The Yara-ma-yha-who was an Aboriginal vampire creature that was described as a little red man, about four feet tall, with a really large head and mouth. The vampire creature did not have any teeth, so it swallowed its food whole. The creature’s most distinguishing features were the tips of its fingers and toes, which were shaped like the suckers of an octopus.
The Yara-ma-yha-who lived in the tops of fig trees. Like many vampires, it did not hunt for food, but waited for unsuspecting victims to happen by the trees. Then, it would drop on them, place its hands and feet on the person, and then drain the blood from the victim to the point that the person was left weak and helpless. The Yara-ma-yha-who would later return to consume the rest of its meal.
After consuming the body, the Yara-ma-yha-who would take a nap. When it awoke, the undigested portion of the meal would be regurgitated. According to legend, the regurgitated person was still alive.
Parents used the Yara-ma-yha-who to warn naughty children from wandering from the tribe and to warn them of what may come take them away. The adults told the children that if caught, they were better off to let the Yara-ma-yha-who swallow them, as their chance of survival was much better than if they fought the vampire creature.
Since the people were regurgitated alive, the people tended to survive the attack, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot be captured again. Each time a person is captured by the Yara-ma-yha-who, they would grow a little shorter until they were the same size as the creature. Their skin would first become very smooth and then they would grow hair all over their body; gradually, they would be changed into a mythical furry creature of the forest.