As demonstrated by real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (made famous by The Conjuring film series), you don't need irrefutable evidence to get people to take your ghost stories seriously. That is also true in Indonesia, a country with a rich tradition of buying into supernatural tales, but one man's viral Instagram posts claiming that he saw ghosts led to an unforeseen result: some folks simply didn't believe him.
First, the story. As posted in a series of posts on Instagram, the man, identified as Hebi and with the Instagram handle @hebosto, said he recently took an inter-city bus from Bekasi to Bandung late at night. He said the other "passengers" on the bus looked cold and lifeless, which gave him the heebie-jeebies. He tried to take a photo of them only to find that the other passengers did not appear in the photo.
When he reached his destination, he said he offered to pay the bus driver but the driver coldly refused, meaning he got a free ride on a bus from another realm.
Hebi's story went hugely viral this week, with many netizens believing every word he said. Some celebrity paranormals also jumped on the bandwagon, offering their theories as to what Hebi actually experienced, with one saying that the bus was actually a supernatural manifestation of a bus that fell off a cliff sometime between 1993 and 1996, killing everyone on board.
But there was certainly no lack of skeptics about Hebi's story either, as his Instagram account was soon bombarded with comments accusing him of making up the story for fame. But, believe him or not, Hebi definitely did not deserve the kind of bullying he claims to have received over the haunted tale.
Not long after his story went viral, Hebi posted a photo on Instagram appealing to his critics to stop the cyber-bullying, particularly those who attacked his wife and young child. It appears that the bullying didn't let up, as Hebi's Instagram account was eventually deleted earlier this week.
In a Youtube vlog analyzing the mystery bus story, comedian Raditya Dika played a recent phone interview recording with Hebi in which the latter explained his reasons behind shutting down his Instagram account (recording starts at 19:39).
"I personally accept if people say whatever they want about me. But what I can't accept is when my wife and my kid, who's still a baby, become the targets of profanity by those people," he said.
Well, the ghost bus may or may not exist, but hopefully we can all agree that cyber-bullying has got to stop.