Written by Geraldine Laetitia
If you know anything about Thai people, you will know that they are seriously afraid of ghosts. That is why it might be surprising to know that millions of Thais willingly invite a ghost to stay at their home or business. Of course this isn’t such a scary ghost like the distraught Mae Nak or the grotesque Phi Krasue — rather we are talking about a cute little boy ghost called Kuman Thong. The name “Kuman Thong” means “golden boy,” and as you can guess, Thai people give the little child spook a place on their shrines in the belief that he’ll help them out in money matters.
But his help comes at a price. If you chose to bring Kuman Thong into your home, you have accepted a responsibility to take care of him. If a neglected child can throw a temper tantrum—how much more so when that child is a ghost? Like many things spiritual in Thailand, Kuman Thong seems to be a mix of truth and superstition. My relatives kept him and even one of my mother's friends' had him in her house. After seeing him a few times at my relatives' house, observing how my relatives "look after" him and pretty much growing up with him, I believe in Kuman Thong enough to not want anything to do with him again.
History of Kuman Thong
A real Kuman Thong is not one of the smiling plastic statues that you see on so many shrines around Thailand. The original and true Kuman Thong is something entirely more sinister and taboo—the art of magic at its darkest, probably because it involved the use of a fetus. The gruesome thought of its preparation will give most people goosebumps.
To make Kuman Thong, one first has to surgically remove a stillborn fetus from its mother’s womb. A ceremony must then be performed by someone well-trained in the ancient secrets of Thai animist necromancy. In a cemetery, at night, the dead baby is dry-roasted over a fire while the necromancer chants the necessary mantras and secret incantations that will bind the spirit of the stillborn child to it. Once dried, the corpse is covered in lacquer and gold foil, which is the original reason for the name Kuman Thong. The consecration in the preparation of the Kuman Thong is performed through white magic ritual. kuman Thong has to follow at least the 5 precepts or commandments of Buddhist's teaching during consecration and conjuration. Therefore, they should not be mixed up with their more active, and rumoured to be more evil "cousin", the Luk Kok.
In the most authentic version of the ceremony, a substance called Nam-man phrai is also applied to the corpse. The method of collecting Nam-man phrai is quite spooky in itself. It involves burning a candle under the chin of the corpse of a woman who died while pregnant, and collecting the oil that comes out of the skin. It is said to be powerful stuff and is used in all sorts of folk magic such as crafting love charms, though genuine Nam-man phrai is illegal.
The origin of making Kuman Thong seems to be found in the folk legend Khun Chang Khun Phaen, which is based on the life of a soldier in the Ayutthaya era. In the story, Khun Phaen makes the first Kuman Thong from the fetus of his dead wife’s unborn child.
Nowadays, genuine Kuman Thong have been mostly replaced by symbolic statues that depict a young boy in traditional Ayutthaya era attire. Kuman has his hair done up in a little topknot and will often be holding a small sack of gold.
A Kuman Thong is believed to be able to help with 3 spiritual dimensions for its owner and can give owner strong spiritual guidance through dreams, and give guidance towards an improved life. They can also help to influence others and bring in wealth and lead its owner to success. Adoption of a Kuman Thong is therefore often recommended for people who does not have too strong negative karma from the past.
How to Keep Kuman Thong
Taking a Kuman Thong home and setting up a little shrine for him is a little bit like adopting a new child. It is thought that Kuman Thong can grant favours for his master/owner and bring success, but only if he is happy and even then there can be unintended side-effects. However, as Kuman Thong has to follow the Buddhist commandment, it will not do anything evil or cause deliberate harm.
Taking care of Kuman Thong involves giving him something to eat and drink every day. He has a sweet-tooth—as most little boys do—and so candy, cookies, or other snacks are considered good food offerings. For drinks, he likes Nam-daeng exclusively. Nam-daeng means “red water” and is a kind of sweetened beverage made with bright red artificial coloring and flavoring from the sala fruit (Salacca wallichiana). In place of traditional Nam-daeng, Red Fanta is acceptable.
All gods and spirits in Thailand seem to enjoy this sweet red beverage, which I am guessing has become a substitute in Buddhist times for animist blood offerings of the distant past.
Since Kuman Thong is a child, it is also very common for people to offer toys for him to play with. Just like a real child, Kuman Thong needs attention. You have to acknowledge his presence, talk to him sometime, spend time with him etc. and then he will be nice and help you. Otherwise, he might play tricks on you and become mischievous. People who keep Kuman Thong at home are often reported to have strange things happen such as hearing phantom sounds of a child’s laughter or the sound of little footsteps running around as if a child were playing. Other typical poltergeist activity can occur such as doors seemingly opening or closing on their own and other objects moving around. Well, a Kuman Thong is ultimately a spirit that you keep at home, so it is of no surprises to be experiencing such occurrances.
