8 STRANGE THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT BALI:
THE TRANCE OF THE VIRGINS
In the 1930s Bali became famous in Europe for film footage of the Shanghyang Dedali, a trance induced by witchdoctors in Nusa Dua. It involves 12-year-old girls being possessed to dance by angels.
The angels are said to dance through the children's bodies, and it is the freakiest thing going. Even with eyes shut, the girls dance in unbroken unison. Click here to see footage of it here
If you're a tad dubious on the emphasis on ritual and magic in everyday life here, make note of how the government handled the bird flu outbreak a few years back. As well as quarantining people and animals who had succumbed to the illness, the Bali provincial government and Hindu spiritual leaders made official announcements that they would be holding ritual animal sacrifices at sea to ward off evil influences.
The ceremony, known as Pakelem, involved black goats being drowned in the ocean off Padangbai and Balian. The Pakelem was seen as the defining factor stopping further outbreaks. © 2013 Bill Morris/WPS