For countless generations, superstitions have loomed large in the Thai psyche, often interweaving themselves into hundreds of horrifying tales, both factual and fictitious. Regardless of one's inclination to believe in them, there is no denying that a few real-life events in our fine city send shivers down the spine. Guru has listed places in the city with purported paranormal activity and macabre pasts. If you dare to experience them, you have been warned: proceed with caution.
The Red Elevator
Ever been alone in an elevator with the eerie feeling that you might be travelling with "company"? Or debating with yourself whether ghosts exist? Then the following might intrigue you. During the Oct 6, 1976 event, which saw a crackdown on student activists at Thammasat University, a group of students fled into an elevator hoping to escape the army that had invaded the campus. However, they were discovered and shot dead inside the elevator, resulting in the elevator being completely spattered by blood, some of which could not be removed. The university decided to paint the lift red to cover the stains and from then, it received the rather ominous name, "Lift Daeng", which translates as "red elevator" in English.
Rumour has it that many former students and professors have witnessed odd experiences in the elevator. A few who used the lift alone say they suddenly felt suffocated and others describe seeing dark shadows encircling their own reflection in the lift's mirror. But the most goosebump-inducing account involves students noticing fresh blood stains in the lift. Taking into consideration many such horrifying incidents reported by students and the faculty, and the deteriorating condition of the lift, the university ordered its removal. However, it conserved the elevator's bright red door at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, to commemorate the Thammasat University massacre.
Photo © 123rf.com
Man In The Red Shirt
Daily life in jail is not pleasant and―we don't have to experience it to know it. Movies and TV shows often depict the inside of a cell as a dirty concrete box with iron bars. From 2007 to 2014, conditions were much worse at the Crime Suppression Division with the presence of a haunting spirit. It is referred to as "man in the red shirt", by many prisoners and officials, who have witnessed it in the building.
Chalard Senarat, who was arrested on rape charges, committed suicide in his cell by hanging himself with a piece of cloth. Since then, prisoners who have been imprisoned in the same cell or ones nearby always tell stories of being awoken up at night by a "man in a red shirt". He, apparently, encourages them to hang themselves in their cells, advising that it is the only way to escape their sentence. According to reports, Sakchai Uttala, a high school teacher, charged with the rape of one of his students attempted to hang himself in the cell. Officials managed to stop Sakchai before he succeeded, only to find out later that once released from jail, he hung himself at home. Many traumatic experiences were reported by prisoners that officials decided to host religious rites in and around the cell, hoping to repel the spirit. But the situation did not get better. In 2014, they finally tore down the building and all the iron bars were melted down, with no intention of using any of the materials ever again.
Photo: Thanarak Khunton
Thaifah Group Building
Have you driven past a "new" 30-floor building on Theparat Road in Bang Na lately? It is officially open for office rentals, has a glossy look and posh design. Despite the makeover, anyone who has heard of the building's not-at-all-secret history, would not think of going near the place. The building was formerly known as Thaifah Group Building. In 1997, the year of the Tom Yum Goong crisis shook Thailand, construction on many buildings throughout Bangkok were brought to a screeching halt. Some were reconstructed after things got back to normal while others were abandoned. The Thaifah Group Building was one of the latter.
In the 20 years it has been deserted, five horrifying incidents have taken place. Three people jumped off the building and died, one person was brutally murdered in the building and a man was discovered a few days after he hung himself with a note for a girlfriend, who had recently left him, that read, "Try to remember what was good. Sorry is not enough". Many locals bore witness to dark windows moving at night, while people who often drove or walked by the place noticed a blurry figure of a man sitting with his legs hanging off the building. The building has been acquired by a Chinese investment group, which has turned it into a commercial office space. Set to open its doors sometime this year, the building offers office space.
Photo: Google Maps
Wat Phai Ngoen Chotana Ram
In 2010, a local man, who lived near Wat Phai Ngoen, caught sight of a dog tearing open a big plastic bag filled with baby parts. He reported what he saw to the police, who then followed the dog back to Wat Phai Ngoen's storage room, which was crammed with piles of plastic bags. In the bags were body parts of more than 2,000 dead babies and foetuses. An investigation unearthed the fact that the temple cremators had been paid by an illegal abortion clinic for years to get rid of the bodies. However, due to the crematorium's breakdown, they were unable to dispose of the bodies and decided to stack them up inside the storage room. Following the discovery, the bodies were ritually cremated, according to Buddhist funeral rites. Villagers reportedly say they can still hear babies crying at night in the temple and some have captured blurred figures of babies when they take photographs inside the temple.
