It was the first college lecture I’d delivered in 3 years. I was invited by Sekolah Vokasi, Universitas Gadjah Mada (Yogyakarta, Indonesia) to lead a discussion on spiritual landscapes. While my focus is primarily on Indonesia and I’m not nearly as versed on American Folklore as I’d like to be, I used the help of suggestions from friends via Facebook, as well as online research, to construct a presentation on the evolution of Bigfoot, Champ (of Lake Champlain), The Wendigo, Mothman, The Jersey Devil, and Slenderman. The “ghost” was tacked on as an umbrella category at the end.
The last forty minutes of the class were dedicated to student reflection, in which small groups were asked to compare a mythical creature from the US with one from Indonesia. Here’s what they came up with:
The Indonesian Genderuwo vs. The American Bigfoot
The Indonesian Kuntilanak vs. the American Ghost
The Indonesian Kuyang vs. The American Mothman
Two groups went their own route and compared the Indonesian Kuntilanak with the Irish Banshee. I enjoyed their descriptions and drawings.
A group of seniors in the back compared two mythical characters from film: Jerangkung (from the Indonesian film) and Annabelle (from the American). Let’s hope these figures never escape fiction.
Thanks to Prof. Mbak Andri and Prof. for reaching out with this opportunity to explore the invisible across oceans.