Some Siamese Ghost-lore พิมพ์ อีเมล
เขียนโดย A. J. IPWIK   

 

 

IRWIN, A.J. SOME SIAMESE GHOST-LORE AND DEMONOLOGY. JSS. VOL.4 (pt.2) 1907. p.19-33.

 

 

   

 

                                 

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                                          Some Siamese Ghost-lore and

                                                          Demonology.

                                                                               By A. J. IRWIN

 

 

            In all countries and at all times there seems to  have existed

some belief in spirits or ghosts, and Siam is not an exception  to the

               general rule. There is no doubt that among  most classes of  people
               in this country beliefs are held in the existence of  spirits  good  and
               bad, both of  this  world, and, to  a  much  more  limited  extent, of
              other worlds. These spirits are referred  to  by  the general term " pi ''

( ผี) to which is  added  the  name of  any  particular  spirit  alluded

to, as "pi  ruen," "pi  pa." The  subject  is  one  that  is of  interest to
many, partly   from   the   wish  to  learn  the   ideas  regarding such
matters of those amongst whom we live, and  partly from the desire
to   obtain  data   for   comparing   their  beliefs  with  those existing
in  other  countries  with  which  we  are  acquainted.The subject of
spirits — the belief in them, and the worshipof them—is however a
very  wide  one, and  no  claim  is  made to touch on more than the
verge of it in this paper.

             There is a good deal of  difficulty  in  collecting  information

about such matters. Persons holding certain  beliefs  may  not  wish
to speak  of  them, especially  if  they  think  that  the  particular "pi"
under discussion  is  anywhere in  the neighbourhood. Again two or
more   persons   may  each   in   describing   the  same "pi"  give  a
different account of its appearance or  attributes. Perhaps  also  the
same  "pi"  may  have different  faculties assigned  to  it  in  different
parts  of   the   country. It  is  quite  probable  that  many  members
of the Siam Society may have collected,or come across,information
on  this  subject  which  is  quite  at  variance  with statement  made

hereafter  in  this  paper, but  which  may  be  quite as well, or even

 

 

 

 

 

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much   better   authenticated. The  writer  must  be  taken  as  giving
but a brief account of certain matters about which he  thinks  he  has
ascertained   the   beliefs  that  generally   obtain, in   order  that,  by
attracting  discussion, corrections, or  further  contributions, a  more
precise and  extended  knowledge  of  the  subject  may  be  gained.

Whether the existing Siamese literature  on  the subject  is  of
wide extent or not is unknown  to  the writer. He  has  been  able  to
find only one printed work which deals with  it, namely, a   pamphlet

called     " Concerning  the power of ghosts"     (ว่า ด้วย อำ นาจ ผี)

written   by  H. R. H. the  late  Prince  Sri  Sao-wa-pang,  mainly,  it
seems, for the purpose of explaining how the appearance and effects
attributed   by  the  ignoran t to  certain "pi" can  be  shown  to  arise
from  purely   natural  causes. The  writer  has  found  this  pamphlet
useful inasmuch as  it  sets  forth  the  appearance  and  attributes  of
some of the "pi" hereafter referred  to. He  presumes  that  on  thesa
points H. R. H.would be likely to possess most accurate information,
and   when   in  doubt  has  either  accepted, or  stated, the  Prince's
description.

Spirits,  ghosts,  fairies,  demons, or   speaking   collectively,
''pi" may  ' be   divided   into   three   classes : "Pi"  which   are  the
ghosts   of   the  dead, or "astral  bodies" of   the   living; "pi" which,
exist on their own account, and do not originate from human beings,
though  in  some  cases they  may be  under the control of a human
being; and thirdly "pi"  belonging  to  other  worlds, who  are  never
seen or heard  on  earth, but  whose  existence  is  to  some  extent
believed in.

