Fallen Cities

Some of the more strange places that you will run across Spirit Houses apart from your hotel, resort or villa are at certain curves in the road. As you are driving past these locations, you will be jolted from your seat as Thai motorists honk their horns repeatedly at the houses, awakening the spirits and acknowledging their presence, not as you might first imagine because of your bad driving.

Spirit house along the roadway to appease the spirits of people who died in crashesThe theory is that if the spirits who haunt the place are given a home, they will not spitefully endanger the drivers who must pass this way. Some Spirit Houses along the roadways have been built to appease the tormented spirits of people who died violent deaths in crashes at these sites.

When changes dictate that a new Spirit House be created, a ceremony will be held to transfer the spirit from the old Spirit House to the new. After that, the old Spirit House can be discarded. The higher Spirit House is for heaven-bound spirits, the four-legged house is for the earth-bound spiritsMany find new residence near a Temple or Wat, but usually at a place where other spirit houses have been left behind. So it is not uncommon to see many old Spirit Houses jumbled together in one place, resembling a fallen city all on its own. So as you pass by these small ‘Spirit Cities’, do not be frightened by the cacophony of sounds emerging from every type of vehicle that passes, but stop and have a close look at what offerings have been made. Perhaps you may even want to make an offering of your very own, for the spirits of another world.

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2 Responses to Fallen Cities

  1. Why are there usually 2 Spirit Houses together, one smaller and one taller?

    • You will most often see two Spirit House right next to one another. One is higher than the other and is supported on one pillar, while the other is lower and is supported by four pillars. The higher Spirit House is reflectively for the sky or heaven-bound spirits and is effectively floating in the air. The four-legged house is for the earth-bound spirits, hence it’s link to the ground. It also often has steps or a ladder leading up to the front and because it is of a lesser status than the higher more elaborate shrine, it is more of a plainly embossed and glittery Spirit House reflecting the lower rank of the earth-bound dwellers.

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