Magic Money Boxes and Jen­glot

Indonesia Expat - - CONTENTS - BY KEN­NETH YEUNG

The gov­ern­ment is this year spend­ing about US$30 bil­lion on ed­u­ca­tion, but plenty of In­done­sians still up­hold ir­ra­tional su­per­sti­tions, putting them at risk of be­ing scammed. In the most brazen cases, scam­mers are claim­ing that magic boxes and ugly, man-made dolls can make peo­ple get rich quick.

Haidori (46) worked as a driver in Banyuwangi, a small city on the coast of East Java prov­ince. Seek­ing to aug­ment his in­come, he told peo­ple a Mus­lim cleric had taught him how to mag­i­cally mul­ti­ply money ten­fold.

On June 27, he gave a demon­stra­tion be­fore two of his neigh­bours, Su­jono (42) and Yayuk Ningsih (50). He put a Rp10,000 ban­knote into an en­ve­lope, which was then placed un­der a green prayer mat. The mat was care­fully re­moved and Su­jono was in­structed to open the en­ve­lope, which now con­tained Rp100,000.

There was no su­per­nat­u­ral power at work, just a sim­ple “en­ve­lope switch” trick, in which the orig­i­nal en­ve­lope was con­cealed when the prayer mat was re­moved and a sec­ond en­ve­lope was left in its place.

Con­vinced of Haidori’s mag­i­cal pow­ers, Su­jono and Yayuk handed over their sav­ings of Rp13.7 mil­lion to be mul­ti­plied. Haidori said he would first have to use Rp9 mil­lion of their money to pur­chase a mag­i­cal box from the Mus­lim cleric, plus he wanted Rp2 mil­lion as a fee. He later pro­duced a small wooden box and claimed it con­tained the re­main­ing Rp2.7 mil­lion, which would trans­form into Rp27 mil­lion after one month.

Be­fore the month was up, Su­jono ran into fi­nan­cial prob­lems and asked Haidori for some money. Haidori re­luc­tantly opened the box, which con­tained a Rp50,000 note and some dead flow­ers. Su­jono was not im­pressed.

Haidori con­fessed he could not re­ally du­pli­cate money and asked for six days to re­turn the money. He failed to do so and was ar­rested in late Au­gust.


Many con­fi­dence trick­sters in In­done­sia pose as dukun

(shamans), pre­tend­ing they have the abil­ity to mirac­u­lously dou­ble money. Such scams are of­ten de­bunked, but peo­ple keep fall­ing for them, so strong is the be­lief in su­per­nat­u­ral pow­ers.

In the Cen­tral Java town of Sra­gen, an un­em­ployed man named Teguh Adreng Pang­gayuh (46) in April de­cided to try his luck as dukun. Re­cruit­ing a friend to help him, they tar­geted peo­ple who were in debt and des­per­ate for money.

The pair first ap­proached a woman named Kar­tini, telling her that if she gave them Rp5 mil­lion, they could mag­i­cally in­crease it to Rp200 mil­lion. Un­able to raise Rp5 mil­lion, Kar­tini in­tro­duced Teguh to her friend Ju­madi (56). He and his wife agreed to hand over Rp30 mil­lion, which the con­men promised could be trans­formed into Rp250 mil­lion.

The rit­ual to mul­ti­ply the money took place in a ho­tel room fac­ing south (a pur­ported re­quire­ment for the magic) in Kudus. Teguh and his ac­com­plice armed them­selves with

var­i­ous mys­ti­cal props: a tra­di­tional keris dag­ger, in­cense sticks and some small stat­ues. Th­ese in­cluded a metal statue of Nyi Blorong – a myth­i­cal Ja­vanese half-woman half-snake, who re­put­edly se­duces men and then leaves them with pieces of gold. An­other amulet was a statue of horses pulling the car­riage of Nyi Roro Kidul, the myth­i­cal Queen of the South Java Sea. Then there was a jen­glot –a “shrunken hu­man” – ac­tu­ally just a grotesque doll with long hair, long teeth and long nails. Su­per­sti­tious peo­ple be­lieve jen­glot are vam­pire-like mini-hu­mans, need­ing to be fed a drop of blood each day to pre­vent mis­for­tune. Th­ese dis­fig­ured dolls are of­ten made from hu­man hair, mon­key teeth and taxi­der­mied an­i­mal parts.

In­side the ho­tel room, Ju­madi and his wife and the two con­men sat in a cir­cle with the props in front of them. Ju­madi put his Rp30 mil­lion into a card­board box. The phony dukuns re­cited in­can­ta­tions, then Teguh turned off the lights and asked the two vic­tims to close their eyes while pray­ing. He urged them to vi­su­alise their money grow­ing.

When the rit­ual even­tu­ally fin­ished after about two hours, Teguh taped up the card­board box and gave it to Ju­madi, telling him to wait 12 hours for the magic to work. Teguh and his ac­com­plice then left, say­ing they had to cleanse their stat­ues. After a long wait, Ju­madi and his wife opened the box. It con­tained a green cloth and two co­conuts.

Teguh was ar­rested in May, but his ac­com­plice was not caught. Teguh said he turned to crime be­cause he could not find a job and was un­able to feed his fam­ily. He could be jailed for up to four years if con­victed of fraud.


In Jakarta’s bustling mar­ket dis­trict of Tanah Abang, a dukun named Tukiy­ono “Yono” Ardiyanto (54) claimed he could use jen­glot to mul­ti­ply money.

Yono ear­lier this year ap­proached a hus­band and wife, Mulyana and Tri Mary­ati, promis­ing he could con­vert Rp10 mil­lion into Rp400 mil­lion. After they handed over their money, he gave them an old choco­late box con­tain­ing a jen­glot, and a wrapped shroud that he claimed con­tained their money.

Next, he took them to a river and in­structed them to throw the shroud into the wa­ter. He told the cou­ple to keep the jen­glot and after 40 days, their money would mag­i­cally re­turn as Rp400 mil­lion. They even pre­pared some card­board boxes into which the money would ma­te­ri­alise. Sure enough, they ended up with noth­ing but the hideous jen­glot.

Po­lice said Yono had five years ear­lier conned the same cou­ple out of Rp2.5 mil­lion, promis­ing it would be mul­ti­plied.


Sugiy­ono (50), a dukun from Ci­la­cap, East Java, last year swin­dled about Rp5 bil­lion from eight peo­ple who be­lieved he could use jen­glot to mul­ti­ply their money.

One vic­tim handed over Rp150 mil­lion, be­liev­ing it would be­come Rp18 bil­lion. The dukun kept ask­ing for ad­di­tional fees to make the magic work, un­til the man had given him Rp2.8 bil­lion. Part of the rit­u­als in­volved slaugh­ter­ing goats and mak­ing in­can­ta­tions over jen­glot.

It’s great that In­done­sia al­lo­cates 20 per­cent of the state bud­get to ed­u­ca­tion, but it would be even greater if chil­dren were taught that black magic and re­volt­ing dolls can­not mul­ti­ply money.

It’s great that In­done­sia al­lo­cates 20 per­cent of the state bud­get to ed­u­ca­tion, but it would be even greater if chil­dren were taught that black magic and re­volt­ing dolls can­not mul­ti­ply money.”

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