Saturday, August 22, 2009

Is an urban legend coming full circle?

Several weeks ago, I came across this news item:

08/12/2009 | 05:47 PM

Two secret lovers became the talk of the town in the southern Philippines Wednesday after they were found literally stuck to each other.

Doctors were at a loss on how to separate the two lovers, who had been stuck for more than 17 hours since Tuesday night, radio dzRH reported Wednesday afternoon.

The report quoted doctors at the Isulan town hospital in Sultan Kudarat province as saying the two lovers experienced penis captivus, a condition in which the muscles in the female organ clamp down on the male organ more firmly than usual, making it impossible for the man to withdraw his organ from the woman's.

Before experiencing the condition, the two lovers had a rendezvous at a local pension house in Isulan town Tuesday night.

The man, 32, was described as married and connected with the Department of Public Works and Highways. The woman, 20, was working at a local department store.

Initial investigation showed that the two experienced penis captivus at about 10 p.m., and decided to seek medical help at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, said the report.

Draped only in a blanket, the naked couple asked a tricycle driver outside the pension house to take them to a hospital.

At the hospital, doctors used a tranquilizer on the man to make his muscles contract, but still could not immediately separate the duo. - GMANews.TV

This news immediately brought back a particular memory of the early 60s when I was in Grade 2 or 3. I remembered a commotion in Pioneer Avenue of the municipality of Dadiangas (now General Santos City). A lot of people were gathered outside the clinic of a doctor. Some were scrambling to peek through the glass louvers of the windows and the wooden barandilya on the upper portion of the walls.

The adults were talking about a man and a woman covered in a flimsy blanket who were brought to the clinic early that morning by some fishermen. It was said that the couple spent the night together trysting on the nearby Lion's Beach. The man's wife learned of this tryst and with the help of an albularyo who gave her an amulet fashioned from the penis of a pawikan (sea turtle), she managed to affix this inside her husband's pants before he went to the beach.

While engaged in their illicit romance on the sand, the couple became stuck (as a result of the power of the amulet) and remained so until the fishermen found them the next morning. Later, I heard that the couple died of blood poisoning.

Several of my high school batch-mates also remembered this incident.

I have a theory about how this incident evolved into the urban legend that it is now.

At the time of the incident, the only means by which news of it could spread was by letters, telegrams or word-of-mouth. I would however bet on the last one as the biggest culprit for its spread.

Visitors and relatives from Luzon and Visayas islands would be regaled by local residents with this story. Local residents going to Luzon and Visayas would talk of this incident.

But I suspect that the spread of this incident might be attributed to movie checkers who were assigned here during that time. Checkers, usually men, were assigned by film distributors to escort the movies to be shown in towns and cities all over the country. Their job was to make sure the film reels arrive on schedule and to check that every ticket was torn at the tills (as whole tickets, already bought, could be returned to the ticket booth to be resold several times).
Checkers were great story tellers, often telling whomever was interested in where they had been and what has been going on in those places. This incident was such a great story they could tell and relish to tell over and over again everywhere they were assigned to go.

Until it became an urban legend. From the time I was a teener until now, I would hear variations of the incident happening in different locations in the country. Usually the location was a coastal place. The couple would be a married man and his paramour. The amulet would be made of a turtle's genital or that of another animal's. They would be found stuck together like Siamese (conjoint) twins. Some couples died, some survived.

And now the incident happened again in this part of the country. Has the urban legend finally come home?

1 comment:

sheng said...

there's this story you told me that's happened in Tinago ba or Lion's beach, haha. Kakatuwa, perso scientific naman ang reason for penis captivus di ba, probs lang, the guys is married. Nyaks!