It is extremely important to note that you cannot just simply get rid of a Kuman Thong once you have already adopted it—that would be asking for trouble. Instead, you are supposed to take an unwanted Kuman Thong to a temple, where some type of ritual can be done to release you from the burden of caring for the ghost.
Dark Side of the Kuman Craze
The vast majority of Kuman Thong that you see are plastic or wooden statues. Various small metal amulets that invoke the power of Kuman Thong are also quite popular. But the dark side of Kuman’s popularity is that there still exists a black market for the original type of Kuman Thong made from a stillborn or aborted fetus. In May 2012, a Taiwanese-born British citizen was arrested in Bangkok with six gold covered baby human corpses in his luggage. He had purchased them in Thailand and intended to resell them in Taiwan for a profit.
In 2010, Wat Phai Ngoen in Bangkok was the scene of a gristly discovery when 348 aborted fetuses were found on the premises. The temple was helping to dispose of the bodies from illegal abortion clinics, and it is thought that some may have been sold to practitioners of black magic.
Living with a Ghost Boy for a Year
Would you get spooked out with this guy in your living room?
Below is a true account from an anonymous source: -----
"I first learned about Kuman Thong when I rented a house for a year where he was already living in. My landlady, a 50-something year-old Thai-Chinese woman, was very into any spiritual practice that was supposed to bring wealth or good luck. She had previously lived in the house with her family and had kept the shrine intact. It contained a couple Buddha images, one of the Hindu god Shiva, and three statues of Kuman Thong. The largest of the Kuman Thong statues looked positively ancient and totally creeped me out.
I would often have weird dreams while living in that house and never really felt alone. A few times I was woken up in the middle of the night by loud noises which sounded like objects getting moved around. I later found out that there might had been a rat in the house, and I think the noise came from it fighting with another animal (possibly a snake?) up in the attic. So if the strange noises were coming from Kuman Thong, the rat, or just an overactive imagination—I guess I may never be sure. But every night, the noise continued. And I can certainly feel like someone is running around or moving around the house. As time goes by, I grew used to the sound as nothing really bother me or spooked me out that much anyway. The only thing I was certain of is that I resented the landlady for leaving Kuman Thong at the house and sticking me with the task of giving him cookies and red water each day. Perhaps, my dedication in doing this task had appeased the Kuman Thong and hence he had left me alone while I was living with him.
During the year that I lived with the Kuman Thong, he certainly didn’t give me any help with finances—nor did the landlady when it was time for my security deposit to be returned.
So I was pretty glad to be rid of him and wouldn’t choose to seek out his help in the future."
Written by Geraldine Laetitia
A Toyol is a mythical creature from Malaysian folklore. It is said to be the ghost of a baby that died before it was born. In Indonesia, it is called the Tuyul. The name literally means “mischievous thief”. The Toyol is similar to a creature from Filipino mythology called the Tiyanak and the legendary Guman Thong from Thailand.
A Toyol is a dead baby that has been brought back to life by a Bomoh (a Malaysian shaman) or somebody who is familiar with black magic. You can create a Toyol by digging up a dead baby and using black magic rituals and incantations to re-animate it.
The Toyol looks like a mummified baby, with green or gray skin, a big, bulbous head, pointed ears, piercing red eyes and sharp teeth. Some say it resembles a goblin. It is usually kept in a glass jar and hidden away in a dark place until it is needed.
When you own a Toyol, it is like making a contract with the devil. The Toyol has a temper like a small child and must be kept happy, entertained and well-fed. You must make offerings to the creature, like toys, milk, candy, sweets and biscuits.
You also have to nurse it by pricking your thumb and allowing it to suck your blood. If you don’t feed it, the Toyol will forcefully suck blood from your toes or the toes of your immediate family members while they sleep.
People who create a Toyol use it to steal from their neighbors. In return for food and protection, the Toyol will lurk around the village at night, running errands for its master… errands the summoner would rather not be seen doing himself. Typical “errands” would include petty thefts or vandalism, which the Toyol can get away with because of its tiny size.
To protect yourself from a Toyol, you can leave marbles around your house or hang garlic over your door. This will distract the Toyol and it will start playing with these items until, like a child, it forgets what it was supposed to do. To keep your money safe from a Toyol, place it on top of some needles or under a mirror. Toyols are terrified of needles and are scared of seeing their own reflection.
Once you obtain a Toyol, not only are you stuck with it for the rest of your life, but all your descendants will also be condemned to own it. What happens at the end of the contract is not very clear. There are only two ways to get rid of it. You can either bury it in a graveyard and lay the spirit to rest or you can throw it into the sea.
