People Indonesia has a thing for Jakarta ghosts. Parents forbid their children to go outside after dark or else Kuntilanak or Genderuwo ‘d take them. Two of the scariest beings according to the Indonesians.
In graduation, old students and teachers familiarised new applicants to the realm of education at an initiation campaign, where a night trip called as Jurit Malam, over dark fields and graveyards, is needed so that the students could hide in the dark, covered in white sheets and swoop when it isn’t expected at all.
And apart from these legends made up by the parents and institutional rites, the country’s ever-present ghost movies disturb children, converting the country into a nation of irrational adults.
Going thru such movies for several years, one cannot help, however, notice that Jakarta is filled with Jakarta Ghosts legends. Two reporters with a psychic and a photographer set out to explore the country’s ghost.
They reached the makeshift tent of a roadside vendor nearby Jembatan Goyang, allegedly amongst the most haunted bridges in Ancol, North Jakarta. The vendor’s mother often sees Jakarta Ghosts, reported by the vendor himself.
A few days ago his mother was possessed by a ghost tuyul near kapok tree. A tuyul spirit is a toddler ghost, butt-naked- presumed to be kept by someone like a servant to steal for their ‘human master.’
However, the Goyang Bridge is one of the most popular bridges in Indonesia due to its tutelary spirit, a lot of the time called as Siti Ariah, albeit their psychic said that the spirit’s real name was Siti Ansiah.
Legend has it that she died at a very young age in the 19th century. She was kidnapped, raped & murdered. Her body was thrown in a rice field which is now called as a Goyang Bridge.
Two movies were made out of this story in 1973 & 1994, and both were named “Si Manis Jembatan Ancol” (The sweetheart of Ancol Bridge.) Siti also was known as Mariah or Mariam, was the spotlight in Indonesia’s First television soap opera about spirits.
The 94’s play, also known as “Si Manis Jembatan Ancol,” with its leading lady wearing a tiny white dress and make friends with two effeminate male spirits.
They took the raft over the Ancol River and asked two rafters if they had ever come across the Sweetheart during their years of working.
However, sadly, everyone said ‘No,‘ even their psychic was silent though she had been asked not to reveal her vision until the night is over.
After moving south, they reached Casablanca Tunnel at 11 pm, which is constructed on a graveyard, in South Jakarta Ghosts.
People here honk thrice as they pass through the tunnel to avoid encountering Kuntilanak Merah.
She is a long-haired woman with red rob ghost that appears and stands before their cars, similar to what has shown in the 2007 movie “Terowongan Casablanca” (“The Casablanca Tunnel.”)
A shopkeeper who sell cigarettes nearby tunnel reported that though he never saw any ghost, however, there is always news on road accidents now and then.
Moreover, the traffic lanes have no lights, making it easier for speed driving at night. Yana, who has been living near the Casablanca graveyard her whole life, stated that she has never seen the ghost, as well.
Yana’s mother told her the background of the said spirit. She stated that the ghost is an outraged spirit of Nyai. Nyai is a female partner of a Dutch Official or warrior in the colonial period.
When tunnel & roads were proposed to be constructed on the graveyard, the labours unearthed every skeleton except the body of Nyai.
The honking everyone do here is to seek permission from her in order to pass via her region.
The tourists along with the psychic who came to explore the ghosts honked three times while they were in the tunnel.
When they asked the psychic if she saw something, she indicated with a smiled to talk about it later.
They parked their car in front of Centro nightclub in Dharmawangsa Square in South Jakarta. It was almost midnight when they reached.
Few meters from the nightclub, encompassed by small parks and intimidating trees, is a 2-story building called Rumah Kentang/ the potato house.
A security officer who’s been guarding the house for several months now was asked if he has seen or knew anything about the legend of a baby falling into a large pot of boiling potatoes were accurate or not?
Feri, the security guard, said that he has become familiar with not only the baby’s spirit, however, other ghosts that haunt the place, as well. The location is now a part of a non-governmental institution.
The guard states that there’s a female ghost that likes to hug him while he’s about to sleep. And after 1 is, he generally gets a smell of boiled potatoes, or French fries like the ones come from MacDonalds.
