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Mount Merapi: Indonesian volcano erupts

By: Noel Kirkpatrick on Nov. 2, 2010, 11:16 a.m.
Maridjan's funeral

Photo: Slamet Riyad/AP

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The volcano's caretaker

Relatives carry the coffin of Mbah Maridjan, the spiritual guardian of Mount Merapi, during his funeral in Glagaharjo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010.

For 33 years, Maridjan spoke to Mount Merapi, appeasing its unpredictable spirits by throwing offerings of rice, clothes and chickens into the volcano's gaping crater. As Merapi began spewing gases and thousands of villagers streamed down the mountain's slopes, Maridjan refused to budge. His rigid body was found Wednesday, Oct. 27, prostrate on the ground in the typical Islamic prayer position and caked in heavy white soot.