In one Malaysian story, there was a young man named Bachuk who was very lazy and couldn’t hold down a steady job. He was also addicted to gambling and any money he had was squandered in the casino. He lived with his wife and her sister, and has a hard time providing for them because of his laziness and his gambling.
One day, he was searching through his dead grandfather’s possessions when he came across a dusty old suitcase. Upon opening it, he found it contained what looked like the withered corspe of a baby. Suddenly, to his horror, the baby opened its red eyes and began speaking to him. He realized that it was a Toyol.
“Thank you for releasing me,” said the Toyol. “But there are… conditions. I can obey your wishes and give you power. But… I must eat…”
The young man sent the evil imp out to creep around the village at night, stealing the possessions of his neighbors. As time went on, Bachuk became rich and nobody suspected where his money came from.
However, the Toyol began making more and more demands. Bachuk realized that it wanted a new mother. The Toyol demanded that he be allowed to breastfeed from Bachuk’s sister, sucking blood instead of milk.
Bachuk sent his wife and sister away to keep them safe and when the Toyol discovered this deception, it flew into a rage. The Toyol attacked Bachuk and sucked every drop of blood from his body until he was nothing more than a withered and dessicated corpse.
In 2006, a fisherman in Maylasia found a glass jar snagged in his net. Inside the jar was a small black figure that looked like a baby and had red eyes. To his horror, he was convinced he had stumbled upon a Toyol.
The fisherman gave the bottle to his local Bomoh and the Bomoh turned it over to a museum. The museum theorized it was some sort of fetish figure that had been used in a healing ritual, and had been cast into the water as part of that ritual.
Not knowing what else to do with it, they put it on display for a while and drew record crowds from Malay visitors anxious for a glimpse of the real supernatural. Eventually, the thing in the jar was returned to the sea… but not before hundreds of people had come to see it.
Written by Geraldine Laetitia
Other than the well known Annabelle and Robert, the 2 famous haunted dolls, where both make one shudder in fear and give you goosebumps just thinking of them........we have a less known doll named Mandy...
In a world where the the paranormal exists, there are a ton of haunted dolls and figures other than the one made famous in the 2014 horror movie Annabelle. Some of them aren’t as malicious and sinister, but they’re still creepy none the less.
Meet Mandy the Haunted Doll, who is currently on display in the Quesnel & District Museum in Canada. Mandy, a doll created sometime between 1900 and 1920, was given to the museum by a donor who wished to remain anonymous. The donor had a chilling experience with the doll and wished to get rid of it without destroying whatever historic quality it possessed. One night, the donor was awoken by extremely loud cries, the cries of a baby that were echoing and radiating from the basement where the doll had been left. Only one problem: a baby was not present in the house at this time of night. After hours of listening to the shrieks, the donor finally mustered up the courage to sneak into the basement and examine the source of the cries. Upon arrival, they found nothing but an open window, and Mandy was missing…only to return the next morning
After dropping Mandy the Haunted Doll off at the museum, the donor confirmed that an experience like that never occurred again. However, the arrival of Mandy at the Quesnel & District Museum started a new wave of distress and discomfort for the staff and visitors there. Almost immediately after being placed in front of the front door, staff members started reporting that their lunches were going missing, only to show up neatly tucked in random drawers hours later. Books and stationary started going missing on a routine basis, too. Eventually Mandy had to be moved to a more private display, one away from other dolls of her kind, because it is rumored that she would topple them over in the middle of the night due to some sort of jealousy.
Mandy the Haunted Doll was heavily featured in a 1999 issue of “Supernatural Stories Around British Columbia” and that’s when people started flocking to the museum to see the haunted doll for themselves. People who visited the decades old toy had trouble getting pictures of Mandy because their batteries would die or the flash of their cameras would inexplicably turn on and off while trying to take photos.
Psychic investigators who have visited Mandy state that the doll is most likely possessed by the spirit of a young, little girl who only wants attention from people around her. That’s why the doll is only mischievous and never violent towards humans.
So not all haunted dolls are evil and not all are demonic in nature.
Perhaps that is why there are still many people who love to adopt these 'spirited' dolls, for many different personal reasons. For companion? Dealing with loses? or just wanting to give some love to a lost spirits.
What do you think?
Seven is a scary Japanese story about a group of teenagers who explore an abandoned school that is rumored to be haunted.
The following story was told by a Japanese lady who said she had read it in a newspaper. I haven’t actually seen the newspaper so I don’t know whether it actually happened or not. Please read the account and decide for yourself…I'd say probably an urban legend.
