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Folk Beliefs

Roommates

Ghost Story – Bangkok, Thailand

            “So this story happened at the University of Chiang Mai. There were these two girls who were roommates, and they were best friends too actually. They lived on the, like, seventh floor, I think. Anyway, one evening, one of the girls, let’s just call her B asked her friend if she wanted to go grab dinner. Her friend felt like she had a fever and also had to stay up late to study. B was pretty worried about her friend so B told her friend that it was okay, she can go eat by herself. Her friend then asked B to bring some food back to her, some Pad Thai if possible. B agreed and said she would hurry back with the food. As the night grew, it started to rain heavily. B’s friend was too tired to study and couldn’t concentrate, or something like that, and so she went to sleep. But, then, of course she was worried about B because it was getting late, the rain was getting super intense, and the roads do get slippery and dangerous, especially outside the campus area. So apparently B fell asleep. But then she woke up in the middle of the night and heard some noises and they were getting closer. At first she thought B had come back but then she then heard a knock on the door, and realized it couldn’t be B because B has the keys. She slowly opened the door but then found no one. The only thing she saw was a paper bag with Pad Thai in it. She wondered where B was, why B didn’t come in, why B disappeared so fast, and why there was a trail of water along the hallway. She didn’t think too much of it and ate the food and took her medicine.

            In the morning, she found out that B had been raped and killed last night. B’s body was a complete mess. The murderer must have hit B with an iron rod or something because her arms and legs were broken. The rumor was that B was so worried about her friend that she used her chin to drag her body up the stairs and all the way to her friend’s door to give her the food. So yeah, I thought this was a disturbing story but then I thought it was kind of sweet how much B loved her friend.”

My friend, Tiptara, who like me, is from Bangkok heard this story from a friend at her high school back in Thailand. This story is not the most popular story, but the context of haunted dorms is the same as many cultures. Thai colleges are said to be especially haunted because many students come from the most rural areas into the big cities and provinces to receive a higher education. The stress and pressure to fit in and adjust to the city life, which is significantly different from life in the suburban areas, cause a lot of suicides, crimes, and rapes, which is why stories about ghosts in dorms are told throughout Thai culture. My friend believes that there this story might have been merely a rumor but it is based on a true story. Rapes are common occurrences in universities, and the University of Chiang Mai is located in the northern province of Thailand, where many parts of the area surrounding the university are abandoned businesses and buildings that the local people there do not go to. This creates a dangerous atmosphere for the students.

I personally believe in ghosts, therefore, I think this story could have truly happened. However, I believe that the most crucial point of this story is to express the meaning of friendship and the fact that nothing, even death, can come between connections between two real friends. Friends that can be trusted, relied on, and have people’s best interests are difficult to find, especially in universities, where there are high competition rates.

Folk Beliefs
general
Narrative

Bad Karma

“Okay, so all I know is this very traditional Thai story, which was told by my grandfather. There was this guy, in his mid 30’s started hearing, like, dragging sounds everywhere he went. When he stopped walking, the sound stopped. It was almost as if someone was following him. He didn’t know what to do so he didn’t do anything. This happened for about two weeks. During the second week, an accident happened. This guy fell down the stairs in his own house and was admitted to the hospital as he injured his knee. He told the doctor that he felt like someone grabbed his leg, causing him to lose balance and fall. While he was lying in bed, he would hear the dragging sound again, which was strange because he wasn’t walking. Then he began to hear other noises, like people chattering but he was unable to make out the words at first. One day he figured out that the words were something like “kill…us…revenge…you died…killed…you killed…” but they weren’t proper sentences. He asked the doctor if he could leave the hospital because he wanted to pay a visit to the temple but the doctor said no. The guy had to tolerate the voices for three whole days. Finally he was able to leave the hospital. He went straight to the temple to make merits. The voices softened and then disappeared. The guy thought all was well so he stopped going to the temple. About a month later, the guy was crossing the road when he heard the voice whisper “revenge” and suddenly he was unable to move his legs. The guy was hit by a car, but luckily, he was only paralyzed. After he was able to leave the hospital, he went to see a monk. The monk told him that he had killed many people in his past life, so bad karma never left him, even in this life. The guy decided to spend the rest of his life as a priest so he could spend everyday of his life making merits and virtue to compensate for the sins from his past life.”

This story was memorable to the informant because he is Buddhist and his grandfather was an especially strong Buddhism devotee. The majority of Thai people are devoted to Buddhism, which highlights Karma as one of the main concepts. Karma is the belief that when one’s actions, speech, or thoughts are unethical, it would lead to consequences that follow one to either in the present life or the after life. In this story, the man was completely oblivious to what sins he had committed in his past life. Because this man had supposedly killed countless lives in his past, it resulted in consequences that almost took his own life in the present. This story demonstrates the fact that people cannot escape their sins and paying for their evils deeds is inevitable, if it does not occur in the present life, then it will occur in the life after.

I personally believe in this story. This is because I have heard from my family members and other friends that told me similar stories about good and bad karma. I also feel like every time I tell lies, even when they are just white lies, I am always guilty and always remember the Buddhism teachings. This story could be true or made up, but the message remains the same. What this story expresses is the fact that Buddhists should attempt to preform only good deeds and if they fail at doing so, they have to find a way to make merits to lessen the consequence. Making merits do not cancel out the sins committed, but people do feel better after, even if it is just psychologically.

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