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Australia's Outback Vampire - The Yara-Ma-Yha-Who

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posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 09:00 PM
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Hello everyone!

Time for me to bring back an old series that I used to contribute, while I currently have the hours to invest in such a thing again! I'm going to be compiling some research and applying some opinion and critical thinking to some rarely covered, or at least in this case, never-before covered topics and creatures here on ATS.

I'll be following the same formatting of separating the legend, the facts and my personal verdict after consideration of both.

For anyone interested, some of the topics I covered in the past:

Fisher's Ghost
Monte Cristo
The Yowie Legend
My Yowie Encounter
The Bunyip
The Melonheads
The Tasmanian Tiger

This time around, I'm going to tackle another Australian legend, the terrifying creature known as the Yara Ma Yha Who.



Source - TedEd, Tumblr

THE LEGEND


The Yara Ma Yha Who is a small, flesh-and-blood creature from Aboriginal mythology. The Aboriginal people considered this being to be a physical, tangible creature, rather than some kind of supernatural being.

Filling several 'universal' areas of folklore, including vampire and boogeyman, the Yara Ma Yha Who is a creature reliant on the consumption of blood, especially from children. The stories, told by family to their youth, can be seen as a parenting technique not dissimilar from today's urban legends and fairy tales, a warning to children not to stray too far from home.

The defining characteristics of a Yara Ma Yha Who are rather unique in the crypto world. It is described as being a small, bright red being, less than four feet tall. It has a comically oversized head, with a disproportionately large, toothless maw for a mouth. It's limbs end in feet and hands and the overall body is humanoid in shape. The key variation, however, is that the fingers and toes are capped with small suckers, which the stories indicate would disable the victim and drain them of blood until they were on the edge of death.

This creature was said to inhabit fig trees, sleeping or hibernating during the night. During the day it would prey on anyone unfortunate enough to stop below the tree. According to the legend, it was possible to survive an encounter with the Yara Ma Yha Who by playing dead, as it only had an interest in feasting on the living. If it was to catch you, however, it would latch onto your torso, disable and drain you with it's hands and feet, and then begin a lengthy process, in which it would consume you whole. The creature would then regurgitate the victim, only to swallow them again, repeating this process until they themselves had drained them of all their blood, and their humanity, leaving them as a new Yara Ma Yha Who themselves.


Source - Vila Wolf, Youtube

THE FACTS

I think we can all agree that this is a rather outlandish creature, which breaks a handful of the developmental norms of humanoid organisms. From the skin tone, to the vampire digits and body proportions, the chances that a creature like this would exist, let alone still actively prey on humans in our modern era is rather slim.

Aboriginal legends and mythology are a fascinating trove of fantastical stories and lessons to be learned. Like the Grimm tales of modern lore, the Aboriginal peoples would use metaphors and complex tales of weird and wonderful beings to convey important life lessons to the young, and to generations to come.

This creature, and the folklore that surrounds it, shows many similarities to stories told in other parts of the world with the purpose of scaring children into obedience. From Krampus in Germany, to the Haitian Uncle Gunnysack, mythologies develop around these boogeyman creatures tasked with killing or stealing away disobedient children.

In terms of tangible evidence, there is none. Bluntly, after an exhaustive search of internet forums, wikis, websites, hard copy texts, documentaries and databases I am yet to come across a single case of a Yara Ma Yha Who encounter. Other mythical entities from Australia, some of which far more supernatural in nature like the Bunyip, have eyewitness reports associated with them, and yet, there is nothing available for the Yara Ma Yha Who.

To play devil's advocate, considering the source of this legend to be Aboriginal folklore dating back thousands of years, it is unlikely that it is discussed and conveyed as much in modern day from parent to child, especially in the urbanised state of Australia. Up north, or out west, where the European influence on the Aboriginal peoples has been less all-encompassing, it is possible that this story is still told. Possibly, if sightings of said creature were to occur out in the bush, they may never reach the internet, but this is a stretch.


Source - Cryptidz Wikia

THE VERDICT


In today's world, we project our fears of harm befalling our children as masked assailants, paedophiles, terrorists and any number of dangerous people waiting in the dark. But back when this, and other, folk stories were first being woven, the primary dangers to the storytellers and their children was nature, and the creatures in it. As such, the stories took this fear and created monsters to further populate their surroundings, keeping the kids safe and close, and providing easy ways with which to educate them about the dangers of their environment.

