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Forums > Social Discussion > Ghosts of Tsunami - News article on the agonising aftermath

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Location: Southampton
Member Since: 3rd Aug 2004
Total posts: 1626
Posted:Written by:
A second surge of tsunami terror is hitting southern Thailand, but this time it is a wave of foreign ghosts terrifying locals in what health experts described as an outpouring of delayed mass trauma.

Tales of ghost sightings in the six worst hit southern provinces have become endemic, with many locals saying they are too terrified to venture near the beach or into the ocean.

Spooked volunteer body searchers on the resort areas of Phi Phi island and Khao Lak are reported to have looked for tourists heard laughing and singing on the beach, only to find darkness and empty sand.

Taxi drivers in Patong swear they have picked up a foreign man and his Thai girlfriend going to the airport with all their baggage, only to then look in the rear-view mirror and find an empty seat.

Guards at a beachfront plaza in Patong told AFP one of their men had quit after hearing a foreign woman cry "help me" all night long, and similar stories abound of a foreign ghost walking along the shoreline at night calling for her child.

The majority of Thais are deeply superstitious, believing ghosts reside in most large trees and keeping a spirit house in every home where daily offerings of food and drink are given to calm nearby paranormal entities.

Mental health experts warn tsunami survivors have picked up on this cultural factor as a way of expressing mass trauma after living through the deadly waves and witnessing horrific scenes in their aftermath.

"This is a type of mass hallucination that is a cue to the trauma being suffered by people who are missing so many dead people, and seeing so many dead people, and only talking about dead people," Thai psychologist and media commentator Wallop Piyamanotham said.

He said people who claimed to have seen ghosts first-hand were people that mental health specialists would be paying particular attention to.

Mr Wallop is currently organising a team of Thai and international health workers to join other specialists in affected provinces who are assisting people suffering psychological trauma as a result of the crisis.

Amateurs and professionals alike have been pivotal in the recovery of thousands of corpses from beaches and coastal towns ravaged by tsunamis on December 26, and in the subsequent processing of handling bloated and rapidly decomposing bodies at huge makeshift morgues.

Their round-the-clock work could be taking a devastating toll, with at least seven workers having already been hospitalised suffering extreme trauma.

Volunteers helping at Thai temples, transformed into scenes of grisly death as forensic experts struggle with the task of identification, are especially vulnerable, psychologists and doctors said.

Mr Wallop said widespread trauma began to set in about four days after the waves hit.

"This is when people start seeing these farangs (foreigners) walking on the sand or in the ocean," he said, adding the sightings started about the same time as people "began calling for help, crying, some scared".

Many people said they could not escape the smell of death or the sights they had seen while assisting in the crisis, he said.

Mr Wallop said the reason almost all ghost sightings appear to involve foreign tourists stems from a belief that spirits can only be put to rest by relatives at the scene, such as was done to many Thai victims.

"Thai people believe that when people die, a relative has to cremate them or bless them. If this is not done or the body is not found, people believe the person will appear over and over again to show where they are," he said.

Mr Wallop said in time people who need counselling would be reached and assisted and the sightings would settle down, but many locals claimed they would not be swayed by such talk.

"After visiting Wat Baan Muang (a temple where hundreds of bodies are still stored) I'm very scared. I can't sleep at night and when the wind comes I'm sure it is the spirits coming," said Patong bar manager Napaporn Phroyrungthong.

"I believe in ghosts and I always will. [The tsunami] happened so quickly, the foreigners didn't know what happened and they all think they are still on the beach. They all think they are still on holiday," she said.

So sad. It's clear that whatever these phenomena are, the people experiencing them have been through terrible trauma. I seem to remember there were widespread ghost sightings reported after WW1.

Anyway, thought this deserved sharing. Thoughts?

What a wonderful miracle if only we could look through each other's eyes for an instant.


Location: Leeds
Member Since: 13th Jul 2004
Total posts: 546
Posted:there's nto much to say.
Being around so much death must be so hard.Its going to take such a long time for this country to heal

Rules and responsibities:
These are the ties that bind us.
We do what we do,because of who we are.
If we did otherwise,we would not be ourselves.
I will do what i have to do
And i will do what i must..

UnNatural Scientist - Currently working on a Breville-legged monkey
Location: Bath Uni or Shrewsbury, UK
Member Since: 26th May 2004
Total posts: 757
Posted:Written by:
"I believe in ghosts and I always will. [The tsunami] happened so quickly, the foreigners didn't know what happened and they all think they are still on the beach. They all think they are still on holiday," she said.

Not a bad way to spend the afterlife...

Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand and I can beat the world into submission.


Pasta of Muppets
Location: in the interwebs...
Member Since: 1st Sep 2004
Total posts: 2719
Posted:True Domino,
anyone here actually believe in restless spirits? I know I do...



Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 10th Jan 2005
Total posts: 1240
Posted:definately do!! and i think it is horrofic that they are targetting the people who are sensitive to this *sighs* when will humanity learn to accept and love and just *be*?!

Only when you close your eyes can you really see...


Location: West LA
Member Since: 22nd May 2003
Total posts: 384
Posted:Serious topic imo. The fact if spirits exist or not does not really matter. The tragedy is that people experience these things - having lived there for some time I beleive that the thai culture itself inherits the best way to deal with it grouphug

All my best wishes to those in need


To learn - read. To know - write. To master - teach . . .

Wonder Monkey
Wonder Monkey

Certainly confused
Location: Chelmsford, Essex
Member Since: 11th Jan 2005
Total posts: 121
Posted:The trauma of living through and bearing witness to such an event and its aftermath must be overwhelming at times. I would think my psyche would be damaged if I lost so many poeple close to me, and then to be surrounded by the dead wherever you turn.

I cant think about that too long frown

My Mummy Says Im Special

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