web analytics
RECRUITMENT
WE WANT YOU!
We are looking for passionate people to be part of the HUNGZAI Correspondent Team. If you think you have what it takes,
CLICK HERE NOW!
Story Categories
Army Story
Beach
Building
Camp
Cemetery
Chalet
Cinema
Festival
HDB
Hospital
Hotel
Kampong
Office
Pocong
Pontianak
School
Spiritual
Strange Incident
Toilet
Stories By Country
Australia
Brunei
Canada
China
Hong Kong
India
Indonesia
Japan
Korea
Malaysia
Philippines
Taiwan
Thailand
United Kingdom
United States
Vietnam
Home > Horror News > Eastern Horror News > Villagers Blame Magic
Villagers Blame Magic
By: RSS/News Feeds

Villagers walk out of a church after they finished Sunday service in Kubu Simbelang village, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Sunday, May 28, 2006. An extended family in the village had died of bird flu and no links to sick birds could be found, raising fear of possible human-to-human infection, thus locals blame black magic, not the virus, for the deaths.

KUBU SIMBELANG, Indonesia – The three brick-and-clapboard houses stand along the village’s muddy dirt road, empty and forlorn. A naked light bulb hangs from a wire over one door, still burning. A white pet bird cries for food from its cage. But no one dares to go near.

Health experts have focused on the houses since an extended family started dying from bird flu and no links to sick birds could be established. They suspect limited human-to-human transmission, but say there is no need to panic because no one else in this mountain farming village has fallen ill and the virus has not mutated.

Some neighbors insist, however, that bird flu is not to blame. They are convinced black magic is at work, that ghosts now haunt their quiet Christian community of about 1,500 people.

Many are too scared to even pass by the family’s houses, and some who live nearby are awakened by nightmares that they will be the next to die.

“We are so afraid just to step into that house,” said a 37-year-old woman who identified herself only as Sembining. “We can’t tell what we’re afraid of — we’re just afraid.”

She lived near the victims and said the first woman who died was like a daughter to her. She recalled feeding and caring for her friend as she lay burning with fever before bird flu was ever suspected. Sembining can’t understand why she, too, didn’t fall ill.

“I think the family was cursed,” she said. “It must be, because if it’s bird flu, why only their family? Their blood?”

This is the largest cluster in a handful of cases involving bird flu passing from human to human, but scientists think it has always done so between blood relatives — not spouses. That has led some to theorize there may be a genetic susceptibility to the disease, but there is no evidence yet to support that.

Tests found no trace of the H5N1 virus in the village’s poultry, and dozens of hens, roosters and chicks run freely in backyards. Pigs, cows, buffalo, dogs and barefoot children roam along the rutted road and across fields of chilies, oranges and limes.

Whatever the source of the infection, six of seven family members who tested positive for H5N1 have died. An eighth was buried before samples could be taken, but the World Health Organization considers her part of the cluster.

As their neighbors started dying, confusion and mistrust prompted villagers to stop cooperating with officials. Many refused to give blood samples, fearing they would later fall ill and suffer the fate of their neighbors.

The case has been a powerful lesson for WHO officials in understanding the importance of early communication and education.

“We’re seeing what problems we’re going to run into on the ground,” WHO spokesman Dick Thompson said. “We’re learning with every step.”

Jules Pieters, manager of WHO’s rapid response and containment group in Geneva, said it is clear that people familiar with the culture, language and customs of this area should have been involved earlier to help villagers understand what was happening, how to protect themselves and the importance of allowing treatment if they develop symptoms.

Instead, many people who were never scared of doctors before are now terrified of them.

“We are afraid to be sent to an isolation room. You know an isolation room is a slaughtering room — a room for the people who want to die,” said villager Caranta Perangin-Angin. “Therefore we are afraid of (letting doctors) take blood. Taking the blood, for me, symbolizes going to die.”