The following  are  some  of  the " pi " included   in  the  first

class. Under   the  general   term "pi   lawk" ( ผี หลอก ) seems  to
be included what are usually meant by the word 'ghosts' in  English.
They are spirits  of  dead  persons  who haunt a locality, or  inhabit
and appear in certain houses,chiefly old and abandoned ones,or in
ancient  ruins. "Pi   lawk," however, always   appear   with   the  in-
tention of misleading  and  frightening  people, and  seem  to   have
the  power   of   making   their   presence   not  only  seen  but  felt.
For  instance a "pi lawk" might  sit  on  the  end of  your  bed;  and

 

 

 

 

 

 

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pull your toes, The following story is  related  as  an  example of  the
power  of   "pi  lawk," and  is  at  all  events  an  instance  of  how  a
belief in them may arise. Some years ago  an  official  in the consular
service of a foreign power went to stay at a  town  in  the  interior of
Siam. Here he was lodged in an empty house close to that occupied
by  the  High  Commissioner. His servants  slept  downstairs, and  a
sentry was posted in front of the house. The top  part  of  the  house
was capable of being completely closed, except for a  door entering
from  the  verandah  the  room in which he slept. The stair-case was
inside the house, and the lower story  being  completely  shut  up  at
night, no one outside the  house  could  then  ascend by it. The  first
night he was  there, having  carefully  closed  and  fastened  the  win-
dows of his bed room, leaving only the door  unclosed,he retired  to
bed. In the middle of the  night he was  rudely  awakened  by  being
pulled out of bed on to the floor. On examining   the  windows  they
were found to be  still  fastened, as  well   as   the  door  downstairs.
Next day, suspicions being naturally entertained that some one  had
been playing a practical joke, complaint was made to  the  Commis-
sioner, but after investigation nothing could  be  found  out, and  the
foreign gentleman remained in the house. He, however, was a   man
of resource, and he determined to detect, if  possible, his  nocturnal
assailant, so  before   retiring   to  bed  the  next  night  he  carefully
sprinkled    flour   all   over  the  floor  of  his  bed  room. He   then
extinguished his lamp, got  into  bed, and  remained  awake. About
midnight he heard  a  slight noise, felt  what  were seemingly human
hands seize his ankles  and  was  again  pulled  on to  the floor. He
rose and grasped at  his  assailant, who escaped, probably through
the doorway. The  servants  were  called, and  lights  were brought,
and behold the tracks of the  intruder  were  there, but  tracks  that
clearly indicated that they were made by a "pi." They  were  in   the
form of an almost perfect circle some two inches  in  diameter, with
small, apparently  human  toe  marks, on  one  side. The rest of the
track showed marks such as would be made by the corrugations in
the skin of  a  human  foot. Still  no clue whatever  to  the owner of
the feet could be found. The  foreign  representative  and  the Com-
missioner  agreed  that  the only  thing to do was to lend the former
another residence,where he remained unmolested for the remainder
of his stay in the town. The neighbours, especially  those  who  had

 

 

 

 

 

 

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seen   the  tracks  in  the  floor, were  all  satisfied  that  a  “pi lawk”
had driven him from his former lodging.

            In the same town in which the  foregoing  occurrence  took
place an acquaintance of the writer also met what he took  to  be a
“pi”. Returning  home  late  one  night  from  a  neighbouring  house
with a lamp in one hand, and leading by the other a large and fierce
‘ Haw ’dog, he had almost reached the foot of the steps leading  to
his house when the dog hung back and refused to go on.He  turned
to drag at the animal's collar, when he perceived  it  was glaring   at
something behind him. Following the direction of  its  eyes, he  saw
sitting on his heels a few feet away a small boy about  half  a  metre
high, and  absolutely  snow  white  from  head  to foot. He realised
that this was something  unearthly, his  heart  stopped  beating, and
he  simply  stood  and  stared  at  the  boy  for, as it seemed to him
about three minutes, when he  came  to  himself, and  made  a  bolt
upstairs. Unfortunately in his fright he did not  look  where  he  was
going, and struck his head against a screen at the top  of  the  steps.
This stunned him, and his friends hearing the  noise  came  out  and
picked him up. He did not recover from  the  fright for  six  months,
during  which  all  his hair fell off. He  considered  that  on  account
of the injury to his health the thing he saw was probably a
"pi lawk."

