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Widow ghosts “force’ men to cross-dress for protection

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Widow ghosts “force’ men to cross-dress for protection | Thaiger

PHUKET: The sudden string of deaths of ten fit and healthy men in Nakohn Phanom province has locals pulling out all the ritualistic, spiritualistic and superstitious plugs to avoid widow ghosts, pee mae mai.

Red shirts hanging in front of homes to ward off the ghosts are a common sight in the Don Nang Hong sub-district, with some male teenagers and adults putting on skirts and painting their nails red to avoid being noticed by the pee mae mai, reports The Nation.

“So many people have died lately, most of them men,” said local resident Srisawat Sangsawang, 40. “One man went out to cut grass for his cows, and just passed out and died. Another man scattered fertilizer, and when he returned home, he also passed out and died. They were both very strong men.”

Former member of the Don Nang Hong Administration Organization (OrBorTor) Eak Saensuk, 66, advises that putting out signs and red shirts will help.

“So many strong men have died taking part in their daily activities,” he notes. “Of course some of them died because of a ‘brain attack’. However, that does not mean that the signs and red shirts we suggest aren’t helpful.”

The signs erected by Mr Eak assert that: “This house has no tired people, no passing out people or old people.”

Despite the concerns of many residents, the entire community hasn’t been swept up in the battle against pee mae mai.

“I think those people died because of some underlying disease,” says Nopparat Srimaneerat, who does not believe in ghosts. “Some of them may have been drinking alcohol in the heat. Also, the villagers don’t have regular physical checkups. There are so many reasons why they might have died.”

Phra Kru Anukul, the Don Nang Hong abbot, has counseled the locals to accept that dying is natural.

“Everyone dies in a different way. Better to do good things when we are alive – there is no need for superstition about this,” the Phra observes. “I have never seen or witnessed the work of a pee mae mai, and I hope I never do.”

— Chutharat Plerin

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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