• Indonesian officials are using abandoned buildings as makeshift quarantine centers for people who refuse to follow lockdown guidelines.
  • Some of the buildings are believed to be haunted, serving as additional motivation for citizens to follow the rules.
  • No actual ghost sightings have been reported thus far.
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Social distancing and quarantine measures are the strategies that we know are already working to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and flatten the infection curve. They’re not fun, but they work, and it’s our responsibility to follow these measures for our own health as well as the health of the general public. If you break these rules in Indonesia, you might find yourself locked in what locals are calling a haunted house.

It’s one heck of an interesting strategy: Indonesian politicians are hoping to scare some of the more stubborn citizens by repurposing old, abandoned buildings into quarantine lockdown facilities. The idea is that if you don’t want to end up in a run-down, possibly haunted house, you’ll follow the quarantine orders and remain comfortable in your own, not-haunted home.

As The Jakarta Post reports, the strategy is based around local folk tales and the belief in the afterlife and supernatural entities. Some of the locations being used as makeshift “quarantine jails” are thought to be actually haunted, which serves as strong motivation to avoid them at all costs.

“If there’s an empty and haunted house in the village, put people in there and lock them up,” Kusdinar Untung Yuni Sukowati, head of the Sragen Regency, told reporters. Thus far, the new plan has resulted in a handful of rulebreakers facing extended stays in the frightening confines of some of the region’s creepiest structures.

On the surface, it seems like a somewhat silly thing to do, but the practice isn’t all that different from what health officials around the world are doing to keep people inside and safe. They’re using fear, which is a powerful motivator. In this case, fear of the virus is apparently not enough to keep people inside and safe from either contracting the virus or spreading it to others. So, officials are using a different kind of fear-based motivation, and it appears to be working.

“Whatever happens, happens,”  Heri Susanto, who was one of the first to be punished and placed in a newly repurposed “haunted” lockdown house. “I know this is for everyone’s safety. Lesson learned.”

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, citizens are protesting the coronavirus lockdowns that they see as an overreach of government powers. Their belief is that the virus either isn’t as bad as it’s being made out to be or that the risk of falling ill (and possibly dying) from COVID-19 is worth it, as long as they can go back to the way things were. Needless to say, that line of thinking is shortsighted at best, and catastrophically dangerous at worst.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech. Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.