Southeast Asia is filled with folklores but the Pocong is one of the scariest ones out there.
1. The Origins of Pocong
Known as Hantu Bungkus (The Wrapped Ghost) in Malaysia or shroud ghost, Pocong is a ghost of Indonesian origin.
The shroud is a white cloth that was used in Muslim Burials to wrap the body of the dead person. The white fabric was tied over the head, under the feet and on the neck.
2. The ties are supposed to be released
According to traditions, the soul of a dead person will remain on earth for 40 days after the person has passed away. If the ties aren’t released, the corpse would take the form of the ghost we know as ‘Pocong’.
After the ties are finally released, the soul will then cross over to the afterlife.
The Pocong appearance is dependent on the appearance of the deceased person when they pass away and the state of the corpse’s decomposition.
If it had been years since the person was dead, the Pocong will look more skeletal. If it was a recent death, the Pocong will look more like their former self.
Despite that, they are mostly described as having a pale green, shrivelled and decaying face, with two deep empty holes where their eyes should be.
4. Pocongs hop like rabbits
Because the ties haven’t been untied from under the feet, the Pocong can’t actually move in the standard fashion. Instead, it hops along roads, barreling onward until it encounters some unlucky soul. It’s also capable of rolling on the ground.
Before you laugh at the ludicrous way in which it moves, consider that a single leap by a Pocong could stretch up to 50 whole meters. 50.
Although other sources say the original Pocongs are can float above the ground.
5. Jumping Vampire
Like Nasi Kang Kang, there are different versions of Pocongs available. In the Chinese version, the Jiangshi or also known as the Chinese hopping vampire kills living creatures to absorb their life force at night.
This happens because the dead body was possessed by the spirit or the soul did not leave the body due to suicide, improper death or the spirit just want to cause trouble.
6. Pocongs could be found anywhere
Since they are not affected by gravity, they have the ability to ‘teleport’. From their final resting place to their former homes, they could be found anywhere.
However, the most common place is under a banana tree. It is common to find a small colony of Pocong gathering near or around banana trees.
7. The place will turn eerie when Pocong is around
“When these ghosts appear, the place tends to turn eerie. Their faces look ugly and they are smelly,” Animism expert associate professor Dr Zainal Abidin Borhan said.
It turns out Pocong is not that different from other ghosts.
8. Plastic Pocong
In Jakarta, there’s a plastic Pocong. They believe that plastic Pocong is based on the true story of a pregnant woman murdered by her boyfriend.
When an autopsy was performed on the body, blood flowed endlessly even after the body was sewed shut. Thus, they had to use plastic to cover the body in addition to the traditional shroud before burying her.
People believe that plastic Pocong exists because it wants to be set free from the plastic cover.
9. Aggressive Red Pocong
One of the most aggressive Pocong is the red Pocong. It was a vengeful spirit that wishes to seek revenge for an unpleasant death. The colour red represents anger vengeance felt by the person before death.
The red Pocong is believed to be more likely to attack the living without being provoked. Due to its aggressive behaviour, people believe that the red Pocong is a leader of some sort.
10. Hugs, anyone?
Supposedly it’s an extreme act of courage, and thereafter untying the knots (effectively releasing the soul) would cause the spirit to be grateful, and bless you with wealth.