The Manqurt is altogether a more supernatural and creepy being than the Almastu.  A manqurt used to be human, but according to folklore, the human in question has had their soul separated from the body while the body is still alive.  The resultant being – a sort of "living zombie" or soulless construct – is reputed to be very suggestible, even programmable, by its creator.  Manqurts are very difficult to kill or stop, and have no trace of conscience or memory of their former existence.
They appear in several Turkestani folk tales; the exact procedure for making one seems to be a little variable, but usually involves some combination of trauma and magical chemistry of the "eye-of-newt, pollen-of-black-rose" variety.  A typical way of creating a manqurt is to tie the victim in the desert with a close-fitting skullcap of fresh camel-hide upon their head; as the desert sun dries out the cap, the hide will shrink, squeezing soul and sanity out of the man with the end result that he can no longer remember even his own mother or his own name.
Comparative folklorists draw parallels between the Central Asian Manqurt concept and the European Vompire legends, though the manqurt is a slave rather than a master and does not have the overt supernatural powers of these Western creatures.  Nevertheless, they are reputed to possess great strength and be ferocious fighters who do not care whether they live or die; they are also reputedly able to shrug off wounds which would incapacitate or kill a regular mortal.
The procedure for unmaking a manqurt is even more variable than the procedure for making one.  In many tales, the true tragedy is that they cannot be restored to themselves.  Those tales which bring a man back from manqurtdom usually only do so at a high cost to those who restore him; love, strong magic and the intervention of high spiritual powers are usually required.
Back to Almastu
Forward to Äfändi
Up to Folklore overview