            The " pi am " (ผีอำ) is a "pi" which comes and sits on  the

chest or liver, or  perhaps  treads  on a person just as he or she is
dropping off to sleep,usually in a strange place,such as the sala of
a wat, when on a journey. The person afflicted can  only groan or
emit   inarticulate   sounds  while  the  "pi"  is   there, and   cannot
speak   until   it   departs. The   description   given   of   this   "pi"
reminds one of what is spoken  of  in  English  as  nightmare. The

"pi prêt" (ผี เปรต) is a giant  among "pi"  varying   in  height  from
ten to sixteen metres. It is the ghost of one who was an evil  doer
when alive. Its mouth is exceedingly small, even as  the eye  of  a
needle, so that it can never satisfy its hunger. The consequence is
that its appearance is that of a skeleton. It cannot speak, but can
make a noise like a whistle. There is one such "pi," which  is said

 

 

 

 

 

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to  have  been  seen  by  many  people,  that  appears  at  night  in
the   Chinese   graveyard   on   the   Windmill  Road. "Pi  tai  hong"
(ผีตายโหง) are the ghosts of those  who  have  died  sudden  and
violent deaths,such as deaths caused by weapons,by falling from a
tree   or   building, or  in   child   birth.    The  distinction  between
"pi   tai   hong" and "pi  tai  ha" (ผีตายห่า) does  not  seem  to  be
very   well   marked. Some  say   they  are  the  same. The  ghosts
of persons who have died suddenly  of  disease, such   as  cholera,
may   be   perhaps   described   more  correctly  as "tai   ha"  than
"tai  hong." Both  kinds  are  distinctly  malevolent, and   go  about
terrifying and deceiving people. Thus their presence  in  any  place
becomes quite well known.This knowledge is most useful to those

sorcerers, or  witches, who  are  interested  in  "pi prai " (ผีพราย),

or "pi put," (ผีพูด) for the "pi prai" seems to be a sort  of  essence
of a "pi tai hong." The sorcerer goes at night to  the  spot  haunted
by the "pi tai hong," and by  incantations  he  causes  it  to  appear.
He then takes a torch or candle and places it under the chin of the
"pi," from whom the melted fat presently drops and is caught  in a
plate or other convenient vessel by the sorcerer. This fat he mixes
with sweet smelling oils, and repeats incantations over it, so that it
becomes a powerful charm which can be  used  in  various  ways,
such as to drive men mad, or to attract the  love  of  women. This
removing of its fat,or essence,does not seem to inconvenience the
"pi tai hong,"who apparently will come up to be roasted whenever
any one arrives with sufficient power to summon it. Another some-
what different description, given in  the pamphlet "Concerning  the
power  of  ghosts," states  that  the "pi prai" is  obtained  from  the
skull,or hair,or oil drained off as aforesaid,from persons who have
died suddenly,and who may be supposed to be authors of a" pi tai
hong."With any of the above mentioned materials in his possession
the sorcerer can raise a "pi prai," which he keeps,and nourishes by
offerings of  food. This "pi prai" he  can   send  forth   to  harm  his
enemies, or  to  possess   them. Sometimes   the  "pi prai"  is   sent
forth to possess a person merely that its master, the  sorcerer, may
be  called  in  to  exorcise it. It  is  specially  mentioned  that  those

 

 

 

 

 

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decapitated by order of the king, or  those  who  die  of cholera,
do not give rise to "pi tai hong" of sufficient  strength  to  provide
"pi   prai."  The  "pi  prai" itself  does  not   possess  any   power
which all resides in the person of its owner.There would seem to
be many kinds of "pi prai," and  their  properties  seem similar to
those of the "pi pawp " who  will  be  mentioned  later  on. A "pi
prai" acting under orders can enter, and possess a  human  being,
but several kinds of "pi" seem  to have  this  power. If  a  person
is possessed it may not therefore necessarily be by a "pi prai." It
may be interesting here to give an account of an exorcising ceremony
which actually took place in a case where a man was said to  be
possessed, and was certainly not in his right mind.

            A certain official in a government department, about  two
hours after eating his evening meal,arose and began  talking wildly
and   nonsensically,  threatening  to   pull   the  house  down,  and
generally behaving  like a lunatic. His  friends  tried  to  calm   him,
but at last seeing  plainly that  an  evil " pi " had  entered  into  him,
they proceeded to call in a witch doctor to drive away the demon.
The doctor took an ordinary iron nail, and pressed  the point of it
very lightly down on the upper part of the last joint  of one of  the
patient's big toes. The afflicted man, who was  being  held  by  his
friends, instantly howled as if in pain, as though  his toe was being
pierced through. In reality the point  of  the  nail  hardly  made  an
impression  on  the  skin. The  doctor  then  seized  the  toe, and
squeezed  it   hard   with  the  intention  of  forcing  forth  the  "pi"
through the hole supposed to have been made by the nail.He then
took the nail,and drove it into a piece of wood in entering which it
was supposed to pass through the body of the demon,and thus cause it
to be destroyed,or to enter into the nail.The latter was then hurled
far   away. Within   fifteen   minutes  of  this ceremony  the patient
completely recovered his senses and  normal condition. The  facts
of the man going out of his mind,and of what the doctor did to him
can  be  substantiated   by  witnesses  known  to   the  writer. The
"pi kuman" (ผี กุ มาร) is  the  spirit   of  an   infant  who    dies   in
the womb, or shortly — in perhaps a day or two — after birth. If
precautions are not taken to bury such a child in a proper manner

 

 

 

 

 

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its  "pi" may  return, and  entering  into  the  mother   may  cause  her
death.  The   correct   method   of   burying   an   infant, in  order  to
prevent the return of its "pi  kuman," is  to  double  it  up, and   place
it in a large rice pot the top of which is closed by paper or leaves on
which some charm or prayer in Pali has been written.

            The "pi krasu " (ผี กระ สือ) is  one  about which  the writer
has not found it easy to get information  which  is quite  satisfactory,
as  different  conceptions  of  it  appear  to  exist. Although it is, by
name  at  least,  known  to  every  one  as  a very common "pi," its
attributes seem  to  vary  considerably. One  account says it  exists
in the bodies of certain women. When  such  a one  sleeps  it  goes
out of her mouth, and wanders about in search  of  food.It  likes to
eat the dirtiest  matters, and  does  no  harm  to  human  beings. Its
distinguishing marks are a head the colour of fire, about  the size of
the electric light lamps in the streets of  Bangkok, and a  tail  about
half a metre long of  a  bluish  colour, like  that of  burning  alcohol.
From this description it would appear to be  like  a  large luminous
tadpole some sixty centimetres long. Another  account  is different
from this. It states that  the "pi  krasu" is  a  demon  that possesses
certain    women,  apparently   witches,  who  are   spoken   of  as
“penn krasu." When a woman in  the  neighbourhood  is  about  to
be confined the  demon  issues  forth  at  night  and  consumes  the
entrails of the child in the womb, thus   causing  it  to  be  still born.
It may also, it is  said, enter  into  and  consume  the  entrails  of  a
living person, thus causing death. A "pi krasu" is  naturally  a  most
unpleasant neighbour. Any  one "penn  krasu" may  be  known  by
the following signs. She has a sleepy  appearance, with  unblinking
eyes that do not show the reflection of  any  one  she  looks  at. In
order to avoid this being noticed she will never look any one in the
face. It  would  seem, if  this  is  so, that  she  must  be  somewhat
difficult to  detect. "Krasu" are  said  to  be  found  mostly  among
Mawn and Malay women. An informant  of  the  writer  who  had
seen  what  he  believed  to  be  a  "pi  krasu"  issuing  forth  on  a
nocturnal expedition from a village where many "krasu" were said
to live, described it as a luminous ball about the size of a  foot ball
followed by several moving sparks like fire flies. When one "penn
krasu" is about to die she must get some one to eat some  of   her

 

 

 

 

 

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spittle, otherwise she cannot pass away, but lingers in agony.  Her
daughter is usually the one who out of pity performs the operation,
thus allowing her mother  to die  in  peace, bu t  becoming  "krasu"
herself   in   turn. Thus  being "krasu" is  more  or  less  hereditary.
It is doubtful whether the second, description given above  of  the
" pi krasu " is not properly applicable  to  the  demon  known   as

"pi chamawp" (ผี ฉมบ). Others say the latter is merely  the ghost
of a woman who has died in the jungle, and haunts  the neighbour-
hood  where  she  died. There  her  misty  figure   may   be   seen
wandering about, but it does no harm to any one.

