Saturday, December 12, 2009

Introduction to Ghost in Thai Culture


Ghosts (Phi) are alive and well in Thailand. Cinemas are guaranteed a full house for the opening of a new ghost movie or indeed a re-run of an old one. On television, ghost stories are extremely popular and come in many varieties from the comic to the gruesome. But ghosts are no laughing matter in Thailand. If pressed, the majority of the Thai population will admit to believing in ghosts and many claim to have seen them. This phenomena is not restricted to the elderly in rural villages but is even taken seriously by university students and people in all walks of life and is particularly strong in Northern Thailand. It is bad luck and tempting fate to talk about ghosts but nearly everyone has a tale to tell. Many Thais wear amulets to protect them against evil spirits and everywhere you go in Thailand you will see Spirit Houses (San Phra Phum).
There are many different kinds of ghosts in Thailand all of them to be feared and each posing a different threat. To combat this proliferation of evil spirits Thailand has its own special kind of "Ghost Buster", the Mho Phi or ghost doctor. Different techniques are employed depending on the type of spirit to be banished and some of these Mho Phi have gained celebrity status.


Mae Nak




There is no Thai who does not know Mae Naak. While mentioning her can make young children run and scream hysterically in the "Nang Naak game", mothers invoke Mae Naak's name to quiet their crying infants; otherwise, the ghost might break their necks and eat their heads with chilly sauce. The gothic tale of Mae Naak Phra Khanong has been filmed more than twenty times; moreover, every one of them is a box-office hit. Thai youths grow up watching her ghostly tale on television.


Whether Nang Naak was a real person or just a fabrication is still as mysterious as the myth itself. There is no historical evidence of her existence. However, most Thais tend to believe her story is genuine, or at least some parts are. Popular legend tells that she was born in the Phra Khanong area of Bangkok about a hundred and thirty years ago during the later period of King Rama IV (1851 - 1868) and died of childbirth complications some eighteen years later in the early part of King Rama V's regime (1868 - 1910). Others assume that she lived during the reign of King Rama III (1841 - 1851). Some believers even date her presence back to more than two hundred years ago in mid-eighteen century Ayutthaya.

Likewise, the detailed background of Nang Naak also varies from one tale to another, from being an ordinary farm girl to the daughter of the village chief. Nonetheless, her doomed fate and horrible deed stay the same. It begins as a love story. A teenage girl named Naak falls deeply in love with a handsome young man, Nai Maak. Some sources state that the couple are childhood lovers who grow up together, while another version take on the more tragic flavor of "Romeo and Juliet" in which their romance is opposed by Nang Naak's wealthy and powerful father, for Maak is of poorer and lower origin. No matter how harsh or smooth the situation is, they eventually manage to be together. Shortly after they get married, Nai Maak is conscripted for military service, involuntarily leaving his pregnant bride behind with tear and fear. The dutiful wife waits for her lover's return, but that day never comes in her lifetime. Haplessly, Nang Naak dies during labor along with her unborn child. Although they are buried instantly according to local tradition, her strong spirit refuses to perish. When Nai Maak comes back from the war, the ghost of Nang Naak disguises herself and her "infant son" as humans. Their uncanny reunion is sweet but brief. Despite her arduous effort to blind Nai Maak to reality, Nang Naak cannot prevent him from learning the truth of her death. The revelation itself provides one of the most memorable scenes in the story when Maak sees his wife grotesquely stretching her arm through the floorboard of their elevated house to pick up a fallen lime, or a knife in another version, on the ground.

