People In Thailand Provide Shelter To Ghosts
In Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand, the Buddhist religion mixes more or less comfortably with a much more ancient belief in spirits, known in the West as animism. Many, if not most, people in this region believe that ghosts and other invisible disembodied spirits move among them constantly. These spirits can be good or evil, and they can cause mischief or serve as protectors.
In order to stay on the good side of these ghostly visitors—and perhaps even to enlist their unseen assistance—families and businesses alike erect and maintain miniature dwellings where the spirits can rest. These spirit houses can be found in front of homes, shops, factories, office buildings, and company headquarters. They also overlook places in need of special protection, such as fish ponds and gardens.
Spirit houses in front of private homes are thought to shelter “house spirits” with a special interest in watching over the family that lives there. People tend spirit houses carefully, often lighting candles for the spirits as well as leaving offerings of food and flowers.
Spirit houses can be relatively simple, like the one at the top of this post, or more elaborate, like the one below: