In the world of sorcery there exist certain spells with a morbid bent. They require the repurposing of human remains, and other macabre material, for purposes of crafting amulets, effigies, or even to inscribe yant.
These may involve ashes from cremations, skull bones (especially the area around the forehead), the oil derived from burning human bodies (as these contains pheromones and other essences useful for containing spells), blood, funeral shrouds, limbs and extremities such as fingers, and even sexual organs.
In Thailand, sorcerers are known to invoke dark rituals to bind spirits of the dead to an amulet and harness their energies to carry out everything from protection, to sabotage, to mundane tasks like home security. These spirits may even be unleashed in duels against other sorcerers. Most commonly, however, these amulets are used to attract wealth, and ward off danger.
Not all the souls of the dead may be used for these purposes. The manner in which they passed, is often a prerequisite, as certain circumstances enhance or even imbue them with supernatural powers. Those who expired under untoward circumstances, such as violence, unjust causes, suicide or stillbirth, are often preferred, as well as those who fulfil the oddly specific circumstance of passing on a Saturday and being cremated on Tuesday.
Spirits who have passed away from natural causes, such as old age or sickness, are often passed over from consideration, in the practice of necromancy.
The Significance of the Saturday – Tuesday Rule
The cremated ashes, and the recovered oils of a corpse, are invaluable ingredients in the practice of necromancy.
The date of birth and death is believed to influence very specific energies imbued in the resulting material, which in turn, has an immense impact on its supernatural properties.
People born on a Friday for example, are considered to have a trusting nature, and those born on Saturday are believed to be deep wellsprings of psychic energy.
Deaths on a Saturday are believed to be deeply influenced by these energies. Important ceremonies are avoided during Tuesdays, as it is believed to hold restless energies.
Meeting an unnatural or violent end on a Saturday, coupled with a Tuesday cremation, is believed to result in an extremely powerful, unendingly restless spirit. Through rituals and incantations, spiritual adepts use a festive array of the aforementioned bits and pieces of the deceased, to channel these spirits, and craft powerful amulets. These spirits find themselves enslaved or otherwise indentured to the service of their new owners, and in turn, the owners provide them with the opportunity to escape their circumstances through a form of merit-by-association, a symbiotic relationship where the spirit shares its owner’s Buddhist riches as they are gathered through charity, prayer, offerings to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, as well as the peace and liberating powers from meditation.
The practice of reversing the poor tidings of a sordid existence through sorcery in this manner is known as “kae klet
Do not be fooled however, into believing that all these macabre pursuits lead down a benevolent path. Many a time, these skills are also put to use sowing sickness and death among an exponent’s enemies, as well as forcing them to bend to the will of the user. The corpse oil of a pregnant woman, for instance, when dabbed lightly on a victim, may be used to inspire deranged sexual devotion, even in the face of totally unwarranted advances.
The Dangers of Harnessing Corpse’s Oil – Nam Man Prai
Traditionally the oil must be sourced from a woman who died during pregnancy. The oil is extracted by gingerly heating the chin of the corpse with candles, while a litany of occult spells are recited.
The sorcerer attempting the ritual must seal off the area with all his might, to ensure that he himself does not succumb to the cornucopia of otherworldly, evil, and destructive entities that the ritual attracts.
Not only does he need a strong grasp of Wicha, but he must also have an iron will and steely resolve, as grotesque forms from above and beyond the void will manifest, and seek him out like moths to a flame. They seek to distract him and cause him to lose his concentration, killing or driving him insane in the process. An unspeakable fate awaits him, should his resolve crumble, as he might well be dragged into the dark abyss from whence they came.
An Event by Ajarn Somsak Thami Ngam
In the Thai tradition, to appease the tormented souls of those who had passed under untimely circumstances (such as suicide, murder, accidents), the bodies are buried instead of cremated. Additional ceremonies are also undertaken to ensure against restlessness in the afterlife. Unfortunately, these bodies are also a desirable source of material for Necromancers.
The Necromancer who intends to collect Nam Man Prai from the deceased, has his work cut out for him. He must first prepare a laundry list of offerings, tools, and specific materials, all of which will be used in rites, to prevent swift, violent, retribution from nasty spirits.
