Friday, November 02, 2007

The Ghosts of Carbohydrates Past

Halloween is mostly a do-it-yourself affair in Jakarta. Luckily for us, there are plenty of haunted houses to choose from. Last year we went to the famous House in Pondok Indah, where a fried rice seller is supposed to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. This time we decided to find the Potato House, where a small child allegedly tumbled into a pot of boiling potatoes. (I wonder if these stories are just elaborate warnings against eating too many carbohydrates? If so, they are falling on deaf ears in Jakarta.)

When the ghost is present, you're supposed to be able to smell boiled potatoes, and hear a child crying.

We planned to go in late afternoon but were delayed by a thunderstorm, so we arrived on the cusp of the evening. We had a street name, but no house number. As soon as we started asking around, though, nearly everybody knew right away what we were talking about.

This guy, who has a kiosk on a nearby corner, seemed reluctant to tell me the story but confirmed the broad outlines when I told it to him. While I was talking to him, Chad was talking to the kiosk owner next to him, who said he'd heard the story but didn't believe in ghosts.

Finally we hit the jackpot. A local guy said he not only believed the story, but he had seen the ghost. And it wasn't just one ghost, it was several. He pointed to the area where they appear.

"You can see them around 1 a.m.," he said, "especially on Fridays. But you have to have a sixth sense. I'm not afaid; I'm used to seeing them."

The ghosts are from times past, he said, not the contemporary era. They are men, women and children. "They don't shout or speak; they don't approach me; they don't bother me." We were welcome to come back and look for them, he added, but "if you get scared, don't run." We assured him we were not the sort of people to do that.

By then it was almost too dark for pictures, but I eked out this last one with my cellphone. I like the way it came out, with its grainy texture and weirdly red fence. It makes the place look a lot creepier than it actually was. When we go back to see the ghosts, I'm sure it will look creepier still. But don't worry - we won't run.


michele said...

wow, actual ghost-sighting stories on halloween! that's pretty cool.

would you consider going back there at 1am to check out the facts first hand?

Mary said...

Very cool - I have never seen a ghost, but, I have felt its presence...really!
Did you see that Dennis Kucinich admitted to seeing a ufo? (All the more reason to vote for him.) And, he quotes a statistic that more Americans have seen ufos than support G. Bush. In a related article about his admission, it said that something like 36% of Americans also say they believe in ghosts - also more than believe in G. Bush.
Have you come across any UFO stories over there?

kopisusu2 said...

Yes, we definitely plan to go back at the ghosting hour. I have some doubts about my sixth sense, though. I mean, I can't even read lips. When I'm at a party with someone, and they catch my eye from across the room and point at their watch and mouth the words "LET'S GO!" -- I never get it. So I don't know about communicating with other dimensions.

I haven't heard any UFO stories here, Mary, but they definitely make up for it in the quantity and quality of their ghost stories.

Did that article happen to mention how many American believe Bush is an alien from outer space?