Ever since I was a kid I wondered about the Hmong Poj Ntxoog. As Hmong kids, we all heard the spooky stories from the adults. Some probably even used threats of the Poj Ntxoog to scare us as kids into not wandering away during a fishing or camping trip. As a young man, I wondered if maybe this creature was just some kind of new, yet undiscovered monkey. The typical description of the Poj Ntxoog is that it is small with long white hair, sometimes long black hair. It looks human and has fierce teeth and sometimes claws. To me, that sounds like an animal. But now as an adult, I cannot discount that this creature reeks more of the demonic than the natural.
One time while chatting with my mom, we started talking about the supernatural. She usually does not open up about it because I think my mom is able to see things from time to time and it scares her. On this occasion, my mom told us that when she was a young girl, her cousin was taken by a Poj Ntxoog. She said an uncle was going out to gather firewood. He didn't want to enter the jungle alone, so he took his little niece with him. She was only about 5 or 6 at the time. They didn't go far into the jungle, but they were off of the main trail. He began cutting wood as the little girl played nearby. After some time, he realized she wasn't humming to herself anymore. He looked around and panicked. He looked up and in the tree was a white creature with long flowing white hair jumping away on the branches. At that moment, he heard faint voices. He ran towards the trail and saw a small group of Hmong people walking along the trail. He begged them for help. They spread out and looked for the little girl but found nothing. He ran back to my mom's village and the adults went out to search. Nothing. They had someone saib and that shaman said the little girl was taken by that white Poj Ntxoog.
Another time, I was travelling with my dad and two other men to Washington DC. My dad and those two men had been soldiers during the war and they were all going to DC to take part in one of the gatherings they used to stage to garner support for the Lao Veteren's Naturalization Act. It was great to be able to go and just listen to them recount war stories. We drove all through the night to arrive in DC the following morning. Late in the night, the war stories waned and the subject turned to ghost stories. They all had scary stories to share but this is the one that I remember about a Poj Ntxoog.
I asked the men if they thought there was anything to the Poj Ntxoog stories. They all said yes. Then I said asked them if any of them had ever seen a Poj Ntxoog. Cha got really serious and he said he had (his name is not really Cha but for this story that's what we'll call him). Cha said that when he was a boy, he was playing hide and seek with his cousins. None of them were older than 10 or 11, so they played near a house which was right by the entry to the jungle. The kids were laughing and running around just doing what kids do. Then an old man that lived in the house came out and told them to keep it down. Cha said there was a kawm (one of those big woven baskets worn like a backpack to carry firewood and other stuff in) leaning against the side of the house with a piece of cloth covering the top. The old man laughed and told the kids to keep it down as he leaned over to pick up the kawm. Suddenly, as he removed the cloth, a little white monkey-like thing jumped out. It had long white hair and red eyes. It bit the old man's hand then it screamed as it jumped away into the jungle. The kids stood in shock for a minute then they all ran away including Cha. Cha said he went and told his dad. Cha's dad and several other men came running to the old man's house. The found him. He was ok, but he had a bloody bite mark on his hand. Cha said the old man got really sick and nearly died but they did some kind of shaman blessings on him to save him.