The supernatural romance then transforms into a macabre horror. The terrified husband runs away, and the scary ghost follows. There are many gory accounts of how Nang Naak chases, harasses, and even kills whoever comes between Maak and her. In order to get rid of the gruesome spirit, the villagers resort to all the possible religious means including exorcist and voodoo shaman, which soon prove to be futile. Another rendition states that Maak remarries after the death of Nang Naak. The jealous ghost is enraged, and she terrorizes the new couple along with the miserable community. In all versions, Maak finally takes refugee in the Mahabute temple. Defying the monks, Nang Naak persists and pursues. At last, a gifted young novice from far away comes to the village and rests her tormented soul. Certain versions claim it is the venerated Somdej Phra Puttajan from Thonburi who seizes the fierce spirit, whereas some editions combine the two together as the heroes. In all cases, the Buddhist representative imprisons Nang Naak in a ceramic pot and drops it in the river. In some of the renditions, the skull of Nang Naak is made into a belt buckle by the monk, which passes into the possession of the Prince of Chumporn and then disappears. Maak nevertheless, becomes a monk in some versions, and in others, he begins a new family and lives happily ever after. Yet this otherworldly saga of love and revenge does not end there. Numerous stories about Mae Naak's reappearances are widely and frequently spread, from Bangkok to Pattani, casting her in many roles from being a guiding angel to an enraged ghost.

The story of Mae Nak Phra Khanong (or simply Mae Nak) is a well known and popular Thai ghost story. The story, as told, happened during the reign of King Mongkut, concerning the beautiful Mae Nak (literally "Miss Nak"), a native of Phra Khanong in Bangkok, and her husband, Mak.

With Nak pregnant, Mak is called off to war (in some versions of the story the war is against the Shan tribe, while others are not specific), and is severely injured. While he is being nursed in central Bangkok, both Nak and the child she is carrying die during childbirth. When Mak eventually returns home, however, he is cast under a spell and finds his loving wife and his new child waiting for him and nothing wrong. Neighbours, who try to tell Mak of the death of his wife and to warn him that he is living with her ghost, meet with grisly ends.

One day, while Nak is preparing nam phrik, she drops a lime down to the cellar. In her haste, the ghost extends her arm to pick the lemon from the upper floor through the floor's hole, not knowing that Mak saw the whole event. Terrified, Mak realises she is a a ghost, and connives to flee. At night, Mak lies to Nak by saying that he wants to get out of the hut to urinate at down floor. He then breaks a little hole in an earthen jar which is filled with water, so that Nak will think that he is urinating, and Mak flees.

After discovering her husband's leaving, Nak pursues him. Mak sees his wife's ghost and conceals himself in a Blumea bush. It is traditionally believed that ghosts are afraid of Blumea. Mak then runs to the temple of Wat Mahabut, where Nak cannot enter the holy area. Nak subsequently terrorises the people of Phra Khanong as she expresses her anger with them for helping Mak to leave her.

Eventually, Nak's ghost is exorcised by a powerful exorcist, who confines her within an earthen pot which is thrown into the river.

There are several versions of the story at this point. In one, an old couple, new residents to Phra Khanong, acquire the ghost pot while fishing, while in another it is two fisherman (age and residency unknown) who dredge up the bottle. Nak is then freed by the unwitting couple, or the fisherman (depending on which version you read).

Eventually, Nak is suppressed by the venerable monk, Somdet Phra Phutthachan (To Phrommarangsi), and again there are several versions of the story. In one, the monk confines her within the bone of her corpse's forehead, and binds that bone within his waistband (and, according to a legend, the waistband passes through the hands of various persons and is currently in the possession of royalty). In another, the monk foretells that in a future life Nak will be reunited with her husband, and so the ghost voluntarily leaves for her next life.

Mae Nak's story is popular because of her true love and devotion for Mak.

Though there is no evidence that the legend is true, there is a shrine dedicated to Mae Nak at Wat Mahabut (which was situated in the Phra Khanong district until a 1997 boundary change placed it in neighboring Suan Luang district - much to the consternation of the people of Phra Khanong).

