Here’s a bizarre and “typical Thai” story that you would never read about in the Western media. A 14-year-old Thai girl, local media report, happened to suddenly become “possessed by evil spirits” as she was walking down Pattaya Third Road in the company of a group of friends this week.
While it’s not known what caused the young lady to freak out in public, the poor “obsessed” teenage girl could reportedly only be healed through an elaborate rite of “exorcism” performed right under the massive red Pattaya city sign on Pratamnak hill in South Pattaya.
We’ll share our thoughts on this with you further below. But to start with, here’s the the story as reported by Pattaya One:
The incident began outside of the offices of a Thai newspaper on Pattaya Third Road where journalists heard and saw a girl screaming on the pavement close-by and offered assistance.
The girl was accompanied by 10 of her friends and it was decided that the best way to “heal” her was to take her to the Pratamnak mountain behind the Pattaya City sign where ghosts are thought to reside.
Well, we must admit this is the first time we hear that “ghosts are thought to reside” at that location (we would have assumed the remote area was more popular with young couples who seek a natural hideaway to engage in some heavy petting.)
The article doesn’t mention either who “decided” to take the girl to the hilltop above the Bali Hai pier. Is that where you naturally go in situations like these? We mean, it might have been much easier to give that spoiled brat a “good slap” or pour a bucket of water over her? Anyway, the story has a happy ending and the hilltop ghosts of Pattaya showed a good amount of mercy:
The group arrived at the location and after a ceremony where holy water from the nearby temple on the mountain was placed over the girl’s head and prayers were offered by her friends to the ghosts, she miraculously returned to normal after a further bout of screams as the ceremony took place.
Pattaya One concedes “it’s a bizarre story” and “disturbing” for those who believe in a spiritual world and the ability of ghosts (or however you like to call it) to impact our everyday lives.
You might also think it’s simply not worth reporting because it’s plain bullshit. Or you might say it’s not worth reporting because stuff like that is business as usual in the “Thai universe” and happens every day.
Indeed, crazy stuff like this does happen every day somewhere in your Thai neighbourhood. For the average Thai, you need to know, the spiritual world and its eventual material manifestations, for example, by means of ghost appearances or “possessing” people”, are actually real, very real.
There are spirit houses in every Thai household – they are there to shelter the “restless souls” or the spirits of the dead who lived on that land before. Or motorists will automatically honk their horn when they drive by, for example, a tree in a sharp corner that has claimed an unusually high number of lives. The reason? Thais believe that the spirits of those killed in the accidents continue to live in that tree and need some “encouragement” every now and then.
Thais believe in an afterlife – before reincarnation. Swift reincarnation is only for those lucky souls who suffer a peaceful, quiet death. People who have died a violent death, such as road accident, murder or suicide victims, are doomed to roam planet earth a bit longer, stepping out of the shadows sometimes in order to draw attention to their sad fate or, if they’re of the more evil kind, seek some kind of revenge against the living.
The existence of ghosts isn’t just a remote possibility in the Thai mindset, or a fantastic product of drivel and rumours. Thais believe wholeheartedly that the spirits of the deceased are among us all the time. These “ghosts” are real and part of everyday life, not just actors in the only film genre Thai directors are actually good at – ghost movies.
Indeed, Thais “see” ghosts all the time, most often but not only in their dreams (let’s assume the outside world we “see” is a mere manifestation of what the brain makes of electrical impulses that enter the eyes; hence, to some extent, an individual creation.) Some of these ghosts may be good, others may be evil, in which case they have to be appeased.
Here are two short anecdotes from your webmaster’s own experience with the Thai way of handling encounters with what they deem is the spiritual world. More often than not (your webmaster is an agnostic), it’s simply a manifestation of the unconscious or a matter of self-fulfilling prophecies. Then again, who really knows?
During my second or third visit to Pattaya (I stayed in my then-girlfriend’s rented room in an apartment in Naklua) a young lesbian couple in their mid-Twenties occupied one of the next-door rooms. As far as I remember (this must have been in 1998) and despite their sexual orientation, both girls worked either in the same bar as my ex-girlfriend or in one of the adjacent bars; one (the tomboy part in their relation) as a cashier, the other one (the girl part or “dee” as the Thais say) I think as a “normal” bar girl. Anyway, we knew them pretty well.
One afternoon me and and my girlfriend were staying in our room, lying on the bed, watching telly or whatever, when all of a sudden there was some kind of commotion on the corridor and we heard screams and some very unusual groaning.
As we had a look what was going on on the corridor, we found that the door to the next-door room where the lesbian couple were staying was open and was filling with more and more curious neighbours. Several of the bar girls who lived on that floor (it were actually mostly bar girls and some of their foreign boyfriends who stayed in that apartment) had somehow opened the door to the room and were now kneeling on the floor there.
As we also entered the room and moved closer we found they were kneeling around Boom (I think her name was Boom, anyway she was the “feminine” part in the lesbian affair). Boom was lying on the ground, screaming, groaning and convulsing with pain – real pain.
Every now and then she would grab her neck – as if to loosen the grip of an invisible pair of hands that were strangling her. No, Boom didn’t put on an act. I mean, there was obviously no one near her harming her, but she was sweating like hell and displaying all the symptoms of a person that was getting strangled and slowly suffocated.
I thought Boom had suffered some kind of shock and suggested to my girlfriend to take her to a doctor. I was really convinced that Boom would soon draw her last breath and die in front of my eyes. Then I noticed that all the other girls kneeling around Boom started lighting candles and praying some weird stuff I didn’t understand. No first aid, just some prayer-like words of comfort or whatever directed at the dying girl. That was it.
