How Thais stay out of spiritual trouble

Drawing on Buddhist beliefs and folk tales, spirits, or phi as they’re called in Thailand, are widely believed to lurk around abandoned buildings and ancient trees. There are dozens of them, missing limbs, heads, mouths or eyes. Some have good intentions. Many don’t.

If you’ve seen enough Thai horror flicks, you know that one does not mess around with the local spirits.

To stay out of spiritual trouble, Thais set up spirit houses all around the country. Little temple-like shrines on stilts, they’re placed near office buildings, markets and auspicious corners around the house. They’re festooned with flower garlands, joss sticks and colorful figurines.

Many Thais make daily food offerings (usually accompanied by a bottle of red Fanta, a more humane alternative to blood) to keep the spirits appeased.

Some also buy a luk thep, an unsettlingly realistic baby doll believed to bring good luck to its owner and guard your home or business.

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