MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia – Some Indonesian villagers are trying to appease the rumbling Mount Merapi in Indonesia.
An elderly man entrusted with being the volcano's spiritual guardian led a dozen followers in a pre-dawn ceremony intended to calm villagers as the mountain continues spewing lava.
Hundreds of villagers living on Merapi's slopes continue defying orders to leave the danger zone, despite repeated calls for them to go into evacuation centers. They say the centers are like living "in a prison" and they prefer to take their chances with the mountain.
The 9,800-foot volcano has been shooting out lava and deadly clouds of hot ash and debris for several weeks. It has been rocked by a series of spectacular eruptions since Saturday, with the most recent occurring Wednesday.
Mount Merapi, which translates as "Fire Mountain," has erupted scores of time over the last 200 years, often with deadly results. It is one of the world's most active volcanoes.
In 1994, 60 people were killed by a searing gas cloud, while in 1930, more than a dozen villages were incinerated, leaving 1,300 dead.