Hungry ghost feasts on villagers

PHITSANULOK: Residents of a village in Phitsanulok province believe they are being stalked by a pret – a Thai “hungry ghost” following the mysterious deaths of three old villagers in the same week late last month.

Terrified residents of Village 9 in Aranyik subdistrict believe the pret is going to kill again. Last week they performed a Buddhist ritual aimed at appeasing the malevolent spirit and saving themselves from its clutches.

According to Thai Buddhist folklore, a pret is a huge, angry ghost with a ravenous appetite that stands as high as a coconut tree. But the ghost is never satisfied, because it has a mouth the size of the eye of a needle.

At least one type of pret must be appeased with offerings, or it will feed on blood. It is said that anyone who does harm to their mother or father will come back in the next life as a pret.

The three deaths in Village 9 happened within days of each other late last month. Relatives said all three people were healthy and not suffering from illnesses of any kind.

Spooked out by the mysterious deaths, one resident went to see a local spirit medium. The medium said the deaths were almost certainly the work of a pret, adding that it would not stop killing until nine village residents were dead.

As a result, last week the local tambon chief and village headman presided a Buddhist ritual to pacify the ghost and the spirits of other dead village residents.

Villagers made merit and treated monks to food and new robes – all in the hope of convincing the pret to spare them and their families.

Thailand News
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