On the night of the ritual, he must seek permission to even enter the cemetary from the Jao Tee Jao Tang
Offerings or Kratong
The offerings laid out include:
- 3 Spoonfuls of White Rice
- 3 Hard-boiled Eggs
- 3 Fish Heads
- 3 Fish Tails
- 3 Cigarettes
- 1 Bottle of Wine
To begin the ritual, a single stick of incense is lit in the darkness, to announce the Necromancer’s intent, and to inform the lingering guardian of the graveyard of their presence. The Master speaks the name of the woman he seeks, and the lone stick of incense acts as a barometer for approval from the spirits. Immediate extinguishment of the flame meant that permission has been granted, and he may pass unhindered. If the incense burns to a natural finish, however, is an omen of foreboding, a sure sign that any attempts to carry through with the ritual will be fraught with difficulty and perhaps even danger and death.
The graves of women who have perished in the prescribed manner may be easily identified by the sticks and thorns of the Jujube Tree scattered around them. These are placed there by the undertakers, gatekeepers of the faith who are well-versed in the proper methods of laying troublesome spirits to rest. This is done with the aim of bulwarking the world of the living against their vengeance. This is the first of many obstacles that Necromancers have to circumvent.
Once the thorns have been removed, the Necromancer next needs to locate the 3 barrier stones, which are meant to hold the corpse down and break the incantations placed upon them.
Clutching his enchanted knife, the Necromancer symbolically unearths the soil around the coffin, with drawings cuts in 8 directions. With the aid of his assistant, they dig the coffin out of the dirt and loosen the nails holding it shut.
The assistant steps away from the coffin, leaving the Necromancer to uncover the corpse himself. Because of the lack of preservation techniques in these rural areas, the air becomes rank with the foul odours of death. Careful adherence to this step is mandatory, as a misstep could be fatal since, at this point, all the spells barring the spirit to this world had been removed. The restless spirit is thrust into the open, writhing, thrashing and screeching in agony, and sometimes manifesting in grotesque, deeply horrifying forms, such as rapidly ballooning to several times her normal size.
In the face of this harrowing horror and madness, the Necromancer must maintain composure, and carry on with the ritual. Failing to do so, would leave him vulnerable to attack, as even his own defences would rapidly dissipate. The only way to tame the spirit, is with successful subjugation, leaving only the pallid corpse for the Necromancer to complete the extraction of Nam Man Prai.
The Necromancer unfastens the string (Dai Trasang) binding the corpse’s hands, and requests permission to begin the process of harvesting Nam Man Prai. Though the process might seem one-sided and obtrusive, a key dimension of this form of sorcery is the respect and receiving of free will. Forcing either party to capitulate under duress, renders the resulting spells impotent, or would likely result in catastrophic consequences for the practitioner.
A candle, long enough to reach the Necromancer’s elbow and made of pure, natural beeswax is lit, and the harvesting process begins. The wick of this special candle is spun from exactly 80 threads. During the spinning of the wick, continuous incantations are mandatory. The candle is held under the corpse’s chin, slowly burning the skin and causing oil to seep out.
The Nam Man Prai is allowed to drip into a ceramic bowl. Only a minuscule amount is available, most of the time amounting to a mere 10 or so drops.
The Nam Man Prai is then mixed with the oil from coconuts that have been used to wash 7 dead bodies, by scraping out the flesh from the fruit and simmering it to extract their oils. These coconuts must not drop on the ground during harvesting, and it must always be kept in high places, never allowing it to come close to or touch the ground.
The prepared coconut oil is further mixed with beeswax from the mouths of 7 corpses (in the past, it was a tradition to place a coin in a corpse’s mouth and seal it with beeswax).
After the extraction is completed, the Necromancer will rebind its wrists using the same string of Dai Trasang. The corpse is then laid back to rest.
Before the Nam Man Prai may be used, the entire concoction is simmered over leftover charcoal from cremation pyres. This charcoal has to be collected from 7 different locations.
The simmering process has to be carried out at the junction of a 3-way crossroads. The spatula used to stir the concoction must be made from a Jujube Tree branch which was oriented to the East.
Following this, the oil has to be consecrated in the presence of the main Buddha statue in a temple. The incantation must be recited directly under the gaze of the Buddha as the sun rises behind the statue, and stretches from the first ray of sunrise, to when the rays meet the statue’s eyes. This symbolises that the spirit is under the watchful eye of the Buddha. This same ritual has to be painstakingly repeated in 7 different temples before the consecration process is considered complete.
The Power of Namman Prai
The consensus, perhaps propagated by Pop Culture, is that lone drop of Namman Prai swiped onto a victim, is enough to drive anyone mad with lust and longing.
The truth is not far from the legend. Women who have been afflicted with this macabre sorcery are known to develop a fiendish dedication to the owner of the Namman Prai, no matter how horrendously they get treated in return. Prolonged exposure to this magic may even cause them to lose their mental and physical facilities, slowly wasting away to an empty shell. It may even result in death. Some users take the sorcery to extremes, tricking their unwitting victims into ingesting drops of the oil, with twisted, demented results.
