Bali officials call in holy man to perform cleansing ritual at ‘haunted’ COVID-19 hotel

A Hindu holy man, locally known as pemangku, performing a cleansing ritual at the hotel in Ubud. Photo: Istimewa via Bali Post
A Hindu holy man, locally known as pemangku, performing a cleansing ritual at the hotel in Ubud. Photo: Istimewa via Bali Post

Can you imagine having to deal with the inconvenience of supernatural apparitions while in quarantine for COVID-19? Less than a week after it started hosting asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, local officials called in a Hindu holy man to cleanse a hotel in Ubud following reports of supernatural sightings.

We all know Bali as this deeply spiritual place, where beliefs and supposed encounters with the world beyond are pretty commonplace. Local superstitions have certainly played a part in shaping behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic, though we think it’s good practice to always consider them with a grain of salt. 

As it is, it appears that reports of supernatural sightings at an unnamed hotel designated for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients prompted officials from Gianyar regency to bring in a Hindu holy man, locally known as pemangku, to perform a cleansing ritual. 

“We brought in a pemangku there to ask for permission to use the place,” Made Gede Wisnu Wijaya, secretary of the Gianyar regency, told Bali Post today

This particular hotel never went through a “neutralizing” ritual prior to this, according to reports, which is believed to be the reason why the place is “haunted” with the unseen.

Located in Ubud, the place also happens to be surrounded by big trees and holy water sources, which local residents believe contribute to the strong presence of the supernatural. Although COVID-19 patients quarantined at the hotel have yet to encounter the alleged ghosts, officers and staff have reportedly seen supernatural entities while they were on duty. 

These include a female ghost with an oriental appearance who was sighted at the entrance of the hotel, the ghost of a child and a woman who were seen inside the hotel, and a “big and tall” figure roaming the grounds. 

“In any case, when it comes to people who are sick, we must neutralize the negative energy there so that those who settle there will be comfortable and recover quickly. This is not about getting rid of ghosts,” Made continued. 

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