Hungry Ghosts – Buddhism and Thai Folklore

As I understand it ‘Hungry Ghosts’ are a product of Karma, and a punishment dealt through the process of reincarnation for a life lived selfishly and to excess. The crime for becoming a hungry ghost following your death could best be explained as being a combination of the Catholic cardinal sins (Seven Deadly Sins) of ‘Greed’, ‘Lust’ and ‘Gluttony’.
In physical appearance hungry ghosts are depicted as having huge bloated stomachs, and tiny necks or mouths through which it is impossible to ever pass enough food to sate its appetite and quench its hunger.
"Mouths the size of a needle's eye and a stomach the size of a mountain"
Some believe that following death and subsequent transformation those who are turned into hungry ghosts lurk in the shadows of our world, continuing their futile efforts to achieve satisfaction, by feeding on the emotions and actions of the living.
Hungry Ghosts and the Cardinal Sins
The Sanskrit word for a hungry ghost is ‘Petra’ which means ‘departed one’ and as mentioned above transformation following death into a hungry ghost is associated with the crimes of greed, lust and gluttony.
‘Gluttony’ is described as the cardinal sin of over-indulgence, or over consumption of anything to the point of waste and is usually associated with an excessive desire for food. ‘Greed’ is similar to gluttony but is usually associated more with the pursuit of wealth, status or power, and in particular to the gaining of material wealth through the practises of violence, trickery or manipulation. ‘Lust’ like greed and gluttony is another sin of excess, and is associated with the unrestrained desire for sexual pleasures.
Thailand and Hungry Ghosts
'The hungry ghosts are the most common of our indigenous ghouls, and I’m not entirely surprised to find him in a go-go club, for they feed on every kind of vice. They bring bad luck and the only repellent is a visit to the temple and an expensive exorcism by the monks. Every bar in Thailand has its tales of girls who were contracted to spend a night with a Falang, only to flee into the night because the Falang had chosen an old run-down hotel infested with these filthy spirits, waking to find an apparition greedily lapping at the used condom the Falang had been to lazy to dispose of'. – Bangkok 8, John Burdett.
Hungry Ghosts and the Bhava Chakra
Hungry ghosts occupy the 3rd realm of the Bhava Chakra, otherwise known as the ‘Preta-Gati’. The Bhava Chakra (or ‘Wheel of Life’) is divided into six realms encompassing the different cycles of death and rebirth. As with all things Buddhist the state of being a hungry ghost is temporary, and whilst I have described it above as a punishment, it may also be perceived as being a beneficial learning experience through which the soul is encouraged to learn from previous mistakes, in order to avoid them in future lives, and achieve enlightenment.
The Buddha within the realm of the hungry ghosts distributes the gifts of the Gods from within a bowl, seeking to entice the hungry ghosts into desiring ‘truth’ over physical pleasures, for it is said that only through this desire for the truth can the appetites of the hungry ghosts ever truly be satisfied.

Hungry Ghost Captured in a Malaysian Cemetery?

Is Buddha a God, a Man, or Something Inbetween?

A few weeks back now I received a comment on another article of mine in which I stated that ‘Buddha is Thailand's most beloved Deity’, that went something a little like this: ‘I’d just like to point out to the culturally challenged writer that Buddha is not a God...’, and so on, by a visitor I’d either upset with my more poetic than encyclopedic observation, or by someone who was just seeking an opportunity to be smug, and self righteous.

However, while I knew their comment to be true, in the sense that Buddha is not considered to be a God in the same way as those of other religions, there is some confusion surrounding just exactly what Buddha is.

In my own simplified understanding of the situation I’ll admit to thinking of Buddha, or the Buddhas, as a little like the Jedi Knights of Star Wars fame. As enlightened beings who like the Jedi elevate themselves through their dedication to a chosen path, to become more than just man.
Buddha never claimed to be a God. He lived, he ate, he died. Or at least his physical form did. But that hasn’t prevented him from being revered in the same manner as the omnipotent Deities of monotheistic religions. In Thailand Buddha is everywhere. From the towering statues and monuments found within temples to the small figurines on the dashboards of taxis. Fighting for space with pictures of the King of Thailand, few corners are left untouched from this feast of adoration.
And prayer to the Buddha is as common as to that of other Gods, with Thai people praying for anything from good health and long life, protection, and peace of mind, through to a winning lottery ticket. Making it difficult for the outsider to perceive any real difference between the Buddha, and any other divine being.
Is Buddha a God?
So Buddha is the teacher, the enlightened one, and a soul who never claimed to be anything more than a mere mortal, just like the rest of us. Suggesting that we too over lifetimes of dedication to the search for Nirvana could become a Buddha also. However, could it be that over the years since his passing, through the passion of all those who unquestioningly follow his teachings, that despite any protests the Buddha himself might have made, he has become a God to his people, for all intents and purposes?

