Thailand, Vampires in

Thailand, Vampires in

(pop culture)

Pre-Buddhist Thailand had a significant mythology that survived into the twentieth century as a form of spirit worship. The spirits, which have a minor place in Buddhist thought, nevertheless find a certain compatibility with the dominant Buddhism. The spirits were known collectively as the phi. The phi were numerous and have never been fully catalogued. They were analogous to the ghosts, goblins, elves, and fairies of western Europe. Many were malevolent and haunted different structures. Every family had a private tutelary spirit that, if neglected, would bring ill fortune to the family members. Among the phi who were believed to inhabit the countryside were the ghosts of people killed by animals, women who died in childbirth, people who died and did not have proper funeral rites, and those who died suddenly and unexpectedly. These were the sources of various forms of attacks including vampirism. They bit, scratched, and caused disease.

The Phi Song Nang were similar to the pontianak of Java and Indonesia. They appeared as beautiful young women and attacked and vampirized young men. The ways of the phi were known to the various occult practitioners, from sorcerers to mediums. The maw du, a seer, would be called in cases of a person who had been attacked by a phi. The maw dus used various spells and incantation to get rid of the phi. They also sold charms to prevent the attack of the phi. Some entre into the Thai world of vampires was offered in the 2005 movie Vampires: the Turning.

Sources:

Graham, W. A. Siam. 2 vols. London: The de la More Press, 1924.

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