Apr 24, 2020 I Sequoyah Kennedy

Indonesians Disobeying Quarantine Locked in Haunted House as Punishment

Every country has its own way of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Indonesia, it seems, has decided to take the spooky route. One regency in Indonesia has decided to punish people breaking quarantine by locking them inside a haunted house. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess.

The regency of Srangen in Central Java has had an influx of people native to the region trying to escape lockdown in cities by returning to their small hometowns. Which only makes sense. Like many places around the world, Srangen has a mandatory quarantine of 14 days for any people coming in from other regions. Some folks, however, are not obeying this quarantine order. Sragen Regent Kusdinar Untung Yuni Sukowati made a statement that, at first, seems like the natural sort of hyperbole that comes out during times of crisis. She said:

“If they disobey self-isolation [orders], several villages have asked for my permission to quarantine them in an abandoned elementary school or abandoned houses.


I gave my permission. If need be, they should be locked inside — in a haunted house if necessary. But we’d still feed them and monitor them."

It seems like exasperated hyperbole, but it's not. Kusdinar made good on her threats of paranormal punishment when two people who had agreed to self-isolate broke said self-isolation. Kusdinar described the measures taken:

“Two Plupuh residents agreed to self-isolate but they violated the order. So they were locked inside an abandoned haunted house. Had they obeyed their order they wouldn’t have been locked in there.”

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OK, sure, this could be seen as psychological torture if you really want to be a wet blanket about it.

According to Kusdinar, the abandoned house is located in a rice paddy and is known by the locals to be haunted. It is not known how long the two people would be kept inside the haunted house, nor what manner of haunting the house is accosted by. Chances are it's a better place to be than jail, and the two people locked inside will likely have better stories to tell on the other end of this than many others.

Srangen isn't the only regency in Indonesia to resort to paranormal enforcement of quarantine. The Tuk Songo village in the Purworejo regency, also in Central Java, has recently drawn attention online due to villagers dressing up as pocongs—zombie-like creatures of Indonesian folklore—to guard the gate of the village at night and spray disinfectant on anyone who passes through.

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But Americans have been known to pay good money for the exact same treatment.

You have to do what you have to do, I guess. But I guarantee that if America started making people stay in haunted houses for breaking self-isolation, no one would be self-isolating. We love that stuff.

Sequoyah Kennedy

Sequoyah is a writer, music producer, and poor man's renaissance man based in Providence, Rhode Island. He spends his time researching weird history and thinking about the place where cosmic horror overlaps with disco. You can follow him on Twitter: @shkennedy33.

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