Sleep Paralysis, Shadow People and Old Hag Syndrome - 'While You Sleep'

What is Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is the term used to describe a state of paralysis that grips the body usually shortly after waking, but occasionally before falling asleep. Scientifically it is thought to be a part of the natural sleep cycle known as 'REM' (rapid eye movement). The human body excretes hormones into the blood-stream whilst sleeping in order to limit locomotion, i.e. to stop you getting up and wandering around in the night (a lack of this hormone is thought to be the cause of sleep walking, etc.). Sleep paralysis is thought to occur when the brain awakes but the body is still under the influence of these enzymes. These episodes are often accompanied by nightmarish hallucinations, and a heightened sense of helplessness and fear.
This condition of sleep paralysis is well documented and is often connected with the paranormal, in Vietnam it is known as 'Ma De - held down by a ghost', in China it is known as 'Pinyin - body pressured by a ghost', in Iceland it is known as 'Mara - Devil sitting on your chest trying to suffocate you', and so on, around the globe this condition is believed by many to be associated with some form of ghostly/demonic attack upon the soul. And you never know, scientists have been known to be wrong before...
Old Hag Syndrome - Sleep Paralysis
Old Hag Syndrome - Sleep Paralysis
While you sleep
“The good news is”, said the doctor, “is that your are neither crazy, nor are you possessed”, which is the kind of good news that one is always happy to receive, “it’s all very simple” the doctor continued, “although I do understand your concern, but it’s all very natural you see, a slight distortion of the natural cycle, often brought about by stress”.
I hadn’t felt particularly stressed, at least, not until after the first incident, “You see, it’s all to do with enzymes and so on, a defence mechanism of sorts” The doctor informed me, “It’s known as ‘sleep paralysis’, essentially the brain releases chemicals which shut down the body, to prevent you from attempting to live out your dreams whilst you sleep, in fact…” he continued, “it’s almost the exact opposite of sleep walking, in which those inflicted don’t produce enough of said enzymes to keep them suitably bed bound whilst resting. “The problem is that your mind is waking, whereas your body is not, essentially leaving you stranded somewhere between the conscious and the subconscious.”
It was good to know that there was a sound scientific explanation, ‘sleep paralysis’ I mused appreciating the solidity of the term, and the complete lack of nonsense it projected, because the first time I’d experienced it, I’d been terrified, and the second and third time; even more so.
Each time I awoke instantly enveloped by an intense feeling of unease, a strong sense of not being alone in the darkness that sent shivers pulsating through me, a primal instinct triggered within me that would have sent me fleeing like prey from predator, shook me, but was unable to preserve me, because I was completely unable to move.
I wanted nothing more then to run for the light switch like a child scared of the dark, I could feel something without eyes watching me, and then worse still, I could feel something without hands touching me, sitting astride me, pinning me down. My body failed me whilst my eyes and mind did not, I found my self staring into an emptiness that had taken on being, and could feel the face it didn’t have mere inches from mine, mocking me, as it pinned me down tight to the bed.
Like a man with no other salvation to call upon, I began to pray to myself frantically, not with lips, but inside of my head, and I’d never considered my self a religious man, until now, as I begged for God to save me from this terrible nightmare.
And then it was over, my body rejoined me, and I ran for the light, and whether I was saved by divine intervention, or merely awoke from a terrible dream I would find it difficult to say, but the first time wasn’t the last time, and after several more episodes such as these, I no longer slept in the dark.
And the light keeps me safe, it really does, and I laugh along with those I tell, a grown man scared of the dark, they laugh, and I laugh, because I’d rather laugh and be laughed at; then face that terror again.
‘The old hag’ some call it, and it’s known the world around, in Vietnam it’s called ‘Ma De’ meaning ‘held down by a ghost’, and in Iceland it is known as ‘Mara’ meaning ‘Devil on your chest’, and it’s as old as time itself. And if you’ve ever listened to anybody recall their experience, from little girl to hulking great giant of a man, the one thing they will always have in common, is the fear, still in their eyes as they tell their story.
But science is infallible, and if the good doctor tells me that there is nothing to worry about more than perhaps the need to get a little more exercise, and eat more fruit and veg, to drink less alcohol, and smoke less cigarettes, and above all to try and get a good nights rest, then it seemed reasonable enough to believe him, “Enzymes” I said to myself as I turned off the light and climbed into bed, “Who’d have believed it”.
I tried to scream, but I couldn’t, I tried to run, but I couldn’t, ‘its only enzymes… it’s only enzymes…’ I repeated over and over inside my head, but whatever it was sat astride me; it didn’t believe me. Absolute terror flooded through me, I was helpless to fight it, pinned beneath something I could only sense and couldn’t see, and then I heard it clearly, and wished that I hadn’t, “the good news is…” it said “is that you’re not going crazy”, “the bad news is….”,
‘Help me God, help me God, help me God, help me God...’
“The bad news is…” it told me, “is that we come for you whilst you sleep”.

Sleep Paralysis - Terror in the Night

Sleep Paralysis Documentary

"Evil Kids" Movies - Psycho Killer Children on Film

As a child of about nine, I made the mistake of drawing at school, a shop full of swords and knives. A picture that other parents may have took as nothing more than the kind of interest that many young boys display in the weapons sported by the cowboys, soldiers, and samurai, that were the staple of comic books of the time. However, not my mother. Because from that day onwards. I could see in her eyes. Like the gruesome pictures often drawn by the children in the movies that follow, that my innocent (or so I’d thought) picture, was a sign, of the impending psychotic killing sprees that would sooner-or-later follow at my hands.
Evil Kids in the Movies

And while, to date, I have so far resisted the urge to bash the brains in of family pets, or to set the family home on fire, killing all inside. The children at the center of these ‘Evil Kid’ movies, show no such restraint. Twisting the minds of those who would attempt to love these depraved little brutes, before, with instruments blunt, and/or sharp. They prove that while blood may indeed be thicker than water, both, are just as easily spilt.
Amazon Price: $2.99
‘Eccentric’, is probably the kindest way of describing Joshua, the nine year old son of the Cairns family. Talented and intelligent beyond his years, Joshua, grows increasingly jealous following the birth of his baby sister. And as his jealousy grows, so does the level of terror that Joshua inflicts upon those that surround him. Disturbingly calculating, Joshua, is a perfect example of the kind of psycho killer child my own mother half expected me to grow up to be. If you haven’t already seen it, and you’re a fan of the evil kid genre, Joshua is a must!
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List Price: $14.98

Adopting an orphan can be a rewarding, and life-changing experience. Although, as demonstrated in the movie ‘Orphan’, it could also ultimately turn out to be, a life-ending one, as Kate, and John Coleman find out soon after adopting Esther. This quirky nine year old Russian girl, with a penchant for the macabre, and brutal, tears the Coleman family apart with aplomb. Before finally giving up her dark secret...
The Good SonThe Good Son
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The Good Son

While (and this is a matter of opinion) I seem to have turned out ‘alright’ in the end, the concerns of some mothers regarding their offspring seem to be justified. And that’s certainly the case with Henry. Played by ‘Macaulay Culkin’, it soon becomes clear that Henry is one sandwich short of a picnic, displaying deeply disturbing psychotic tendencies, that quite frankly, make him one child that you wouldn’t want to be left 'home alone' with...
The Bad SeedThe Bad Seed
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The Bad Seed

