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2017, November 7: Four Killed by Organ Eating Ghost

On November 6, 2017, it was announced that a number of public health officials, including a doctor and psychologists, had been dispatched to a group of villages in the Nong Kung Si district of Thailand to try to clear up rumors that a ghost had killed four men by eating their internal organs.

        Information on the matter was not very clear; but the deaths of the four men had either been close enough together or unusual enough to worry locals of a possible supernatural cause. The news organization called 'The Nation' reported that locals suspected a "porb ghost," and that these were usually female spirits that slowly ate a chosen victim's internal organs until the victim died.

Phii Porb Attacks!
The Phii Porb Attacks! [Larger version here]

        A widow in one of the villages had apparently been accused of being the ghost, which may be why the health officials sprang into action... to try and prevent violence against the widow.

        Three of the villages did take action: they hired a 'hermit' to perform a rite to chase away the ghost, which appeared to have greatly calmed down the villagers as a whole.

        The health officials set about investigating what killed the four men, and also set up to provide health checks for the villagers with something of a focus on the families of the four dead men. At the time of reporting, two of the deaths had been explained... one man died of leptospirosis (a bacterial infection), and another of blood-pressure problems, which is probably why the helath officials wanted to check the men's families for health issues. Prudently, the head of the public health team, Dr. Pairat Songkhram, instructed his team to "avoid saying anything that would ridicule or belittle the villagers’ beliefs" and to not discuss religious beliefs during the check-ups.

What's a "Porb Ghost"?

        The descriptor given of 'porb ghost' is a rough translation of the Thai term 'Phii Porb' (or sometimes 'Phii Pop') -- ผี ปอบ -- which doesn't translate well into English. Phii Porb are not properly ghosts per se, as they are not simply the return of a dead person, even though some believe Phii Porb are created when a person dies under the right circumstances. Phii Porb are more properly thought to be a spiritual entity that is capable of using a living person as a host, and that has a desire to consume blood and organs from living victims (generally not from the host, though). So they can attack spiritually, and can hide in the guise of a normal person... which is why the widow above could be accused of being the 'porb ghost.' Where a malignant spirit causing problems can generally be placated by offerings, a Phii Porb requires an exorcism to remove it from its host.

        Phii Porb used to be a big worry in Thailand in connection to their possible predation on the weak: young women and children being the most vulnerable. So it's interesting to see it is now being reported as mainly attacking men... as cultures change, so do the behaviors of their monsters!