Attack of the 50-foot pret
NAKHON SRI THAMMARAT: In the increasingly litigious nations of the West, any accident in the work place, including those caused by the victim’s own stupidity, are an immediate opportunity for cash payouts.
Apparently the concept hasn’t filtered down to rural Thailand, as shown recently by a man who, after losing both hands in a horrific crane accident, proceeded to blame a 20-meter-tall pret ghost.
A pret is a tall ghost with a large stomach but tiny mouth, particularly prevalent in Nakhon Sri Thammarat province and notoriously difficult to pursue for compensation payments.
On December 15, Sarawut Damkaeow, 22, a volunteer with the Tai Tek Teung rescue foundation, was helping a friend, named in the report only as Somkiat, 30 – a bin man with Tha Reua Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor) – to make merit for the OrBorTor.
K. Sarawut’s task was to stand in a cherry picker and string a kind of holy thread to ward of evil influences, or anti-ghost wire, from the OrBorTor to various temples in the municipality.
While stringing the thread along power lines in a cemetery belonging to Wat Nom, the wind suddenly picked up and the basket began to sway.
K. Sarawut fell from the basket and in a bid to save himself from a 20-meter fall, grabbed a high-voltage power cable, sending a huge current of electricity running through himself.
K. Sarawut remained conscious, freed himself from the power lines and dropped to the ground, but his hands had been badly burned.
Villagers rushed him to Maharaj Nakhon Sri Thammarat Hospital where doctors told him his hands were so badly burned they would have to be amputated.
While waiting for the operation, K. Sarawut spoke to local news hounds.
He said that in the cemetery, just after the wind had picked up, a giant ghostly hand slapped him causing his fall from the basket.
After falling 20 meters and being electrocuted, even the most rationally-minded may start seeing ghosts or demons coming for them.
However, K. Sarawut’s tale was backed up by half the village.
Bunlom Nongseuadee, 69, who took K. Sarawut to hospital, said he saw a shadowy figure about the height of a seven-story building very much like a pret appear in the trees and strike the cherry picker with the palm of its hand.
Just speaking of the apparition gave him goosebumps, he added.
The incident happened in a cemetery and the spirits that owned the land may have been angry that K. Sarawut was putting up the thread without first appeasing them by burning incense, K. Bunlom said.
Many other villagers nodded in agreement and insisted they had also seen the shadow.
However, the supernatural explanation was not unanimously accepted.
A number of villagers muttered in the background that the accident was far more likely to have been caused by the fact that Somkiat, who was driving the crane, was a bin man and in no way qualified to operate heavy machinery.
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