The Creepy Legend of Mae Nak from Thailand
They say, love knows no boundaries and only death can keep a couple apart from each other. But what happens when the dearly departed does not want to accept death and still wants to cling on to his/her loved one? And in turn, by doing it, costs innocent lives at risk and fear will surround them? This is the famous urban legend's premise from Thailand that never ceases to reach borders due to its sinister tale. Let's all revisit the story of Mae Nak Phra Khanong from Thailand. Mae Nak Phra Khanong (แม่นากพระโขนง) means "Lady Nak of Phra Khanong", or simply Mae Nak (แม่นาก, "Lady Nak") or Nang Nak (นางนาก, "Miss Nak"), is a well-known Thai female ghost. According to local tales, the story is based on events that took place during the reign of King Rama IV.
The Origin of the Vengeful Spirit of Mae Nak
The story revolves around a couple from Thailand who once lived during the reign of King Mongkut. It was set in the 1851-1868 era wherein a beautiful girl named Nak, happily married to a man named Tid Mak. The love between them gave them a wonderful gift as Nak got pregnant with their child. The love story took a turn when Tid Mak was called to serve in the Army, requiring him to leave his pregnant wife. While Tid Mak was away for army duties, Nak suffered a fatal complication while giving birth and unfortunately, died along with her child. Tid Mak was not aware of it. Nak and her child but due to her deep love for her husband, Nak refused to cross over the other side and instead remained as a ghost in their house. When Tid Mak returned home, still unaware of his wife’s death, he found his beautiful wife and child waiting for him.
This is not just a simple ghost story since it includes Nak mercilessly killing anyone who might reveal the truth to her husband. Not wanting his husband to know of their death, Nak killed anyone who attempted to warn her husband that he was living with a ghost. And for a time they lived a life full of happiness and love, while there are ongoing brutal deaths of their neighbors who tries to be nosy.
The End of Nak's Vengeance
But as the saying goes, truth will not be forever hidden or kept as Nak could not have it her way forever, as fate tried to intervene between her hideous plot. One day, as Nak was preparing lunch for her husband, she accidentally dropped a fruit off the porch. She quickly reached out to catch it, but in her rush, she overstretched her arm, elongating it in a very creepy way. In Thai culture and beliefs, Thai ghosts are known to have the ability of elasticity in inhuman proportions. Nak did not know that Tid Mak saw the whole thing and came to a realization that Nak was a ghost. Tid Mak was scared and did not want to spend his life with a ghost. He immediately fled their house that night and took refuge inside a holy temple so that Nak could not chase after him. When Nak realized that Tid Mak had fled, her grief knew no bounds. It enraged her. Grief quickly turned to anger and she went on a murdering rampage. The neighbors hired an exorcist to lock her up in an earthenware jar to trap her spirit in it and got tossed over the canal. For many years afterwards, the village was at peace.
And the village lived happily ever af... Oh wait. It's not yet the end of Nak's undying conquest to wreck havoc in Thailand. Several years later her capture, someone accidentally fished out the jar from the canal and unwittingly released the ghost of Nak. And the murdering spree happened again but it did not last too long. Nak got captured again and this time, the one who vanquished her spirit was the famous Buddhist monk Somdej Toh, who imprisoned her spirit in the bone of her forehead and bound it on his waistband. When Somdej Toh died, the infamous relic was said to have passed on to the Royal Family to make sure Nak would not be released to do harm ever again. Her vengeful spirit is said to be kept by the Royal family to fully ensure everyone's safety.
The famous urban legend did not die as it became part of local folklore in Thailand and its story spread globally. Nak's story was revisited by the media as its plot made waves in series, movies, books, etc. Truly, Nak's impact can't be denied.