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Huta Siallagan, The Story of a Cannibal Village on Samosir Island

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Samosir, IO – Huta Siallagan, one of the tourist destinations on Samosir Island, is located in Ambarita village, Simanindo, North Sumatra. A heritage village of the Toba Batak culture with traditional Bolon houses, it still stands and is well-preserved for hundreds of years.

To reach Huta Siallagan, Independent Observer must cross by boat from Tiga Raja Parapat pier to Tuktuk Siadong. The fare is Rp20,000 for about an hour boat ride across Lake Toba. When you arrive at Tuktuk Siadong, the distance to Huta Siallagan is about 4 km or approximately 12 minutes by motorbike, which you can rent from local residents.

When you are about to enter the area outside Huta Siallagan, there are many rows of typical Toba Batak souvenir stalls on the side of the road. Then, you have to walk about 100 meters to the gate which was built around a stone wall about two meters high. The entrance fee is Rp5,000 which take you straight to Huta Siallagan courtyard with rows of neatly organized Bolon houses.

There are eight Bolon houses inside Huta Siallagan. Around it there are several large stone statues called “Pangulubalang”, believed to have the power to ward off evil spirits from entering the village. In front of one of Bolon houses, there is several circular stone tables and benches under a shady tree called Batu Persidang. At that time, the king and his aides convened to determine the punishment for criminals — rapists, thieves, traitors, enemy spies.

Huta Siallagan
(IO/Aini Tartinia)

Petty criminals will be shackled. The chain is still stored under Bolon house to this day. While those who commit serious crime will be beheaded. However, if the convict’s skin does not bleed  upon contact with the executioner’s blade it means that they have knowledge or ability and this has tl be removed using lime juice applied to the relevant body parts.

The separated head will be hung in front of the village (the Huta Siallagan gate) so that residents and enemies know that the execution has been carried out. The rest of the body will be cut up, cooked and eaten together. It is believed that if the king eats the organs of a person with knowledge or ability, that knowledge or ability will be transfered to him.

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The equipment used in the beheading can be seen in the complex to the right of Huta Siallagan.  There are two large round tables surrounded by a number of stone benches. On the table lies the Batak calendar, Pustaha Laklak, two small and long knives and the magic stick Tunggal Panaluan. (Aini Tartinia)

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