The Ghosts of Kelimutu / by Alex Metcalfe

Do you believe in ghost stories?

On the Indonesian island of Flores sit the tri coloured lakes of Kelimutu. These volcanic lakes change their colours as easily as a chameleon changes his skin.

Local people believe that spirits come here to die. The ‘Mae’ leave their village after death and remain in Kelimutu forever.

Before entering one of the lakes, the spirits must first meet and pass ‘Konde Ratu’, the guardian of the Perekonde gates; young people’s souls go to the warmth of Tiwu Ko'o Fai Nuwa Muri (the turquoise lake), old spirits to the cold of Tiwu Ata Bupu (the brown lake) and the black lake, Tiwu Ata Polo, were for the wicked kind.” 

The colours of the lake change as a result of chemical reactions from minerals contained in the lake triggered by volcano gas activity.

What explanation do you prefer?

Kelimutu, Flores. Indonesia 2015.