The Shrine of Mae Nak

The shrine of Mae Nak can be found at Wat Mahabut, which is down a small soi (side road) off Sukhumvit soi 77, also known as Onnut Road (sometimes spelled "Onnuj" or "On Nut"). Probably the easiest way to get there is to take the Sukhumvit line of the BTS Skytrain all the way to its terminal station at On Nut, then backtrack a short way until you reach Onnut Road (Sukhumvit 77) on the north side of the road. About 1km down Onnut road, on the left, you will find a small lane signposted as soi 7. Wat Mahabut and the Mae Nak shrine are to be found at the end of the lane, with the shrine at the far side of the compound near the canal known as Klong Phra Khanong.

In addition to adorning the statue of Mae Nak and her baby, which forms the centerpiece of the shrine, with gold leaf, the faithful also donate gifts of clothing to her ghost (she has a collection of fine dresses hung behind her statue) and toys for her child. There are stalls at the shrine selling toys if you should wish to make an offering.

Krasue


The krasue (or Kra-Sue) is part of Southeast Asian mythology and is part of popular folklore in Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia and Thailand. It is the floating head of a vampiric female ghost. Intestines hang out of the ghost's neck and trail behind the head. In Laos the Krasue is called Pi-Kasu. In the Philippines, it is called Manananggal. In Cambodia, is called Arp, while in Malaysia and Indonesia, it is called Penanggalan or Hantu Penanggal.

A Krasue Or Arb manifests itself as a beautiful woman. It floats through the air because it has no lower body. It appears as a length of intestines suspended from a lovely woman's face.[1]. The appearance of this spirit could be young or old. They mostly believe it as a rich person with the black gass or ties the black ribbon around the head and neck as protection from the sunshine. The spirit described the possessesion of an evil spirit into a woman which turns her into a flying vampire head with intestines hanging from the neck after the separation of the head from the body. The hunting action always happens on the night or evening when it flies, seeking for the blood or raw food.[2] like Fillipina creature,Manananggal, Krasue sometimes prey on pregnant women in their homes just before or after the childbirth, using an elongated proboscis-like tongue and sharp teeth to eat the fetus or its Placenta. To protect the pregnant victims before birth, their relatives cleverly keep a lot of thorns around the house to scare the Krasue coming to suck the blood and many other disgusting stuff which lead the victims to suffer many diseases.[3] and after the birth, they must take the cut placenta far away for burial to hide it from the Krasue. In the belief that a spirit can't find it well if the placenta is buried deep enough. To crush the still body which can be left sleeping or sitting is fatal to the spirit. The Flying head will return after hunting but rejoin with the wrong body which lead them to suffer pain until death. The creature will surely die if the intestines get cut off or if its body disappears or gets hidden by someone. If the top part of the body fails to find the lower half before daybreak it will die if it does not rejoin the other half when sunlight comes. Other religions believe that the creature can be destroyed by burning them alive.


Heredity
Many religious believe that Heredity to becoming the spirit originally come from The Pysical or Supernatural combination when someone try to learning the black art in Hindo Culture which appeared them to separate their head and body if they make the mistake or study the wrong magic. The Sins also is a relation to Krasue Heredity for the ones who aborted or killed someone in the pass life, will receive a punishment to become Krasue. Another story refer to a person which later become the Krasue, had Contaminating by eat or drink the meal with the old krasue's sailver or flesh. It mostly happened to the witch's relative especially their daughter or granddaughter.


Origins
The Nature of Krasue Spirit localed On Hinduism religion come from India which later, spread to Cambodia which first lead the birth of Krasue Spirit by its Dark art and Witch Cursed. It was providing the local religions for long times until the war and refugee happened to took a place in another Country.In Thailand, A story of a Khmer princess become the krasue in Thailand at mids 1700s during the Dark age of Cambodia within the losing of war with many country, had told as the first thai Krasue. The Legend had reminded on Thai Horror film Demonic Beauty'.


Adaptations
A lot of Countries of Believing The Krasue tale had adapted it into the Screen.Several Thai films depict the krasue, including Krasue (Demonic Beauty) in 2002, 2006's Krasue Valentine by Yuthlert Sippapak, the Cambodian film, 2004 horror film Nieng Arp (Lady Vampire) or Burn the witch , Hong Kong's Witch with the Flying Head (1977) and Indonesia's Mystics In Bali (1981). It was also comically featured in a Sylvania light bulb commercial for Thai audiences.

