The Indonesian village of Kepuh has recently been haunted by ghosts – mysterious white figures that leap out at unsuspecting passers-by and then slide away under a full moon sky.
The village on the island of Java has used a group of "ghosts" to patrol the streets, hoping that ancient superstition will keep people in the house safe from the corona virus.
"We wanted to be different and have a deterrent effect because & # 39; Pocong & # 39; is creepy and scary," said Anjar Pancaningtyas, leader of a village youth group that dealt with the police over the unconventional initiative to promote social distancing in the course of the move the spread of the coronavirus.
Known as "Pocong", the ghost figures are typically wrapped in white shrouds with powdered faces and eyes framed in coal. In Indonesian folklore, they represent the captive souls of the dead.
But when they first showed up this month, they had the opposite effect. Instead of keeping people inside, they bought them out to take a look at the apparitions.
The organizers have since changed direction and launched surprising Pocong patrols, with village volunteers playing the role of ghosts.
President Joko Widodo has opposed a national ban to curb the coronavirus and instead asked people to practice social distancing and good hygiene.
With the highest rate of coronavirus deaths in Asia to China, some communities, such as the village of Kepuh, have decided to take measures themselves to impose ghostly patrols, bans and restrictions on movement in and out of their village.
"Residents still don't know how to curb the spread of COVID-19 disease," said village head Priyadi. "They want to live as usual, so it is very difficult for them to follow the instructions to stay at home."
There are now 4,241 confirmed coronavirus cases in Indonesia and 373 deaths, with concerns that the numbers will rise significantly.
Researchers from the University of Indonesia estimate that there could be 140,000 deaths and 1.5 million cases by May without restricting movement more.
When Reuters recently visited Kepuh village, the supernatural strategy seemed to be working, and the villagers ran away in alarm when the ghosts appeared.
"Parents and children have not left their homes since the Pocong appeared," said Karno Supadmo. "And people will not gather after the evening prayer or stay on the street."
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)