GHOST IN THE BAMBOO FISH TRAP


Photo: By Loco Moveo - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41850556

This game is usually played by the youth on Belitung Island. The fish trap is made of rattan or bamboo and is given the magic power through the mystical mantras by a shaman. The bamboo fish trap is approximately a meter high and is covered with cloth. In Indonesian language, it is called permainan hantu bubu.

People recommend playing this game at midnight in the moonlight. The negative energy will be greater because there’s no sunlight. Ghost is obviously afraid of sunshine, that’s why crimes are often committed at nighttime.

Some people like covering the fish trap with red or white cloth, but it is believed that the supernatural power will be stronger if you use black cloth. According to shamanism, black color absorbs negative energy more frequently.

After the shaman finished saying his mantras, he will ask the strong guy to challenge the bamboo fish trap. Everyone can join this game if they aren’t afraid of ghosts.

The bamboo fish trap stands in front of the challenger silently. While the challenger holds the fish trap with his both hands, it will generate a strong magical strength that will push him out of the way. If the challenger gives it a hug, it will move to free itself violently. The magical power will increase slowly until the challenger isn’t able to stand against it.

Sometimes the challenger will be possessed and falls into a trance. The shaman will help him out of the trance by saying powerful mantras and spraying a mouthful of water on his face. Soon afterwards, the challenger will regain consciousness from his deep trance.

It is safer to play the game under the supervision of a shaman, so that you won’t be easily possessed by the evil spirits.

Nowadays, it is not very popular due to the difficulty of seeking a shaman who has the real supernatural power.

My friend told me that he played this hantu bubu game in his grandfather’s vegetable garden. There were five people altogether. One of them was a shaman who claimed that he was able to invite a spirit to the bamboo fish trap with his magical mantras.

They ate fried peanuts and drank beer until nine o’clock in the evening. My friend went to take a piece of black cloth to cover the bamboo fish trap. Later, the shaman stood in front of the fish trap and started saying the mantras. It heard so strange and caused chills got down the back of their necks. The hairs stood up and goosebumps suddenly appeared on their arms.

Afterwards, the shaman asked one of the guys around him to play with the bamboo fish trap. To their surprise, the fish trap wasn’t as heavy as they thought and it could be lifted easily.

The shaman tried to apply mantras to the bamboo fish trap several times, but it didn’t bring any satisfactory result. It seemed that no ghost or spirit came inside the fish trap. Everyone felt quite disappointed and stopped inviting spirits.

They put the bamboo fish trap under the tree beside my friend’s bedroom. After taking a rest, they went home. The shaman was so uncomfortable for not being able to invite spirits for the hantu bubu game.

At midnight, my friend woke up from his dream as he heard strange sound outside the bedroom. He jumped out of bed and focused his ears on the odd sound.

Tok…… tok……… tok ………….. tok……………….

The sound got louder and louder, my friend took his flashlight and opened the window. He turned on the flashlight and shone it at the bamboo fish trap under the tree. What a pity, he couldn’t see anything because the fish trap was covered with black cloth.

The strange sound was coming out from inside the bamboo fish trap. It made my friend feel so curious that he decided to go out to check the inside of the fish trap.

He opened the kitchen door and stepped out with shaking foot. He stood in front of the fish trap for a while and then took the black cloth away. He saw a big tokay gecko inside. My friend felt sicken to see such a creature at night.

This tokay gecko’s call was quite different from the ones he had ever heard. There’re a great number of species with different sounds. He should ask his biology teacher if he was still at school.

At last, my friend lifted the bamboo fish trap to set the tokay gecko free. It didn’t mean that he was scared, but the strange sound caused him to be unable to sleep well.

The next day, my friend’s grandpa came back from the riverbank at sunset and grumbled that he didn’t catch any fish. He was so upset that his grandson had used his fish trap to invite ghosts for a game the previous night.

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