The Yara Ma Yha Who, specifically, may have had its inspiration derived from the Red-Eyed Tree Frog, native to Australian jungles and tropical rainforests, which sports striking red eyes (funny, that) and large, prominent throats and mouths. As one author writes, “While the darling amphibians are only partially red-bodied, it's not a far-fetched comparison; just imagine the impression one might leave were it to drop on your face in the middle of a quick nap”.

Do I believe this creature does, or has ever, existed? No. However, this doesn't make this legend or the idea that this disgusting little red man might be out there somewhere, in the outback, waiting patiently in its tree to jump on your shoulders and eat you, any less fascinating.


edit on 21-12-2014 by fooffstarr because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 09:23 PM
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a reply to: fooffstarr


The stories, told by family to their youth, can be seen as a parenting technique not dissimilar from today's urban legends and fairy tales, a warning to children not to stray too far from home.



I haven't finished reading the whole article yet pal...
I will get down to that in a minute.



But what you said above got me thinking...

With all the tangible undeniably dangerous wildlife in Oz, would anyone need to create a fairy tale for their children?


I'd say with so many real wildlife threats Down Under this has quite a strong possibility of being a real creature that died out.




I'll get back to finishing the OP now matey.





Edit: Maybe some of it was made up


The key variation, however, is that the fingers and toes are capped with small suckers, which the stories indicate would disable the victim and drain them of blood until they were on the edge of death.

edit on 21-12-2014 by CharlieSpeirs because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 10:48 PM
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Good thread!

While i'm not convinced of the Yara-Ma-Yha-Who's existence, it is interesting to note that there may be many extinct creatures which are yet to be discovered. Australia is a huge place and considering the many strange animals which once roamed, and still do roam the lands, it isn't out of question that there may be truths lying underneath many of these legends.

Thanks for the thread. S & F.
edit on 21-12-2014 by daaskapital because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 22 2014 @ 08:40 AM
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A really good read,had never heard of this legend before.
This is what threads on ATS used to be and should be like!
Congratulations o.p.



posted on Dec, 22 2014 @ 11:03 AM
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a reply to: CharlieSpeirs

Frankly, I think the 'Australia is full of things that will kill you' trope is a little exaggerated. Sure, we have some deadly animals - but at least there are no land-based predators larger than us. No bears or moose here!

It does bring up an interesting point: the creatures in Australia that are deadly are mostly venomous creatures - animals that will kill you by putting something into your blood. This mythical one kills you by taking your blood out.

That said, when it comes to creating a story to keep your children in line, historically and logically it needs to be a fictional creation. You want your children to be wary of the real animals that could hurt them, but not terrified of them. Also, most of these sorts of animals will leave you alone of you leave them alone. The idea here is that the mythical creature 'will get you if you're bad'.

It's an interesting idea, but I think it's critical for cultures that use this sort of mythology to use an invented rather than a real creature. Sure, some of the appearance of these creatures may originate with a particular animal found in that culture's habitat - but the mythological creature in the elders' stories is something else entirely.

Great thread btw, always love some local colour.



posted on Dec, 22 2014 @ 03:08 PM
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very interesting stuff foof. i'm here in the states and i've never heard of this little guy. have a huge interest in cryptids and i always love hearing about new ones. especially from other continents like Australia. it's really nice to hear about something completely different from the stories going around here in North America. so thanks for the great post!
edit on 22-12-2014 by CallmeRaskolnikov because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 22 2014 @ 04:13 PM
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a reply to: CharlieSpeirs

Thanks for the reply


You got me thinking as well, but then I think the following addresses it far better than I could:


originally posted by: TheStev
That said, when it comes to creating a story to keep your children in line, historically and logically it needs to be a fictional creation. You want your children to be wary of the real animals that could hurt them, but not terrified of them. Also, most of these sorts of animals will leave you alone of you leave them alone. The idea here is that the mythical creature 'will get you if you're bad'.

It's an interesting idea, but I think it's critical for cultures that use this sort of mythology to use an invented rather than a real creature. Sure, some of the appearance of these creatures may originate with a particular animal found in that culture's habitat - but the mythological creature in the elders' stories is something else entirely.


Hopefully this coming weekend, in the food coma after Christmas I can start writing my next piece for you guys! I enjoy the research and learning, so why not share something from it



posted on Dec, 22 2014 @ 08:06 PM
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Fantastic stuff! Thank you for posting this my friend and very well done also
Beware here there be Yara-Ma-Yha-Who`s



posted on Dec, 28 2014 @ 01:23 AM
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a reply to: fooffstarr

Maybe a dingo didn't take the Chamberlin baby after all!




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