Man is said to be supernatural in nature. He is said to be able to be virtually invisible in the dark. Some say that he is also able to slip through spaces too small for humans to do so. It is said that the Oily Man had made a pact with the Devil. In return for giving him supernatural powers and wordly desires, the Oily Man must rape 21 virgins in 7 days.

A typical story would occur in a house or a dormitory where there may be more than one woman asleep in the room. The room may be locked and though the windows are open, they are secured with wooden bars or metal grilles. No ordinary intruder can enter but then the Oily Man is far from ordinary. He is able to slip through those bars while the girls sleep.

One of the women who is a virgin may suddenly awake to see a dark form over her with penetrating eyes which are visible even in the dark. She finds she can neither struggle or cry out. She is subsequently raped. Finally, she screams and her room mates rush to her assistance. It may be that they never see the orang minyak because it is said that he is able to make himself invisible to others apart from his victim. Alternatively, the orang minyak may be seen but he eludes capture on account of his slippery oiled skin and is able to escape via squeezing out through the window bars.

Till today, we sometimes hear of cases or incidents in female student or worker dormitories which are classified by authorities as examples of mass hysteria or are they really attacks by Orang Minyak.

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