Police arrested a self-proclaimed holy man who instructed his followers to consume his bodily fluids as remedies for their ailments in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum.
Following a tip that an elderly man’s followers had engaged in bizarre practices inside a thatched hut that served as his cult’s temple, police discovered 11 human cadavers in the makeshift place of worship.
The leader of the cult, a 75-year-old man with long white hair and a goatee, had reportedly proclaimed himself to supersede the deities of all faiths and instructed sick people who sought his help for various ailments to drink his urine and consume his feces and phlegm, according to police.
The man was detained after police discovered 11 corpses in as many wooden coffins inside his makeshift place of worship, although dozens of his followers, who call the elderly man their Phra Bida, or Holy Father, tried to stop officials from arresting the man.
Some cult members told police that the cadavers had been brought there so that their spirits could be sent to heaven through special rituals, but there have been allegations that the remains were used for bizarre spiritual or healing rituals.
Police said they would launch an investigation to determine the identity of the corpses and have charged the self-proclaimed holy man with several crimes, including setting up a medical facility without a license and violating a Covid-19 emergency decree.
Kraisorn Kongchalak, the province’s governor, said officials would ensure that the cult would be shut down because of its “disgusting” practices.
Superstitions remain pervasive in predominantly Buddhist Thailand where many put their faith in self-styled holy men, including shamans and Buddhist monks, who offer them occult cures and arcane spiritual practices.
Last month, in an incident shared widely on social media, a self-proclaimed exorcist called Ajarn Koongawee Seesayam expelled an evil spirit from a middle-aged woman’s private parts in the central province of Ratchaburi after the woman said she had been tormented by the spirit residing in her genitals for decades.
The exorcist and his assistant pressed what they called a “ghost-chasing stick” on the woman’s stomach and private parts while she remained clothed in order to expel the malicious spirit.
The woman said she had sought medical help for her condition before but these had been unsuccessful in driving out the demon from her genitals and so she sought help instead from the exorcist.
Beliefs in black magic persist in the country and regularly some locals make the news by claiming to have been cursed by ill-wishers who jinxed them with arcane rituals.
Periodically, the corpses of stillborn babies are also stolen from graveyards so that so-called kuman thong ghosts that take the form of children can be conjured up from them through occult rites.
This story appeared in UCA News, a Bangkok Herald partner.