Thai Black Magic - Is It 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.
Thailand is a land where modernity and black magic can coexist peacefully. There is no culture war in this part of the world. The Thai people will see no contradiction in enjoying the best of what science has to offer, while still retaining a respect for ghosts and the supernatural which are not wholly explainable. If foreigners claim that they doubt the existence of ghosts, their response can be respectful incredulity. This is particularly true for those who live in rural Thailand where doubting the existence of ghosts would be almost akin to doubting the existence of the moon.
Thailand is predominately a Buddhist country, but this tends to be mixed with older animistic beliefs. The people of Thailand are renowned for their love of life, and their laid back attitude (this is exemplified in the famous Thai saying ‘mai pen rai’ – it doesn’t matter), but they also have a strong belief in powerful supernatural entities. These spirits, ghosts, and demons are to be feared and respected, because they can bring great harm as well as good. Over the centuries, the Thais as a people have developed tools and techniques for staying on the good side of these entities. To dismiss this aspect of the culture would be to ignore much of what it means to be Thai. Black magic is everywhere, and it is a very common theme in television shows and movies. Some of the most popular movies of the year, and in history, have focused on Thai evil spirits and the bad things they are capable of. Interestingly, most of the stories on popular media treat the supernatural in a comedic fashion. Almost as if they don’t want to scare people too directly. The subject is frightening enough to many Thais.
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.
Cuba and other Spanish speaking places have Santa Ria. It was big in Miami, Florida when I lived there. My roommate actually found a small black coffin with small people made out of yarn and pins through their bodies while out on a run near a railroad track.
Seances are popular around the world - in which dead people or spirits are contacted through a medium.
I think in particular Southeast Asia has a very high number of people that believe in black magic, the black arts.
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.
One important element of Thai black magic is the spirit house. These are called ‘san phra phum’ in Thai. They look like miniature houses or temples and are usually mounted on a pillar to bring them up off the ground one or two meters high. The Mau Pii is often the person who offers advice for where these should be kept, and they will be mostly found outside private dwellings or business premises, but also on tracts of land. It is also common to see them at the side of the road in places that are known to be accident black spots. The purpose of the spirit house is to give ghosts a place to call their own rather than having them come inside other dwellings where they can cause mischief. It is possible to ensure that these non-physical beings are extra happy by offering things at the shrine. Many people make offerings to the spirits at these spirit houses. Offerings 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 - is predominantly covered in red Fanta offerings. Spirit houses may have statues, images, or amulets of monks, Kuman Thong, Kwan Yin, Nong Kwak, Luang Phor Tuad, Luang Phor Klai, Ganesh, Shiva, Rahu, or other respected or feared deities inside. One near our home on a bad corner, has about twenty bottles of the red Fanta, anytime we pass it. If the family or business owners wishes to put an extension on their home or building they will often do the same for the spirit house so as to prevent the ghosts from becoming envious.
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.
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 takrud 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.
BLACK MAGIC AMULETS
One of the most noticeable forms of black magic in Thailand would probably be amulets. These are believed to provide the wearer with good luck and protection. Some amulets are fairly large, and it is not uncommon for people to wear many of them at the same time – this means that they can be quite noticeable. The level of magic power that an amulet holds varies, and this will be reflected in its monetary value. Those pieces that have a proven record can be worth millions of Baht. Some people are willing to pay more for this lucky charm than they will for any other possession including their homes. These days it isn’t only Thai people who are interested in purchasing these powerful objects – it has become a worldwide phenomena.
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 you ask 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 Yan tatoos. They are usually very knowledgable about the subject and can help you with any questions or to clear up any misunderstandings.
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
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.
Kuman Thong amulets feature a baby spirit enclosed in a plastic, airtight container with oil and some other liquids. The liquids of original Kuman Thong may include blood, and other fluids from fetuses or the mother. The power associated with Kuman Thong amulets is said to be exceptionally strong, and Thais do not look at them lightly. We are not allowed to keep them in our home - grandma has told us on a number of occasions. Bone, blood, teeth, hair, skin, and other items are often found in the genuine Kumon Thong amulets made by monks at the temples.
We do have special amulets made from the ground dirt of seven different burial grounds, in a Black Magic Amulet from Wat Tum Sua Temple. These are rectangular, black amulets, and are said to have a lot of power. You can find them at this link: Black Magic Amulet.
