Sorcery remain real in Indonesia even in this day and age — at least in the sense that there are still those many claim to practice it and those who want to believe in it and learn how to harness the power of hocus pocus for themselves.
That seems to have been the case with seven men from Tangerang Regency, who sought to learn debus (a traditional black magic supposedly that can make one invincible from physical harm with the help of genies) from a guru in Rawa Kopi Village.
But if the genies had ever aided them with invulnerability magic in the past, they were absent last Thursday when the seven disciples were ordered by their guru to rinse their hands with acid as a test of their abilities. Unsurprisingly, they ended up needing professional medical help to treat their burns.
“From the seven students, two have been discharged by the hospital,” said Tangerang Police Chief Harry Kurniawan in his update of the case yesterday, as quoted by Republika.
The guru is now a fugitive after he fled his village following the embarrassing sorcery fail. Perhaps he asked his genies for help in turning him invisible this time?
Debus originated in the area of Indonesia now known as Banten province in the 16th century. The practice’s roots can be traced back to the Middle East through traders who spread Islam to the archipelago. The magical “science” became popular amongst locals, especially those opposed to Dutch colonial rule, but in the modern era it has been declared haram by fatwa from the Indonesian Ulema Council, who said that the practice of sorcery is forbidden in Islam.