Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Phi of the Day: Phi Hai or Phi Tay Hong

So, in our ongoing research and expansion of our understanding of the supernatural traditions in Southeast Asia, for a few weeks we'll look at different phi and other creatures connected or likely to be connected to the region.

In Thailand, one of the many Phi is the Phi Hai, also known as a Phi Tay Hong. The same term is used in Laos.

This type of spirit inhabits places or areas where someone has died an unanutural or violent death. You'll be able to identify them because they're easily offended and like to possess a victim for any reason, if they're given the excuse and opportunity. They are usually hungry and amoral according to the more common accounts.

Most folklore suggests they can be tempted to give up the host they're possessing in exchange for an offering of some sort. If the Phi Hai is being stubborn, an exorcism with incantations and lustral water can be used, and in more extreme cases, whipping apparently is enough to set things back to normal.

Although you had best be prepared to explain to everyone why you were whipping someone if it goes that far.

What are stories you've heard or remember about phi hai?

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