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SEMARANG

LAWANG SEWU

Jl Pemudu, Sekayu

Status: Former Office Buildings; Former Prison and Execution Site; Former Battleground; Formerly Abandoned; Heritage Property

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History

This location was originally built by the Dutch as part of their colonialism of Indonesia. It was the Head Office of the Dutch East Indies Railway Company.

The location is composed of 2 structures – Building A and Building B.

Building A was started in 1904 and completed in 1909 – the two 4 story towers on each side were originally designed to be water towers. Building B took longer to built – not completed until 1919 – due to a massive basement that was constructed to be filled with water to act as an air conditioning for the building.

The name “Lawang Sewu” means a thousand doors and although these buildings are huge there’s not that many doors. There are, however, 600 windows with the ones in Building B being made of stained-glass depicting scenes of the railroad and Dutch colonialism.

In World War II when Imperial Japan invaded and conquered Indonesia; they took over the building. Much of the colonial staff was taken prisoner in the speed of the invasion and imprisoned in the basement of Building B which the Japanese turned into a prison/torture chamber.

It is thought most of the Dutch were beheaded in the basement with their heads just casually tossed in the corner. The Japanese Officers were known for using their swords to execute prisoners this way as well as raping Caucasian women and beheading them afterwards.

There is also said to be a small room under the floor that the Japanese would fill with 6 prisoners and then water, which resulted in drowning those trapped inside.

In 1945 when Japan surrendered and were forced off the island the Indonesian Government took over the complex and renamed it the National Railway Company. Unfortunately, the Dutch were not so eager to lose their colony and invaded the buildings through underground tunnels. What followed was 5 days of intense fighting resulting in multiple deaths and a Dutch victory. Indonesian forces swiftly took the entire city, though, and forced the Dutch out permanently.

In the years that followed the buildings were all but abandoned and not taken care of. They began to develop a severely dilapidated condition and stories of them being haunted began to circulate.

In 1992 the site was declared a Cultural Property of Indonesia and renovated back to their original condition.

 

Paranormal Activity

Many believe this site is the most haunted location in Indonesia.

The spirits trapped here are not friendly!

It is said that most locals avoid entering either of these buildings for fear of having a ghost attach themselves to them. Tour Guides advise people to stay with the group as wandering off on your own – especially in the Building B basement – leaves you open to the ghosts. 

The majority of paranormal activity experienced here are phantom screams and cries of intense pain as well as a chill that cannot be shaken apparently caused by the intense energy of the horrors that happened.

Numerous apparitions have been seen here – the majority without a head – including 2 Dutch women; one who is said to have killed herself in the building and another without her head.

There are a number of videos on the internet claiming to have taped ghosts here.

There is a legend saying a Kuntilanak haunts this location. They are vampiric spirits of mothers who died in childbirth and can shape change into beautiful women in order to lure men to their deaths.

Other Activity: touches, tugs and pulls from unseen entities; etheric attacks leading to both physical and emotional damage; cold and hot spots; disembodied voices; time slips; intense feelings of fear and sadness; nausea; light anomalies; electrical disturbances; unexplained mists; having spirits attach themselves to you and feelings of being watched, not being alone and not being wanted.