            There is also lack of agreement as to all the characteristics

of   the   "pi   kahang"   (ผี กะหาง).  This   is  a  "pi"   having    the
appearance of a man but with feathers and a tail like a bird. Some
say it is harmless, and merely goes about searching for filth  to eat.
Others say it  is  a  kind  of  male "krasu" of  the  malevolent  type.
We shall close this account of "pi" who may be said to be derived
from dead or living persons with a reference  to  those  known  as

"Chao   pi"  (เจ้าผี)   or  spirit  lords. Som e of   these, known  as
"teparak" (เทพารักษ์) who reside  in  the  small  shrines  of  brick
or wood known as "tamasan," or "San   Chao" (ศาลเจ้า), appear
to have become identified with the spirits of more or less important
persons who are dead, or with  the  spirit  of  the  founder  of  the
"San Chao." Some "San Chao" erected by  Chinese  seem  to  be
put up merely in order to catch any spirits that may be wandering
about homeless.On the presumption that some such have entered
the "San Chao" offerings can then be made there with  a  view  to
obtaining favours,or they may be prayed to for whatever is  desired.
Very often a person, whom the " Chao pi " enters and possesses at
times, is attached to a " San Chao," and  with  proper  persuasion
will go into a fit and act as an oracle. Such a person is  known  as

" Me mawt kawn sawng " (แม่ มด คน ทรง) if a woman, or "Paw
mawt kawn sawng " (พ่อ มด คน ทรง)   if  a  man. When  the  fit

comes on it is said " Chao Kao " or the " lord enters " her or  him.
It is through the words or acts of such a " kawn  sawng " that  the

 

 

 

 

 

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spirit of a "San Chao" can be traced to   its  former  possessor. At
the little shrine on the road from Tarua, at the foot of  a  small   hill
clos e to  Praputtabat (known  as  "Kao Tawk"), such  a  spirit  is
said  to  reside  known  as  "Chao   paw   kao   tawk,"  (originally
"Chao paw tawk kao"), being the " Chao pi " of some member of
the Royal family who was killed many years ago  by  falling  down
the   hill.  Some  "Chao  pi" have  no  shrines, but  from  the   very
efficient way in which they grant requests made in prayers address-
ed to them their  existence  is  ascertained. Such  a  one  is  "Chao
paw damm tung" who wanders at large in the fields at the back  of
Wat  Dawn   and  Wat   Sutitaran (Wat   Lao), opposite   Messrs.
"Windsor&Co.'s premises in Bangrak. This spirit is that of  a  man
who was murdered there many years ago.

             Connected with the subject of "pi" is that of the witchcraft
known  as  "kun"  (คุน)  which  possesses  a  man. By   this  he  is
compelled each week to send out a piece of some substance, such as
leather or flesh, which goes off and lodges in some other person,  and
if not removed by incantations will cause him harm. If  he does not
get rid  of  the "kun" thus  once  every week, it  will   injure himself.
The person affected by the substance sent forth is said to "tuk kun"

(ถูกคุน). Both the sender  and  receiver  seem  to be unfortunately
situated. The  writer   quite   recently  heard  of  a  case  of  a man
who " tuk kun " in the neck, but luckily a good monk  was  able to
remove it in time to prevent much harm.

            We now pass to the consideration of the second class of "pi,"
who may be described as existing of themselves, and not deriving
their origin from human bodies, dead or alive. First  among  these
we may mention "pi ruen" (ผีเรือน) t he guardian  angel, or  spirit,
of the house. One of these is attached to every house.Sometimes
it  may  be  heard  speaking  or  grumbling  to  itself. Very  rarely
a glimpse of it, in  the  form  of  a  man, may  be  caught. Outside
of the house we find in many Siamese compounds a "san prapum "
(ศาลพระภูมิ์) or spirit box, being a little  wooden  shrine  on  the
top of a pole, usually at the back of the house. This is erected  to

 

 

 

 

 

                                             [ 10 ]

 

the "Prapum Chao  ti" (พระภูมิ์เจ้าที่), a  guardian  "pi" of  the  land.
Going further afield we  come  to  the "pi  kamot"  (ผีขโมด)  which
appears in the form of a  red  star  seen  on  the  plains  at  night  by
people passing to and fro. In the wet  season  boatmen  losing  their
way steer for it thinking it is  a  house, and  perhaps  come  to  grief.
Similarly  it  misleads  wayfarers. It  would  seem to be the same as
what is known as a "Will o'  the  wisp" in  England. Its  appearance
does  not  seemingly  differ  largely  from  that  ascribed  to  the " pi

