I Traveled to Bali’s ‘Black Magic Island’ — Regardless of All of the Warnings of Evil Spirits

After an ill-advised journey to an area fish market on a visit to Indonesia, I used to be struck with “Bali stomach.” I used to be compelled to push my flight again, which left me with 5 days in Bali with no lodging and no plan. Good. 

I used to be serious about visiting Nusa Penida lengthy earlier than my journey. It’s a tropical island paradise lower than an hour away from Bali, and anybody with an Instagram and a pulse has doubtless seen pictures of the enduring sandy cliffs and crystal blue water. 

After I advised it, my Scottish pal revealed that he desperately wished to keep away from Nusa Penida. Locals warned him about evil spirits rumored to hang-out the island, and a woman we all know swore one thing was pulling her down by the ankle whereas she was scuba diving. Earlier on my journey, a taxi driver instructed me he was seeing spirits and suggested me to ritually wash my ears and neck so the “hunter” wouldn’t get me. For sure, I slept with the lights on that evening. 

My pal didn’t perceive my want to tempt destiny — we had been close to so many different lovely locations with fewer haunted claims towards them — however I’m cussed. Regardless of his fearful protests, we headed off to Nusa Penida, armed with nothing however our backpacks and a pocketful of meals poisoning treatment. 

After the hustle and bustle of mainland Bali, getting off the boat in Nusa Penida felt like exhaling a breath you didn’t know you had been holding. The island is lush, untouched, and wild. There’s a spark within the air — it’s equal components exhilarating, liberating, and nerve-racking. 

There are many homestays, eating places, and bars on the coasts, however the center of the island is way quieter. Between tall hills and rice terraces, we stumbled throughout charming villages and temples. Kids excitedly wave at you from the again of scooters whereas chickens run in circles. 

Every thing is an journey on Nusa Penida, even simply going to the seashore. We visited Crystal Bay, Angel’s Billabong, and Suwehan Seashore. Crystal Bay is in style, doubtless resulting from its small eating places that provide loungers, snacks, coconuts, and different treats. Nonetheless, most seashores, together with the well-known Diamond Seashore, require steep hikes. 

Whereas its pure magnificence lures in vacationers, Nusa Penida is often known as the Black Magic Island. 

Since historic instances, myths and legends have warned that Nusa Penida was inhabited by demons and warlocks. Essentially the most well-known was Jero Gede Macaling, additionally identified merely as “Macaling,” who, in keeping with legend, was banned from Bali for spreading illness and misfortune. An area pal of mine calls him the “one with the lengthy tooth.” 

On Nyepi, the Balinese New Yr, Macaling is alleged to have fooled the individuals of Bali by taking the type of a Barong, a legendary creature that’s the chief of hosts of fine. Along with his disguise, Macaling and his military of demons snuck into Bali and destroyed the island. For this reason the Balinese New Yr continues to be a day of silence.

After Macaling’s assault, the legend continues to say the individuals of Bali created one other Barong who defeated Macaling’s military, banishing them again to Nusa Penida. Excessive monks from across the space got here to the island to cleanse it of black magic. This battle gave Nusa Penida its title, which interprets to “the island of monks.”