Believed to be the first of the genre, made way back in 1956. ‘The Bad Seed’, tells the story of Rhoda Penmark, the cute as a button in pigtails, and old fashioned dresses preteen killer. Who while at first glance is as innocent as can be, promising to “swap a basketful of hugs, for a basketful of kisses”, is the archetype deranged little darling. And a venom-laced lolita. In this most classic of the ‘evil kids’ movie genre.
While not ‘pure’, as a ‘killer kid’ movie, with the later half of the movie focusing on Michael’s later years. ‘Halloween’, the 2007 ‘Rob Zombie’ remake, definitely deserves an honorable mention. Because while the earlier Halloween movies (for me at least) were better placed alongside the likes of more ‘paranormal’ movies of the time, like those starring ‘Freddy Krueger’, and ‘Jason Vorohees’, Rob Zombies version offers a raw glimpse into the life of a crazed young boy, on the verge of becoming one of horror cinemas most infamous villains.
Home MovieHome Movie
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Home Movie

And finally, if you’re a fan of ‘Blair Witch’ style found-footage horrors, you’ll love Home Movie. Because if there’s anything worse than having one ungrateful little shit trying to knife you in the back every time you drop your guard, it’s having two of them. ‘Emily’, and ‘Jack’, are ten year old twins, and the children of Pastor, David. And Psychologist, Clare. And while the Poes family appear to be ‘picture perfect’ to outsiders, Emily, and Jack, become increasingly unhinged, as this indie point-of-view movie unfolds. In a manner that will leave every parent with just a little doubt in their mind, unable to sleep in the dark, listening to the creaking of floorboards, with one eye open...

Springheel Jack - The 'English Mothman' Sightings

Springheel Jack - The 'English Mothman' Sightings
From the 'Mothman' of American legend to the 'Orang Bati' of Indonesia, this world of ours is full to bursting with tales of strange and unidentified creatures and entities, of anomalous beings that taunt mankind for reasons unknown, surrounding themselves with the legend and lore, that perhaps like the 'Tulpa' of Tibetan Buddhism, adds weight to their existence, building them shape and form, from nothing more than the intrigue and fear, of all who believe in them.

And so it was that in 1837, London, Victorian England, that the mystery of 'Springheel Jack' began. Also commonly named 'Spring Heeled Jack', the anomalous entity in question was first witnessed late September, when it was encountered by four separate individuals in four separate parts of London, and was described as having 'large claws, pointed ears, and huge glowing eyes'. Springheel Jack was also reportedly able to spit flames forth from its mouth, and (with the ability that gave rise to its nickname) it was able to leap huge heights and distances, escaping capture by launching itself away over the rooftops of houses.

Springheel Jack terrorized London for a period of seven years, assaulting the likes of 'Margaret and Lucy Scales', who were confronted by Springheel Jack on the night of 18th of February, 1938, whilst walking through the Limehouse area of London, Springheel Jack is said to have suddenly appeared and belched forth a large blue fireball into their faces, before leaping away, and vanishing into the night. And then just a few days later, Springheel Jack struck again, this time physically attacking three young women in their own home, clawing with sharp talon like fingers, until finally being chased away by nearby policemen, who heard the young girls screaming for help from their upstairs window, as Springheel Jack struggled to force his way inside.
It was in 1845 that the unusual behavior of Springheel Jack took a more sinister turn still, when he was witnessed attacking a thirteen year old prostitute named 'Molly Davis' on a bridge over Folly Ditch, before hurling her to her death in the stinking marsh below.
And in addition to his London based exploits, Springheel Jack has also reportedly been witnessed in other areas of the UK, including: East Anglia, and Liverpool. And his last reported sighting was in Everton, on the evening of September, 1904.
Who or What is Springheel Jack?
Having evaded capture at every attempt, nobody really knows for sure. So be he ghost, Demon, alien, inventive human killer, or creature from another dimension, all that we know for sure is that he hasn't been seen now in over one hundred years. But then perhaps all that really tells us, having had over one hundred years since to perfect the stealth attacks that made him so elusive back in the 1800s, is that he simply hasn't been 'seen', by anybody who has lived to tell the tale.

How to Become a Troll Hunter - Troll Hunting Equipment, and Tips

If you’ve recently seen the Norwegian ‘found footage’ style movie ‘Troll Hunter’, you’ll be aware that despite what you were brought up to believe (or disbelieve in), Trolls, do indeed exist. Lurking in forests, and dwelling within mountains, the existence of these monstrous creatures has been kept under wraps until now, by ‘The Troll Security Team’. But with the Trolls escaping their territories, lone troll hunter ‘Hans’ is being overwhelmed, and needs your help in hunting down, and dispatching the remaining Trolls.

