Thursday, April 19, 2012

Who You Gonna Call? Ghost-Tree Busters

Usually if you see this kind of votive decoration on a tree in Thailand it's one of those bodie trees like the Buddha sat under. This isn't one of those.

In fact it's a very ordinary looking tree. I took this picture in the middle of a National Park/Rain Forest kind of place in western Kanchanaburi. I asked my buddy Suksa what the deal was, what was so special about this particular tree? The answer was surprising, which happens pretty often now that I think of it.

This type of tree is famously strong in the spirit. All of the trees, and the forest for that matter, they all have spirits, but this type of tree is very, very strong, and not in a good way. Suksa remembered a movie from his youth, Thais love ghost movies and this one made a big impression. In the movie, a young woman dies in less than great circumstances and is buried in a hollowed out trunk from one of these trees. The container creates in her a malevolent ghost that proceeds to raise hell all around those responsible for her demise.

So just to be safe, I waied the tree. ("To wai," put your hands together and lower your face a bit. To show respect, you know.)

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