A couple of stories in my book Spellbound in Chiangmai was inspired by the following piece of news.
In 1996, Thailand’s freakiest Buddhist monk roasted a dead baby to extract “magical” oil, which dripped from its charred corpse. Police arrested Harn Raksajit, popularly known as Aer, after publication of a photograph showing how he allegedly grilled the tiny victim.
Aer boasted he broiled the baby to create a much-feared babyish ghost known as Kumarn Tong, who is widely believed to possess powerfully hypnotic, manipulative abilities.
Aer insisted one of his devotees found a nine-month-old, apparently still-born baby near the temple in a black garbage bag, which was being chewed on by a dog.
The devotee brought it to Aer, asked the monk to cremate it, and paid him 20 US dollars for expenses, Aer added. The baby’s mother was never found.
Aer, 35, was ultimately defrocked for committing an indecent act with a corpse, and failing to report a death.
© Chan Joon Yee