mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Who Do Voodoo? Indonesians, Apparently

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim majority, but the country is also home to black magic and a community of people willing to pay warlocks and witches gobs of money to hex their enemies. Somehow, this belief in the occult is seen as compatible with Islam, but a new proposal seeks to outlaw the practice. The venerable Financial Times brings us this bizarre story:

Indonesia would make it illegal for anyone to “declare the possession of mysterious powers” or “encourage others to believe that by their actions they can cause mental or physical suffering of another person.” The crime would be punishable by a jail sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to Rp300m ($30,700). […]

Unfortunately, other nearby countries have learned the hard way that making witchcraft illegal leads to actual witch-hunts. And there’s another problem with the otherwise sensible proposal: It will make outlaws of some extraordinarily colorful characters. Take Agung Yulianto, also known as Mr. Idiot, who insists that he only uses his powers for good:

[Mr. Idiot] has built a phantasmagorical mansion—part-Disneyland castle, part Hindu and Buddhist temple—on the outskirts of Jakarta, where he parks a Mercedes and a Jaguar, among the dozens of luxury cars that he owns.

Iman Santoso is one of Indonesia’s best known warlocks and has admitted to killing hundreds with his black magic. “I sometimes feel regret and can’t sleep at night, but I make sure that I drink human blood every Friday night as a supplement to protect me from these thoughts and other evil spirits,” said Santoso.

If you’ve got the time to get weird, read the whole thing. It’s a mad, mad world.

[Skull image courtesy of Shutterstock.]

Features Icon
show comments
© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service