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Kijing Miring: The Haunted Ship of Jakarta Bay in Indonesian Urban Legend


Have you ever heard the chilling tale of a ghostly ship that roams the waters off the coast of Jakarta, Indonesia? Imagine a vessel, its mast tilted at an eerie angle, sailing silently through the night, shrouded in an unsettling mist. This is the legend of Kijing Miring, a tale that has captivated Indonesians for generations. More than just a ghost story, Kijing Miring is a haunting reminder of the power of myth and the enduring influence of folklore in shaping cultural identity.

This blog post dives deep into the enigmatic legend of Kijing Miring, exploring its origins, its chilling narratives, and its enduring impact on Indonesian culture. Join us as we navigate the murky waters of this legendary tale and uncover its secrets, from the heart of Jakarta Bay to the depths of Indonesian folklore.

Table of Contents

  1. The Legend of Kijing Miring
  2. The Cultural Impact of Kijing Miring
  3. FAQs
  4. Conclusion

The Legend of Kijing Miring

Origins of the Story

The earliest accounts of Kijing Miring can be traced back to the oral traditions of the Betawi people, the indigenous inhabitants of Jakarta. These stories, passed down through generations, describe the ship as a ghostly vessel, its mast perpetually tilted at an unsettling angle, hence its name “Kijing Miring” – “Tilted Shell” in Indonesian.

While the exact location of the ship’s haunting is often debated, it’s generally believed to linger in the waters of Jakarta Bay, a body of water that has long been a source of both livelihood and mystery for the people of Jakarta.

The Story of the Ship

The legend of Kijing Miring unfolds in various versions, but the core elements remain consistent. The most popular narrative tells a tragic story of a ship’s crew, cursed by a powerful deity or a vengeful spirit.

The ship, once a proud vessel carrying valuable cargo, fell victim to a tragic event. Some versions recount a devastating shipwreck, while others describe a mutiny that ended in bloodshed and despair. Regardless of the specific details, the crew’s misfortune condemned the ship and its occupants to a perpetual state of limbo, their souls eternally bound to the vessel.

The Kijing Miring is said to appear at night, its sails billowing in the wind despite the absence of any breeze. The ship is often described as a spectral vessel, its hull glowing with an eerie light, and its masts creaking ominously. The most chilling aspect of the legend is the haunting cries and moans that echo from the ship, the cries of the trapped souls seeking release.

Possible Explanations

While the legend of Kijing Miring is deeply rooted in folklore, there are possible historical and natural explanations that may have contributed to its creation.

Some historians believe that the legend may be based on a real-life shipwreck. Jakarta Bay has a long history of treacherous waters, and a historical shipwreck could have provided the foundation for the Kijing Miring story.

Additionally, the phenomenon of mirages, often observed in the region, could have contributed to the legend. Mirages can create optical illusions, making objects appear in unusual locations or even distorted. It’s possible that a ship seen through a mirage, appearing as if it were sailing on its side, might have been misconstrued as the Kijing Miring.

Furthermore, the legend can also be understood within the context of Indonesian societal anxieties. The sea has always been a source of both opportunity and danger for the people of Indonesia. The fear of the unknown and the dangers of maritime travel could have fueled the legend of Kijing Miring as a cautionary tale, serving as a reminder of the sea’s unforgiving power.

The Cultural Impact of Kijing Miring

Local Folklore and Storytelling

The legend of Kijing Miring has become deeply interwoven into the fabric of Indonesian folklore, serving as a cautionary tale and a source of fascination for generations. The story is often recounted to children, instilling a sense of reverence for the sea and a healthy dose of fear for the unknown.

The legend’s influence extends beyond simple storytelling. It serves as a reminder of the importance of respecting the natural world and the consequences of defying its power. Furthermore, Kijing Miring highlights the inherent dangers of maritime travel and the potential for tragedy.

