The blood-sucking cryptid of Chinese folklore

The blood-sucking cryptid of Chinese folklore
31 May 2024 J.W.H

There are plenty of mysterious creatures in the world of cryptozoology, and Chinese folklore offers its own array of unverified entities. Among them is Xizi, a creature described as a immense blood-sucking mat.

Xizi, often depicted as a flat, mat-like creature, is said to inhabit remote and desolate areas. Its unusual appearance distinguishes it from the more celebrated cryptids.

Descriptions suggest that Xizi has a texture and color reminiscent of a woven mat, blending seamlessly into its surroundings, thus avoiding basic detection. This camouflage ability makes it a particularly elusive creature, hard to spot even in its natural habitat.

One of the most striking aspects of Xizi is his alleged behavior as a bloodsucker. Stories say that this creature lies in wait, appearing as a harmless mat or patch of earth.

When an unsuspecting animal or human steps on it, Xizi comes to life, surrounding its prey and sucking its blood. This gruesome feeding method has gained a terrifying reputation among residents of regions where sightings have been reported.

The origins of the Xizi legend are hard to trace, as is often the case with folklore. However, this creature has been part of Chinese lore for generations.

The creature attacks people by wrapping itself around them and trying to drown them. Cryptozoologists speculate that errant freshwater stingrays or possibly freshwater cephalopods are responsible. Source: Icarito

The 1788 work What the Master Would Not Discuss (子不語), a collection of supposedly true stories collected over many years by the scholar Yuan Mei, claims that in the spring of 1771 an underwater diver was “tightly wrapped in a reddish, large scoop resembling an animal equipped with many suckers” in a river in Zhengjiang, Jiangsu.

In the summer of 1976 or 1977, a youthful girl swimming in a pond in Yunnan's Ruili County was allegedly attacked by a xizi that wrapped itself around her arm so tightly that her father was forced to cut off her arm. A few weeks later, a “floating shadow” captured a man swimming in the same pool, prompting residents to empty it. They reportedly later found the man's body, “still wrapped tightly in the moss-covered creatures' suction.”

In the fall of 1993, two brothers searching for frogs in a cave near the Daluo River in Mengla County came across a “greenish woolen blanket” lying on the ground. The “blanket” immediately rose and wrapped itself around one of his brother's legs, but he let go and fled into the deep pool as the other brother burned him with a torch.

Some speculate that Xizi may be inspired by real animals or natural phenomena misinterpreted by historic observers. For example, some species of flat, camouflaged animals, such as rays or flatworms, may have contributed to the development of the Xizi myth.

Alternatively, Xizi may be a symbolic representation of the natural dangers lurking in the wild, warning people to tread carefully in unknown territories.

Xizi's accounts vary greatly, reflecting China's diverse regions and cultures. In some versions of the story, Xizi is a solitary creature, while in others he is depicted as part of a larger group of similar beings.

The common thread through all of these stories is the perilous nature of this creature and its ability to blend seamlessly into its surroundings.

Himantura polylepis. Source:

David C.

Alternatively, it has been speculated to be a genus of freshwater cephalopods that have been described as stand-alone cryptids in Africa and North America. No known cephalopod is adapted to live in fresh water, but some species have extensive webs, such as the vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis) and blanket octopuses (Tremoctopus spp.), which can cover their arms.

Scientists and cryptozoologists continue to investigate these stories, hoping to discover any possible basis in reality. Although skeptics dismiss Xizi as a mere myth, the persistence of his legend suggests that he holds a significant place in the cultural consciousness of the regions where he is known.

Reference: Xu, David C. (2018) Mystery Creatures of China: The Complete Cryptozoological Guide, Coachwhip Publications

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  • J.W.H

    About John:

    John Williams is a Reincarnationist paranormal Intuitive freelance writer...he is living proof of reincarnation existence, through his personal exploration, he has confirmed its authenticity through visits to the very lands where these events transpired.

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