71: Pocong

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Imagine you are out driving late at night and suddenly, you have to step on the brakes as a dead body, wrapped in white linen and tied with rope, comes hopping across the road in front of you. This is the Pocong.


The Pocong's face is pale green, withered and rotting. There are two dark, hollow holes where its eyes should be. It is usually found in villages, wandering through the night, jumping up and down as though in search of something or someone. The Hantu Pocong's leap can range up to 40 or 50 meters. It has also been known to roll along the ground as well.

In the Indonesian language "Pocong" is a cloth shroud that is used to wrap dead body before burial. In Muslim burials, the body is wrapped in the shroud and then it is tied in three places: over the head, around the neck and under the feet.

According to legend, the deceased person's soul stays on earth for 40 days after they die. After 40 days have passed, the ties have to be released to allow the soul to escape. If the ties aren't released, the dead body will turn into a ghost and jump out of the grave, becoming a pocong. Because its feet are tied together, the pocong can't walk and hops along the road instead.

If you encounter the pocong, it won't harm you, but it will follow you wherever you go. It will only attack someone who blocks its path. So, if you ever stumble across a pocong, don't stand in its way or you'll regret it. There are only two ways to escape from the pocong. You can lie on the ground and pretend to be dead or you can try and evade it by running down a long, winding road until it loses sight of you. Only when the knots are untied will the ghost stop haunting you.

There was a little girl who lived in the kampong. After school, she had to attend religious classes and each time she went, she had to pass through a small forest. The trees were closely packed and never let any light shine through. The place was always creepy and deserted and she hated having to pass through the area.

One night, she finished her religious classes and was passing through the forest as usual. As she walked, she was scared and kept saying prayers under her breath. All of a sudden, she heard some bumping sounds behind her. She kept saying her prayers, but the bumping sounds followed her. When she walked slowly, the bumping followed softly. When she walked fast, the bumping sound grew louder.

Just as she was reaching home, the girl plucked up enough courage to glance behind her. What she saw filled her with horror. It was like a new born baby, but it was all wrapped up in a white shroud of death.

Terrified, she shouted, "Go home! I didn't disturb you, so you shouldn't disturb me!"

Then, she turned and ran home as fast as her legs would carry her. On the way, she heard the bump bump bump following her. Desperate to get away, she started dodging through trees and jumping over ditches. Eventually, she ran down a long path, turning left and right until she managed to lose the ghost.

When she finally got home, she hurriedly washed her legs and face. The next day, she told her mother what she had seen. Her mom said that it was a pocong and told her daughter that she should have hugged it. Many people believe if you are brave enough to wrap your arms around a Pocong, you will become very wealthy. Then, you should untie the knot over its head and set the soul of the dead person free.

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