The Dark Side of Thailand: Part II

Oct 11, 2019 | 360, CULTURE, NEWS, Thailand, Trending

Prayer at Wat Dhammamongkol © Toastal

From black magic to drugs – welcome to Thailand as you’ve never seen it before.

This is Part II of the Darkside of Thailand Series

Thailand is often portrayed as a country of bright beaches, smiling locals, and a generally tolerant culture that is open to people from all orientations and walks of life. A utopian paradise, in short.

But beyond the country’s necessary façade to make the country look more open and welcoming to the rest of the world are the cracks and crevices where the dark and unspoken aspects of Thai culture are largely hidden from view.

While there is no official orchestration to hide these aspects of Thailand, we now shed a beam of light on two social phenomena that will make people take a closer look at how Thai society works.

Thai Black Magic & Voodoo

Folk beliefs and traditions exist in every country in the world, not just Thailand. But the pervasiveness of these ideas depends on the worldview of the natives of a country, as well as the culture itself.

If a culture is largely spiritual and eschews too much dependence on logic, reality, and all these material disciplines, then you can be certain that voodoo, black magic and superstitious beliefs will be plentiful – as is the case for Thailand.

It might be hard to believe that such a progressive country that has such a global outlook in terms of tourism would still have parts of its culture immured with folk beliefs, like voodoo. And yet a simple look at recent arrests and investigations into horrific events in Thai civil society will reveal that black magic is still largely a concrete part of Thai life.

Practitioners of Thai black magic, or simply the occult, are not snaggletoothed crones mixing a black cauldron, as old Disney movies would like us to believe.

Practitioners of the craft range from rural folk who want better fortune to come upon them, to Westerners who come all the way to Thailand to continue learning more magic from the masters. And the spells they learn are actually ‘practical’ in a twisted sort of way: spells for appearing to be more charming than you really are, bewitching gazes to make women have sex with you more quickly, better luck for business, and so on.

But there are times when the love for the occult goes a bit too far. Disaster happens almost immediately.

Tainted “Holy Water”

One of the more recent victims of Thai “black magic” is an eighteen-year-old girl from Chaiyaphum, in the Kaeng Khro district. The suspected perpetrators are three men who claimed to be monks: one elderly, and two middle-aged.

The “monks” made one of the victim’s parents believe that she was cursed, and had to be exorcised in order to be well again. Take note that the victim showed no symptoms of illness prior to the said exorcism.

During the exorcism, the girl was made to drink two large bowls of “holy water.”

The victim went into shock soon after, and expired. She was rushed to the nearby Chaiyaphum Hospital, where she was declared dead on arrival. The cause of death, it was said, was a “violent seizure” that cut off oxygen to her brain. The brain, once deprived of oxygen after a few minutes, will naturally expire, causing a person to die almost immediately.

The three monks had fled the abandoned temple in Kaeng Khro, and the victim’s body was cremated soon after without being autopsied. Dr. Passakorn Chaiyaset from the Chaiyaphum public health office warned the public about participating in strange rituals and ingesting any food or beverage of unknown origin.

Plucking Tea at Ceylon | Museum of Photography Unknown

With final prayers and a blessing with holy water, the men who were Thai Buddhist monks, are about ready to re-enter the lay world. © Lee Craker

Ten Stolen Fetuses

On December 2018, 10 fetus corpses were stolen from the Suk Niran Moo 1 Cemetery in the Ban Chang district. The fetuses were undergoing a cleansing ceremony, and were scheduled to be cremated as well. The corpses’ ages were between two and five months old.

Police reports stated that about ten individuals entered the cemetery, removed the lids of the graves and engaged in what appeared to be a magic ritual that involved burning some of the personal effects of the corpses. Residents who lived nearby were gravely alarmed by the event, as the corpses of fetuses, apparently, were routinely used by practitioners of black magic prior to casting curses and spells.

Plucking Tea at Ceylon | Museum of Photography Unknown

Bangkok, Thailand – Addicted © Transformer18

The Land of Smiles… and Drugs

Let it be said that despite the huge amount of drugs being produced and exported from Thailand, that drugs are illegal and all international tourists should be wary of getting themselves caught up in this nasty mix when they come to the country.

Thailand has four categories for illegal narcotics, with heroin and amphetamines on top and with hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana bringing up the rear of the list. Thailand has harsher penalties for individuals who have“intent to sell,” and the Thai legal system does met out the death penalty for the worst offenders.

As Thailand has been struggling with drug syndicates producing drugs in the country itself, as well as recreational drugs being peddled constantly in the streets, the country’s police and drug enforcement agencies are known for randomly investigating tourists and migrants, especially Southeast Asian Chinese, Iranians, Indians, Pakistanis, and even Nepalese individuals. Lone female travelers are also targets of drug syndicates who use females to carry drug parcels (knowingly or not) across airports and borders.

Of Buddhist Monks and a British Postman

Foreigners who end up living in the country (usually they become bar owners) eventually end up dipping their toes and fingers in the drug trade. One such fellow is Jimmy Kelly, a British national who moved to Thailand after he was made redundant as a postal worker.

According to Kelly, after purchasing an island bar in Koh Samui for £33,000, he became caught up in “the system” and he started selling metamphetamines in his bar.

He was unwilling at first, but soon caved in after meeting more violent customers who would “point guns at his head” if he told them to stop buying the drugs from his island bar. When the bar next door went up for sale, Kelly doubled his drug pimping efforts so he could accrue sufficient cash to buy the property. And buy it he did – after purchasing a total of 200 grams of metamphetamines and raking in £26,000 in profits from the drugs.

At that time, he had been dating a woman who was actually working as an undercover agent for the Thai police. To cut the story short, he was caught doing what he ‘didn’t like doing,’ with a ton of incriminating evidences to boot.

Kelly retold the horrors of being in a cramped Thai prison, living with some inmates who have cases like murder. He lost three teeth after a prison brawl broke out. His fortunes changed when the British embassy bailed him out of the Thai prison and made arrangements so that he could serve the rest of his sentence back in his home country.

The use of drugs in the country is so rampant that recently, seven clergy from the “Wat Kathu” temple in Phuket tested positive for narcotics after urine examinations were done. The Buddhist monks were expelled from the order and were made to hand over the saffron robes upon arrest – but this simply means that the Thai government is barely (if at all) scraping at the surface of the drug problem in the country.