krasu. " Akin  to  the "pi  kamot"  is   the  " pi   pang   tai  (ผีพุ่งไต้)
a sort of shooting star that goes back and forth  in  the  atmosphere
at night. It must not  be  confounded  with  the  falling  stars  known

as "tewada chuti" (เทวดาจุติ), that is, "tewada," or   angels, coming
down to become mortals. By some it is said to arise from the tail of

the green snake known as "ngu kio hang mai" (งูเขี้ยวหางหม้าย),or

 the green snake  with  the  burnt  tail. People  say  there  is  such  a
snake, but whether it is the  ordinary  green  snake  whose  tail  has
become withered, or  a  special  breed, with  a  permanently   burnt-
appearing tail, is unknown to the writer. This snake  is said to  have
been seen at fishing stakes by fishermen who saw   the  appearance
known   as   "pi  pung  tai" arising  from   it. The  matter  is  one  on
which some of our naturalist members  might perhaps give us  some
information. It is said to be unlucky to see a "pi pung tai."

            In  the jungle we hear of  the  "pi pong kang"   (ผี โป่ง ค่าง).

This  "pi"  has   the  appearance  of  a  black monkey. It comes and
sucks  the  blood  from  the big  toe  of  a  sleeper  in  the  jungle. It
frequents  the  heavy  tree  jungle. Persons  sleeping  in  such  jungle
are recommended to sleep with their feet touching,in order to guard
against these demons. Of  similar habits  to  the " pi  pong  kang "  is

the   "pi   kawng  koi" (ผีกองกอย), which  also  comes  and   sucks
blood from the feet of sleepers in the jungle. Should  one, who   has
thus been sucked, die it  is  said  the " pi " has  eaten  him. This   "pi"
is  evidently  in  reality  some  sort  of  vampire  bat. Possibly  black

 

 

 

 

 

                                              [ 11 ]

 

monkeys may be in the habit of sucking  or  biting  the  toes  of  sleep-
ers, thus giving rise to  the  story of "pi  pong  kang;" or  else  persons
who have been sucked by bats on waking and seeing monkeys about

may  have  attributed  such  acts  to them. The "pi cha kla" (ผีจะกละ)
is  a  demon  in  the  form  of  a  cat. It  is  a  jungle  "pi." Demons  of
this kind are kept by certain jungle  sorcerers  who  have  the  power
of sending them to injure their enemies.

            Jungle     "pi"    or   "pi pa"    (ผีป่า)   seem    to    have   many
attributes,  but    perhaps    the    following    tale    may   refer    more
particularly   to   the  "pi  cha  kla." The  writer  once  met  an  ancient
village  headman  who lived on the e dge  of  the  jungle. He  had  had
only one wife  to  whom he had been married  nearly  fifty  years, and
he  said  his  life  had  been  a  happy  one, and  he  had   really  never
known trouble. On enquiry it turned out  he   had  had   nine  children,
but only five were alive.When asked if he did not consider the  loss of
four children a calamity, he  replied  that  three  of  them  had  arrived
at one  birth, and  that  as  no  one  could  expect  a  woman  to   rear
triplets  they  naturally  died. As  to  the  other  son  who died, no one
could  save  him, as  his  death  was  caused  by "pi."  He  went  three
days journey into the jungle with  some  other  young  men  to  find  a
suitable  place  to  feed  their  cattle  for  a time. They clearly selected
a  bad  place, as  they  were  annoyed  by  "pi," who  kept  appearing
and  disappearing  round  their  camp  in an inexplicable manner, cats
and other animals, where no such cats  or  animals  could  be  reason-
ably   expected   to   be.  How  could   they  be  other  than "pi" ? At
all   events   the  party  thought  they  were, and  returned  home. The
old  man's  son  was  never  the  same  as  before, and in two months
sickened  and  died  of  dysentery. When  asked  if   this  was  not  a
natural   disease   to die  of, the  old  man  refused  to  believe  it. His
son  would  never  have  died  of  it  if  it  had  not been for those "pi."
"Pi  pa," or  jungle  demons, are  a  most  interesting  class  of  spirits,
and many are the tales told  of  them, and  in  their  hearts  the  jungle
men really seem  to  hold  them  in  considerable  respect. There  are
are  the "pi   pa" who   haunt   certain   places   in  the  jungle, where
those who try to live there, or who even sleep there  for  a  night, are
attacked by diseases such as fever and dysentery. These are caused

