One thing you probably don’t know about the culture of Thailand is that they are taking the story about ghost like an innate part of reality. And in a country where stories of ghost are too prevalent, nothing can be more terrifying than the ghost of Mae Nak. Contrary to the other origination of ghost stories that are mostly spooky, scary and hair-raising, the legend about Mae Nak Phra Khanong is about undying and faithful love. The legend of Mae Nak has been recreated a lot of times in different media making it the equivalent of the Dracula of the West. The only difference is that the story of Mae Nak is well-documented.
The History of the Legend of Mae Nak
The story begins during the mid-19th Century at the province called Phra Konong in Bangkok. During those times the province of Bangkok is not yet urbanized. It is virtually a jungle that resembles the secluded area of Thailand. It has numerous canals that are connected to the main river, Chao Phraya. The primary mode of transportation back on those days would be boat and fishing vessels. People are also closely connected with the river; their lifestyle as well as their livelihood. Phra Khanong, the setting of the story can be found on the southeastern edge of Bangkok.
On the banks of the Phra Khanong, there lived a couple named Mak and Nak. On that time, Siam is exercising their authority in the larger part of the Southeast Asian region and Mak has been called to offer his service in the military. He left Nak while she was carrying their eldest son. During the battle, Mak acquired severe wounds which prompted the official to send him to the province of Thonburi in order to recuperate.
While he was serving the military, Nak went into a labour, but unfortunately there were a lot of complications that resulted to the death of Nak and the unborn child. Based on the beliefs of Thais, a pregnant woman who died together with her child can create the most terrifying ghost. Following the Buddhist tradition, they do not perform proper cremation and immediately buried the body of Nak.
Since the conscious mind and feeling of Mae Nak is too attached to her husband, she refused to move to the afterlife. The attachment is too strong that it manifested into physical form and she cast a spell over Mak to guarantee that the house will appear normal and taken care of despite of the fact that it has not been maintained for quite some time now. After a long time, Mak returned home and he was reunited once more with her wife and son.
But as the story goes on, Mak noticed something odd with the villagers. They started avoiding him but no one has the courage to tell him about the fact that he was living with a ghost-wife since they are afraid that the spirit of Mae Nak will turn to them. Some people courageously told him about it, but Mak refused to accept it. Mae Nak will then kill the people who will attempt to tell Mak about the ghost.
The ending about the ghost of Mae Nak has different variation. There were ending that said that when Mak realized that Mae Nak is dead, he decided to join her on the afterlife. There are also stories that say that the soul of Mae Nak was captured by a monk and placed in a jar. The jar was then thrown into the river. Apparently, someone saw the jar and opened it, releasing the soul of Mae Nak and tormenting the villagers once more.