Religion and Beliefs
The Indonesian lullaby, Nina Bobo, a hybrid Dutch/Portuguese/Indonesian song, now has a new online identity as a ghost story about a half-Dutch half-Javanese girl, Helenina. How should we understand the telling of new online ghost stories, including the transformation of Nina Bobo into various open-sourced online ghost stories and a popular horror film? We have seen how recent studies on digital religions have provided useful insight to study the various ways people enact, articulate and negotiate spirituality in the online world, including on the creation of a ‘third space in digital religions’ (Hoover and Echchaibi, 2012) and on the mediation of spiritual practices (Couldry, 2008; Eisenlohr, 2004) that often create new hybrid practices. Yet, many of these studies have not included supernatural and ghostly narratives, which are impossible to ignore in some parts of the world if we were to fully understand the everyday experiences of spirituality online and offline. Using online ethnographic method and semi-structured interviews with participants, this study focusses on analysing the various ghost stories surrounding Nina Bobo and other Indonesian ghost stories that feature European (Dutch/Portuguese) characters to suggests ways and strategies of negotiations enacted by online storytellers to navigate political, cultural, spiritual and supernatural realities of their time. In turn, I argue that in the case of Indonesia, we are currently seeing a spectral turn that allows new ways to delve into and engage with colonial and recent political histories of the country.