The Legendary Ghosts in Thailand

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Published: October 30, 2020

Thailand is well known for stunning destinations, amazing street foods, and friendly people. Not many people know that besides such wonderful things, Thailand also has a spooky side.


Many Thais do believe in ghosts and spirits and this kind of belief has been deep-rooted in Thai society. In the past, the majority of people were agriculturists and their lives completely relied on nature. Therefore, they believed in supernatural things. Lots of stories have been told from generation to generation. To give you some ideas, we’ve selected eight legendary ghosts in Thailand for you.

Krasue

A kind of ghosts that is a nocturnal female spirit that usually possesses an old lady. In the nighttime, she will detach the head part including the neck and internal organs – a heart and the stomach with a length of intestines from the body. Moves in the air and leaves the lower body at home. People usually see her as a huge red light and green light moving above the ground. The time that she will go out is about the evening and get back at dawn. She likes to hunt animals for raw meats and also likes to eat stools. After finished hunting, she often wipes a dirty mouth on a villager’s line-dried clothes along the way. And if the clothes are boiled, she will get hurt. Though in a daytime her appearance just exactly looks like an ordinary woman, she has strength behaviors such as avoiding eye contact, being a very introvert person, and avoiding lights in some cases.

It is believed that during a lifetime, the spirit worshiped black magic and did something against principles, so she became Krause. It is said that she doesn’t attack humans, instead, she always avoids people. However, if anyone made her angry, she would be so savage. Moreover, any families that the mother is delivering a child need to be very cautious as the spirit will smell blood and will come to eat the mother’s internal organs. Therefore, villagers create a thorn fence and cover any holes in their houses with thorns as the spirit is afraid that her intestines will get hooked. Krasue is a bad spirit, no matter how to suffer she is to live, she cannot die. The only way to be free (die) is by finding an heir by letting someone eats her saliva. There is no way to rescue the possessed body as detaching body parts is a supernatural thing. Even though we can expel the spirit, the body is completely damaged, head and body are separated and can’t be connected. The person will eventually die. 


Krahang

Same kind of spirit as Krasue but it is male and doesn’t detach the body parts when hunting. However, it moves in the air by using winnows attached with his arms and flap them as if they are wings. It is said that Krahang is a person who worshiped bad spirits and cannot control the very strong bad power. And ended up reflecting those bad things to himself.


Nang Tanee

A female spirit possessing a banana tree. However, it is not that every banana tree has the spirit, she will only possess a banana tree that dies after a banana blossom bloomed. It is said that the spirit is often seen as a beautiful woman wearing a beautiful green traditional Thai dress. Also, likes to persuade a man to have sex with her. And later if the man cheats on her, she will kill him by breaking his neck. In some stories, it is believed that after having sex the man will get sick as the spirit took his life energy. Other villagers will be able to notice that this man is Nang Tanee’s husband, so they will go ask a monk or an exorcist to separate them and make merit to help the spirit rest in peace.


Mae Nak

Date back to the length of King Rama VI, there was a young spouse named Mak (husband) and Nak (wife) living in the Phrakanong area. One day Mak got a government call to go to war while Nak was pregnant. They couldn’t deny fate and were separated. Though he didn’t know when he would be able to come back or if he could come back, he gave her a promise to be back to live with her and the child. Time passed, while she was delivering her son, his head didn’t turn down, she was extremely suffered and in the end, they both died. Her body (with her son inside) was buried in a cemetery at Mahabut Temple, Bangkok. There was a belief that anybody dying while pregnant will become a haunting spirit. No one came close to her house as all are afraid of her. Finally, Mak got back home and it was coincident that no villagers around, so he didn’t know about the death of his wife. What he found was Nak and his son named Dang (translated to red) were in the house waiting for him. She tried to persuade Mak to stay home as she didn’t want him to know the truth. And because of love, no matter how hard people tried to tell him the truth, he didn’t believe it. Until one day, he saw Nak stretching her arm through a hole in the wooden floor to pick up a lime on the ground while she was on the 2nd floor. Then he realised that Nak was dead. He tried to escape at night and went to a temple but Nak followed him. Until an exorcist came to help and forced Nak to stay in a clay pot, cover it, and then drowned the pot in the water. She was staying quiet for a period then could get out of the pot as someone accidentally found it and opened it. She came back with a savage mind but eventually was spelled by a monk named Somdej To. Her story has been told ever since and became haunting romantic movies till these days.                   


Kumarn Tong

A kind of amulet in the shape of a male child doll wearing a Thai traditional dress which has a very young spirit possessed. It’s believed that there 2 kinds of Kumarn Tong. The first is popular as it’s a good spirit which can bring luck and wealth to the owner. Mostly, shop owners will have it. You probably found the doll in restaurants with a bottle of red Fanta, joss stick, and sometimes desserts on the side as such things considered as offerings. The second is aggressive which will attack the owner’s enemies. Also, will protect the owner from bad things.


Porb

This is a kind of spirit who got involved with a very powerful black magic and use it to harm other people including making a love portion, putting a spell on someone to make him/her die, or do whatever it wants. Mostly, found in the Isan region. However, refers to a Buddha’s preach, these black magics are bad. And a user can’t do any bad things against the principles. Otherwise, those black magics will return to itself and it will become Porb. Anyone who is possessed might behave differently. Some become a very aggressive person, some can’t even move as got a serious sickness, some always cry and kept talking nonsense, and some turn to a greedy eater eating raw meats and animal/human organs. When people notice such symptoms and behaviors, they will take that person to meet an exorcist to spell the spirit.


Pred

This kind of spirit is known for an anonymous haunting spirit that did very bad karma when living – hitting and cursing parents (in Thai traditional culture, parents are like saints that children should highly respect), stealing donation money from a temple. After dying he/she must turn to a gigantic hungry ghost having very long arms and legs as used to do bad things (it’s said that the height is the same as the Gian Swing), the mouth is small like a noodle as used to curse the parents. Also, it usually walks around and makes a spooky sound which’s like a whistling sound due to the mouth shape to ask for merit.    


Nang Takian

 Another female spirit possessing a big Iron Wood tree in a forest. It is said that Nang Takian is a beautiful woman with silky long hair and wearing a Thai traditional dress. Her appearance is the same as an ordinary local woman. Also, the area that she lives will always be clean as if she’s a house owner who likes to take care of her place. Therefore, she is so possessive over her place and can be brutal if anyone interferes with her place. Given the Iron Wood has Nang Takian possessed, when people want to cut the tree for building houses or making boats, they need to do a worship ceremony to ask for her permission before taking any actions. When the tree is cut and used for buildings or making vehicles, she will change her status based on what her tree becomes. As if the wood is for making a boat, she will become a boat protector called Mae Ya Nang which you’ll see details in the next topic. 


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