Photo: Somchai Poomlard
Walking into Ratchaprasong intersection, your nose is instantly assaulted by the overwhelming fragrance of burning incense from every corner of the street. Not surprising though, as this area is known to be the "Intersection of the Gods", with seven shrines -- Erawan, Ganesha, Trimurti, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Laksmi, Amarindradhiraja and Goddess Uma -- built to protect businesses from bad luck. With the many unfortunate events that have happened around the intersection, like the 2010 Red Shirt protests and the bombing inside Erawan Shrine in 2015, many Thais believe the area is cursed. After the death of Prince Chudadhuj Dharadilok, who used to own the land, a curse has been put on anyone who deprived this land from the prince's descendants. There are rumours that free-roaming ghosts, demons and guardian spirits angered that the land is not being used respectfully, are causing horrible events to occur. The numerous shrines are intended to ward off these malevolent forces.
Photo: Wisit Thamngern
Pratu Phi (Samran Rat Intersection)
Ever wondered why the area around Samran Rat intersection has always been referred to as "Pratu Phi" (Ghost Gate) among Thais? Located in the old town between Bamrung Mueang Road and Thanon Maha Chai Road, the area is known for late-night food -- think big names like Jay Fai and Pad Thai Pratu Phi. But if you dig deep into its past, it is easy to understand why the area has such a spooky name. In the early Rattanakosin era, King Phutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I) had ordered the construction of city walls, gates and fortifications around the city to protect it. Attached on all the gates were holy amulets that helped to ward off evil spirits from entering the inner city, except on the west-facing gate that was used solely for carrying out the dead from the city, since bodies were not allowed to be cremated within city walls.
Photo: Samarn Sudto
Today, Samran Rat Intersection sits where the gate used to be. Between the reigns of Rama I and Rama V, a cholera pandemic wreaked havoc in the city, resulting in a great deal of death. Each day, hundreds of bodies were carried out through that one gate to Wat Saket, where bodies were thrown into a large pit. The corpses were arriving in such unprecedented numbers that the temple's crematorium could not burn them fast enough. While they lay rotting awaiting cremation, vultures descended on the dead and fed on the rotting flesh. If you are curious to see what that might look like, the internet can provide numerous gory images, but you may find it more interesting to head over to Wat Saket, to see wax vultures feasting on dead bodies, which are on display in the temple's garden. Today, thanks to the street food scene, there is not so much a "ghostly" feel in the area at nightfall, despite its grisly history. Imagine walking through Pratu Phi in darkness, without all the food stalls...
The Ghost Tower
Nicknamed the Ghost Tower, the 49-story-high Sathorn Unique Tower has its own freaky tales after being left unoccupied for more than 29 years. The building has become a popular urban exploration checkpoint for tourists who seek out paranormal activities, especially after a Swede hung himself on the 43rd floor in December 2014. Work began on Sathorn Unique Tower in 1990 but the Asian financial crisis seven years later caused the building to join the ranks of many that were left unfinished. However, many do not believe that the crisis was the real reason behind the failure in completion. Instead, they blame bad luck, on account of the tower sitting on land that used to be a graveyard and casting a shadow onto Yan Nawa Temple. Although the building has security guards preventing entry, this does not seem to stop tourists.
Photo © Worawut Tawina/123rf.com
Located in the alley of Ramkhamhaeng 103, the Aeroplane Graveyard contains the shells of a few aircraft left to deteriorate. The land is owned by a businessman who sells parts of the planes for scrap. While many tourists go there for the cool IG shots, locals have a less cheerful relationship with the place. They recount hearing screams of agony from the McDonnell Douglas MD-82 jetliners (the same type of aircraft involved in the One-Two-GO Airlines Flight 269 crash in Phuket International Airport in 2007 that killed 89). However, thanks to the presence of a few families that have since taken residence in these aircraft, the graveyard appears to be less scary. If you are planning to visit, prepare to pay an entrance fee to these families. There is no fixed price and they normally charge between B200 and B300 per person. Though there are rumours that the place might be turned into something else in the near future, with construction of the MRT Orange Line being carried out front.
Photos: Bas Glaap/Unsplash.com