via Coconuts Bangkok, 30 October 2020: Not archaeological, but interesting from a sacred landscapes/animist cult perspective. Ai Khai is the spirit of a mischevious boy, supposedly from the late Ayutthaya period, who has gained a resurgence in popularity in Nakhon Si Thammarat province for his ability to grant wishes.
In the 1980s when the Cold War still raged in the kingdom, a unit of paramilitary rangers was sent south to Nakhon Si Thammarat to crack down on the communist movement. Once there, they set up a temporary base camp inside an ancient temple.
All through their first night, the rangers were unable to sleep as they were vexed by a formless poltergeist. It pulled their arms and legs. Knocked their heads. Move their guns. By morning, their weapon racks were toppled, and they were convinced some very mischievous spirit was at play.
The next morning, locals heard about their miserable night and let them in on their secret: Their juvenile tormentor had a name, “Ai Khai,” a spirit they said had guarded the grounds for hundreds of years, since the late Ayutthaya period. They said it was occasionally spotted in the form of a boy, about 9, running naked around the temple.The boy, Khai, was said to be a student and servant of a veteran monk who was heading north on a pilgrimage to Ayutthaya. Passing through Nakhon Si Thammarat, the pair stopped at a monastery. The monk, with his advanced sensitivity to the metaphysical, realized the monastery would become a significant Buddhist site, so he tasked the boy with a new purpose. “You shall stay here, for the graciousness and prosperity of this place in the future, a milestone for the religion,” he told him.