The ship’s haunting presence in Jakarta Bay serves as a symbolic reminder of the cyclical nature of life and death, echoing themes that resonate throughout Indonesian folklore. The story underscores the importance of remembering the past and honoring those who have been lost at sea.

Modern Media and Popular Culture

The legend of Kijing Miring has transcended its traditional roots and found its way into modern media and popular culture, demonstrating its enduring appeal. The story has been featured in various forms of contemporary Indonesian media, including movies, television shows, books, and even music.

The legend’s presence in popular culture has helped to further cement its place in Indonesian consciousness. It has also sparked the interest of artists, musicians, and filmmakers, who have drawn inspiration from the Kijing Miring tale to create their own interpretations and artistic expressions.

In addition to its cultural significance, the legend has also had a subtle impact on the Indonesian tourism industry. The Kijing Miring tale has become a local attraction, drawing visitors interested in exploring the region’s rich folklore.

The story’s enduring popularity reflects the enduring fascination with the supernatural and the timeless allure of ghost stories. Kijing Miring serves as a captivating reminder of the power of myth and the lasting influence of folklore in shaping our cultural identities.


Is the Kijing Miring legend true?

The question of whether the Kijing Miring legend is true is a complex one. There is no concrete evidence to support the existence of the ship as a real, physical vessel. However, the legend itself is rooted in local belief systems and reflects a deep-seated fear of the unknown and the dangers of the sea.

While it’s possible that the legend is based on a real-life event, like a shipwreck or a maritime accident, the specific details of the haunting are likely rooted in folklore and cultural imagination. The Kijing Miring story is a powerful testament to the enduring power of myth and the human tendency to find meaning in the mysteries of the world around us.

What is the significance of the ship’s name “Kijing Miring”?

The name “Kijing Miring” literally translates to “Tilted Shell” in Indonesian. The name itself holds symbolic significance, reflecting the ship’s eerie appearance and its connection to the sea.

“Kijing” (shell) is often associated with the sea and marine life, symbolizing the ship’s origin and its relationship to the watery realm. The “Miring” (tilted) aspect of the name highlights the ship’s unusual posture and its unsettling appearance, creating a sense of disorientation and foreboding.

The name “Kijing Miring” can be interpreted as a metaphorical representation of the ship’s tragic fate and its descent into a ghostly existence, tilting off course from its intended path and becoming a spectral shadow of its former self.

Have there been any reported sightings of the Kijing Miring in recent times?

While there is no official confirmation of sightings, the legend of Kijing Miring continues to persist in contemporary Indonesian culture. Many local fishermen and residents still share stories of encounters with the ghostly ship, adding to the mystique and intrigue surrounding the legend.

The persistent rumors and anecdotes serve as a reminder that the Kijing Miring remains a powerful symbol in Indonesian folklore, its influence extending beyond historical accounts and into the present day.

What are some other famous Indonesian urban legends?

Indonesia boasts a rich tapestry of folklore, filled with captivating tales of the supernatural. Some other well-known Indonesian urban legends include:

  • The Legend of the White Lady (Hantu Putih): A ghostly figure in white, often associated with tragic deaths or unfulfilled love, who is said to haunt various locations throughout Indonesia.
  • The Legend of Kuntilanak: A female spirit, often depicted with long hair and a blood-red tongue, that is said to prey on unsuspecting victims, especially children.
  • The Legend of Pocong: A ghostly figure wrapped in a shroud, said to be the spirit of a person who died a violent or sudden death.

These legends, like Kijing Miring, reflect the cultural anxieties and beliefs of Indonesian society, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of folklore that continues to shape the country’s cultural identity.


The legend of Kijing Miring, the haunted ship of Jakarta Bay, is a testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring influence of folklore in shaping cultural identities. Whether rooted in real events or pure imagination, the story serves as a captivating reminder of the mysteries that lie beneath the surface of our world. The legend’s enduring presence in Indonesian culture is a testament to its ability to connect generations, to instill a sense of wonder, and to remind us of the power of the human imagination.