I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost
As I’ve written before, ghosts in Thailand are greatly feared yet ghost stories are a major film genre here. However, as this Thai advert reveals, they’re really not scary at all:
About the Ghosts
Phii Kraseu (ผีกระสือ)
This ghost is in the form of a beautiful woman, albeit one with no lower body and trailing intestines and a brightly beating heart (which you can see just before the lights are turned out at the end of the commercial). Lacking legs she gets about by floating. She lives inside a witch and leaves her host’s body during the night through the mouth. She’s not generally harmful to human, except when she eats their entrails. She’s also rather partial to sucking out and eating the placentas and foetuses of pregnant women just before birth. Generally, though she just eats poo. Consequently going to an outside lavatory in the night can be a terrifying experience. Thank goodness for the invention of the chamber pot. Before the host witch can die she must find someone to eat some of her saliva, so snogging such a witch is not the best of ideas.
Phii Krahang (ผีกระหัง)
This ghost is a man with feathers and a bird-like tail. He flies by means of rice threshing baskets and eats poo and sits on a pestle used for pounding rice. At night he glows.
Banana Ghost, Phii Kluay (ผีกล้วย)
This kind of ghost is female and lives in a banana tree. When it’s dark they come out and try to seduce men. Once seduced the man is trapped in the spirit world and can never return to the real world.
Jackfruit Ghost, Phii khanun (ผีกขนุน)
This isn’t actually a ghost, but rather a slang term for a lady of the night. The English subtitles in the clip are actually wrong – the father says it’s a person, not a transvestite. In days gone by prostitutes used to loiter alongside roads and in parks, often under jackfruit trees. When children asked about these strange ladies the parents, unwilling to explain the real situation, said they were jackfruit ghosts.
Blue Ghost, Phii Puming (ผีปุ่มิ่ง)
Usually this ghost is a beautiful female who is partial to human flesh. However, it also comes in male form. When Suvarnabhumi Airport was built they made a couple of mistakes: (1) they built it on a swamp (the area was originally known as “Cobra Swamp”), and (2) they built it over a graveyard. The former meant that the place started cracking up even before the first passengers had flown. The latter meant the place was infested with ghosts, including this one. A large group of monks performed a ceremony to clear the place of ghosts. The other problem is rather more intractable.
Phii Preet (ผีเปรต)
This ghost is as tall as a palm tree and is very thin on account of having only a tiny mouth. Gluttons tend to be reborn as this ghost. At night it roams the countryside making a plaintive whistling sound begging people to make merit for it so it can be released from the karmic consequences of its greed in a former life. This ghost is one of the pretty harmless ones.