via South China Morning Post, 25 October 2019: Not archaeological, but interesting from an anthropological point of view. The belief in spirits is widespread across Southeast Asia.
It isn’t the spirits of the trees that worry some people in the neighbourhood, though. It’s the suspected presence of ghosts in the house.
“It’s a deserted place and looks scary,” says Suwanna Sukwiboon, 75, an impish Thai-Chinese grandmother who lives nearby with her husband, Tanapon, a retired car salesman. “I’m terrified of ghosts. If I see so much as a shadow, I’ll flee,” she adds with a chuckle.
The couple have fortified their home against baleful influences with an eclectic collection of religious objects. Laminated pictures of venerated Buddhist monks hang from their anteroom’s ceiling. On one wall-mounted shelf stand porcelain figurines of Chinese deities. On another are effigies of Hindu gods and goddesses.
“After dark, children don’t go near that house,” Suwanna says. “Nor do I.”
The abandoned dwelling, locals theorise, is perhaps haunted by kuman thong – childlike apparitions conjured up by witch doctors from aborted foetuses or stillborn babies. Or, perhaps, it is home to a phi am, a female demon who paralyses people in their sleep by squatting on them.