Ghost of Lake Toba

January 11, 2023

Toba island or fear and ghosts of Sumatra

On June 4, I reached the city of Parapat, from where I went by ferry to the island of Toba. On the ferry, I met Asep, my new friend, a journalist from Jakarta. Asep writes about crimes in Indonesia for one popular magazine. We got acquainted and I liked his honesty and openness. Plus such qualities as positivity and gaiety made him an excellent companion. He noticed that I overpaid for the ferry ticket and cut the price three times, just saying a few words to the "cashier". When we arrived on the island, immediately went to a cafe and ordered coffee in Indonesian style with roasted bananas with chocolate and "gadoo-gadoo", a delicious dish with a sweet taste. Then we decided to adventure out an evening. First, we rented a room in an inexpensive hotel, then rent a scooter and left at 17-00 among our way around the island. The length of the road is 180 km and we expected to return before midnight. As it later turned out, it was a big mistake.

First, we photographed local attractions and searched for local bars. As it turned out, they simply do not exist on the island. At all. As well as nightclubs. Alcohol is not sold on the island. We were riding and sang all famous songs that we knew. We stopped at some tavern after a couple of hours and drank special Indonesian black&shooger coffee, and I ordered a chicken with rice. Leaving the place, we changed, now Asep drove the scooter. So next we stopped at the supermarket. A company of young guys sat near and strumming on the guitar. I went inside and Asep began to talk with them. Having bought a couple of muesli and a Shoko Pai, I left the store and asked guys to play the guitar. Sang a song of BloodHoung Gang "Roof is on fire". The guitar was broken, there was no first string on it, so the desire to continue was gone. We sat on the scooter and drove on, were searching for hot springs. Among our way, I thought of refilling our scooter a bit. Thanks to the gods who rewarded me with excellent intuition! After refueling, we found the right place after five kilometers. A hot spring was a pool with a hot water from the mountains, very salty in taste. But as the weather of island became decently cold, hot water was very welcome. Asep just lowered his legs into the pool, I crossed the pool about eight times. Finally, having completed, came out of the water, and we, having bought the water in gratitude (visiting the hot springs was absolutely free), safely set off. And then a real horror began.

A lone policeman sent us to the wrong direction and we went back by the same way as we arrived. When Asep noticed this, we consulted and decided to return. Returning, we stopped at the night shop. I went in and asked for a beer. The salesman guy looked at me and said that we can not buy beer anywhere on the island. When I got out of the store Asep was talking to the local one and he insistently recommended us not to go that direction. He said it was a bad road. But we did not listen to him and with difficulty found the way, further on we set out on our journey.

After about six kilometers, I thought I saw a bar. Asep unfolded the scooter and we returned. It really was a bar, only for local people, who drank a strange white drink called "Tuak" based on woody mash. Local people played the guitar and sang old Indonesian songs. They answered our the question about beer. No beer. Only Tuak. Asep asked them about the road and they advised not to go on it, evasively looking away. We hurriedly said goodbye and continued on our way.

After about ten kilometers, hell began. First, all the houses disappeared. Then it really got colder. I was wearing a black T-shirt and shorts. Asep was dressed warmer, he wore a jacket and jeans. But if he froze, then what about me. After another ten kilometers, it was simply unbearable cold. The evil wind was killing our bodies. A lonely moon and a gloomy forest created a frightening atmosphere. In order not to freeze, I crossed my arms behind my back to create a grip between my hands and body. But it did not help much. My teeth chattered and my body began to shake. We drove for a long time and at home still did not appear. Asep said that we do not have enough gasoline. I was horrified at the thought that we could get up in this place. I joked, trying not to pretend that I was clearly uneasy. Five minutes later I saw a tall figure in white, which slowly moved in our direction. When we drove through, I asked Asep what that man was doing on the road at that time, it was already 12 o'clock, midnight. Asep said that he was looking at the road and saw no one. Since I was terribly coldly, at first I did not attach any importance to his words. Twenty minutes later, we saw the house and decided to stop and ask for gasoline. We stopped and walked to the door, but there was no door. The house was empty. An old motorcycle was near the house, but there was nobody there. Inside, garbage was scattered and everywhere there were traces of abandonment. But there was a strange feeling that someone was looking at us. And then we felt uneasy. We were unknown there, stiff, in some frightening home. I had already stopped thinking about the cold, but I tried not to open my weakness. Suddenly Asep took a scarf from his bag and handed it to me with an embarrassed look. I asked if he watched the film "dumb and dumber", where Jim Carrey's hero froze from the cold, and his companion had two pairs of gloves. On the question "Have they been with you all this time?", The companion answered with the phrase "Well, yes, it's cold in the mountains!". Asep watched the film and we laughed upon a similar situation.

But there was nothing to do, we moved on. The scarf helped a little bit, but it was still cold. Ten minutes later I again saw the figure and asked Asep, he sees or not sees that. He answered in the affirmative and we passed by. When we turned to look, the figure disappeared. This horrified us. The road was winding, and the branches of trees were threateningly reaching out to us. After another ten minutes, it began to seem that the road was repeating and we were circling the same place. It became even colder and I felt that I was blacking out, my hands stopped listening. I asked Asep to stop and did my hundred push-ups on my fists off the floor. I still continued to shake. Suddenly we saw behind the same figure in white. She slowly approached. But how?? We rode many kilometers! No one could be so quickly elsewhere. Asep rushed to the scooter. Forgetting the cold, I followed his example. Scooter started to move and we left out of this place. We did not a look back. This time Asep also was shaking.

We drove another hour. It was like a terrible dream, which can not end. Like limb. Yes, I saw different things. I spent the night on one lone cemetery near Moscow for a dispute at the age of sixteen. I spent the night in a haunted house in Abkhazia, not far from the Bagrat castle, at thirty. But this night was different.

We found a right way and reached our hotel. God blessed us and the scooter did not fail and the gasoline was enough, although the indicator showed that it was at zero. But I could not sleep anymore. And despite my desire to stay on the island for a week, the next day in the morning we left it as soon as possible. In the morning the island was peaceful like Silent Hill.


Sergey 08:15 March 16, 2023
I forgot to mention that Asep can be found in the editorial office of Radar Depok magazine, his Facebook profile is here

1 0


Copyrights 2022-2023 SERGEY ZIEGLER