Poo Ming – a blue ghost who haunts $4bn airport


AS HEAD of security at the world’s newest airport, Squadron Leader Pannupong Nualpenyai faces an intimidating range of potential enemies.
As well as the problems of cost overruns, poor transport connections and the fallout from last week’s military coup, the managers of Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok have had to cope with hauntings, mysterious deaths and the demonic possession of members of their staff.

But the most stubborn problem of all is a frail old man with a blue face named Poo Ming. He is not an Islamic militant or an environmental activist. He is a ghost; an unquiet spirit who has become a regular visitor to Thailand’s new airport — a $4 billion (£2.1 billion) project which officially opens tomorrow and is built on a former cemetery.

“I believe in this phenomenon,” says Squadron Leader Pannupong, a former commando who heads a staff of 1,000 airport security personnel. “I have seen many ghosts in my life.” As it happens, so much has gone wrong at Suvarnabhumi that the supernatural visitors might be regarded as being among its lesser problems.

The need for a new airport was recognised in 1973 when 8,000 acres of land were purchased 15 miles (25km) east of Bangkok. But plans were suspended after a bloody student uprising against an earlier military government.

The plans were revived in 1996 — the year before the Asian economic crisis. Eventually the site, unpromisingly known as Cobra Swamp, was drained and after his landslide election victory in 2001 the recently deposed Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, adopted the scheme as a symbol of Thai pride and achievement. He renamed it Suvarnabhumi, meaning “Realm of Gold”.

On the scheduled day of its opening a year ago, Mr Thaksin watched as the first two planes took off. Unfortunately, no more followed as the airport was unready for passengers. Soon afterwards the hauntings began. Two airport workers died after wrapping their cars around lampposts. Some might have blamed this on the road, which encouraged reckless speed, but the airport workers felt there was more to it than that.

Strange footsteps were heard around the airport at night, as well as traditional music, with no apparent source. Squadron Leader Pannupong almost died when a woman in traditional dress walked in front of his car carrying a baby, then mysteriously disappeared. Then there were the sightings of the old man.

“It was late at night when I saw him,” says Pratheet Wanmuda, a guard. “He had an aura around his head and walked with a stick. I called out to him but then he was gone. I was so scared that I forgot to ask him for next week’s winning lottery numbers.”

For all its superficial modernity, Thailand is a country of enduring superstition and airport management knew better than to ignore such omens. Last Saturday 99 monks prayed at the climax of nine weeks of exorcism and rites.

In front of the airport hotel a young luggage operator staggered forward. He introduced himself as Poo Ming, a guardian of the land where a cemetery once existed.

“He was walking like an old man and spoke in an ancient,quavering voice,” recalled Pholprasit Tinakul, another guard. The orange-robed monks doused him with holy water, struck him over the head and the young man was returned to himself.

“Since then the atmosphere is back to normal and my staff are much calmer,” says Squadron Leader Pannupong. “I think that Poo Ming has gone now. If not, perhaps he will become our friend and protect us against those who threaten this place.”

GUMAN THONG
THE MAGIC SUPER BOY






Guman Thong is a Thai amulet created in the form of a lovely young child, but it's really a ghost !! It's was first created in the early of Ayuthaya era or some 500 years ago during Khun Paen's life period. It can be said that Khun Paen was the first who created Guman Thong. He brought the dead baby from the womb of the dead Bua Klee, one of his minor wife, to the Bosth's outer area within Pathasima marking boundary pillars for ritual processes. Bosth is the major chanting hall where the main Buddha image of the temple is placed. Bosth and its outer area are so sacred place that no mighty ghosts or spirits can enter to make any harassment. By the legendary descriptions, Khun Paen was chanting some important Mantras to activate the spirit of Guman Thong while baking the dead baby on the fire.
It's Thai belief that a mother who died with her baby in the womb may become a very mighty ferocious ghost, Thai people call such the ghost PHI TAI TONG KLOM. By Thai traditon, any pregnant lady who died in that manner will not be cremated immediately in all cases, believing that it will make the spirit of the dead unhappy and may activate her to become the vicious ghost. Creating Guman Thong in the ancient time was very thrilling. The master had to go to the graveyard alone in the night, dig up the corpse, cut the corpse's abdomen bringing the dead baby out, and then rush directly to the nearest Bosth's outer area for baking processes.That's the safe place to protect the ghost mother from trying to bring her baby back. So only the strong-mind person who possesses the advanced magical knowledges to fight the ghost could do this.