And then I noticed a virtual army of little black Buddha statues (“bad” Buddhas) on a shelf next to Boom that my girlfriend would later tell me belonged to Boom’s tomboy girlfriend who was out at that time. She would use these black Buddhas for “black magic” or some stuff (yes, I think the tomboy was actually from Buriram near the Cambodian border where black magic is allegedly pretty common.)
Responding to my suggestion to call an ambulance or take Boom to a doctor, my girlfriend just shook her head and said: “sanay” (I later looked that word up in a dictionary and found it means something like “charm”.) This obviously implied that even the doctors at the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital would have been helpless and unable to save the girl’s life.
It eventually transpired that Boom had had an ugly argument with her tomboy girlfriend who, before leaving the room, had threatened to cast an evil spell on Boom or kill her by means of black magic or whatever. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, this threat became very real for Boom and it took at least 10 minutes or so for her to calm down and get “back to normal”.
Moments later, the tomboy returned back home from a drinking session and everyone went back to their rooms. I never heard any other explanation for what I thought was Boom’s near-death experience and the incident was never mentioned again by anyone.
The second story affected me in a more direct manner as I personally became the target of a very old and angry ghost. It must have been 13 or 14 years ago and me and my Thai wife (she’s actually my very-long-time girlfriend and not the same one as in the previous story) had been together for a couple of years already. But well, we were both a bit younger then and your webmaster (now a quiet sedate nature) would still hit the town much more regularly and indulge in all those wonderful things Pattaya has in store for a temporary bachelor.
Anyway, my “wife” and me were halfway through a week-long or so ongoing dispute dealing, as far as I remember now, with my occasional urban adventures. My wife was pissed and, like most Thai women, she’s a pain in the ass when she’s had one over the eight. I’ve had mountains of ashtrays and bottles thrown at me over the years, I’ve escaped knife attacks through the window, had my laptop smashed on the floor … well, the usual stuff you get with a Thai wife when she’s pissed or jealous or both.
But that night she was different. We we drinking outside our house with some friends when all of a sudden she stood up and collapsed en route to the toilet or wherever she was staggering. She lay splayed out on the tiled floor, her crazy eyes wide open, breathing heavily and groaning, a bit like Boom in the previous story.
Her friends put a pillow under her head, held an open small bottle of Tiger Balm under her nose and attended to her as well as they could. (They had earlier assured with me my wife was a bit “ting tong” at the moment but there was nothing I had to worry about.) And then she raised her voice.
But no, it wasn’t her voice she was raising, and one could barely call that speaking, it was more like speaking in tongues. My Thai was already pretty good then but I had no idea what she was babbling, or whoever had taken possession of her (I figured out that’s what it was) was babbling through her dribbling mouth. It’s difficult to describe, but that surely wasn’t my wife’s voice and she wasn’t being her normal self. Apparently the girls could make some sense of her blah though.
Next thing I remember I was sitting again at the table outside our shophouse, having a beer and trying to relax, when one of our two puppies got run over by a car on the dark Soi behind my back. “Blacky” was was three months old then and a little and rather weak puppy we had adopted along with her elder sister Lady. You can hardly blame a driver for running over a black little puppy in the middle of the night, but it was obviously a bit of a shock. To cut a long story short, Blacky survived the accident without any apparent harm but dropped off of the face of the earth a couple of weeks later.
My wife’s friends who were still attending to the babbling matter lying on the floor inside our house later told me in a quiet minute that the “ghost” that had spoken through my wife’s drunken mouth had actually targeted me. However, as I didn’t believe in him (I didn’t) he failed to approach me, and instead of attempting to take my life that night (for which he admitted he lacked the power) he eventually settled for the poor little doggie. Why he was after me in the first place I found out shortly afterwards. End of story, part one.
A couple of days later (our ongoing dispute still persisted but had calmed down to some extent) me and my wife were lying in the bedroom. She wasn’t drunk but feeling ill and her sleep was very restless. She often talks in her sleep, usually pretty trivial stuff, but that night it was different – the “ghost” from the night when Blacky got run over was apparently at it again.
But this time she didn’t speak in tongues, she was speaking in her sleep but with her natural voice, breathing heavily and sometimes raising her head as if to look around in the dimly-lit room. From what I could gather, that invisible “big man” (she claimed he was “big”) had come to haunt her once again and was with us in the room and wouldn’t let her come to rest. There was apparently no one else in the room except for my wife and me at that time. But of course, that’s just my worldly, un-Thai perception of things and for my wife this stuff was indeed very real.
Again a couple of days later (our dispute had eventually ended and she was sober) we got to talk about these events. My wife’s explanation was bizarre, to say the least. She alleged that that “big man” who had been haunting her for the last few days was actually “with her all the time”. What is more, she claimed it was the spirit of a former husband who had been married to her some 300 or 500 years ago and whose soul couldn’t find any rest. Looks like he was jealous or angry at me for some reason and therefore had a go at me. That’s all my wife “knew” and would tell me. And no, she wasn’t making up that story; the existence of that “big man who was staying with her all the time” was absolutely real for her.
About a year later, I asked her about the “big man” once more and she would tell me the same bizarre story. Anyway, he’s apparently giving up haunting her and I’ve never had another encounter with him again. End of story (the moral of which remains a mystery to me.)
If you too have made the acquaintance of “ghosts” during your stay in “amazing Thailand”, or you’ve simply encountered some bizarre stuff that cannot be explained with the laws of physics, you’re welcome to leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your Thai “ghost stories”!