The beheading and burial of a wild boar did not spell the end to the babi ngepet story in Depok, West Java, as Indonesia’s obsession with the supposedly supernatural creature clearly demanded further official involvement.
And that, most notably, came with the local police exhuming the wild boar from two separate grave sites (the villagers kept the head and the body apart to prevent them from magically fusing back together).
“Yes, we have exhumed the alleged babi ngepet and it is now secure with the Sawangan Precinct,” Sawangan Police Chief Rio Mikael Lumban Tobing said this morning, explaining that the grave sites for the for the boar had attracted crowds, in breach of COVID-19 protocols.
In a bid to contain the excitement surrounding the babi ngepet, police have also questioned nine villagers who claimed to be its captors for 10 hours yesterday, as authorities aim to establish and announce a rational explanation to the public.
These nine, lest you forget, were among the dozen or so men who claimed that they had to strip butt-naked to be able to see and capture the babi ngepet on Monday.
The villagers claimed the babi ngepet had terrorized residents over the past month, using black magic to steal their money and prized possessions. The story sewed distrust between the villagers, especially in the case of a self-proclaimed clairvoyant, who may have started the whole farce by publicly airing her suspicion that her neighbor was a shapeshifting boar demon thief because they seemed to be well-off despite rarely leaving the house to work.
The villagers then turned on the woman and protested outside of her house for causing distress in the village, prompting her to issue a public apology.
In addition, police have arrested a local cleric accused of being one of the main instigators of the babi ngepet rumors. The cleric may face up to 10 years in prison for spreading fake news under the 1946 Criminal Code. To the police, he confessed to buying the wild boar for IDR900K (US$62.24) to be used as a scapegoat for the villagers losing their money and valuables recently.
For what it’s worth, and as if it were even necessary, scientific experts and religious leaders have vehemently stated that babi ngepets don’t exist.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include details about the arrest of the local cleric.