Friday, February 29, 2008

Indonesia: Mass trances are in vogue

"Religion, education and development have done little to budge widespread acceptance of the supernatural among Indonesia's diverse ethnic and religious groups. "In Indonesia, trance is tied up with culture," said Lidia Laksana Hidajat, research coordinator in the psychology faculty of Jakarta's Atma Jaya University.


"They were working in silence. That's one of the requirements of a trance to happen - it's usually quiet and when they are engaged in monotonous activity."
Suddenly, one of the workers started screaming and her body went stiff. The one next to her started crying and went stiff too. Others tried to help but soon they started too in a kind of domino effect.
A local Muslim leader was summoned, but his prayers had no effect. Eventually, the exhausted women fell asleep and upon awakening they remembered nothing.
Hidajat concluded that the mass trance had more to do with exhaustion and stress than evil spirits.


"Often they are people who are very religious or under pressure. They were also from low socio-economic backgrounds and many said they didn't have happy childhoods," she said.
"All the trance dancers I met in Bali had similar vulnerable personalities.", February 25 2008

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