Garuda: The Lord of Charoen Krung

12 08 2017



The ghost tower is ready for its close-up

11 08 2017

A primal scream from Bangkok’s collective unconscious: the towering vortex that is the Sathorn Unique has become the setting for a new Thai horror, “The Promise”.

The building is the most high profile of the cities “ghost towers,” never-completed reminders of the 1997 stock market crash that have dotted the city skylines for decades afterwards.

Towering conspicuously over one of the city’s busiest transport interchanges at Saphan Taksin, the brooding concrete shell of the Sathorn Unique has become a Bangkok urban legend and a magnet for graffiti artists and urban adventurers from around the world.

In new movie “The Promise” the tower is the scene of a teenage suicide pact. When one of the pair survives, and returns to the still-derelict building twenty years later, the ghost of her friend tries to see that she makes good on her promise…

Japanese ghost story

27 04 2017


Scenes from the Kaikidan Ekotoba, a nineteenth century Japanese scroll illustrating 33 kinds of monsters said to inhabit the wilds of Kyushu and Korea.

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Bangkok werewolf

8 04 2017

The new Thai celebrity trend – pet werewolves.


8 01 2017


Images at my local shrine of Nezha (right), a Hindu-inspired Taoist deity: half-baby, half-adult, who spits rainbows and flies around the heavens on his “Wind Fire Wheels.”

The Essex Serpent

8 01 2017


The “Essex Serpent” by Sarah Parry has been my holiday reading. It is based on a 1669 pamphlet entitled “Strange news out of Essex” which told the story of a dragon-like creature terrorising the swamps of the then-rural English county, now located on the outskirts of greater London. Intriguingly, Parry has picked up this real-life inspiration and re-imagined a story set two hundred years later. In the Victorian era, where Charles Darwin’s ideas are being hotly debated and British high society society has become fascinated by strange specimens streaming in from all over the empire, an upper-class London moves to Essex and hears rumblings of the serpent, said to have arisen in the Essex “Blackwater.”

See Hua Haa Taa

4 12 2016


Armed with my copy of The Thai Occult by Jenx I went back this week to the President Centre in Mongkok, a minimall dedicated to, among  other things, Thai amulets. Thanks to the book I was able to identify this as a “See Hua Haa Taa” (Four eyes, five ears) a scary looking demon that eats hot coals and excretes them out again as gold. According to the book, statues like this one should be given an offering of coral on the first full moon of the month to provide good fortune to their owners.

Aside from the six or seven little stores trafficking in colourful statues of Thai deities, amulets, and I’m sure much more …esoteric items under the counter, the President Centre also has a raffish collection of magic and crystal store, sex aides, head shops, manga figurines, a tattooist, cheap mens’ hip hop style street clothes and a record store: a very “MK’ experience.