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Black Magic in Aceh


Simeulue is rich tradition, folk tales superstition, and black magic. This Island has bad reputation in rest of Aceh for its black magic. One often meets people who tell strange stories, but one seldom (or never) finds any proof or witnesses of black magic by oneself in Simeulue. Wheter true or not, the subject is always interesting. Locals in Simeulue do not like to talk about it, especially about the negative aspects . They feel embarassed and afraid that people would refrain from visiting their Island . The magic's are performed by a so called "dukun" which translates into witch doctor. shaman, or traditional healer. There are both good and bad magic. A "dukun patah" can heal a broken leg. An other dukun can kill with only a simple touch. People have got sick with cancer ("Tinggam") planted by a dukun. This kind of negative magic is often called "guna-guna". The only way to get well in such a case is through treatment by another dukun who can counter the evils of the dukun who logical ways of getting the ship loose had failed, a famous dukun was asked to help. With his super natural powers he managed to decrease the weigh resulting in the ship to float higher and in this way got off the reef. Before someone to starts to study and learn magic, an oath, never use the magic for personal profit, has to be taken. If oath is broken, mantras loose their function and special powers are lost. There is one kind of black magic that destructs the dukun himself unless he uses it against other people. According to local beauty standards, a dukun is often ugly looking. Dabois is a form of magic that often performed on stage.Dabois can be seen in most areas of Aceh. Dabois is sometimes also labeled as traditional dancing. The performers stab and cut themselves with sharp objects, without getting hurt. In Simeulue they even use chainsaws.
A related phenomena is the "pawang" who can communicate with animals. Simeulue is famous for its many "pawang buaya"; (buaya is crocodile). A pawang buaya has long experience with crocodile and have often full control over all the crocodiles in a certain river. His control is based on supernatural powers and crocodile follow his orders.The late pawang Pak Kalitua often used a crocodile for transportation over the river by standing on back of one. "That's just showing off", as one beca driver in Sinabang exclaimed. When a pawang calls a crocodile to come, he gives the beast eggs and betel leaves and reads mantras. Not only men are pawang buaya. In village of Latiun near Labuhan Bajau is very old female pawang buaya.

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