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Abandoned houses and the concept of the devil of the Thai people

People believe that the abandoned house in Thonburi is haunted. Photo: SCMP

The moss-covered wooden house is located next to a small stream that is said to be the home of wandering souls. The windows are like evil eyes that scare away passersby. Next to the house are two ancient sienna trees that do not know from when, the luxuriant bunches of roots intertwined to create an extremely scary scene. The villagers built a small temple carved by hand and placed many votive offerings to worship.

Mrs. Suwanna Sukwiboon (75 years old) living near the abandoned house with her husband Mr. Tanapon – a retired car salesman – shared: “I am very afraid of ghosts. Just seeing a shadow, I'll run right out of there. ”

The old couple strengthened their home with religious collections, believing it could fight off evil forces. Their ceilings are filled with images of Buddhist monks, porcelain statues of Chinese deities, and depictions of Hindu deities located in every corner of the house.

“When it gets dark, the kids won't dare to approach the house. I also don't dare to be nearby, ”said Suwanna.

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Mrs. Suwanna Sukwiboon shared a haunted house that scared her family. Photo: SCMP

According to local people's belief, the abandoned house was probably possessed by kuman. It is said that they were child spirits from aborted fetuses or premature babies who were called by magicians. Many people think that it is the residence of Phi am – a female demon with supernatural powers that paralyzes people in sleep.

“That night, I woke up to find a figure holding me down. I tried to push it away but couldn't move. I screamed and then he left, ”recalls Robiyan Mongpra, the owner of a clothing store.

Sleep paralysis associated with the inability to move or speak during sleep is a scientifically proven natural phenomenon. However, for Thai people, the obsession with supernatural souls is ingrained in each person's subconscious mind.

In the morning, the South China Post (Hong Kong, China) said that uninhabited buildings or homes where people died for gruesome reasons have always become a scary story in Thailand. Even rumors of a haunted house also affect the price of renting a house in Thonburi old town on the outskirts of Bangkok.

"I found a cheap place to stay because people said there was a haunted house in the neighborhood," said Rattapoom Kotchapong, a teacher.

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People walk the merit money for a Thai temple. Photo: SCMP

“The notion of ghosts has always crept into degraded or abandoned houses. Part of the reason stems from the fear of people in such places. The supernatural has a special role in Thai culture because it allows people to speculate on a different world from everyday things and phenomena, ”said Andrew Alan Johnson, Professor of Anthropology. at Cornell University (USA), which specializes in Thai faith in ghosts and haunted buildings, said.

Not everyone believes that old houses are haunted. Namon Kimawong, a middle-aged woman who has been selling food to passersby living near the house for decades, said it was the home of an old man without a wife and children but he had to leave after getting seriously ill. .

“I have never seen ghosts there. You can stay here overnight and watch for yourself, ”she asserted.

Some locals said the number of ghosts has been less than before. The residential area in Thonburi is surrounded by beautiful canals, motor boats, many places in the area still bring the peaceful feeling of a village with coconut shade and shady trees.

However, as urbanization took place, more and more concrete buildings were sprouting up. A few years ago, one of Bangkok's two elevated railway lines was extended into this area, making travel to the city faster and more convenient, and the population starting to become more crowded.

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View of the Chao Phraya River and the overhead railway line of Bangkok. Photo: SCMP

“Previously when the area was empty, there were many ghosts wandering. And now there are too many people so less ghosts. Ghosts don't like places that are too crowded, ”said Tanapon Sukwiboon, 75, who has lived all her life in Thonburi.

In the surrounding forests, some people say they have seen spindly skeletons at night. But after the trees were cut down, no one could see ghosts anymore.

"After the sky railway was built, the ghosts left," said taxi driver Napporn Ruangjaroonwattana.

Mongkhon Tekket, a local who performs funeral services at the crematorium of a local hundred-year-old temple, said he had been exposed to many corpses but had never seen ghosts.

“I have been exposed to many corpses over the years. But I've never seen a ghost come back to haunt me. The dead lay peaceful and unable to revive, ”Mr. Mongkhon believed in ghosts, but he said that only those who have the sense of the latter can see them.

Anong Sukjam, a female fortune teller affirms that she has a sixth sense and can see ghosts. “I have seen ghosts many times. They have never harmed me. I raise kuman thong indoors. Sometimes I even hear them playing, ”Anong said.

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Fortune-teller Anong Sukjam thinks that he has the sixth sense to see ghosts. Photo: SCMP

Anong read fortune-telling at Mae Nak temple in another old residential area east of Bangkok. The temple is famous for the ghosts of young women who give birth and die when their husbands go to the battlefield.

The temple is adorned with doll mannequins, oil paintings and countless statues of Mae Nak women. During the day, many people came to the temple, asking her to give her luck, health or fortune.

According to locals, like Thonburi, there is also a rapid urbanization process that makes the ghosts leave. However, Suphab Chanjaroen (70) selling food, beverage and souvenirs at the entrance of the temple said that Mae Nak did not disappear completely.
Suphab has lived near Mae Nak temple since childhood. A few years ago, Suphab said that he had seen a young woman in ancient clothes approach.

She stood there, silent. She is so beautiful. I immediately realized it was Mae Nak. She came to see me. She smiled gently and then turned away and disappeared, ”she recalled.

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