Beam me up!
A crash course in Thailand's UFO obsession
Interest in extraterrestrial things (and beings) make a comeback to the Thai collective consciousness, thanks to asteroid 2006 QQ23 flying by and a viral video in which a local man, who claims to be a medium of Pluto God, warns humanity of 2020 doomsday in an alien tongue. This got us thinking about the local interest in UFOs and aliens, and how Thailand is linked to alien stories in a way that you may not be aware of. We aren't saying we believe in Pluto God or trying to convince you one way or another but there are many pieces of evidence (of varying degrees of credibility) of alleged alien visits to the Land Of Smiles and they are too fascinating not to share.
Here's our crash course in Thailand's UFO obsession (pun very intended).
They come in pieces (of evidence)
On top of countless pictures and videos showing alleged alien visits in Thailand, there are stories and "evidence" to show that they are not a modern-day visitors.
- Two prehistoric paintings found in a cliff in Pha Taem National Park, Ubon Ratchathani, says it all. They were discovered on June 16, 1981, and are estimated to be 3,000-4,000 years old. Look at the curious-looking forms and shapes they depict. What do you see? If your answer is a group of beings in robes with high collars or cone-shaped heads, you're not alone. Also, look at the floating semi-fish-like beings. Were they some kind of primitive UFOs or was this a prehistoric painter with a very active imagination?
- In a report by Prof Dr Debhanom Muangman, the best-known alien enthusiast in Thailand, on his study of the UFO and its driver from 1997-1998, he claims that the extraterrestrial guests were here during the Sukhothai era. He cites the Trai Bhumikatha written by King Lithai, which contains a written account on a flying object/weapon. Its driver agreed to help a Thai king win a battle and then left the Earth. If true, it must be such slaughter. Laser beams and vaporising rays versus swords and shields.
(Photo: TAT & youtube.com/amarintvhd)
- A 2016 article by Rome Bunnag, published by Manager Online, discussed an unusual phenomenon at Phra Pathom Chedi, which is said to contain a Buddha relic, in Nakhon Pathom. And it may be of something out of this world. In gist, Rome retold a story about the chedi, which was occasionally known to glow with a mysterious aura and has been witnessed by many during the reigns of King Rama IV, King Rama V and King Rama VI. Sometimes red and yellow glowing stars are spotted atop the structure. King Rama IV, father of Thai science, ordered an investigation into the glow as he suspected phosphorus may have had something to do with it. But before a team could conduct an examination, a group of bees attacked the team, causing them to run away. Of course, the bee squad mysteriously vanished afterwards. Also, the role of phosphorus was debunked as it would work only if the chedi was heated by sunlight long enough, but it supposedly glowed even on rainy days. The mysterious phenomenon was chalked up to a Buddhist miracle. But could it possibly be alien-made?
- Fast forward to modern times. There are countless videos of pictures purported to be evidence of a UFO. Some are, of course, obviously fake while some may leave you uncertain. In April, a Korean passenger flying to Thailand on a Jeju aeroplane caught something curious from his wing-side seat and Daily Mail picked up on it. At first, he thought he saw another aeroplane but then a mysterious white object broke into six bits before moving around in three pairs. Were they just tiny bits of cloud that move around strangely?
Had he used a Huawei P30 Pro, we would have the definite answer by now.
The alien expert
Many of Dr Debhanom Muangman's claims are out of this world, too. The former university professor and Harvard alumni claimed his first UFO sighting took place when he was camping with friends in Vermont, US. It sparked his lifelong interest in extraterrestrials and, upon a suggestion from Dr Art-ong Jumsai, he started mediation in an effort to communicate with them. Later on, he claimed to be able to communicate with them -- Eddie of Pluto and Parasital of Mars, just to name two, -- and has collected photos of UFO sightings. His interest covers a wide range of paranormal phenomena, including ghosts, spirits, psychic experiences and reincarnation. He hasn't been seen in the public eye much in recent years due to an illness, according to Thai Rath published on August 19.
The UFO hotspot
Khao Kala in Nakhon Sawan is definitely Thailand's hotspot for all alleged UFO sightings. But have you wondered how it came to be?
The Khao Gala Group was founded in 1997 by Segt Maj Cherd Chuensamnaun, a retired soldier, who claimed to be able to contact extraterrestrials via mediation. The group first met Dr Debhanom at the 2nd Thailand Association for Psychological Research Fair at Ramkhamhaeng University in December 1997 and presented him with a recorded alien voice. Through supposed telepathy, Cherd claimed aliens told him where they would make an appearance in the sky. This led to sighting events in several provinces where many people gathered to see UFOs that year. They established a Buddhist centre in Khao Kala in 1998 where they claimed to have witnessed many UFOs while believers practice mediation in order to be able to communicate with aliens. Cherd passed away in 2000.
The truth is still out there.
To my best knowledge, there are only three movies in Thai film history that deal with the subject matter of aliens. Let's explore them.
- Mun Ma Gub Kwam Meud (Out Of Darkness), a 1971 film and the directorial debut by Prince Chatrichalerm Yukol, follows a meteorite, which lands in the Gulf of Siam, causing death and destruction on an island. A tentacle monster that comes with it possesses a local, who wreaks havoc like vapourising his victims with laser eye beams. A group of scientists and survivors unite to stop it from taking over Thailand, of course. Very ahead of its time, in my opinion.
Mun Ma Gub Kwam Meud (1971).
- Kawao Tee Bangpleng (Blackbirds At Bangpleng) is a sci-fi series penned by Mom Rajawongse Kukrit Pramoj and was originally published in Siam Rath before it was published as a book in 1989. The film adaptation came out in 1994 and is about the eponymous village where all women became pregnant on the night of moon halo at the same time. Of course, all of the offspring mysteriously conceived on that night possess a superpower complete with elf ears. Sound familiar? It is often compared to the plot of The Midwich Cuckoos, which two Village Of The Damned films are based on.
Kawao Tee Bangpleng (1994).
- Mah, a 1991 film by Lertrit Jansanjai, isn't as original as I would like it to be but is a solid B-grade monster fun. A group of uni students comes across mysterious eggs inside a cave and, as you do, takes one with them as a souvenir. The mother monster hunts them down to get her egg back but also captures a girl as a hostage. Marsha Vadhanapanich plays the strong female protagonist with short hair who faces the monster. Sound familiar? It streams now on iflix.
Mah (1991). (Photo: thaibunterng.fandom.com)
Raëlism and the Thai prime minister
Founded in 1974 by Claude Vorilhon, the UFO religion had a presence in Thailand, too. The teachings are that life on Earth was created by a species of humanoid extraterrestrials called "Elohim" (basically Ridley Scott's Prometheus plot). Since Dec 14, 2004, they announced former PM Thaksin Shinawatra an honorary priest of the International Raelian Movement for his action in countering violence in a creative and peaceful way. You see, Thaksin had planes drop thousands of "peace bombs", aka origami birds, to represent love and peace in the southernmost provinces of Thailand. In the same announcement, they claimed to have dozens of members in Thailand out of 30,000 in Asia.