An Indonesian village has deployed human ghosts as a way to instill discipline in villagers so they could stay indoor during the coronavirus lockdown in the country.
The village on Java island has deployed a cast of “ghosts” to patrol the streets, hoping that age-old superstition will keep people indoors and safely away from the coronavirus.
“We wanted to be different and create a deterrent effect because ‘pocong’ are spooky and scary,” said Anjar Pancaningtyas, head of a village youth group that coordinated with the police on the unconventional initiative to promote social distancing as the coronavirus spreads
Known as “pocong”, the ghostly figures are typically wrapped in white shrouds with powdered faces and kohl-rimmed eyes. In Indonesian folklore they represent the trapped souls of the dead.
But when they first started appearing this month they had the opposite effect. Instead of keeping people in they bought them out to catch a glimpse of the apparitions.
The organisers have since changed tack, launching surprise pocong patrols, with village volunteers playing the part of the ghosts.
“Since the pocong appeared, parents and children have not left their homes,” resident Karno Supadmo told Reuters. “And people will not gather or stay on the streets after evening prayers.”
Indonesia so far has about 4,500 cases and 400 confirmed virus deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
But there are fears, according to experts, that the true scale of the infection across the country is much worse.
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