Hey Bookworms! You may or may not have heard yet, but this is my last Folklore Friday column. Because I have the attention span of a toddler, now just felt like a really good time to step away and focus on writing something new. Before we commence with the folklore shenanigans this week I just wanted to thank all of you for spending time cracking jokes with me every week. It’s truly been a joy every week to hang out with you guys. Lynx and I are still going to be blogging every week and writing books, so you won’t miss me for too long. In fact, we may have a new book coming out sooner than you would expect. Anyway, enough being sappy. You guys came here for monsters and laughs, and that’s what I aim to give you. Let’s get started!
There are two things you should know about me. I’m always late and I hate surprises. Luckily, I don’t live in Indonesia because, if I did, my chronic tardiness would surely lead me to a surprise encounter with a Pocong. Pocong is a super fun word. It’s the noise I imagine would occur if you unwittingly walked headfirst into a metal trash can lid which is something I am thoroughly capable of doing. Pocong is also the ghost of a person trapped in their burial shroud.
See, when a person kicks the bucket or slams headfirst into the metal trash can lid in the sky, whichever platitude you prefer, their body is wrapped in a white shroud which is tied at the head neck, and feet. The belief is that a person’s soul hangs out on earth for 46.3 days after they die. That is a very specific measurement of time so it must be both scientific and true. The dead have places to be once they leave this mortal plane and it is imperative that someone is there when the 46.3 day waiting period is up. That person must untie the bindings on the shroud. If they don’t, the body will jump right on up all wrapped in the shroud and start bouncing around to remind people that this soul has an otherworldly appointment to get to and it can’t get there because it’s still bound to the dang earth and the Pocong would like to speak to a manager.
This obviously freaks people right on out because it’s a dead person who very much looks and smells like a dead person and is aggressively hopping at them because it’s feet are still bound. I feel really sorry for both parties here. I mean, the Pocong just wants to be untied and that’s fair. On the other hand, if I was just walking along and the gently rotting corpse of a stranger came bunny hopping up to me I would screech and run away so fast that my feet left little smoke trails in my wake like some kind of cartoon character.
As it turns out, running away isn’t really a viable plan because Pocong can leap great distances much like an agitated, decaying Tigger and keep up with you easily. They can also teleport which is really cool. Look for a Pocong character in one of the Marvel Phase 3 movies. There is one thing you can do to escape but it takes some guts. If you’re brave enough to turn around and face the Pocong and then untie the shroud then the Pocong’s spirit will be freed. You, in turn, will be freed from fleeing the Pocong. It’s a win/win.
Some stories even say that if a person is a brave enough little toaster to free a Pocong the spirit will bless them with wealth to honor their bravery. It’s like a dang Aesop’s Fable. Of course, there isn’t any proof that anyone has made millions by performing some sort of ghost unboxing ceremony. However, there are countless horror movies starring Pocong as the villian. Like, so many. Pocong, Pocong 2: Poconger, Pocong 3: The Pocogening. You get the drift.
Pocong are a really big part of Indonesian culture. To be honest I would prefer a Pocong heavy pop culture situation to ours which is positively littered with Bachelor contestants and Kardashians. Sure, Pocong are smelly and grumpy but I would be grumpy too. If my reeking meatsuit ever comes hopping at any of you guys while it’s wrapped from head to toe in white cloth then for heaven’s sake let me out. I would do the same for you. It’s just neighborly. If we work together politeness can prevent the proliferation of the Pocong population and that means a better world for everybody. We can do it. I believe in all of us, Bookworms. For the first time in a long time I won’t see you next week but remember, it’s not goodbye it’s just until next time. Big love to you all!