The whole babi ngepet saga in Depok, West Java was fertile ground for a number of viral videos, including one featuring Wati, a self-proclaimed clairvoyant who may have started the whole farce by publicly airing her suspicion that her neighbor was a shapeshifting boar demon thief – – all because they seemed to be well-off despite rarely leaving the house to work.
The video, which circulated widely earlier this week, showed Wati enthusiastically ratting out her supposedly cursed neighbor to the police.
"I've been monitoring this person for days, Pak, this person. They're settled down, they're unemployed but they have a lot of money. I passed by in front of his house, I threw something in front of it so that [the babi ngepet can be revealed]," Wati said in the video.
In case you forgot: in Indonesian lore, a babi ngepet is a person who uses a black magic-infused cloak to transform into a wild boar. In boar form, they would sneak into people's homes and rub their bodies on the walls and furniture, which would magically draw the household's money and valuables. When the babi ngepet shifts back to human form, the stolen fortune is contained in the cloak.
The village became the subject of nationwide ridicule this week when around a dozen men said they stripped naked to be able to see the supposedly supernatural creature before capturing and decapitating it.
After police found that the babi ngepet was just a regular wild boar, Wati issued a public apology as the villagers turned on her and protested outside of her house for causing distress in the village.
Things worsened for Wati as she had to leave her house – which she rented – after the villagers banished her.
"Many of them [watched] me leave. I'm not running away, but I followed the wishes of the villagers who wanted me to leave the village," Wati said today.
Nurzaman, a community unit (RW) chief in the village, said yesterday that the angry villagers intend filing a police report against Wati. Wati has said that she's ready to accept whatever consequences come next, including imprisonment.
Police have arrested a local cleric accused of being one of the main instigators of the babi ngepet rumors. The cleric, named Adam Ibrahim, may face up to 10 years in prison for spreading fake news under the Criminal Code. He confessed to the police that he bought the wild boar for IDR900K (US$62.24) to be used as a scapegoat for the villagers losing their money and valuables recently.