Tag Archives: Myanmar

Burmese Protective Women

Background: The informant is a student studying in the United States but originally from Myanmar. He did not personally experience the encounter but heard about it from his mother who he trusts greatly. 

Me: Where did you hear the story you’re about to tell? 

KZ: This is from my mom‘s perspective;I heard it from her first. 

Me: Tell me about the encounter. 

KZ: When my mom was in high school, well, I need to tell you more context of everything for it to make sense. So my grandma was a high school teacher and she lived with my mom, my aunt and four siblings. They lived in the city but my grandfather is a cop, or he’s a detective, so he gets assigned random cases around the country so he would do six months in random places. My grandfather was in this town out in the middle of nowhere and then my mom had summer break so he was told well you’re a girl and you’re free so you shouldn’t be here. You should be a volunteer tutoring for summer school so my mom went to his village and it was just my grandfather in this metal Lakehouse. My mom was often alone there and he would be away most of the time. So one day she came home and its traditional houses so with really long legs elevated so it doesn’t get flooded and then there’s like a staircase at the back, right, so my mom was minding her own business, it was like 4pm, and she was cycling back home and she saw a woman with traditional clothes walk up the stairs in the back. So my mom was like oh shit there’s a thief, because my mom is like no bullshit, and she’s like I’m gonna catch this thief. She ran inside and went into all the rooms but she was gone. She didn’t see her come out so she thought the thief had just left.

Me: And I am assuming it wasn’t just a thief? 

KZ: Yeah this was her first encounter she remembers with the ghost thing or whatever. 

Me: When was the next time she remembers encountering the woman? 

KZ: Well, she often had to spend some nights alone because my grandfather had to do shit for his job. Often at night she would be in bed and she would always hear someone walking outside her balcony but thought it was something like water dripping on it. Whatever, my mom was like wow this is annoying and always got up to make sure there’s like no one outside. My moms like OK whatever I don’t have time for this but then it would keep happening so my mom got really pissed. She’s like well if you’re a spirit than fuck you cause I need to work tomorrow and like I don’t have time for this bitch. So she’s like whatever but then her siblings come for a vacation or for like three days and then they also experience the same shit. Like someone was just trying to bother them for no reason. Then my uncle, he gets super annoyed easily right, he would take a nap and someone would poke him. He asked my mother, why are you bothering me but it wasn’t her. So then one time he just pretended to be asleep and when someone poked him, like this, he grabbed it and then he just saw a hairy hand. He was like WHAT THE FUCK. At this point they realized that something was going on. So there’s a storage room and my uncle went in there and then he pulled out his dick and he pissed. He was like fuck you, if you’re a spirit living here then I you can only get my dick! He’s like fuck you don’t fuck with me again. 

Me: Haha I don’t know if that was a smart move. Do you know what this thing was? 

KZ: Yeah, there were other times at night when my grandfather was away and my grandma got haunted. She was in bed with my mom and my aunt and there was someone that kept walking on the roof. My grandma started cussing and then someone dropped something huge, so the whole house just shook. She was then like oh shit what the fuck, are we being attacked by some random people. Also my grandfather found a pink heart, and they are kind of freaked out by now. My grandfather was like “yeah I didn’t tell you guys but there are these different types of spirits in our culture. There are these female spirits whose job is basically to protect certain people and certain places.” They’re just the maintenance workers. He was like yeah there’s two of them who have been very protective of this house and protective of me. So, it turns out they really like my grandfather, they’re possessive of him, so they were really annoyed when my mom came because she’s another girl and when my grandmother came because she’s, you know, another woman that’s in my grandfather’s life. My grandfather was pretty attractive I guess. 

Me: Did they ever go away or anything? Or did the encounters just continue? 

