Babi Ngepet: The Boar Demon of Indonesian Mythology

Among the captivating creatures that dwell in the folklore of Java and Bali, the Babi Ngepet stands out—a boar demon shrouded in legend and black magic. In this article, we delve into the intriguing tales surrounding this enigmatic creature, exploring its transformation, mischievous antics, and the deeper symbolism it holds in Indonesian culture.

Babi Ngepet

The Mysterious Transformation:

According to local myths, the Babi Ngepet is believed to be the result of someone practicing pesugihan babi black magic. Pesugihan, rooted in the Javanese word “sugih” meaning “rich,” promises instant wealth at a grave cost. To acquire riches, practitioners must sacrifice their humanity and either transform into a boar for a period or allow themselves to be possessed by the boar demon. This concept of human-animal transformation echoes the shapeshifting legends found in other cultures, like the werewolf tales of the West.

The Mischievous Roaming:

As the transformation occurs, the once-human figure enveloped in black robes morphs into the fearsome Babi Ngepet. The demon boar then embarks on a mischievous mission, scratching its body against village walls, doors, cupboards, and furniture. Astonishingly, the creature’s touch results in the disappearance of villagers’ belongings—money, gold, and jewelry—magically whisked away by the cunning Babi Ngepet. The stolen riches are concealed within the black robes, waiting to be revealed when the creature returns to its human form.

The Guardian and the Candle:

During its nocturnal escapades, the practitioner of Babi Ngepet magic relies on an assistant for protection. The assistant’s duty is to remain at home and guard a lit candle floating on a basin of water. The flickering flame serves as a sign, warning of any danger befalling the Babi Ngepet. If the flame wavers, fades, or nearly extinguishes, it signifies that the demon boar is in jeopardy, caught in the act by vigilant villagers or reverting back to its human form. In response, Javanese villagers often chase or even slay any boar they encounter wandering the village at night.

Unraveling the Symbolism:

While skeptics may view the Babi Ngepet as a means to explain unexplained misfortunes or mysterious thefts in villages, its symbolism runs deeper. The association between the boar and fortune stems from pre-Islamic and pre-Hindu-Buddhist beliefs prevalent in Java, where the boar represents domestic wealth, prosperity, and abundance. This connection between the boar and fortune can also be observed in the Javanese word “Celengan,” meaning piggy bank, derived from “Celeng,” which translates to boar.


The legend of the Babi Ngepet lures us into the realm of Indonesian mythology, where supernatural beings dance alongside humans, blurring the boundaries between worlds. This captivating creature, born of black magic and sacrifice, leaves its mark on folklore, symbolizing the eternal quest for riches and the consequences that accompany it. The enigma of the Babi Ngepet continues to intrigue and bewitch, reminding us of the enduring power of myth and the cultural tapestry it weaves in the hearts and minds of a nation.

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