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by Magicseaweed on Friday 2nd July, 2010 105503 Views
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8 STRANGE THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT BALI:
THE TRANCE OF THE VIRGINS
In the 1930s Bali became famous in Europe for film footage of the Shanghyang Dedali, a trance induced by witchdoctors in Nusa Dua. It involves 12-year-old girls being possessed to dance by angels.
The angels are said to dance through the children's bodies, and it is the freakiest thing going. Even with eyes shut, the girls dance in unbroken unison. Click here to see footage of it here.
If you're a tad dubious on the emphasis on ritual and magic in everyday life here, make note of how the government handled the bird flu outbreak a few years back. As well as quarantining people and animals who had succumbed to the illness, the Bali provincial government and Hindu spiritual leaders made official announcements that they would be holding ritual animal sacrifices at sea to ward off evil influences.
The ceremony, known as Pakelem, involved black goats being drowned in the ocean off Padangbai and Balian. The Pakelem was seen as the defining factor stopping further outbreaks. © 2013 Bill Morris/WPS
TEMPLE OF KEBO EDAN
Five miles from Keramas you'll find the little-known temple of Pura Kebo Edan. Originally built by Javanese Muslims in the 1200s, it eventually became a shrine to a 12' dancing Hindu pejeng (giant) known as Bima.
What distinguishes Bima, yep, even more so than being 12' tall, is he is the proud owner of numerous penises. Legend has it that Bima's giant phallus -- four shanks snaking into one almighty gong-beater -- was obviously too much for his wife to handle. So, on finding her with another beau, and with an infernal case of blue balls, he trampled the pair of them to death. © 2013 Bill Morris/WPS
THE SUICIDE ARMY OF MARGA RAMA
The Balinese may be the friendliest people this side of The Cook Islands, but when it comes to fighting they don't take a backward step. When the Japanese occupied the island in WWII, Gusti Ngurah Rai formed the Balinese Freedom Army, and they did precisely that, ridding their island of the Japanese.
Yet no sooner had they booted the Japanese, than the Dutch returned and wrested control, this time arriving with a huge army. Gusti and his 95 soldiers marched to Marga Rama to meet 2200 Dutch in battle in what was a fight to the death, known as a Paputan.
The 29-year-old's final act of bravery "fighting to the last drop of blood" is still epic symbolism for a nation who would rather die than live as slaves. © 2013 Bill Morris/WPS
KARMA & THE FIRST WHITEY ON BALI
Dutchman Cornelius De Houtman was the first white man to set foot on Bali, and he set a horrible precedent for future crackers. Due to poor management on the trip from Rotterdam, 150 of his crew died of scurvy, to which Cornelius was unapologetic.
When Cornelius landed in Java, the Sultan came down to welcome him, but big Cornelius blew him off and shot some cannonballs in his direction. Soon after, in the Sunda Straight he was attacked by pirates, he got to Madura and believing the locals to be pirates he massacred them. Next stop on his feel-good public relations exercise through the archipelago was Bali, where he wrecked his boat on the reef at Balangan.
Realising he was a bit of a tool, the Balinese king gave him two sacks of pepper on proviso that once his boat was fixed he never set foot on the island again. Cornelius received his karma comeuppance shortly after when he insulted the good folk of Aceh in his demand for spices. On Sept 11, 1599, legendary lady, Admiral Malahayati challenged him to an ocean battle and dispatched him to a watery grave. © 2013 Bill Morris/WPS
THE ORIGINAL LOCALS WERE POLYNESIAN
Wondering why the Balinese are so good in the tube? It's genetic. The first inhabitants, the Bali-Ago, originally came down here from the Polynesian coast of Taiwan. And obviously Hawaii before that.
When the Muslims booted the Hindus out of Java they too fled to Bali, their cultures fusing with the Bali-Ago, living by a unique mix of Hindu and animal worship. © 2013 Bill Morris/WPS
NUSA PENIDA'S FANGED GIANT
That big island off the coast of Sanur, not Nusa Lembongan, the other one, the one without waves, Nusa Penida, is home to the mythical demon Jero Gede Macaling. Though he sounds like an innocuous Welsh backpacker, he is, according to legend, the embodiment of everything unholy.
An incestuous giant with fangs is how he is most often depicted. The belief goes that Macaling and his army of demons spend the month of December invading East Bali with drought, famine and rats. Macaling lets people off the hook if they partake in special rituals honouring his powers.
Macaling is visible in the form of phosphorescence which drifts up rivers at night. Near the rivers of Tukad Oos (Ketewel) and Tukad Petanu (Keramas) locals perform a dance known as Rejang during the Black Moon to appease him. © 2013 Bill Morris/WPS
RONALD REAGAN'S VOODOO COMA
If US expat author Mark Beshara is to be believed ... in 1984 the most powerful man in the world, the man with his finger on the button, Ronald Reagan partook in a magic ritual that damn near killed the Republican Party reptile.
In the book "Secret Bali", an ex-Secret Service agent explains being with Ronnie in a ritzy, golf course bungalow in Sanur during the president's trip to Bali. The book claims Ronnie and wife Nancy were nuts for all sorts of new age business (including having a personal astrologer) and had contacted a local Balian or shamen, things went downhill straight away and Reagan dropped on the spot and went into a brief coma. © 2013 Bill Morris/WPS
You'll find macaques all over the shop in Bali. They travel in troops, have white mohawks and full-face sailor beards. The locals believe them to be the embodiment of all things good ... or all things evil ... it depends.
One minute they're guarding the temples at Uluwatu and Ubud from dark spirits, next they're ripping up crops, laughing in your face, and flinging faeces at you. It's said that sorcerers known as Leaks can inhabit the bodies of macaques and roam from village to village in disguise to work their meddlesome magic on the unsuspecting. © 2013 Bill Morris/WPS
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