Is there real superhuman power in this world like the one shown in movies or superhero comics? Well, to be honest, I can’t answer that question, but without us knowing that several cultures in Indonesia apply things that are similar to the strengths of the superheroes we often watch. One of those that culture is “Debus” and “Santet”.


Debus is a culture that comes from Banten and continues to be passed down from one generation to another. Debus can be said as one of the martial arts, where people who learn this culture are immune to fire, stabbing, and others. Debus itself has been around for a long time, more precisely during the colonial period in Indonesia. the Banten community at that time used the Debus culture to frighten the invaders, they showed that any weapons could not hurt them. I have witnessed this culture of Debus, namely when my father had attended one of the types and schools of martial arts that were very closely related to the culture of Debus, which is “Pencak Silat”. To be able to master these arts requires very hard training I can only imagine how tired and boring it is. For those who don’t know, Debus is currently more often used to entertain and consider as an art, this art begins with playing traditional songs, which continued with the zikir/praises to god with the aim that this event can be blessed by the almighty, and then there will be a performance of Pencak Silat which usually performed by 2 people, then Debus arts such as stabbing the stomach, eating sharp glass, and walking on coals are performed.


You want a culture that has more extreme “mystical powers”? okay let’s talk about “Santet”. Santet is a science that is said to be able to hurt, heal, and control other people’s feelings without having to make physical contact. People who have the ability of Santet are usually called “Dukun”, in ancient times being a dukun was a matter of pride, where they were trusted by people to be the healer and savior of society. For example, in Mentawai, “sikerei” (Dukun) is considered to be the guardian of harmony between the real world and the unseen world. There is also, the Asmat tribe in Papua and also the Dayak tribe in Kalimantan who use their “magic” to protect animals and their natural environment. They used their magic to beat the people who want to ruin the environment, usually the victim will feel very ill or even died without any logical reason.


In conclusion, this culture has both positive and negative sides. The positive side of both of these “super” cultures is to guard or protect things or people that can’t protect themselves. However, the negative side of these two cultures is many people learn this culture just to scare or even to hurt others. As the saying goes “a knife will only be dangerous in the hands of a killer, but when it is in the hands of a chef a knife can be an item that can create delicious food”. Our job is to preserve, disseminate, and ensure that the negative effects of this culture do not occur.


By: Ryanizard Dwinanda Valdy