A beautiful goddess arising from the depths of the sea, bestowing the gift of immaculate conception upon a young woman friend. Mystical creatures materialize during torrential downpours, bearing power-wielding gems. Ancient daggers, with gently curving rusting blades and endowed with the soul of their maker, levitate off of the table and dance in the middle of the air.
Welcome to Indonesia. No, I’m not talking about ancient legends recounted from mystical lore, but modern day, 21st century Indonesia, replete with cell phones, traffic jams, and Internet cafés jammed with students pouring over the latest Facebook postings. In these same cafés, barista-crafted macchiatos are slowly sipped by the people who also visit traditional healers for black magic cures.
Later this week, I’ll fly to East Kalimantan (the Indonesian side of Borneo), a possible source of the mysterious puyang puyang oil. In the right hands, so I am told, a tiny drop of oil dribbled on a ceremonial offering will conjure the spirits from another dimension. I’m also told that, in the wrong hands, it can control Satan.
During one war, Borneo’s indigenous Dyak people – who are purportedly no longer headhunters – apparently poured tiny amounts of puyang puyang oil into their own drinking water which, when ingested, turned them into fearless, animal-like killing machines.
The phenomena which I’m researching and personally experiencing existed, not long ago, only in the realm fantasy and science fiction. Now, I find myself in the interesting position of placing even the most outrageous claims within the realm of possibility.
And, if I’m lucky, perhaps a local spiritual leader will offer me a tiny vial of puyang puyang oil.