Posts Tagged ‘magic’

Smoking Mango Trees and Spinning Stones

August 25, 2010

Two stories here.  Each one showing the craziness that can occur when someone discovers a new ‘paranormal’ (metaphysical) concept that  captures the public’s attention.

In the first part, someone in Tanggerang (West Jakarta) noticed that a kind of smoke rises from their mango trees every evening at dusk.  Personally, I don’t know if it’s normal for some trees to release moisture at a certain time of the day.  Maybe they release it all the time and it’s more noticable at dusk?  Maybe the temperature changes that happen at dusk cause the trees to lose moisture?  Whatever the reason, I’m sure there’s a plausable scientific reason for the phenomenon which I can grasp at to settle my pragmatic Western mind.  Not if you’re a resident of Tanggerang.  They think it’s uncanny that the smoke only rises when the imam starts the call to evening prayers, so there has to be a paranormal reason to it. 

Whatever the reason, scientific or metaphysical, I can’t see how it justifies people coming in their thousands to witness the spectacle.  But this sort of thing happens quite often in Indonesia.  I guess there isn’t much free entertainment appart from the shopping malls.  At the time of the clip it had been going on for 10 days.  I guess by now the circus has moved on to another place.

In the second part of the clip, a dukun (witch doctor) has a magic stone (batu ajaib) which he hires out for people to spin on.  Dwi says she had a spin with her baby and it cured his fever! 

The dukun says that he found the stone while walking in his fields.  He says he knew it was a magic stone because his eyes were drawn to it.

I’ll reserve judgement, but it looks like a fun game, spinning on a stone.

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His Wife a Cow, She Died soon after Marriage

June 12, 2010

Unfortunately he isn’t interested in the sort of cowgirl shown in the pic above.  18 year old Ngurah Alit of Jembrana in Bali was caught stark naked in the act of bestiality with a cow in the middle of a rice paddy.  You can’t get more ‘caught’ than that. 

Alit claimed the cow magically assumed the form of a beautiful girl and it seduced him.

Instead of throwing him in jail, local custom has its own way of dealing with such cases.  Alit was forced to marry the victim of his crime in a full traditional wedding ceremony, presumably with the intention of shaming the man so much that he will never do this crime again.  In fact the ceremony, involving the entire village, police, press and curious people from other villages, had such an effect on him that he was overcome and fainted.

Following the ceremony, man and ‘wife’ were bathed and symbolically drowned in the beach.  The cow was actually drowned and Alit had just his clothes thrown into the sea.  This was done to cleanse Alit and the village of his desecration.

If Alit had comitted his crime in a Western country, it is likely that he would be put through the court system and receive a criminal record, maybe even spend some time in prison.  I think that this Balinese method is a far better way of dealing with these cases.  He has been ridiculed in front of everyone he knows, and so he will surely never do such an act again and people seeing his punishment will think twice before they try to copy him.  Although he will bear the shame all his life, at least it is not officially recorded, it will not prevent him from travelling or getting a job in the future.  Most of all, his village has not lost a good worker to Crime University – the prison system.

As for the cow?  Well, it won’t be seducing any more farm boys.  You may think its fate was harsh, but it really was the most humane decision.  The animal would probably not feel comfortable around humans and in any case, there is no danger that someone will again defile it.

Ketok Magic

March 14, 2010

The guy in the clip doesn’t look much like the dukun I posted last week (maybe he had a shave after his bath?), but he’s performing a kind of magic.    By the gentle taps you can see him doing on the clip, he is able to beat out the dents in a sheet of metal without disturbing the paintwork.  It works if you just have a dent, not if there’s a scratch or gash, of course.  Still, it’s quite amazing, I recon.  Panel beating while you wait.

This magic is performed throughout Java, perhaps all of Indonesia.  However it originates from Blitar (according to the guy who posted the clip).  So when you’re driving around Java, you will often see a sign ‘ketok magic’.  But if the guy learnt his trade in Blitar, it will say ‘ketok magic Blitar’, so you know it’s the original and (usually) the best.  You mostly find this kind of advertising technique with food – some towns are famous for particular dishes, so the restaurant will make a point of showing that the dish it serves is just like the one from that other town.

So if you’re a panel beater living in the West who wants to make a fortune by learning this skill, you had best buy a ticket to Java.  The only problem is you might never want to leave.