YAN - YANT - YANTRA
A yant (yan, yantra) is a magical phrase or spell used to imbue something with supernatural power. This practice originated in Cambodia (Thais say “Gamboosha”). Often times Pali language symbols are used. Pali is the language used during the Buddha’s time in Northern India. There are Sak Yan tattoos, yant flags, yants on takrud 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. Basically a monk can add anything that he wants to increase the power of the Yan.
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.
Sak Yant is a special type of tattoo that is believed to offer the wearer special protection or increase their good fortune. It is usually created using sharpened bamboo and the artist can be a Mau Pii or a Buddhist monk. These tattoos are usually created with ink, but it is also possible to create them with various oils so that they become invisible. In this way, the Sak Yant offers protection without any visible marks on the body. There are many different styles of Sak Yant and each will offer their own unique protections and powers. In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of westerners asking for this type of tattoo. Angelina Jolie and other famous people across the globe have Sak Yant tattoos. Some westerners journey to Thailand for the sole purpose of having these Yan tattoos done by black magic monks in Bangkok.
Bangkok has a number of Buddhist monks like Pi Pant and Pi Nan who are expert at applying sacred Sak Yan 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.
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.
MAE NAK PHRA KHANONG
The most famous of all Thai ghosts is Mae Nak Phra Khanong (Lady Nak of Phra Khanong). The story that is associated with her is said to have occurred during the reign of King Rama IV - which would have been between 1851 and 1868. Mae Nak lived with her husband, Mak, in Bangkok on the banks of the Phra Khanong canal. Mak was called off to war while Nak was still in early pregnancy. Both Nak and the baby died during childbirth. Mak was unaware of what happened to his family. He was badly injured in the war and it took him many weeks to recuperate in hospital. When he eventually returned to his home he found that his wife and newborn child were waiting for him – he does not realize that they are ghosts.
The ghost Nak is living happily with her husband until he discovers the terrifying truth about her. He is so fearful that he runs away. Nak chases after him but when he enters the grounds of a temple she is unable to follow – ghosts are not allowed on sacred ground. She is so angry by this that she begins to haunt her neighbors and causes great disruption in their lives. Eventually a powerful spirit doctor was able to imprison her inside an earthen jar. There is another version of this story that ends when Nak is convinced by a monk to stop her bad behavior – she is told that her husband will die and they will later be reunited.
The story of Mae Nak Phra Khanong is much loved by the Thai people because it combines romance with the supernatural. There is a shrine devoted to Nak near where she is said to have lived – on the banks of the Phra Khanong canal. It is one of the most popular shrines in Bangkok, and people go there to leave flowers and other gifts. This story has been retold in many movies and TV shows.
THE SPIRIT DOCTOR
The Mau Pii (spirit doctor) has traditionally played an important role in Thai village life. This is the person who acts as an intermediary between the villagers and the local ghost and spirit population. This person will be called upon to conduct ceremonies for those times in life when people feel they need the spirits on their side. A good modern example of this would be inviting the Mau Pii to bless a new iPad in case the ghosts become jealous and cause it to stop functioning. It is particularly important to have cars and motorbikes blessed by the Mau Pii as this is believed to reduce the risk of having an accident. In our used Honda we bought two years ago, we have, on the inside ceiling of the vehicle, some white and gold powder in a traditional arrangement - indication of monks having blessed our car when owned by the original buyer.
Traditionally the spirit doctor has also been given the role of interpreting dreams. It is often the case that an intense nightmare will be considered a bad omen, and the person who experienced it may decide they need a blessing from the Mau Pii in order to cleanse themselves.
One of the strangest forms of Thai black magic involves the large wooden penis. These are statutes that are believed to perform a number of functions. Men believe that owning a wooden penis will increase their sperm count and make them a better lover. This means that if a Thai man is having difficulties impregnating his wife he might purchase this sacred object before resorting to an infertility clinic. Women who want to get pregnant will also turn to the lucky penis for help with this. There are phalluses of all sizes and colors to be found at Buddhist temples and other locations, like markets, in Thailand. If you go out to Railay Beach, in Krabi province, Thailand - you will find Phra Dang Cave. The entire cave is filled with hundreds of phalluses, as offerings to the god of the cave. If you travel to Nong Khai, Thailand in the north, and you visit the Buddhist statue grounds you can find a market with numerous, giant carved phalluses for good luck with your fertility issues.
MODERN DAY BLACK MAGIC
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.
More Black Magic Amulet Images:
Below we have history about some important Buddhist figures and concepts.
Click one to see more: