I still haven't shared all of my personal experiences yet, although I do intend to. This is both due to still building up the courage to think back at some of them, and just simply find the inspiration required to put them in print.
So the story I will share now is actually from my fiancé (let's call him K), but I do find it really intriguing. I know his story to be true as I saw the fear in his eyes when he was thinking back at this. He is also a very honest and caring person (and being my fiancé he simply wouldn't succeed in lying to me even if he would like to, hehe).
A somewhat 10 years ago K got in trouble at work and ended up needing to find another job. At the time he was living in another province than what he is originally from, so when facing a quick end to the stable income, he had no nearby family to turn to and ended up crashing with a friend for a while, whilst figuring out what to do next. This friend was living with a girlfriend quite far out on the country side of Udon Thani. Their house was a typical Thai, two story building with a big dining area / living room on the ground floor and a sleeping loft above. It was located at the end of a small dirt road with no other buildings or people nearby.
Upon first arriving to the house K noticed various children's toys (such as dolls, plastic cars etc.) spread out all around the house and property. He found this very strange as he was completely unaware of his friend having any children, so naturally he asked him about this right away. "Oh, so you have a child?" his friend laughed and said "no, no, those are for the Kuman Thong"
For those of you who never heard of a Kuman Thong: From ancient times the Kuman Thong has been used in Thailand as a household divinity. It is common believes that keeping a Kuman Thong in your house brings good luck and fortune. All you need to do is buy one, and then keep it happy by offering it toys and sweet treats. For most people, to buy this would probably be to spend a small fortune. But it is very common in Thai culture to spend incredible amount of money on thing such as altars, amulets or tattoos of good fortune. Even if you don't really have the money (it will probably come back to you with all the luck it will bring sort if thinking).
The Kuman Thong is the trapped spirit from an unborn child. This child, having died so early or suddenly is unable to reincarnate. Therefore monks (or witch doctors) practicing black magic are able to trap the spirit and use it for their own benefit. This originates from the practice of necromancy. The Kuman Thong is created from a human fetus removed from the mother's womb before birth. In a horrifying ritual that includes roasting the feats dry at a cemetery, ceremonial chanting and sometimes even to soak it in oil extracted from the skin of a dead child or a person who died in violent circumstances or an unnatural death.
If you ask a Thai person they would probably tell you that the Kuman Thong was more likely made from the killing of the fetus (and sometimes even the mother), than from a stillborn. How anyone could live with this being a sources to your own happiness or luck is beyond me. I find it sickening to imagine keeping a spirit of an innocent child trapped rather than supporting them to move on.
Back to the story, K is religious and a very spiritual person but never really believed in these particular sort of legends or which crafts. He dismissed the whole thing as quite bizarre and frankly thought his friend was a bit off for keeping toys in the house for this reason.
The first evening he spent in the house they were all enjoying barbecue with more than a few beers to follow. When they finally went to bed K was sleeping on a mattress on the ground floor, while his friend and the girlfriend had their bedroom upstairs. After a few hours of sleep K suddenly woke up. He distinctly heard the sound of small, quick feet running up and down the stairs. K, being a big guy (body builder and Muay Thai trainer), wasn't easily scared of many things, but this really made him freeze in bed, listening as the small steps kept running quickly in the stairs and across the floor above. Naturally his thoughts went to the little altar with the Kuman Thong and he was really frightened. Eventually he still managed to convince himself that it was only some sort of animal making the sound and thus he was able to fall asleep again.
The following morning he mentioned the sounds to his friend, but the friend just shrugged it off, "yes, we have the Kuman Thong. I already told you" and it seemed that this didn't bother him in any way. He clearly had no problem with this, as he knew the Kuman Thong was there to protect and bring luck to the household. He had willingly, knowingly invited it. K didn't understand how something so terrifying could be shrugged off so easily, but being in full daylight and knowing that he had been quite drunk the night before, he decided not to let it bother him.
That same night he went to bed without having any drinks before, but yet again woke up to the sound of footsteps. The steps were too quick and light to be from an adult and K knew there was only him, his friend and the girlfriend in the house. Furthermore, houses in cities in Thailand are usually always connected and built very closely, enabling sounds to travel between homes. But this house was completely freestanding with no chance of the sound coming from a neighbor. K even went around the house looking for tree branches and alike that could make the sounds, but came up with nothing.
This continued every night and things seemingly started to escalate. K was terrified, but desperate situations calls for desperate measures and so he chooses to stay. He tried, for many nights to shut out the sound of a child's running, but could not ignore the toys that would be moved to different places in the morning. Sometimes he even heard the toy cars outside being rolled across the yard.
One night he clearly heard the sound of a child's laughter coming from the very room he was sleeping in. Terrified and unable to move, he stayed in bed all night waiting for the sun to rise. The sound of feets running and cheeky children's laughter kept on going all night. When the morning finally came K packed up his belongings, and left.
There are many weird traditions in different cultures, but for me this one isn't something that can be easily understood. I wonder if this really is the child's spirit or if something else is captured during the ritual. If it is a child, then I really wish that someday these poor spirits are freed. Even if they are cared about and prayed to, as if they're something divine, this surely can't be their place.