The Ghost Way
book owes its existence to a large number of people. The Ghost Way (ISBN
978-1453-7682-0-4, November 2010, Create Space publishing) was related by
Eot and Jak Ramanakajja, then translated and adapted by their daughter Kung
Ramanakajja and then finally written by Kung’s husband Lance Smith.
It is a slim volume, but as I got into it, I was wishing
for more, the story being so fascinating.
The tale of the supernatural begins with the hardworking
Jak Ramanakajja and his wife Eot, who buy a plot of land, with a house on it,
from a money lender who had repossessed the property for non-payment of the
debts. The previous incumbent then threatens violence and finally tries to
have their contract revoked through the local village council, but is
unsuccessful, despite his uncle being the village headman. A rare failure of
After a period of time, the Ramanakajja family finds that
their house is being visited by spirits, and not friendly ones at that. One
in particular appears as the ghostly torso of a woman, a sight very well
known in Thai mythology.
The village life is well described in this book. There is
a certain simplicity in that era and environment which is rapidly being lost
today. Perhaps we should blame Facebook - it gets blamed for everything
else. However, the universal antidote for such supernatural events in the
villages is the cleansing rites performed by the monks. Unfortunately, this
procedure is not enough and the ghostly torso is soon joined by other
decidedly evil spirits.
The Ramanakajja family then try the next proffered method
of exorcism, done by a self-appointed local seer and neer-do-well. This too
is unsuccessful and the family is forced to trek to the Eot’s parents on
some nights, when the hauntings become too grotesque and omnipresent, making
An “explanation”, if that is truly possible, is given
describing the highwaymen who used to rob the passersby and were hunted down
and shot. Surrender was not an option (in many ways similar to the ‘war on
drugs’ extra-judicial killings of a previous government) and the bodies were
laid out to be ridiculed by the villagers for many days, before the
relatives were allowed to claim the body. Those were just some of the
tortured souls of evil. Others were known to the villagers as being
unfortunates during their earthly tenure.
If you are a believer in ghosts (in Thai “pii”) then this
book will hold no qualms for you. If you are not a believer in ghosts, then
this book might just shake your preconceptions. And if your wife is Thai, do
not let her read it, as she will suffer from sleepless nights for months
As a footnote, on the evening I read this book, my Thai
wife was out attempting to catch spirits with a camera, after a visiting
monk said there was a spirit roaming our village. Even for very well
educated Thai women “pii” are not the figment of imagination.
Price? It should be under B. 500.