Is Black Magic Practiced in Thailand?
Black magic is firmly entrenched in Thailand. It’s origin aligns closely with Animism (Latin – animus “soul, or, life”) in which animals and other objects, living and dead are believed to have spirits or souls. Plants, trees, rocks, and other things were sometimes considered gods or with the ability to affect weather, people’s emotions and health, luck. Before Buddhism was even heard of in Thailand (it came from India), there was Animism and black magic beliefs, rituals, superstition, and magic spells.
Though Theravada Buddhism is the belief system followed by more than 90% of the country’s residents, there is also a small Christian group and a relatively large Muslim group based mainly in the southern provinces of Thailand, near Malaysia.
Black magic, animism, and belief in the supernatural and superstition is held by a majority of Thailand’s populace, regardless of the religion or belief system they primarily identify with. Black magic is not only concerned with negative, evil, demons, or bad things. Black magic spells and amulets can also be used for good, protection, luck, health, love, fertility, and as many other uses as there are human needs and desires.
Evidence of belief in black magic is evidenced by a rather strong belief in ghosts. This is easily seen around the country in the form of spirit houses.
On many properties, and even inside buildings, is an area (shrine) that is set aside for spirits that inhabit the land or place. A spirit house is raised up off the ground – usually at least a meter high, often two meters high – and is a place for the evil or bad spirits to rest so they don’t bother anyone on the property. Many people make offerings to the spirits at these houses or shrines – of soda, fruit, water, other beverages, cigarettes, and other things. It is not unheard of to pass a spirit house on the side of the road that is covered in red Fanta soda bottles and cans. Anything to do with the spirit baby – Kuman Thong – often is predominantly covered in red Fanta offerings. Spirit houses may have monks, Kuman Thong, Kwan Yin, Nong Kwak, Luang Phor Tuad, Luang Phor Klai, Ganesh, Shiva, Rahu, or other respected or feared deities.
Thais generally believe in ghosts to some degree. There are many stories that have been passed down through the culture about ghosts that haunt places or people.
There are hundreds of ghosts (pi, or phi – pronounced pee in Thai) said to be real in Thailand. Some of the better known ones are:
Pi Mae Nak – a female baby that died during delivery. She is well known for extending her arms in a very frightening pose!
Pi – a general term for ghost, but also referring to a spirit ghost that sits directly on someone’s chest while they sleep. In Thai movies (comedy and horror) there will often be a scene, or many scenes in which a horrible ghost is sitting on someone as they sleep and wake up. Everyone jumps because it’s just so scary to them.
Kuman Thong – (pronounced koo-mun tong) In Thai language, “boy gold.” An unborn male child demon or spirit that is very popular in Thailand. The boy is typically smiling and is a little chubby. Statues and amulets, if kept, must be taken care of or the owner will suffer the wrath of the child spirit. The boy’s appetite needs to be satisfied for various vices, including red Fanta, cigarettes, sweets with sugar and chocolate, milk, and sweet beverages. Many Thais take this to an extreme and talk to their Kuman Thong on a schedule throughout the day as well as make multiple offerings. If bad luck happens thoughout the day, Thais believing in Kuman Thong will make more offerings to try to appease a demanding Kuman Thong. The original Kuman Thong baby died in-utero and was roasted golden brown by his father who wanted to use the unborn soul of his son to help him defeat all enemies and obstacles.
BUDDHIST MONKS and BLACK MAGIC?
Thailand black magic is practiced by monks and lay people. Often times the ascetic, Lersi, who was not actually a monk, but was a master of the spirit world, guides black magic spells and rituals. Spell casting is done by lay-people. Buddhist monks have also got into the practice here in Thailand. Though, as you know, black magic and witchcraft, Thai voodoo – barang, has nothing at all to do with Theravada Buddhism, Thais have integrated it into their belief system and most cannot distinguish between the two.