On the ancient Thai belief, Phi Tai Tong Klom is also a good source for producing the opposite-sex attractive oil, NAM MAN PRAI (Nam Man = oil, Prai= female ghost). The master who wants to produce this oil needs to activate the corpse rising from the grave, and then use the candle flame heating under the corpse's chin, the derivative dropping-down liquid is the best quality opposite-sex attractive oil !!

Even the root form of Guman Thong is actually a dead infant. But it is traditionally created in the form of a young child with various materials, such as wood, bronze, ivory tusk, plaster,etc. The main purpose of creating Guman Thong in the ancient time is for protecting the owner. The young child ghost could be activated with Mantra to fight the owner's enemies or to protect the owner's treasures.

Creating present-era Guman Thongs the guru monks use no more such the thrilling method but create them with sacred materials and activate their lives by holy Mantras. Some guru monks who created sacred Guman Thongs are such as Luang Poo Boon of Wat Klang Bang Kaew, Luang Poh Cham of Wat Takong and Luang Poh Tae KongThong of Wat SamNgam, etc. But the most well-known and most popular pieces are of Luang Poh Tae KongThong. Almost all the present-era Guman Thongs have been created for wealth and for fortune-fetching purposes.

Any one who wants to worship Guman Thong should be acknowledged some important practices :

1. Food offering must be presented at least once a day.

2. Toy offering must also be presented occasionally, it's just because Guman Thong is a young child(spirit), he likes playing toys as another human child.

3. The worshipper should love Guman Thong as his/her son. For the 1st personal pronoun you call yourself "father" or "mother"; for the 2nd personal pronoun you call him "my son" ; and for the 3rd personal pronoun you just call his name Guman Thong.

4. Any house that has small child/children, it's recommended that should not bring in and worship Guman Thong because he may envy your child/children whom you pay all love to.

Worshipping Guman Thong needs deliberate practices. But if you can do it completely as recommended, he will be a good great fortune bringer.

Spirit Houses - Magic - Mystery - Thailand


Wherever you go in Chiang Mai you will see Spirit Houses (San Phra Phum). These are small elevated model houses, a little like doll's houses, often richly decorated with many tiny model animals inside and around them . They have a small platform or table on which offerings to the Spirits are placed and can be seen in many gardens and outside shops and other businesses. Spirit worship ( Animism) was widely practiced in Asia and with the coming of Buddhism some of these beliefs became intermingled. There are several reasons why these Spirit House are erected. Thais believe that when they build a house they might disturb the resident Spirits so they give them a new home and ensure the Spirits have ample sustenance. It is also believed that some Spirits will look after the house and ensure the well being or prosperity of the owner. Offerings of food and drink are made daily and Thais treat these Spirit Houses with great respect.

Ganesha, The God of Success - Magic - Mystery - Thailand


Ganesha, The God of Success, is worshipped by many people throughout the World but nowhere more so than in South East Asia. Lord Ganesha is one of the most worshipped deities in Hinduism. He is the God of wisdom and literature and brings wealth, riches and power to his followers. The Lord Ganesh can banish all evils and remove any obstacle. There are many stories about how the Lord Ganesha came to have an elephant head. Some stories say he was born with it, others that his own head was cut off and replaced by the head of an elephant. This is the version we will follow.

