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Home  |  Ghosts   |  Asian Ghosts   |  Indonesian Ghosts   |  Sundel Bolong : The Terrifying Woman

Sundel Bolong : The Terrifying Woman

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At a glance

Description
Origin Indonesian Mythology
Classification Ghosts
Family Members N/A
Region Indonesia
Associated With Death, Evil

Sundel Bolong

Introduction

The Sundel Bolong, a mythical entity deeply embedded in Indonesian mythology, holds a significant place in Javanese folklore. The term “Sundel Bolong” originates from the Javanese language, where “sundel” refers to “prostitute,” and “bolong” translates to “hole.” This spectral being is intricately linked to the souls of women who met tragic fates, adding a layer of sorrow and revenge to its haunting presence.

This vengeful ghost manifests as a captivating woman harboring a deadly secret, weaving its eerie narrative into the fabric of the archipelago’s folklore over countless centuries. The name “Sundel Bolong,” translating to “whore with a hole,” starkly encapsulates the creature’s defining feature—a conspicuous void in her back. This haunting orifice, concealed by her flowing black hair, serves as a visual representation of a harrowing past, symbolizing the anguish and torment that propels her vengeful spirit.

Physical Traits

The portrayal of the Sundel Bolong typically presents an image of a beautiful woman adorned with long black hair, draped in an elegant white gown. What sets her apart is a conspicuous hole in her back, often obscured by the cascading veil of her hair. This aperture, revealing glimpses of her internal organs, earns her the moniker “prostitute with a hole in her.” Despite this unsettling characteristic, the Sundel Bolong is reputed to possess a captivating charm that enthralls those who come across her. The juxtaposition of her long, flowing hair and traditional Javanese attire contributes to the mystique, crafting a paradoxical visage that oscillates between beauty and horror.

Family

Sundel Bolong’s origins exhibit a degree of variability contingent upon the region and the storyteller weaving the narrative. In certain accounts, she is linked to the Pontianak, another spectral entity driven by vengeance, suggesting a common lineage of wronged women seeking retribution. Alternatively, some narratives propose her origin as the restless spirit of a woman who met her demise during childbirth, with the conspicuous hole in her back serving as a grim reminder of this tragic event.

The Sundel Bolong is frequently associated with the souls of women who perished during childbirth or while pregnant outside the bounds of wedlock. According to the lore, these women are believed to have given birth in their graves, or the baby emerged through their backs, resulting in the distinctive aperture. The victims of Sundel Bolong are predominantly men and children, with newborns rumored to be taken to replace her lost child.

In some iterations of the myth, Sundel Bolong is portrayed as a mortal woman who suffered a grisly fate at the hands of those closest to her. Betrayed and murdered, her vengeful spirit emerged from the shadows, eternally tethered to the mortal realm. This tragic backstory adds a layer of poignancy to the Sundel Bolong myth, underscoring themes of betrayal and the enduring consequences of injustice.

Other names

While the designation “Sundel Bolong” is the prevailing moniker for this spectral entity, comparisons are often drawn with other ghostly figures within Southeast Asian folklore. Notable counterparts include the Malaysian ‘Pontianak,’ the Indonesian apparition ‘Kuntilanak,’ and the Balinese entities ‘Langsuyar’ or ‘Langsuir.’ Despite the distinct names, the core essence of the vengeful ghost persists, showcasing similarities across these diverse cultural narratives.

Powers and Abilities

The Sundel Bolong is renowned for her ability to enchant and captivate her victims, drawing them into secluded areas. As a vengeful spirit, she is rumored to inflict a castrating fate upon men who spurn her advances. Employing fear as a defense mechanism, she also possesses the remarkable capability to escape to the Ethereal Plane.

In certain tales, an intriguing twist emerges, suggesting that the Sundel Bolong can revert to a human form when a knife is driven through her neck. The legend further amplifies her mystique, depicting her as a being with the power to materialize and vanish at will, creating an aura of elusiveness and formidability.

The spectral entity’s repertoire of powers is truly chilling. Her long hair is described as a weapon that can whip like razor blades, her wail reputed to possess the ability to shatter glass, and her touch believed to drain the life force from unsuspecting victims. Adding to her enigmatic nature, she is said to possess the art of shapeshifting, seamlessly transforming into animals or seducing men with her beauty before unveiling her true, monstrous form.

Modern Day Influence

Sundel Bolong’s eerie influence extends beyond the confines of folklore, leaving an indelible mark on contemporary Indonesian culture in various forms. Her haunting presence has become a symbol of horror and a poignant reminder of the repercussions of societal transgressions. In the realm of entertainment, Sundel Bolong has played a significant role, featuring prominently in numerous films, books, and video games.

Her cinematic presence is palpable, with notable appearances in films such as the 1981 horror classic “Sundelbolong,” directed by Sisworo Gautama Putra, and the 2007 film “Legenda Sundel Bolong.” Marvel’s Anime adaptation of Blade also offers a unique twist, portraying Sundel Bolong as an Asian vampire sub-species. Furthermore, she takes center stage as one of the formidable ghosts in the horror game DreadOut, developed by Digital Happiness.

As a timeless figure in Indonesian folklore, Sundel Bolong continues to serve as a powerful symbol, representing the tragic destinies of marginalized women and standing as a cautionary tale against certain societal behaviors. Her multidimensional influence in the realms of both traditional storytelling and modern entertainment underscores the enduring fascination with this spectral entity and its ability to resonate across generations.

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Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.
Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.
Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.