KZ: Well he had promised them that he would bring them back to the main city one day because there is a pagoda in my city, it’s like one of the biggest monuments in the world. He basically promised them that when he goes into the city he would bring them to the pagoda so that they can do some good deeds and they can escape because they wanna move on. He then went to the pagoda and was like do whatever you want now, you’re free to go. After that all of that stuff ended, because all they wanted was to protect my grandfather. They wanted to escape this so when he finally just left them alone like nothing really happened after that. 

Me: What do you think it was?

KZ: I don’t really know. Like I believe that my mother experienced it, but I don’t know how to explain it or like what it actually is. 

The story was told to me in person while sitting next to the informant. 

My Thoughts: It is an interesting situation where the information himself did not experience it, but his mother did, and because he trusts his mother so much he believes this story as much as if he had experienced it.  Personally I think that this story is very interesting and I find myself believing that the experiences were real, although, like the informant, I am sceptical of the explanation for the events. 

Hungry Ghost (Preta) in Burma

My room mate, ThawZin, is from Burma. He is a Buddhist, and is very religious. This is the story he told me from his country.


ThawZin: “First, some background info! In Buddhism we have different classes for spirituality. There are the demigods at the top, followed by humans, animals, hungry ghosts, then devils. Hungry ghosts are what we call ‘preta’ (pronounced pale-tar). Pretas are people, who, when they were alive, were greedy and malicious. Their death is usually caused by a greedy act they brought upon themselves. You know… pretas are actually pitied by humans, because they have to face suffering, but they deserve it. It’s karma. They are invisible, but they can scare mortals. They like eating the gooey shit coming from meat and other things, haha! That is why, every time I go to the market with my mom, we always have to spit on the floor, so that they won’t follow us. Their appearance: they have big bellies, and small heads. The big bellies symbolize how greedy they are, you know… They want so much, but the little head, little face, little mouth, symbolize that they can’t get anything, can’t get shit, you know? Haha!


Anyway so the story… my mother told me this before. In Burma there’s this guy. He was fucking greedy during his life time. One day he was really hungry. He loved eating intestines, so he went to his wife and said, ‘Where the fuck is my food?!” But the wife didn’t have anything prepared. He was so angry, so he went to the barn and, you know, he cut the tongues of the cows there while they were still alive! I mean the cows were still alive, and he just cut them, and so they were bleeding and shit. The cows were like… mooing the whole night, haha!  And they died a slow, painful death. He went to his wife, threw the cow tongues down at the table and told her to cook them for him. So the wife did. As he was eating the cow tongues, suddenly his own tongue started to dissolve. You know, it dissolved all the way to his insides. But karma did not kill him yet, it made him suffer. The cow tongue just dissolved his insides for days, until he died. He died just like the cows… a slow, painful death. When he died, that is when he became a preta. Well, he was reborn as a preta.”


Me: “Where in Burma was this? I mean, is there a specific place where he haunts?”


ThawZin: “Oh yes! It is in the old first kingdom of Burma, in Bagan.


Me: “Do people avoid that place?”


ThawZin: “Oh not at all! Actually you know, when he died, his preta was located under the ground. And then one day farmers in Bagan found that one part of… you know, the ground, started becoming fleshy. And that’s when they figured out that there was a preta there. They don’t avoid it. They constantly plow over the land, again and again. The greedy guy has to suffer again and again, getting plowed, but they can’t do anything about him. It’s karma, man. He deserves what came to him, and he has to stay there until he has repaid his debt, his bad karma.”


ThawZin’s story shows a lot about the Burmese culture, especially about the strength of the people’s belief in Buddhism. For one, the whole idea of a preta ghost is based on Buddhist beliefs in spiritual hierarchy and rebirth. As well, he says that even though people pity these pretas, when the farmers found out that there was a preta under the ground, they still plowed over him, again and again, even if it made the preta suffer, because they believed in the Buddhist concept of karma: that people deserve what is coming to them, good or bad. In many ways, his story also comes as a story of morality, particularly for the idea that greed and blind rage are unwanted negatives that will get you in trouble, and will follow you even after you die, in your rebirth, or the afterlife.