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                             [ 12 ]

 

by  demons  who  often  thus  kill  those who intrude on their haunts.
These  demons  are  not  seen, but  the  effect  of  their  presence  is
evident. It   would   seem   that   the   whole  jungle  is  inhabited  by
"pi" who   may  or  may  not  be  malevolent, but  whom  it  is  at  all
events   wise   to   be   on   good   terms   with. An  instance  of  this
occurred  to  the  writer. He   had  shot  a  deer  which  fell  in  some
bushes, and was dragged forth by a local native who, with  some  of
his  friends, was  assisting  in  the  hunt. This man then  proceeded to
cut a small piece of the foot, the lip, the  tongue, the  eyelid, and  the
ear of the dead animal. These he took and  cast  down  on  the  spot
where  the  deer  had   fallen. When   asked   the   meaning   of   this

performance    he    replied   "penn   sinn " (เปน สิน ) or " it   is   the

price. " When  asked   the   price   of  what,  no  further  information
except "penn  sinn " and  again  Oh ! "penn  sinn" could be  obtained.
At last  when  directly  asked  if  the  offering  was  for  the "pi"  they
admitted it was without  any  hesitation, thus  leading  one  to  believe
that  they  themselves  preferred  not   to  mention  the  word  "pi"  in
that    neighbourhood.  The    offering   was   evidently   intended   to
compensate  the  local  "pi"  for  the  loss of the deer, or to propitiate
it  so   that   it  might  not  be  angry  at  the  deer  being  killed  in  its
domain. Then  there   are   the  "pi pa" who  appear  in  the  form  of
various  animals, with  an  awkward  habit  of  becoming  invisible,or
disappearing at  will. The  most  interesting  perhaps  of  these  is  the
tiger  that  assumes  the  shape  of  a  young  and  lovely  woman.  It
appears as a woman to the hunter watching  for game  on  his  perch
in  a  tree, and  entices him down, when it becomes a tiger and rends
him. The  following  tale  was  told  by  an  old   "pran"   (พราน),  or
hunter  upcountry. He  and  a  younger  companion  were  sitting  up
one  moonlight   night   on  a  "hang"  (ห้าง), or   perch, made  i n  a
tree, watching for game. Presently a young woman appeared  under
the tree, entered into conversation with  them, and  endeavoured  to
induce   the   younger   man  to  descend. But  his  older  and  more
experienced companion was on the alert. After  trying  to   dissuade
his companion from descending, he told him he thought it would  be
more comfortable if he and the girl had a couch to sit upon, that   he
would cut some  branches  to  make  one  and  throw  them   down

 

 

 

 

 

                                             [ 13 ]

 

to the girl, and when she had  arranged  them  his  friend  could  get
down. This was agreed to. He then cut  off  a  branch and  threw  it
down to the woman, who, instead of  picking  it  up  with her  hand,
proceeded to stoop down and grasp it with her teeth.His suspicions
were confirmed, and he at once fired  his  gun  at  her. His  aim was
true, and when the smoke cleared away they saw a tiger lying  dead
where the woman  had  been. One  may  remark  that  it  would  be
curious for him to relate such a story with all  seriousness, unless  he
thought that some, at least, of  his  hearers  were  fully  prepared  to
believe it.

             The  "pi pawp"  (ผีปอบ)  is  a demon held in great respect

among  the  Lao  " pung kao " and  the  Ka  (ลาว พุง ขาว แล ข่า)
It  has  got  no body but is under the control of its owner. How the
owner first obtains such control, or how he knows he has got a "pi
pawp " under control, is not clear. Probably  he  thinks   he  would
like one, and prays for one to come. Part of the duty of  the owner
is  to  feed  the  demon  with  offerings  of  food. The  food  is  not
consumed. Possibly  the  "pi"  lives  on  the  odour  of  it. By  pray-
ing and offering food, and then experimenting, one could no doubt
ascertain the fact of control. This  demon  can  do nothing  against
the  will  of  its  owner, of  whom  it  is  afraid. He can will it to go
forth and injure, possess, make mad, or  even  kill  his enemies; to
change  the  hate  of  another  to  love, or  love  to  hate. It  seems,
however, that  if  its owner is afraid of any one, his "pi pawp"  also
becomes  afraid, and  can  do  no  harm  to such a one. When the
friends  of   a   person   attacked   by a "pi  pawp" find  it  out, the
correct  thing  to  do  is  to send for an exorciser to get rid of it.A
clever  exorciser  can  draw  forth and catch the demon,but a real
expert will not only do this, but will even send it back  to  harm its
original owner. If the latter is  a  strong  magician  he will  find  this
out, and in turn send another demon forth to defeat  the  one  now
under the control of the exorciser, and so it goes  on  until  victory
rests with the stronger. One can imagine that  a  man  with  a  high
reputation as a dealer in the occult might make a reasonable income
among   those  who  believe in   "pi pawp."  The  "Pi   Nang  Tani "
(ผีนางตะนี) is a female spirit  inhabiting  the  banana  tree  known