When the photographer was taking pictures of the place, the reporters who came to visit the site whispered to each other asking about any smell.
They ran from the building and as rushed outside pointing towards the tree and the box.
Their psychic quickly requested the photographer to take the pictures of the particular locations.
They made their next destination to the Jeruk Purut Cemetery, which was reportedly home to the Jakarta Ghosts of a headless priest and a black dog owned by him.
A movie was made based on this legend in 2006 called “Hantu Jeruk Purut” (“The Ghost of Jeruk Purut.) The thought of a headless Jakarta Ghosts is scary in itself;
however, they were excited to find the entrance gate to the graveyard and it grandeur office well struck.
A caretaker, Indra, living at the South Jakarta Ghosts Graveyard, asserted that he had taken several tourists on night tours in the cemetery. Young school students accompanied the reporters.
Some locals believe that the graveyard brings good luck and proffers magical assistance with pieces of stuff like winning someone’s heart or winning a lottery, generally by way of meditation.
The caretaker of the graveyard said that the legend on the headless priest was not true and is a myth.
However, he did see a lot of ‘other’ things in the graveyard. He said that once he couldn’t put his right foot on the ground.
A child spirit kept lifting his feet which later made him sick. Hearing this, they carefully stepped over a land filled with headstones. At this point, the photographer suddenly begged to leave.
Indra stated that there are four major haunted points in the cemetery. He took them to a tree surrounded by great scrubs. Behind the bushes was a pitch-dark stream. Indra said that they are required.
There are four main haunted points in the graveyard, Indra said, leading us to a tree encircled by high bushes. Behind it was a pitch-dark rivulet.
Indra said they only needed to stay there for 5 minutes in order to see a giant, hairy spectre, and some people were asked to be left all alone to experience the spirit.
They continued their journey to another location, a massive tree with massive space in its stem. They sat there for more than 5 minutes, took photographs and then returned to the office.
They didn’t get any glimpse of the ghost, nor captured him on any images.
At about 2 am, they were back on the road moving towards the south. An hour later, they reached a small shop that used to sell herbal tonics in Bintaro. There they listened to a story of the Bintaro tragedy from a customer named Munir.
The tragedy took place on Oct 19, 1987, where two trains crashed nearby Sudimara Station in Bintaro. More than 100 passengers died reportedly, and at least 300 were injured.
Inspired by this incident, a movie was made in 1989 called Tragedi Bintaro’’, as well as a song was written by Iwan Fals in 1910.
Munir was a boy back then, and he helped the police to find the dissected body parts. The area around the railway track is entirely different now.
The ground has been, and the area has now more lights, however, some people state that they have heard soft cries at night.
They followed Munir’s direction and reached the spot where the accident took place. They didn’t hear nor see anything ‘paranormal.’
The site was infused with silence and the beautiful red that started to beam in the eastern sky, making the area feel dejected instead of frightening.
Upon asking their psychic, she said that she had seen spirits of Kuntilanak, Genderuwo, Pocong, and the spirit of Kyai (Islamic Cleric.)
Jakarta’s Urban Legends on Film
Siti Anisah or Siti Ariah, Mariam & Mariah in various stories. Her history was- she was raped and murdered when she was kidnapped. Her story has inspired many filmmakers to make movies.
A soap opera, all named “Si Manis Jembatan Ancol” (“The Sweetheart of Ancol Bridge.”) The soap opera depicted her as a spirit.
Pondok Indah House
This legend talks about a robber that killed each member of a family residing in the building. The Rumah Pondok Indah movie represents a story a dead body put inside a figure that is in the house.
Ngesot stands for dragging someone across the floor. It is believed that there is a ghost of a nurse who loves scaring people by dragging them across the floor. Two movies were made on these legends, as well.
The Headless Priest and his Black Hound
These two spirits supposedly haunt the cemetery of South Jakarta Ghosts. This legend was adapted into a movie “Hantu Jeruk Purut” (“The Ghost of Jeruk Purut”) made in 2006.
Manggarai Ghost Train
An adaptation was made in “Kereta Hantu Manggarai” (“The Ghost Train of Manggarai”), made in 2008.
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