Monks make elaborate demonstrations of their “supernatural” power by boiling oil in a large vat, and then sitting inside it on some banana leaves – emerging unburned. Monks create elaborate magical takrut amulets, and long staffs with snakes, naga, serpents, or other animals. Ajarn Jumnien in Krabi province, is said to be well versed in rituals to gain favor in the spirit world. Bangkok has a number of Buddhist monks that apply sacred yant tattoos to devoted followers that are sure the tattoos will protect them from knives, clubs, bullets, bad luck, bad health, and in general from all enemies. The application of a magic tattoo is accompanied by the master chanting, praying, and breathing on the tattoo to imbue the tattoo with magical properties for the owner.
BLACK MAGIC AMULETS
We sell only a few black magic amulets here at ThaiAmuletSales.com. First of all, we don’t know that much about them. Admittedly. There is a LOT of information out there about the topic, and a lot of it is hearsay. There is a lot of disagreement among laypeople about rituals and superstitions. Few people can even tell you how black magic originated in Thailand. There are those that seem to be experts on the subject, and they are usually monks or past monks living in Thailand. If you have a detailed question about Thai black magic, you should approach one of the monks or other men that apply the sacred yant tatoos. They are usually very knowledgable about the subject and can help you with any questions or to clear up any misunderstandings.
YAN – YANT – YANTRA
A yant (yan, yantra) is a magical phrase or spell used to imbue something with supernatural power. Often times Pali language symbols are used. Pali is the language used during the Buddha’s time in Northern India. There are yant tattoos, yant flags, yants on takrut amulets, and yants on the back of Jatukam Ramathep amulets from Nakhon Si Thammarat, and many other amulets. Yants can consist of any combination of Thai and Pali words and symbols, star patterns, patterns monks create, geometric shapes and patterns, chinese zodiac symbols, and images of Rahu or other demons or deities.
We don’t give or do spells, chanting, or any other black magic practice here. We do have some black magic amulets that we found at the Buddhist temples near our home, or during our travels. We make no claims about them, except they are absolutely authentic because they were purchased at the temple directly. We don’t buy from street-side amulet vendors, or other claimed experts. We only buy at the temple.
Here are a couple of our black magic amulets (click to see more product information):
- Ajarn Jumnien 7 Graveyards Black Amulet
- Kuman Thong Waterproof Amulet
- Brass Kuman Thong with gold plated case
- Rahu – Demon eating the Sun amulet
- Demon with curled hat
The use of black magic spells to cause the demise or misfortune of others has been outlawed in Thailand. Though detrimental magic spells have been deemed illegal, that doesn’t stop the practice from thriving.
In the Isaan area of Thailand, the northeast section in relation to Bangkok, ya sang (ยาสั่ง) is a supernatural belief that is practiced. Ya means medicine. These black magic beliefs consist of using poisonous plants to bring death or bad health to the victim of the spell. Sometimes people take it too far and actually poison someone’s food or drink with deadly plants.
Around the world black magic has been, and is practiced in many cultures. Maybe even most cultures. Native American indians still use medicine men, and spirit guides to advise them, and to fix problems in their tribe. In the USA in Salem and many southern states, witchcraft – practicing black magic and doing anything attributed to the supernatural was punished with the most horrible form of torture resulting in death. Burning people alive was popular.
Seances are popular around the world – in which dead people or spirits are contacted through a medium.
Keep in mind that it is not just the uneducated that believe in the power of black magic. Recently the new PM (Prime Minister) of Thailand, General Prayuth Chanocha, stated that he believed his ill health was the result of black magic spells cast by his opponents. This is taken very seriously in Thailand. If someone were found to be casting black magic spells on someone in public, they would probably be charged in a court of law and sentenced. Certainly if the person was doing it against one of the rulers of the country.
In Thailand there are many Buddhist monks who claim to have supernatural powers. Indeed the Buddhist Sutras, the books written about Buddhism, tell of abhinna powers that consist of supernatural abilities available to some meditators after reaching the fourth jhana. There are monks that routinely give out lucky lottery numbers to devotees. Some monks have refused to continue this practice, and yet they are followed around and prompted over and over to give numbers. The people following them around try to read into what a monk says, to divine some special numbers – which they rush to play at the lotto drawing.