Supernatural dolls are popping up on flights in Thailand. The Luk Thep dolls, also referred to as ghost dolls, are thought to bring good fortune and to “possess a child’s spirit.” Some of the purchasers of the Thai dolls are said to treat the toys like real live children. The attachment to the dolls has become so widespread that Thai stewardesses are now buckling them into their seats and serving them in-flight snacks.
Thai airlines are now banning the ghost dolls from sitting in aisle seats because living, breathing children are not permitted to sit in those spots during flights. Supernatural doll owners reportedly grew upset when the lifelike toys were stowed in overhead compartments, so a new set of guidelines were quickly established. Over the past several months, more than 40 passengers on planes in Thailand have now taken their Luk Thep dolls with them on flights, News8000 reports.
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) January 27, 2016
Although AirAsia does not have a formal policy in place regarding the ghost dolls, the Thailand Department of Civil Aviation has been made aware of the growing issue. The government agency is now in the midst of creating a set of regulations to deal with the matter across the board while adhering to established safety and security guidelines.
Thai Smile airways are not the only businesses suddenly forced to deal with doll-toting adults showing up in their lines. The ghost dolls are also frequently popping up at restaurants and even at Buddhist ceremonies. A post on the Neta Grill Facebook page announced that the eatery welcomes all “worshipers” and will happily serve Luk Thep dolls at the reduced prices noted on the children’s menu page, but added that the discount will only be given if all of the food ordered from the kid’s menu is “consumed.”
The supernatural dolls trend began in 2015, but a Thai anthropologist says that ghost dolls practice does have roots reaching back to ancient times when the cult worship of preserved fetuses was used by believers as a way to house a deceased child’s spirit.
The Luk Thep dolls are primarily imported from China. The new fad in Thailand has also sparked a mini crime wave. An official from the Economic Crime Suppression Bureau in the country said that police officers have arrested three different Bangkok vendors for selling black market dolls and neglecting to fork over the mandatory import taxes.
— Bangkok Post (@BangkokPostNews) January 27, 2016
The “child angel” dolls were made popular by celebrities in Thailand who claimed that dressing up their Luk Thep dolls and pretending to feed the toys brought them professional and financial success, dbTechno reports. The economy in Thailand is struggling, and some residents of the Southeast Asian nation are looking to the dolls to bring them good fortune, Reuters reports.
“The economy is bad right now. Everybody needs something to hold on to,” said Mananya Boonmee, a 49-year-old Luk Thep doll owner and vendor. She named her doll Nong Petch, which means baby jewel. Boonmee claims that the ghost doll helped her win the lottery because it whispered the winning number to her in a dream.
The common appearance of the supernatural dolls may be a boon for drug dealers. Earlier this week, Chiang Mai Airport police officer caught an individual using a Luk Thep doll stuffed with drugs to traffic illegal substances. Once the officers were able to examine the doll placed inside the traveler’s suitcase, they found about 200 tables of the extremely dangerous methamphetamine drug, Yaba, which is also known as “the madness drug” due to the gruesome incidents of horrific violence committed by users under the influence of the substance.
This week, I am the @Economist‘s Luk Thep correspondent. pic.twitter.com/meRANsg3Ih
— Tom Felix Joehnk (@tfexj) January 27, 2016
What do you think about the ghost dolls – Luk Thep fad emerging in Thailand?
[Image via AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong]