It seems like everybody (and every building) in Jakarta has their own ghost story. In fact, the capital even has a number of professional exorcists who go around making a living by banishing undead spirits from office buildings.
There is good reason for there being so many ghost sightings in the Big Durian. The capital of Indonesia has seen more than its fair share of bloodshed and horror during its 488 year history, with violent riots bookmarking periods of oppressive colonialism, brutal dictatorship and revolution, not to mention the usual mix of murders, suicides and unimaginable tragedies that befall any large metropolitan over time.
In short, there is no shortage of sources for scary stories in Jakarta. But out of the thousands of tales of terror that this city holds, there are a few that have become urban legendary, turning some of the city’s most iconic landmarks into notorious supernatural hotspots (that have all inspired their own horror movies and TV shows).
In honor of the Halloween season, we present you with the five most famously haunted places in all of Jakarta. If you’re truly fearless, you might consider spending this Friday or Saturday night at one of them – more than likely, you won’t be alone.
1. The Haunted House of Pondok Indah
Definitely one of the most infamous haunted houses in all of Jakarta, this abandoned building in the high-end neighborhood of Pondok Indah has inspired several horror movies and TV shows.
The most famous tale of terror attached to the house is that a group of robbers brutally murdered a family of seven that once lived there.
There have also been plenty of other strange sightings and stories of people going missing, like a nasi goreng vendor who supposedly disappeared into the house in 2002, leaving nothing but his fried rice cart behind.
2. Ancol Bridge (aka Goyong Bridge)
Although it is known as a waterside recreation area, Ancol is also said to contain one of Jakarta’s most tragic and dangerous spirits.
The ghost that haunts Ancol’s Goyong Bridge is said to be that of a beautiful young woman named Siti Ariah who was kidnapped and murdered in the early 1800s after she rejected the advances of a powerful old man. Legend says that her body was left in a rice field right by where the Goyong Bridge now stands.
Now referred to as “Si Manis Jembatan Ancol” (The Sweetheart of Ancol Bridge), Siti’s ghost, which is also sometimes called Maryam, is said to appear on the bridge at night wearing a white dress (or sometimes a black kebaya). The urban legends about her also say that she has caused several drivers going past the bridge to get into fatal accidents.
The story of the Ancol Bridge Ghost is so famous that it has been made into several movies as well as a TV show.
3. Rumah Kentang (Potato House)
Yes, one of the scariest places in Jakarta is known as the Potato House. Seriously.
Located on Jalan Dharmawangsa 9 in Kebayoran Baru, it is said that a child living in the house died after falling into a pot of boiling water filled with potatoes. The legends say that if you pass by the house, you can sometimes smell boiling potatoes and hear a child crying.
And yes, they turned this into a horror movie as well. The trailer is kind of amazing in its absurdity (you’ll certainly never look at potatoes the same way again)…
4. The Casablanca Tunnel
For some people, the scariest thing about this underpass on Jalan Casablanca is the amount of traffic you have to endure to get through it during rush hour. But others are far more afraid of it late night when it is empty.
Legends say that the tunnel was built on land that used to be a cemetery, meaning many bodies had to be moved to nearby land for its construction. This caused many angry spirits to be disturbed, most infamously the ghost of a woman who is said to have been buried alive by her boyfriend after he found out she was pregnant.
Her angry spirit supposedly became a red kuntilanak, a particularly fearsome and creepy long haired demon spirit that is constantly seeking revenge.
To avoid seeing the Casablanca kuntilanak, drivers are supposed to honk three times while entering the underpass. If they don’t, they may see the woman’s ghost suddenly appear in the dark shadows of the tunnel, something which has supposedly led many drivers to their doom.
And yes, just like every other haunted spot on this list, the story of the Casablanca ghost has been made into a horror movie, multiple times.
5. Jeruk Purut Cemetery
Cemeteries are obviously prime haunting spots, but Jeruk Purut Cemetery, located near Kemang, is probably the most famous haunted burial ground in Jakarta. According to legend, it is haunted by ghost of a decapitated pastor who carries his head around in his hands and is often followed by a large black dog. It is said that he is looking for his own grave, which is actually located in another cemetery.
Although the priest is not Jeruk Purut’s only ghost, he is the most famous. It is said that you are most likely to run into him on Friday nights, but only if you’re with an odd-numbered group of people.
Part of the reason for Jeruk Purut’s infamy is the fact that a movie about it was made in 2006 called “Hantu Jeruk Purut” (The Ghost of Jeruk Purut).
Apparently night time visitors to the cemetery are quite common, and there are even reports that the groundskeepers will take you on a tour for a small fee. If you wanted to do something truly terrifying to user in Halloween, head here late on Friday night with 2 or 4 friends to see if you can find the ghost of Jeruk Purut for yourself.
We know there are plenty of other famous haunted spots in Jakarta, such as Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, Toko Merah and the Bintaro Train Tracks. But we’ll save those for another day… In the meantime, let us know on our FB page if you’ve seen any ghosts here or elsewhere in Jakarta. No matter how crazy your story, we’re sure you’re not alone.