Indonesian officials reported that at least one patient had fled the hospital to seek traditional medicine and was later caught and returned. In the event H5N1 should mutate into a form easily passed among humans, such behavior would likely spread the illness further — a serious worry for experts who fear the possibility of a bird flu pandemic.

“In these situations, we need to first earn the trust of the people most directly at risk,” Thompson said. “I think one of the lessons we’re learning from this outbreak is that you can’t just drive truckloads of Tamiflu into this area and expect that the problem is solved.”

He said some villagers began associating Tamiflu, the chief drug to treat bird flu, with death because members of the infected family — most of whom were given the medicine too late to help — were dying after taking the pills.

Not everyone in the village is spooked.

Parked on a bench outside his tiny shop and strumming a guitar, Bapak Karunia Sembiring smiled when asked about bird flu. “If the doctors said it’s bird flu, then so be it.”

He said he is happy officials are monitoring the villagers’ health and spraying disinfectant. But the 60-year-old fears his village will be shunned.

“I’m a little bit worried about what will happen in the future to the village,” he said. “The worst is that the world will hate us, will judge us.”

Similar Stories

Ghost Stewardess Seen At Suvarnabhumi Air Crash - Eastern Horror News
Amid the search for technical explanations for the Thai Airways International (THAI) landing mishap at Suvarnabhumi airport, public curiosity has been stoked by a passenger' s account suggesting divine intervention aided the ...
The Himuro Mansion Haunting - Eastern Horror News
According to urban legend, lying just beyond the city of Tokyo is one of the most haunted locations in all of Japan. The exact location of the Himuro Mansion (or Himikyru Mansion ...
Don’t Fear The Forest - Eastern Horror News
So, does that mean we should not enjoy the wondrous beauty of Malaysia’s forests for fear of spirits? The answer is probably no. First of all, any trip has inherent risks. Take ...
Supernatural Survival Tips - Eastern Horror News
How do you deal with the paranormal to have a pleasant jungle trek? Here are a few tips provided by the interviewees and the Internet. If you suddenly smell jasmine, don’t turn ...
They See Ghosts - Eastern Horror News
Yap Kok Sun, 70, retired civil servant “In 1992, as we were coming down from Gunung Tahan, Pahang, we came to this bamboo grove. From there, out came this Orang Asli with ...
FEEDBACK
Found any WEBSITE ERRORS?
Let us know!
RECENT STORIES
°Negeri Sembilan Kampong
°Watch Your Mouth
°Pox
°The Bathroom
°Army Camp Duty
°Don’t Step On It
°Lady In Grey
°Previous Car Owner
°Genting Highland
°The Lonely Senior
MORE STORIES | SUBMIT STORIES
RECENT NEWS
°Ghost Stewardess Seen At Suvarnabhumi Air Crash
°SBS Bus Ghost Caught On Camera
°Tales From The Crypt In Singapore
°Ghost Hunters Intrigued By Spirit At Bistro
°Ghosts, Aliens And Us
°South Lyon’s Ghost Hunters Search For Answers
°National Ghost
°Experts Unearth Srebrenica Bodies In Ghost Village
°Women Aren’t Afraid of Ghost
°Visits From The Deceased
MORE NEWS
Top 10 Stories
°Bedok Famous Haunting
°Pulau Tekong True Fact
°Haunted Schools 1
°Rape Case
°True Ghost Story
°Red House
°Fishing Ghost Stories
°Escape Theme Park
°A School Horror
°SAF Changi Chalet
MORE TOP STORIES
Top 10 Horror News
°SBS Bus Ghost Caught On Camera
°Singapore Death Flats
°Tales From The Crypt In Singapore
°The Old Cathay Cinema Building
°Urban Legends
°Superstition In Singapore
°4-D Punters In Choa Chu Kang Cemetery
°Spirits In Malaysia Jungle
°The Himuro Mansion Haunting
°Women Aren’t Afraid of Ghost
MORE TOP NEWS
SPONSOR
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
About Us | Contact | Privacy Policy @ Hungzai.com 2013 | Singapore Web Hosting