Despite the advice and warnings people are repeatedly being given about the dangers of the coronavirus, many are still willfully defying lockdown orders that risk not only their own safety but also that of others. One of the most novel ways of combating the problem comes courtesy of Indonesia, where violators have begun being locked up in haunted houses.
Kusdinar Untung Yuni Sukowati, the head of the country’s Sragen regency (think county administrator), issued the edict after lockdowns in the overpopulated capital of Jakarta and other major cities led to an influx of newcomers across areas of Java, a densely populated island home to over half the country’s 270 million citizens. Some arrivals weren’t sticking to the mandatory 14-day quarantine and thus risking the spread of infection, so Sukowati gave the unusual instruction in order to deter defiance, tapping into widespread beliefs in the supernatural that are a significant aspect of Indonesian folklore.
If a village has an empty and abandoned house reputed to be haunted, it’s to be set aside to lock up people and keep them in isolation. Several folks have already found themselves in such makeshift confinement, although any revenant punishment for their transgressions has yet to be visited upon them.
Similarly, some young people in the village of Kepuh have taken to trying to scare others into compliance, coordinating with local police to portray roving bands of pocong – ghostly figures trapped in their burial shrouds – with many parents and children reportedly too unnerved to even consider going out after dark.
The pandemic has already inspired some questionable moviemaking attempts in the shape of Corona Zombies and 5G Zombies, while Kevin Smith has stated that the lasting fallout from the pandemic will inform the plot of Twilight of the Mallrats, but if someone doesn’t ultimately do something creative with this particular development, it will surely be a missed opportunity. Perhaps the story could see a group of partying twenty-somethings determined to not let a worldwide health crisis spoil their fun end up locked in such a place, and it be initially unclear whether they’re coming down with the developing illness or being affected by the torment of the restless dead.
Right now, everyone needs to do what they can to help put a stop to the coronavirus, and as long as people continue ignoring guidelines through ignorance, more inventive ways will be required to deal with them. For some though, the fear of being trapped with the malevolent undead might prove just enough of a deterrence.