Posts Tagged ‘paranormal’

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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Gutsy performance ends when dukun takes a bath

March 7, 2010

This over-the-top clip from an old film (they still make them like this) features quite a few cultural icons: the dukun, the kris, the ghost.

‘Dukun’ is the term given to a widely varied group, ranging from faith healers to black witches. The common thread is that they use the spirit world.  I guess they have their origins in animism.  In the isolated villages, and even in the big cities, they are often the only medical help poor people have access to.  Even when there is a medical practitioner around, it can be a long wait for a consultation. Of course, not all dukuns look like the one in the clip.

The kris is a type of dagger found throughout SE Asia.  Some are thought to host spirits. Some dukuns specialise in making posessed krisses, others can divine the nature of the spirit posessing a kris. A friend who inherited one found her sleep disturbed by a presence in her dreams, she found out it was the kris wanting some offering and she placed it in the care of the dukun who had performed the divination. Great care has to be taken with a kris that likes to kill. It will certainly help you to do that, but if you don’t feed it often enough it will grow restless and turn on you.

There are more ghosts (hantu) in Indonesia than any other country, or else people are better at noticing them than anywhere else. There are as many ghost stories as there are people who are willing to tell them. Many people wont tell them for fear of invoking the spirits. I think the only culture which comes close to matching this level of belief in ghosts (as far as I know) is the Irish. Personally, I have an open mind about them, but I’ve never noticed one, even after driving along Casablanca (a street in Jakarta that runs through a cemetary) on many a late night/early morning.