Folklore of Fake Ghosts from Central Kalimantan

Cerita Rakyat Jawa Tengah Dongeng Timun Emas dan Mbok Rondo Dadapan
Cerita Rakyat Jawa Tengah Dongeng Timun Emas dan Mbok Rondo Dadapan

The Jombang Taste greets you again with an article of fake ghost folklore that develops in the life of the Dayak people. Hantuen are artificial ghosts from living humans. So, ghosts are humans who have the supernatural ability to turn themselves into imitation ghosts. This creature is greatly feared by residents of the Kahayan River watershed, such as the Dayak Ngaju and Ot Danum.

According to local belief, ghosts can remove the head from the body. Then He will look for a person who is giving birth to suck the blood of the newborn. All that was actually done against his will. This strange behavior is similar to the Leak that comes from Bali.

The legend of an imitation ghost from Kalimantan began long ago in Baras Semanyang, there lived a family who had a daughter named Tapih. But is a beautiful girl. The skin is yellowish white. Her long hair was jet black. Tapih’s parent’s job is to make baskets from rattan.

They are also good at making dike hats, which are hats with wide brims. In Central Kalimantan, this hat is specially worn when people hold a life cycle ceremony. For example, when holding a ceremony to bathe a child for the first time in the river. The magic hat is capable of giving special abilities to the wearer. Therefore, the magic hat became a struggle for many people.

The folklore of Central Kalimantan says that once, when Tapih was bathing in the river, suddenly his hat was knocked away by a strong wind and fell into the river. The hat was carried away by the river which was quite swift. Because the hat was not considered just any hat, Tapih, accompanied by her parents, walked through every village along the Rungan River to look for it.

He asked every villager he met, but they didn’t know it. Finally, Tapih and her parents arrived at Sepang Simin village. They found the hat again. The hat was picked up by a young man named Antang Taung. So this ghost story made up began to grow more and more interesting.

As a token of gratitude, Tapih’s parents rewarded the young man with gold. However, Antang Taung refused. Instead, he asked Tapih to be his wife. The story of the ghosts of the Dayak tribe states that the request was happily approved by Tapih’s parents.

Not long after, Antang Taung and Tapih were married in Baras Semanyang village. According to local custom, a newlywed couple must take turns in the house of their parents. They find it very hard to fulfill this custom, because between their two villages there is a very dense forest. To solve the problem, it was decided to build a road that would connect their two villages without going through the forest.

For labor, they used slaves or coolies. According to local residents, the road still exists today and is called Jalan Langkuas. The road construction started from Baras Semanyang. At first, their work was subject to interference by supernatural beings. Every time the workers return home, their resting huts have been broken into and their food supplies have been stolen.

Until one day they found a reason. They acted as if they had left the hut to work, but in fact they were hiding behind a bush not far from there. From their hiding place, suddenly they saw an animal Angkes, a type of hedgehog, climbing the steps of the hut. Every time they entered, the beast shook its body and miraculously turned into a handsome young man.

Seeing this, the workers immediately arrested him. Based on the folklore of the Dayak tribe in Central Kalimantan, he was successfully captured. He begged for mercy to be released. When he was released, he promised to help the workers make a way. Finally the request was granted.

Surprisingly, the young man who transformed into a beast was able to complete the construction of a fairly long road in just three days. Knowing this, Tapih and Antang Taung really admired him. They took him as an adopted child. The folklore of Central Kalimantan does not stop there because there is still something to it.

Now, with this road, the two husband and wife can go back and forth to their respective villages easily, without having to go through the jungle again. Some time later, but she became pregnant. At that time they were in Sepang Simin village. The prospective young mother craves to eat fish. So Antang Taung immediately went to the river to catch fish.

At that time, he got quite a lot of results. However, when he was about to land into the village with a dipper. He ran home. He accidentally left a tomang fish in his boat.

The next day, when he returned to the boat to collect it, he found that the fish had disappeared. Instead, there lay a very cute baby girl. He brought it home and the baby was adopted as a child.

Surprisingly, the baby girl they found grew rapidly. In a few months she was a very beautiful and handsome adult girl. The tomang fish incarnation girl then fell in love with the incarnation of an animal. And the two of them are then married. They become a happy husband and wife. Soon they gave birth to a son. Unfortunately, however, the child died shortly after birth.

How sad the two beast human beings are. And another sadness arose. A few days later, Udara, their adopted brother, the son of Tapih and Antang Taung also died. According to local custom, a person who has died must have two death ceremonies before his soul can go to Lewu Tatau, the paradise of the Ngaju Dayaks.

At the first ceremony his body was buried, and at the second ceremony the remains were burned. The second most important ceremony, because it frees a person’s spirit from the body for all eternity. This ceremony is very luxurious and is called by the name Tiwah.

When they heard that their adopted brother was about to be sent back, the husband and wife of the animal incarnation also wanted their dead child to be burned during the great ceremony. Tapih and Antang Taung opposed this intention, but they ignored it and persisted in his intention.

And something horrendous happened. Because when the bodies of human husband and wife children were dug up from their graves, it turned out that what remained were not human bones but animals and fish. The incident caused great embarrassment to the husband and wife of the origin of the beast. Finally they fled from the village of Sepang Simin.

Next they built a village in the middle of the jungle. In that village they gave birth to a large family. Their descendants are known as the Hantuen. It is said that according to the folklore of Central Kalimantan, these artificial human members left their villages and entered human villages, mingling with their inhabitants.

According to local beliefs, the original ghosts are gone. There are only offspring who have married ordinary humans. The people of Central Kalimantan believe that people who have ghost blood will have the supernatural ability to turn themselves into imitation ghosts.

During the day they become human beings, but at night they will transform themselves into bodiless ghosts whose fondness is to suck the blood of newborn children and the blood of the child’s mother. Reportedly, all of that was done against his will.

Such is the story that residents of the Kahayan River consider a legend and actually happened. To reinforce the truth of the legend they can show the path made by the young beast incarnation. The road is called Langkuas, which is located between Baras Semanyang and Sepang Simin.

Hopefully this article about ghost fairy tales from the Dayak tribe in Central Kalimantan can add to your insight. See you in the next article The Jombang Taste.


Sumardiyanto, Anwar and Eka Katminingsih. 2011. Folk Story. Sidoarjo: World of Science.