Cryptid of The Week: Week 7
Welcome back, dear reader, to the seventh installment of Cryptid of The Week. This week we will be delving into Indonesian folklore. The Cryptid of this week is the Ahool, and it has some rather interesting characteristics. Not only that but it is believed to exist not only by the native population but by well-respected scientists as well.
The Ahool is a native to the island Java the fifth-largest island of the Indonesian islands as well as the most populated island in the world with a population of 141 million. Due to this overpopulation, the islands dense tropical jungles have all but disappeared except for those protected by the government. It is in these jungles that the Ahool dwell. The Ahool, named after the call it makes which is a long AHOOOOOL, is said to be a large bat-like creature, the torso of the creature is described to be around the size of a toddler with a gigantic wingspan of roughly 12 feet. It is reported to be covered in short, dark grey fur, with large black eyes, and flattened forearms stretching out into leathery wings and a round hairy head with a flat, human-like face twisted in a snarl. Multiple sightings describe it in both flight as well as having been seen squatting on the forest floor with its wings pressed flat on its sides. There have been differing accounts claiming that the Ahool can grow even larger to have a wingspan of up to 18 to 24 feet long with a torso near the size of an adolescent and a few descriptions having wingspans of 28-32 feet with a body the size of a fully grown adult and feet with claws capable of eviscerating flesh. The diet of the Ahool subsists on that of local fauna; such as large fish; it will however occasionally attack humans. This has been assumed to be due to its extreme territorial nature as well as it being an opportunist; meaning it will attack larger prey should the conditions be favorable.
One of the first accounts of the Ahool occurred in 1925 when naturalist Dr. Ernest Bartels, son of noted ornithologist M.E.G. Bartels, was exploring a waterfall on the slopes of the Salek Mountains in Java when a giant unknown bat, the Ahool, flew directly over his head. Two years later in 1927, around 11:30 pm, Dr. Ernest Bartels encountered the Ahool again, he had been laying in bed inside his thatched house close to the Tjidjenkol River in western Java, listening to the sounds of the jungle when he suddenly heard a very different sound coming from almost directly over his hut, It was the call that would later be used to name the creature Ahooool! Dr. Bartels ran out of his hut in the direction the sound seemed to be heading. 20 seconds later he heard it again, a final Ahooool! a considerable distance downstream. He would report this encounter and the creature would become known outside of the Island of Java.
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Featured Image credit: https://cryptidz.fandom.com/wiki/Ahool