There was a group of teenage friends, 4 boys and 4 girls, who went to the same high school. One night, they were having a small party in the house of one of the boys. It was after midnight and the talk soon turned to scary stories. The friends wanted to test their courage by going to a haunted location. They thought it would be fun to scare themselves by exploring a creepy place in the dark.
For years, they had heard stories about an old abandoned school that lay on the outskirts of town. Everyone said it was haunted. None of the teenagers actually believed in ghosts, but they wanted to scare themselves and it seemed like the old abandoned school was the easiest place to explore.
One of the girls had a car, so they drove out to the old schoolhouse and parked outside the grounds. The 8 friends decided that they would explore the school in pairs. The plan was for each pair to walk around the school anti-clockwise. It would take about 10 minutes to circumnavigate the school.
The first pair would start off and, When they returned, they would tell the others what they had seen. Then, it would be the turn of the second pair to walk around the school.
The first pair, a boy and a girl, set off as the remaining 6 teenagers waited by the car.
After a while, they began to grow impatient. It had been more than 20 minutes, and their friends had still not returned. After 30 minutes had passed since the first pair left, the others got tired of waiting. The next boy and girl decided to walk around the school and look for their friends.
The others waited and waited, but the second pair failed to come back. The remaining teenagers couldn’t understand what was happening. They began to wonder if their friends were playing a joke on them.
It had been almost an hour since the first pair had left. The third boy and girl pair nervously set off to try and find their missing friends. They never returned.
The boy and girl who remained behind were very nervous. The girl began to cry and the boy tried to comfort her.
Eventually, the boy said, “I’m going to look for the others. If I don’t come back after 30 minutes, go straight to the police.”
After he left, the girl stood alone in the cold and the dark, weeping silently. She waited an hour, but nobody came back. She got into the car, turned the keys in the ignition and drove to the nearest police station.
Four police officers accompanied the girl back to the school and, as dawn began to break, they launched a search for the seven missing teenagers. At first, they couldn’t find any sign of them on the school grounds but then they discovered that the side door of the old, disused school gym was standing open.
The police went inside, but it was empty. There was an eerie silence in the air. It was when they looked inside the toilet in the gym that they finally found the missing seven.
They were all hanging from the ceiling by their necks.
The police questioned the surviving girl and she swore that she had been telling the truth. The seven teenagers had gone to the abandoned school to test their courage. They had no reason to commit suicide.
However, after spending weeks trying to solve the mystery, the police finally closed the case, saying they could not find any evidence that the teenagers had been murdered. In the end, the incident was explained away as a case of mass hysteria.
The police claimed that the seven teenagers must have been involved in some sort of suicide pact.
To this day, nobody in that town will dare to venture out to the old abandoned school after nightfall.
Written by Geraldine Laetitia
The story of a haunted doll takes many forms, but the most popular in Japan is that of ‘Okiku’, a doll which resides at Mannenji Temple in Hokkaido.
Like all good legends, the story has many different versions which mix and match details to try and get the biggest reaction from the reader, but generally the spooky tale goes like this.
The doll was bought in Hokkaido in 1918 by a seventeen year old boy, Eikichi Suzuki, for his three year old sister called Kikuko (also called Kiyoko in other tellings). It is said she loved her new doll so much that she would take it everywhere with her, even sleeping with it in her bed.
The doll had an ‘okappa’ hair style, common in traditional Japanese dolls. The hair is cropped at around jawline length and has a short fringe over the forehead.
Tragically, Kikuko died a sudden death the following year after catching a cold. The family kept the doll at the household shrine for remembrance and prayed to it. They called the doll ‘Okiku’ after the child they lost. Slowly they started to notice something strange.
Okiku’s classic okappa haircut was slowly but surely growing. This was taken as sign that the doll was possessed by the girl’s restless spirit.
Years later in 1938, Kikuko’s father gave the Okiku doll to Mannenji temple to be looked after, since he and his family had to move to the mainland for work. Even today, you can go to the temple in Hokkaido to see Okiku for yourself, but photography is not allowed.
It is said that even a scientific examination of Okiku confirmed that the hair was that of a human child. Now the doll displayed at the temple has hair down to its knees and it supposedly continues to grow even after periodical trims. Who would be brave enough to give Okiku a hair cut? Apparently a priest of the temple had a dream conveying that this was the doll’s wish, and generally what haunted dolls want, haunted dolls get.
Another frightening claim is that the mouth of Okiku is slowly opening, and that if you dare to look inside you may be able to glimpse something like teeth growing…
Geraldine Laetitia is SC's resident researcher and content writer. She spends her day dealing with medical research studies and protocols, crunching numbers and closing business contracts, and by night she documents haunting histories, legends and lore for this section of Supernatural Confessions.