Daily Monster 306: Tikbalang

Region of origin: The Philippines

A menace to people on back roads and mountain passes, the tikbalang is a generally malevolent or mischievous spirit who may be sighted perched on a tree branch, often smoking a cigar, observing or sometimes said to be guarding the secret pathways to other realms. They will lead travelers down wrong paths or in circles using magic, invisibility or sometimes turning into people known to the traveler, though this last strategy can be given away by their strong, lingering smell of tobacco. Some especially evil ones are said to attack the people they encounter, stomping on them with their hooves or hacking at them with an ax, while on the nicer end of the spectrum some are said to abandon their posts during a full moon to go and party with humans.