When Indonesia's most volatile volcano erupted at dusk Tuesday, the man who had been assigned to be the volcano's spiritual gatekeeper was at his post. Mbah Maridjan was found in his house, his body reportedly in a praying position — a finding that apparently led several people to post photos of his remains.
Maridjan, 83, lived about 2.5 miles from Java's Mount Merapi, the volcano whose name translates as "Fire Mountain." His was among the reported 30 bodies officials have discovered in the area after the eruption, which spewed white ash and hot gases.
Maridjan had been given the title of gatekeeper in 1982 by Hamengkubuwono IX, the late sultan of the ancient city of Yogyakarta. He succeeded his father in the post, which involves looking after the spirits of the volcano, and conducting offerings and rituals.