The myth of this evil spirit is a good reminder for parents to pay attention to their kids.

Victoria Tunggono   15 August 2016 19:09 - In Javanese tradition, there is a female demon called Wewe Gombel, or Nenek Gombel, known for its big and dangling breasts.

Nenek means grandmother or old woman, and gombel is the name of an area in Semarang, Central Java. Some people call it Kalong Wewe. Kalong means bat – the demon comes out at night like a ghost.

The Wewe Gombel is an evil spirit who likes to kidnap children, but does no harm to them. The victims are kids who are abandoned by their parents or have problems. Wewe Gombel would hide the child to scare the parents, teaching them a lesson to take better care of their children. After the parents realize their mistake, the Wewe Gombel would return the kids back to their home.

Wewe Gombel is the spirit of a dead woman who committed suicide after murdering her husband. When she was alive, Wewe Gombel couldn’t get pregnant and her husband had an affair with another woman. She went insane and her appearance fell apart until she started looking like a homeless person. 

One day she killed her husband and as neighbors tried to capture her, she took her own life. 


The event happened in the Gombel area of Semarang, between Jatingaleh and Banyumanik, a place people say is both Wewe Gombel's home and the kingdom of the ghosts!

Many locals believe Wewe Gombel's haunting made a hotel on Gombel Hill go bankrupt, but others say it is haunted by ghosts from a massacre that happened there under Dutch colonization.

The demon supposedly feeds children human waste, by force if necessary. Sometimes she makes children hallucinate so they see excrement and think it is their favorite food. That way they cannot tell people about what happened. 

Get my kids back!

To find kidnapped children, people walk around the neighborhood beating windows and singing “blek-blek ting, blek-blek ting (the name of the kid) get out!”. This should be repeated seven times and the hidden child will appear.

Nowadays parents and teachers use the Wewe Gombel myth to scare children into stayiing indoors after dark. In years past, this served a very practical purpose as it kept children from becoming targets of wild animals hunting at night. Some say the myth was created for just that purpose and as the world has developed and more people live in urban center, the myth is slowly being forgotten.

Not many children know the name of Wewe Gombel anymore. But they do so at their own risk!

If you are ever near Semarang, why not pay Gombel Hill a visit? 



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