In a village, there was a lady of exceptional beauty whose name was Lee. A man named Yuen was absolutely smitten with her, but for many long years, his love went unrequited.
In his desperation, emotions overruled his logic, and he turned to Nam Man Prai. Lee fell head over heels in love with Yuen, even casting her parents aside to cohabit with him. Her behaviour was erratic and out of the norm, and she seemed to only hang on to Yuen’s every word as law. Shortly after Yuen passed away, she died too, at the age of 70.
Namman Prai In The Modern World
Today, the internet is rife with vendors and charmers claiming to have bottles of genuine Namman Prai for sale. Street knowledge indicates that many of these actually contain animal oils, or worse, poorly-consecrated versions of the genuine article. It is not advisable to even attempt to use and abuse these, as they could have dire consequences on your life.
The Method of Praying and Using Human Spirits Based Amulets
Three main methods are used to imbue spiritual powers in amulets:
- Through intense meditation. The VisuddhimaggaSutta, explains in explicit detail, how supernatural abilities may be achieved through the attainment of successive states of jhana(mental concentration), and using this mental powers to alter reality by affecting the 4 base elements; Earth, Air, Water, and Fire.
- Through inscriptions and incantations whose powers have been amplified through long, successive lineages of teachers, students, and their patron deities.
- Harnessing the energies of spirits; either elementals and intrinsic, such spirits of the Earth, Wind, and Trees, or Human in nature. Such amulets often rely on the restless nature of wandering spirits to amplify their powers.
Caring for amulets that draw their powers from these human spirits, is no small undertaking. Strict rules have to be followed, to mitigate mishandling and the resulting problems.
- Before bringing the amulet across the threshold of your home for the first time, prayers must be made to the Buddhas, Deities and Guardians, to allow your new spirits to pass through unscathed.
- Make a prior offering of 16 incense sticks outside the house for all the deities, or 9 incense sticks in front of the spirit house outside your home. Offer 3 incense sticks for the Buddha, and other deities in the altar of your house, as well. Request permission to bring the amulets with the human spirits into the house. If this step is not performed, the spirits residing within the amulet will not be able to enter the house.
Be careful to segregate your spirit amulets from your Buddhist amulets, and make sure to store them one level below any Buddhist saints and deities at all times.
Do not place the spirit amulets in or around your bedroom, or anywhere else you might lay your head.
- Perform a Khanhaceremony (refer to our article on Khanha ceremony).
- Offerings of food and drinks must be made to the spirits at least once a month.
- On Buddhist Uposathadays, observation of precepts, meditation, an offering of alms to monks and temples must be made, and the resulting merit should be shared with the spirits residing within your amulets.
This will help to prevent them from turning malicious, and enhance their powers.
- Be disciplined, and remember, spirits have free will too. Testing their limits by breaking their requisite protocol, will likely result in them wreaking havoc upon your life. As spirits are also beings who need sustenance, if they do not get it forms of offerings, havoc may result, as they will seek sustenance by draining your life force. In benign cases, the amulets will turn ineffective.
- Always deliver on any promises you make to your spirits.
- Do not, under any circumstances, allow Namman Prai oil to be ingested. In addition to being dangerous to spiritual wellbeing, it is also thoroughly disgusting and unsanitary, and will likely lead to an array of health issues due to its inherent toxicity.
- Be mindful that your spirits are merely following your example. Doing good deeds will encourage them to follow you down the path of righteousness. Misdeeds, however…
- A healthy amount of bravery is a prerequisite. To invite spirits into your life is to accept that paranormal activity will become a normal facet of your everyday existence. These incidents should, in fact, be treated as a means of determining the satisfaction and fulfilment of your spirits’ lives, as a happy, healthy, spirit will bond with its owner and choose to stay by their sides at all times. If your spirits are dead quiet, it’s probably because they are somewhere else causing a ruckus. You should be extremely concerned.
It is also a form of communication on their part. Perhaps you had not been performing merits for them, or if you had forgotten food offerings for some time. If so, gently voice out that you will do it soon and to leave you in peace for the time being. However, do remember to do the offerings as soon as possible.
Necromancy amulets are definitely not suitable for everyone, and we would strongly advise against surrounding yourself with too many of them. Bear in mind, that just as with any other form of an amulet, these restless companions are not a cure-all for your misdeeds, merely an enhancement for the good you strive towards. Do good, and you will find much good coming your way in return.
Dhammapada Verse 169: Observe proper practice; do not observe improper practice. One who observes proper practice lives happily both in this world and in the next.