Phi Phoang (¼Õâ¾§)
The phi phoang is in some respects similar to the phi krasu It likes rawish and fishy food, and it also emits glimmering same lights while prowling in the night. The word phoang is, I think the same as Phloang in Thai which means bright or glow. Hence a phi phoang is by its very name a kind of glowing phi. In , other respects the phi phoang is unlike the phi krasu. Nothing is hinted of its sex, nor does it go out at night with only its head, and entrails. The above description of the phi phoang is, what has been gathered from the people in Chiengmai, but the phi phoang of the Northeast, though agreeing in certain particulars with the phi krasu has a variant peculiarity. It is said that a person who has with him a "wan" plant of a powerful kind will become a phi phoang. Wan is an undefined class of herbs and plants, usually with rootstalks. They are used as medicine or as food and some of them are poisonous. According to popular belief, certain kinds of "wan" have magical-properties. If such "wan" is taken by or kept with a person, he'll be invulnerable or invisible or whatever peculiar quality it may confer. When 4 person has become a phi phoang through the'effect of the potent "wan" he -becomes a contagious being. If he spits on anyone, that person will become a phi phoang too. If he dislikes someone he will -throw a "mai khan" (äÁé¤Ò¹) a stick for carrying loads on the shoulder, belonging, to a widow over the roof of the person's house, and that person will be ruined in various ways. The Thai as well as the Chinese and other races in the Indo-Chinese PeDinsula carry their loads on their shoulders with "mai khan" unlike the Indian and other races in the west.
Why a widow's "mai khan" is used, it is hard to understand. When a child is always ill, if an anklet-like bracelet (¡ÓäÅµÕ¹) made from silver belonging to a widow (à§Ô¹áÁèÁèÒÂ) is presented and worn by the child, he Will become well. This is also hard to understand. A cover of a pot for boiling rice is called "fa lam!" If the pot is broken, its cover is called a "widow"s fa lami", for it has lost its pot. In grinding or mixing household medicine, only such a cover is used in the operation. Here its reason can be surmised.If an ordinary "fa lami" is utilized, it, cannot be further used to cover the pot for the odor of medicine would leave its trace on the cover and spoil the rice.
The phi phoang likes to go on the prowl during nights when there has been a continuous drizzling rain. It likes to devour dirty things similar to the phi krasu. It emits a glimmer of light wherever it goes, but others say that it shoots long rays of light out of its nostrils. It usually lurks in human form underneath the floor of the house where there is an opening, during a woman's confinement for childbirth. Here its character is the same as the phi krasu. If someone sees and recognizes it to be in the shape of such and such a person, he casts a spear at it. If the spear sticks fast to its back it will flee away. In the morning when be goes to this person's house, he will be surprised to find the person unharmed; but will see the spear stuck fast to a rootstalk of a certain "wan" plant which grows nearby. The reason is now clear. The rootststalk of that "wan" plant by its powerful inherent properties becomes a phi phoang, taking the human shape of its owner. The phi phoang, though in some respects similar to the phi krasu, never harms people. T14s is an- apparent contradiction of what has been said above. But it is usually thus when one deals with the mysterious and the unseen. Each person will have his own beliefs and a story to tell which always varies in its details.
In old Thai Laws (¡®ËÁÒÂÅÑ¡É³Ðàºç´àµÅç´) Reference wasmade to four kinds of phi, namely: "chamop" (ªÁº.), "chakla" (¨Ð¡ÅÐ) "krasu" and "krahang". Nothing is said of the nature of these Phi for they were well-known in those days. The law only referred to procedures in dealing with these phi. It said that if in any province a person was found to be any of these phi, he must not be killed but reported and sent to the capital. A person was guilty of perjury who claimed that anyone was one of the above four phi or who insulted an individual by accusing him of being a phi falsely. If his claim was found to be untrue he was punished. If anyone was ill as a result, of a krasu "eating him" or was obsessed by a phi krasu a phi doctor was called to find out the person who was: the phi krasu He (lid this by boiling the cloth in a steamer. Anyone who tried to take it out of the steamer or put out the fire was guilty of being a phi krasu. Now of the four kinds of phi as mentioned in the, Old Laws, the phi krasu and the phi krahang have already been described. The other two, chamop and phi chakla are unknown to the present generation. Any knowledge of them must have disappeared long ago. There is a Cambodian phi called "thamop" and a phi in Chiengmai region called "phi ka" (¼Õ¡Ð) which can perhaps supply clues to these two obsolete Thai phi,