The Phi Kraseu ( ผีกระสือ ) is not only the most feared Thai Ghost but also perhaps the most recognizable of all Thai Spirits. Certainly, the Phi Kraseu is the best known Thai Ghost among Westerners, thanks mainly to the proliferation of Thai Ghost Movies which feature the Phi Kraseu. The subject of Thai Ghosts and Spirits is a delicate one and the Thai members of our team were reluctant to accompany us on our journey into the Spirit World. This led to a further complication as it seems that Thai Ghosts are not too keen on showing themselves to foreigners. However, in spite of the difficulties faced, we have been able to ascertain certain facts about Phi Kraseu.
Phi Kraseu are always female. During the day they live as ordinary women in their villages but tend to prefer a solitary and quiet existence. Frequently, these women are unwell, suffering from aches and pains, coughing and difficulty sleeping but when night falls everything changes. At night time the Phi Kraseu comes alive, so to speak.
A Phi Kraseu is easily recognized by its appearance, being just a head with entrails hanging down below the head. In Thai ghost movies, a Phi Kraseu is always depicted as having the head of a beautiful young woman. but in reality a Phi Kraseu can be old or young, attractive or ugly. At night, the Phi Kraseu changes from human form into Ghost form and flies off in the dark to hunt for food. A curious point to note is that whilst flying through the air the Phi Kraseu emits a flashing green light, which for Ghost Hunters like us, is very convenient as we can easily follow them in the dark.
The favourite foods of a Phi Kraseu are always uncooked and frequently rotten. They enjoy eating frogs and toads and other small animals. Another delicacy of the Phi Kraseu is human faeces and animal excrement. After eating, the Phi Kraseu will look for some cloth to wipe the blood off its face and will frequently use any clothing left out to dry overnight, the favourite colour of cloth being black. In the morning, the house holder may recognize the tell-tale stains of the Phi Kraseu’s nocturnal visit and wash the clothing in boiling water to remove the marks. This causes the Phi Kraseu responsible for the stains to experience severe burning pain on her mouth.
A dangerous time of year in a village is when any of the women are giving birth. A Phi Kraseu can smell the new born from many miles away and will swiftly fly to the scene as a placenta makes a tasty meal. As it has been known for some Phi Kraseu to eat the new born infants as well, villagers will try to take precautions to keep the Phi Kraseu at bay. It is a well known fact that the juice of the Jujube will deter a Phi Kraseu so the villagers will put this juice all around and under their house.
Before daybreak, the Phi Kraseu will return to its village and once again resume human form. Sometimes the other villagers will become aware that this woman is a Phi Kraseu and will attempt to drive her from the village. Even a Mhor Phi, or witch doctor, can not cast out this evil spirit. Death or banishment of the woman are the only solutions for a village that houses a Phi Kraseu. As a Phi Kraseu grows older, it will become increasingly troubled and sleepless. The Phi Kraseu will look for a female relative to possess. If no relative can be found then any other female person will do, but preferably a young girl as this will give the new Phi Kraseu a longer term of office. To achieve a prolonged life, the evil Spirit must somehow induce the selected female to drink its saliva. Once this is done the old Phi Kraseu can rest in peace knowing that its reign of terror will continue.