spirit house

a friend of mine came home late one night, and found his spirit house shattered. split in half, i was told. and inside the long pole thing that the spirit house was sitting on, he said there was a bone inside. and he’s completely freaked out.

i’m not buddhist, so i’m not so sure how spirit houses work? is it normal to have a piece of bone embedded into the spirit house. i don’t know if it’s a piece of human bone or animal bone.

9 Comments so far

  1. Ben Harris (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2005 @ 10:37 pm

    Umm… what’s a spirit house?

  2. cog (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2005 @ 10:38 pm

    Spirit houses (Sarn Phra Poom) actually have very little to do with Buddhism. The worship of spirits are remnant influences of Animism and Brahmanism. Going by the abstract reconstruction presented, my own bonehead leads me to believe that the bone-in-question is possibly from leftover offerings. However, keep in mind that Thais do revere animal spirits, so discovering an “embedded” animal bone in the Sarn, although not typical, would not be entirely strange. I suggest forming a CSI Bangkok cast to solve the mystery.

    For some, the path to enlightenment is just phone call to a good termite pest controller, or a reliable prefab Sarn cement manufacturer.

  3. cog (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2005 @ 10:42 pm

    ^^Spirit house = a shrine where Johnny Walker resides with Jack Daniels.

  4. him (unregistered) on February 24th, 2005 @ 9:21 am

    Usually a spirit house is “A well known feature of Thai life, constructed at the corner of every property to hold the local spirits displaced by the construction of a human dwelling” (taken from here).

  5. ts (unregistered) on February 24th, 2005 @ 10:16 am

    yes, well known by all but ben who did admit he had been here 2.5 years and learned remarkably little. Maybe if they turn spirit houses into a game for ps2….

  6. him (unregistered) on February 24th, 2005 @ 12:41 pm

    2.5 years is an incredible amount of time to not ask what a spirit house is! I mean, they are everywhere and you constantly see people giving offering and prayers. First questions in Bangkok:

    “is it always this hot?”
    “why do people walk so slowly?”
    “what are those small temple things outside every building?”
    “does the smell get better?”

    Or maybe not :)

  7. Ben Harris (unregistered) on February 24th, 2005 @ 4:39 pm

    Geez people, of course I’ve seen those little house things. It’s just that I didn’t knwo they were referred to as spirit houses.

    I wonder what the game would be like…

  8. scuba (unregistered) on March 1st, 2005 @ 7:32 am

    Spirit house trivia – there’s a spirit house outside the UN Headquarters in NYC, a gift from the Kingdom of Thailand.

  9. scuba (unregistered) on March 1st, 2005 @ 7:36 am

    More spirit house trivia – how they “work”, if I understand this correctly, is by giving the spirits a more attractive place to live than the actual house (hence the fancy ornamentation on the spirit houses) so that the spirits will live in the spirit house and not bother the people in the real house. The offerings (food, incense, etc.) are in some ways more like appeasement rather than than worship.

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