by Jamie Stern

We are celebrating The Indo Project’s fourteenth anniversary! Fourteen years ago, on October 31st, we officially became known as The Indo Project. If you’d like to “treat” The Indo Project with a donation, please click here.

The Indo Project is a small but mighty movement fueled by passionate volunteers and dedicated supporters like you who focus on educating others and keeping our Indo shared history and culture alive. By making a gift to The Indo Project today, you will help advance key initiatives including:

  • Producing podcasts featuring interviews with stories and conversations about Indo history and culture
  • Funding the English translation and subtitling of the Dutch documentary Eyewitness Accounts of WWII and the Aftermath in the Former Dutch East Indies by author Simone Berger and photographer and filmmaker Armando Ello
  • Hosting outreach events in California and Florida
  • Collaborating with individuals and organizations around the world who share common interests and who are working to foster unity among Indo people and those with shared histories

And now in the spirit of Halloween fun, we would like to treat you to five spooky tidbits with Indo flare!

Buganese Pirates

Did you know that some of the boogie man lore comes from a time just before the Dutch East Indies became a Dutch colony? While sailing in the warm waters surrounding the islands of present-day Indonesia, the “Bugis Mann” lurked. “Bugis Mann” refers to the Buganese pirates who were nasty and ruthless! They would attack the ships from the Dutch East India Company causing Dutch sailors to fear them and return to Europe with frightening stories!


Supposedly witchcraft is still practiced in Indonesia. In 2012, the Pew Forum showed that 69% of Indonesians believe witchcraft is still used. According to Endy Bayuni at The Jakarta Post, many people in Indonesia, including top leaders have consulted fortune tellers about their careers, fortunes and marriage. Indonesians believe in both good and bad magic, as well as paranormal activity.

Wayang Kulit

The Wayang Kulit is a common symbol of Indonesian culture — even here at The Indo Project, it was part of our previous logo. However, unknown to many people, there is a mystical element to the Wayang Kulit that suggests eerie “protective” qualities…or bad luck depending on who you are talking to. Two historical incidents of “misfortune” were tied to the Wayang Kulit. The first occurrence happened when Japan occupied the Dutch East Indies. They decided to issue a stamp depicting the image of a Wayang Kulit. Shortly after, the Japanese were defeated in WWII. The second incident occurred when a similar stamp was issued by Soekarno’s government. Shortly after, Soekarno had to transfer his power to Soeharto following a coup. Bad luck? Good luck? You decide.

Gossipy Cats

Old Dutch superstition said not to have cats in the room when private conversations were being had. It was believed that cats were gossipy creatures who would happily blab all about a person’s deepest, darkest secrets. For this reason, people would go out of their way not to have important or private conversations while the cat was in the room, just in case it was listening. Do you think your cat is eavesdropping on your conversations? Let us know!

Evil Eye Superstition

Old Dutch superstition says that the evil eye is a curse and should be taken seriously. Supposedly by using black paint as a “protective” element, the evil eye can be deflected. Perhaps this is why black doors continue to be in style? What do you think?

Want to share some superstitions you heard while growing up? Let us know in the comments and help us keep the fun conversation going! Wishing you all a cheerful and safe Halloween!

The Indo Project wants to know...

Want to share some superstitions you heard while growing up? Let us know in the comments and help us keep the fun conversation going! Wishing you all a cheerful and safe Halloween!


  1. Happy Hallowed 14th anniversary! My Indo family belied having fresh flowers in the house would thwart evil spirits that caused illness, misfortune, unhappiness, bad luck. I still practice their superstition. It’s a lovely tradition that lifts my spirits because I’m reminded of my Indo ancestors. Thank you for all you have done over the decades.

    • Jane thank you so much for that! Wow, I’m going to share that with my mom. She looooves fresh flowers.



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