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Magicians banned from mud volcano

Photo: The crater of the "mud volcano" on Java (Sept. 19): A wound in the geological bowels of the earth.

Breaking Earth News

Magicians and others performing spiritual rites have been banned from throwing amulets and sacrificial animals into Indonesia's massive "mud volcano" for fear of making the disaster worse. Hundreds of people have visited the ocean of mud devastating Sidoarjo, in heavily populated East Java, in a bid to end the seemingly unstoppable flow of thick sludge since it first broke through the earth a year ago. People who came to pray and conduct rituals to try and halt the mud - sometimes from as far away as Australia, France and China - usually ended up making things worse. "Really, whenever they throw the head of a bull, or goat, or cow, the embankments surrounding the place will leak. Rituals of magic-filled things, or amulets, or things like that are prohibited now. Not long after they throw things in, the embankments would leak." People also need to seek permission before they cast spells over the mud. "Even the Indonesia Paranormal Association came here. But none of the rituals had any effect, it just made it worse. Experts have raised fears mud sediment could eventually choke the river mouth and trigger flooding in Indonesia's second largest city, Surabaya, during future rain seasons. Surabaya, which lies north of the disaster zone, could face flooding within in the next two years if nothing was done to reduce the sedimentation


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