Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Spirits That Throw Stones (石头鬼)

What do you call a spirit that throws pebbles?

People in the west may only call it the mischievous ghost, but Malaysians have their own nomenclature. The locals would name a spirit by that it does. In this case a spirit that throws pebbles as ‘stone ghost’ or ‘hantu batu’. Incidentally this is also a form of poltergeist as it disturbs people.

Having said so, this stone ghost is more dangerous than the poltergeist as the pebbles thrown can really hurt a person in the vicinity. Although people say that spirits are nonsense, the pebbles are real hard solid physical pebbles. These spirits like to throw pebbles at the roof of a house and hence the implied name. People in the house would feel as if outside is raining pebbles and when they venture out to investigate. They will be attacked by these stones from every direction.

Although it is quite rare to hear the news of mischievous spirits now days, it was quite popular in the 50’s. Interestingly this stone ghost does not have a form and its presence is only noticed by its stone throwing behavior. People believe that when the spirit dislikes a person walking into the environment, it will announce its presence by throwing pebbles at the person. However, some expert said that the appearance of stone ghost resembles a person with a wide big mouth with sharp teeth and an extremely big belly. I have not personally seen it so would not be able to comment.

I have experienced the prank of hantu batu some time ago when I was a fanatic of ghost hunting. There was a famous vacated haunted house in Jalan Duta that has seen massacre of the previous owner’s household. My ghost hunting friends and I sneaked into the house in the mid of the night to investigate. After walking around the place, we found nothing unusual. Everyone was a little disappointed and as I was opening my big mouth to say: “Perhaps there is no stupid ghost…”

At that instance before I could finish the sentence, the sound of pebbles dropping on the roof was heard loud and clear. The sound continues for a minute or so but no one was struck by a physical stone. This is very strange but true encounter.

Another friend of mine working for a logging company told me that these mischievous stone throwing spirits would start to throw pebbles at the workers’ quarters in the jungle if people forgot to make offerings of benzoin and curry mutton on Friday afternoon.

People who travel at night through forest trails may be attacked by pebbles from nowhere and that too may be the work of hantu batu, although we cannot rule out that was the prank of naughty kids. Once I was trying to catch a banana spirit in my friend’s durian plantation, a stone was thrown towards me but missed. Perhaps that was a warning sign or a distraction as the banana spirit subsequently escaped my grasp.

An aboriginal witchdoctor told me that in order to stop the prank of these hantu batu, one only need to dig a deep hole in front of the house with a sharp object such as a machete. After that 7 pieces of lemongrass leaves and 7 pieces of rusted iron nails are put into the hole. After that one needs to burn an oil lamp for one night in the house and the whole is covered first thing in the morning. And then the sharp object that was used to dig the whole should be used to strike onto the earth 7 times. I would add a reminder that the place where a hole is to be dug must be freed from tree roots. And the sharp object must be dipped in cold water for one night before hand. In addition, the person should change into a set of new clothing or the clothing he/she has worn for the ritual must be washed before re-enters the house.

It is believed the above ritual shall stop the tricks of hantu batu. So if you are tormented by a hantu batu, try out the above ritual before fleeing your house.

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