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                               [ 14 ]

 

as   the "klue  tani." The fruit  of  this  tree  contains  edible  seeds,
but they are not much grown in  the  neighbourhood  of  Bangkok,
presumably on account of their unpleasant attributes in the way of
" pi." The bud of this kind  of  banana  tree  is  different  from   the
ordinary   inasmuch   as  it  comes  out  at  the  side  of  the  trunk.
Witches and sorcerers of sufficient knowledge have the power  to
call  up  from the bud, when its top opens, a "pi" in the form  of  a
beautiful young woman. She is  useful  as  an  adviser  on  matters
connected with gambling, such as lucky numbers,and can even be
sent about to carry out the sorcerer's orders. She  goes  about  at
night. Some  of  these  "pi"  are  malevolent,  and some are not. It
is advisable to cut down these banana trees when the fruit is gathered
in order to destroy the abode of this " pi."

            "Pi  Nang  Mai" (ผี นาง ไม้)  or   female  tree  spirits,  are
spirit  bodies  residing  in certain big forest trees, such as the " mai
takien." It is said teak trees do not harbour them. They  are  good
hearted fairies, and sometimes when monks  are  on  a  pilgrimage
and leave their begging bowls at the foot  of  such  a  tree, the " pi
nang mai" will fill them. If the tree be cut  down, and  taken  away
by some one to build a house the spirit is thus let loose, and   may
come to live in the house, much the same as a "pi ruen " is said  to.

            We have hitherto been dealing with two classes of  spirits
having their abode among us on earth, but there  is  another  third
class of "pi" who are spoken of as dwelling in other places,heaven
and hell, even though such beliefs may be opposed to the teaching of
the Lord Buddha. Some of  them  are  familiarly known by name and
reputation to every one. The characteristics of others  are  known
perhaps only to the more learned. Chief among such "pi"   is "Tau

wet-suwann"  (ท้าวเวศสุวรรณ์)  known  to  all   fairl   yeducated
persons. He is the " nai " or  master  of  all   such   spirits. He    is

described as being like a "yakk " (ยักษ์ ) or  fierce  looking  giant

and he carries an iron club. His abode is in heaven. He is  said  to
have the power of casting a certain charm which inflicts small-pox
on children.Another spirit, not perhaps well known to the illiterate

 

 

 

 

 

                                            [ 15 ]

 

is "Praya   Machurat"  (พระยามัจจุราช), the  King  of  Death,who
acts   as   director   of   hell   under  "Tau-wet-suwann."  He  is the
judge who  apportions  the  punishments  of  those  spirits  who do
wrong. He keeps registers  in  which  he  enters  the  evil  deeds of
human beings, so  that  proper  punishment  may  be  inflicted."Nai
Ariyaban " (นาย อริยบาล), commonly known as"Pra yom praban "
(พระโยมพระบาล), is chief jailer in hell, and punishes according to
the orders of "Praya Machurat," the  spirits  of  evil  doers."Prakan"
(พระ กาล)  is   well   know   as  the "pi" who  issues  orders  as  to
the deaths  of  human  beings  when  their time has come to die. He
is described as being black in colour with red clothing. The  subject
of  spirits  belonging  to  the  third  class   is,   however,  connected
somewhat with religious beliefs,and requires one more learned than
the writer to do justice to it.

            The matter of  the making  of  charms  and  spells, and  the
wording of incantations and appeals to spirits, has  not  been  dealt
with in this paper, which the author  now  closes  in  the  hope  that
some other member of the Siam Society may be induced to give us
the results of investigations in that direction.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 



 

                        

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