What you need to know:

In order to become a genuine Troll hunter, first, you’ll need to learn the basics of your trade. And luckily, the movie Troll Hunter, offers up all manner of tips, and advice, for the Troll hunting newbie.
Troll Bait

To make your job as a Troll hunter easier, and to save hours/days/weeks running around the forest searching for Trolls, you can instead use certain ‘baits’ to trap, or draw the Trolls nearer to you. 

But what do Trolls like?

* Trolls love to chew on tyres. These can make excellent bait.
* A mixture of concrete, and charcoal, combined in a pile is known to be a favorite food of Trolls. And as such, makes another excellent bait for Trolls.
* Christians. A Troll can smell a Christian a mile off, and while the presence of a Christian is almost certain to enrage a Troll, making it more difficult to kill. The presence of a Christian, or even spilt Christian blood, is guaranteed to lure Trolls closer.
Weapons - How to Kill a Troll

When a Troll is exposed to sunlight, it will either solidify, or explode. And as such, a Troll can be killed in two ways. A Troll can be trapped out in the open, and left for the rising sun to deal with. Or, using the Troll hunters weapon of choice, Troll can be offed using a giant UV ray firing gun-like weapon. Or a stack of UV lights mounted on top of the Troll hunters vehicle.

(Note) While many Troll with explode in a shower of guts when hit with UV rays, larger, older Troll may solidify, turning to rock. These can then be dispatched with a sledge-hammer, to break them up, and the remainder should then be blown into rubble using explosives.
Additional Troll Hunting Tip:
In order to avoid detection by Trolls, either to get closer to your prey, or as a defensive measure (especially useful for Christians), ‘Troll Stink’, can be used. Troll stink is made from ‘every nasty thing that can be squeezed out of a Troll’, and is then smeared all over the body, to conceal the Troll hunters natural scent. Presumably though, you’ll have to eliminate at least one Troll (in an exploding fashion) first, without the help of Troll stink. In order to be able to obtain the necessary ingredients from which it is made (unless you have any Troll hunting friends from which to borrow some).
Know any more Troll hunting tips? Share them below:

The Demon ‘Belphegor’ - One of the Seven Princes of Hell

‘Belphegor’, one of the seven Demon princes of Hell, is perhaps the most cunning Demon of all, and the most prolific, in its efforts to corrupt the souls of Mankind. Associated with the deadly sin of ‘Sloth’ (laziness), Belphegor, provides those who feel his touch with ‘the easy option’. Suggesting to those who receive his seductive attentions, ingenious inventions that will make them rich, with minimal effort. Seemingly offering much for little, while taking with the other hand, virtues ultimately worth far more than money. Appearing either in the form of a young beautiful woman, or as a huge bearded demon, Belphegor, seeks to spread discord among men, by sowing seeds of evil intention, in exchange for earthly material wealth.
Sent to Earth by Satan, Belphegor, was once charged with searching out evidence of ‘married happiness’ on Earth. Something the Demons had heard rumour of, but couldn’t believe existed. knowing as they did human nature, and the human inability to live in harmony. Belphegor, it is said, found no evidence of its existence, during the time he spent searching for it. And reported back that, despite the lies that most humans were more than willing to tell themselves, to fool themselves into believing that they were in love, rather than endure a life spent alone. The rumours that they'd heard of ‘happy’ marriage, were false.
The Seven Princes of Hell
Each prince of Hell is associated with one of the seven deadly sins. And the other six princes of Hell (with their associated sin) are:

Lucifer - Pride
Mammon - Avarice
Asmodeus - Lust
Satan - Anger
Beelzebub - Gluttony
Leviathan - Envy

And in addition to Sloth, Belphegor, is also associated with the sin of ‘Vanity’.

Belphegor, will taunt those whose soul he seeks to taint through obscur messages and signs. Making his presence known through subtle means that confuse his prey, leading to anxiety and paranoia, that help to speed the corruption of the soul. Providing a life too easy to also offer spiritual growth, Belphegor, drains, like juice from a juice-box, all that was once good about the person. Until there is little left but an empty shell. And a lot of regret.
The only defence against Belphegor’s attentions, are an iron strong strength of mind, and a robust internal desire to perform altruistic deeds  And the month of April, is when Belphegor, is at his strongest