Ganesha was the son of the Goddess Parvati. One day she wanted to bathe but there were no servants around to guard her so she created an image from the earth and the oil she was using to bathe with and breathed life into the figure. Thus Ganesha was born. She told him to keep watch over the house and admit no one.
Shortly, Lord Shiva, Parvati's husband arrived and tried to enter the house, but Ganesha blocked his path and would not allow him to enter. Lord Shiva became very angry and with his Trident he cut off Ganesha's head with a mighty blow. Parvati, on hearing the disturbance outside, came out and saw her son's headless body and was furious with Lord Shiva. She pleaded with him to restore life back to her son but Lord Shiva's blow was so powerful they could not find Ganesha's head.
Lord Shiva appealed to the Lord Brahma for help and was told to send out all his people and cut off the head of the first creature found sleeping with its head facing north. They came across an elephant, cut off its head and placed it on the headless body of Ganesha bringing him back to life.

Ghost Festival in Dan Sai



The phrase Pae Muang Pee sounds weird enough to Thai people let alone foreigners as it literally means “a forest in a ghost city”. Also known as Thailand’s Grand Canyon, the “forest in a ghost city” is a wavy plain with eerie-looking stone pillars and earth formations caused by water erosion.

Situated in the Mae Lai district of Phrae, Pae Muang Pee Forest Park attracts a large number of tourists during Songkran festival (Thai New Year in April).

Thailand Haunted Canyon -Pae Muang Pee



According to legend its name originated from a mysterious folktale about a grandmother named Sum who found a pond full of gold which she removed and started to carry back before she was lost in the forest.

When she returned to her village she told the people there about the find and told them to go and retrieve the gold that she had left in her bags. However, when they reached the pond the gold had disappeared and on the ground there were only footprints leading to nowhere.

Since then the villagers have called this particular spot Pae Muang Pee.

The scarcity of trees or animals has also contributed to the belief that Pae Muang Pee is haunted.

While all of this might sound spooky and freak you out, Pae Muang Pee has become a famous tourist attraction as well as a haven for geologists due to its unique soil structure and formations which reportedly date back more than 2.5 million years.

A wide range of rare plants can be found in the forests – including Dipterocarpus obtusifolius, Meliosma pinnata, Bombax anceps, Croton argyratus, Combretum spp. and Gigantochloa albociliata, while wildlife includes snakes, lizards, butterflies, lizards, hares and various bird species.

Located only 10 kilometers from Phrae, Pae Muang Pee is highly recommended and makes an impressive trip.

3 comments:

  1. I love to read all these informative writings from you. I love to know that local people in Thailand really respect their beliefs. Thailand is a lovely country. It is one of the best countries; many tourists go there and start to take part in those kind of myths and cultural beliefs in Thailand. I know the amulets in Thailand are really popular; local people wear it all the time and tourists buy it and ‘believe’ it too. I know that one of the most wanted gifts from Thailand is amulets. Personally, for me, I think this is awesome that foreign people treat another people’s belief and culture with respect. I believe this kind of unusual or magic thing could bring world peace because once they start to learn about another people’s culture and beliefs, it means they would love to see peace between them and Thailand!

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  2. Wow, this is so cool! I have been searching a long time to find something to interest me and I dropped into your writing. Thailand is one of the most beautiful destinations for tourism. I have heard a lot about the mystical, mythical and the rich of culture there. This is something that people may believe or not, but look at the local people there; they believe it 100% which gives tourists a big opportunity to take a look in more depth (they may believe it too!). I’m really interested in some of the ‘rules’ that people follow there! I personally think that this is culturally awesome. People from another country, who can blend and respect this kind of thing once they have stepped into Thailand is the best thing I’ve ever known. I believe this is something that could bring peace between the local people and the foreign people. Nice!

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  3. Excellent information. I own a Khun Paen 7 narai myself. Works like a charm for me. Read more about Khun Paen here.

    http://singaporetrends.com/sg/2011/11/phra-khun-paen-singapore/

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