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The Sweet Maiden of Ancol Bridge

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Jembatan ancol

The current state of Ancol bridge is no longer a sustained bridge but a wooden bridge instead.

The sweet maiden of Ancol bridge is an urban legend from Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia.

Ancol bridge is located in Ancol bay area of North Jakarta. Before the area was built as a theme park in 1966 by Ali Sadikin, the first governor of Jakarta, from an idea by Ir. Soekarno, the first President of the Republic of Indonesia, the area was originally a coastal lowlands, characterized with the brackish water area containing mangrove forests and swamps and there was a sustained bridge crossing the swamps.

The story of the maidenEdit

According to Ridwan Saidi, an expert on the culture and tradition of Betawi people who conducted an investigation on this legend between the year 1955 and 1960, the event in the story happened in 1817 while Jakarta was still called Batavia or Betawi under Dutch occupation.

It was said that there was a beautiful young girl called Ariah or Arie (who would later be known as Maryam) the daughter of Mak Emper who lived in the pavillion of a house which belonged to a rich man in Kampung Sawah, Paseban, North Jakarta. When she turned 16, the rich man, owner of the house, fell in love with her and wanted to make her his concubine. She turned down proposal as she didn't want to be a concubine of an old man and that her elder sister had not married yet. As the rich man kept forcing her, she ran away from home.

On her journey, she met a rich Chinese man. Attracted to her beauty, the Chinese man ordered his thugs to capture Ariah. Ariah was caught at a dam called Dempet near Lake Sunter, North Jakarta, but she fought so fiercely that she was killed by the thugs. Fearing that the murder would be found out, they dumped Ariah's body in a paddy field at Ancol area, just 400 meters (about 1,312 feet) near Ancol sustained bridge.

Other versionsEdit

There are many versions of this story. One version said that Ariah ran away from home because a rich Chinese man wanted to make her his concubine and that same Chinese man ordered his thugs to capture Ariah which resulted in her death.

Another version of the story said that the person who wanted to make Ariah his concubine and the Chinese man who ordered the thugs were two different persons. This version of the story also relates the Chinese man to Oey Tambahsia, a rich and infamous Chinese playboy, owner of a villa located at the current Ancol bay area, who lived in about the same time as Ariah. Oey Tambahsia himself was so well known as an arrogant and ruthless playboy, and his tragic life story is told in yet another legendary tale from Jakarta, Oey Tambahsia the Playboy of Batavia.

In some versions of the story, Ariah was raped before she was killed, and that her body was never found but her ghost appeared before her mother to tell her that she was being killed and who killed her.

The urban legendEdit

Penampakan jembatan ancol

An alleged photograph of a sighting of Ariah's ghost near Ancol bridge.

From then on, numerous people have reported sightings of a ghost of a beautiful maiden near Ancol bridge who allegedly has lured many drivers into traffic accidents at that particular area. Local people call the spirit as Maryam Si Manis Jembatan Ancol (Maryam the Sweet Maiden of Ancol Bridge) and relate her to the tragic story of Ariah. This urban legend is so famous and has been made into at least two movies (in 1973 and 1993) and a TV series which featured the same stars as the 1993 movie. ( the sweet)

Ariah's appearanceEdit

According to H Mohammad Husni, a resident of Kebon Jeruk, Central Jakarta, who made a painting of Ariah in 2003 based on, allegedly, a vision of Ariah, her appearance is of a light brown skinned ordinary girl of 160 centimeters (about 5' 2") tall, with a little bit crossed eyes, black long hair and wearing a black kebaya dress with blue dots. Ridwan Saidi said that the painting is the closest to Ariah's appearance compared to other paintings about her.

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