Pot luck with the spirits
UDON THANI: When two clay pots covered by a white sheet were found by the side of the road in Ban Pon Sawan village bear Udon Thani city on February 19, villagers nervously began to hypothesize what could be inside. The sheets, tightly tied around the pots, were covered in cryptic inscriptions, so no one dared to open the pots until the appropriate authorities had been called. Recognizing that the pots had some spiritual purpose, and because the dry season is traditionally the time when phi pop (female ghosts that feed on the intestines of their victims) tend to multiply, the villagers decided that the pots were probably phi pop traps. When volunteers from the Udon Sawang Methatham Foundation arrived, they proved to be rather less supernaturally-minded than the villagers and immediately went to remove the cloth from the pots. Fearing this might release any phi pop trapped within and lead to the destruction of their village, the anxious locals stopped the rash volunteers from proceeding. To appease them, the fearless volunteers agreed to open the pots at their headquarters – a safe distance away from the village. Inside each pot, the volunteers found a fist-sized parcel wrapped with white cloth containing bits of banana, orange, black rice and betel. No phi pop were seen leaving either of the pots. The volunteers said that they assume the pots were used in a spell to dispel bad luck and nothing to do with phi pop and their seasonal intestine-gobbling mischief.
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