User login

Rural Vampire Repellent

By: Expat Advisory Posted: January-01-2006 in
Expat Advisory

On the streets of Phnom Penh, John Weeks - 012 425 706 encounters some surreal traffic situations. Simply navigating around makes one yearn for a GPS tracking unit. Street names and numbers may be unlabelled; house numbers obey no rhyme or reason...

It is no great revelation that Cambodians are superstitious people. It won't surprise you also to hear that Cambodians have an unhealthy fascination with evil spirits. You only have to drive past a local cinema in Phnom Penh to see what tickles the movie-viewing public's taste buds. Ghosts, vampires and monsters. Nothing more. In every single movie!

It is also not too uncommon to witness a ghost exorcism ceremony somewhere in the city now and again. For three days the house owners make food offerings to the spirits that have been haunting them. Loud music is played and monks perform special chants and prayers in an attempt to appease the ghosts, and persuade them to leave the building, presumably to haunt somebody else.

In more rural areas of Cambodia, locals have taken their belief in the spirit world to a new level. In certain provinces, petrified home-owners hang bottles of bright red liquid from gate posts as a form of phantom protection. Any inquiry about these bottles will cause the usual Khmer smile to fall from local faces as they explain the odd custom.

They worryingly explain that at night vampires walk along quiet country roads. Sometimes, these vampires enter villagers' houses and suck the blood of those unfortunate enough to be sleeping inside. To prevent these evil creatures from going into their houses, the villagers hang bottles of reddyed water from their gates. Confusing this red-dyed water for fresh blood, the vampires gulp it down. This satisfies their thirst for blood and, instead of entering the house, they return home.

Exactly when or where this tradition started, nobody knows for sure. It is thought to have originated in Kompong Cham or Kompong Thom provinces within the last three or four years. It has since spread to many other provinces as villagers, not wanting to be left out, copy their neighbours.

And so, the wheels to this nationwide trend have been set in motion. Bottle by bottle, house by house, and village-byvillage the extent of the custom slowly grows.

Soon there will be no rural hunting grounds for evil blood-sucking spirits to roam. They will be forced into the towns and cities. Phnom Penh will become a blood bath, as hoards of vampires feast on the less superstitious city folk. Maybe then, those silly city slickers will believe in this clever country custom. Maybe . . .

Discuss this article on the Expat-Advisory Forums.


Whats on! See our help pages - add your own events

This location does not have any events. Why not add one here!