Ghost Radio: when ghosts haunt the airwaves in Thailand

Ghost Radio: when ghosts haunt the airwaves in Thailand< /p> UPDATE DAY

It's almost midnight in Thailand, it's time for Ghost Radio, a popular show airing on internet from a studio on the top floor of a half-abandoned shopping mall in Bangkok.

Tens of thousands of Thais go online to watch or listen to live listeners recount their experiences with ghosts, spirits and other beings from beyond.

Belief in the supernatural runs deep in the kingdom's popular culture, from the myth of Mae Nak that haunted her neighbors after she died in childbirth to the frightening krasue, female creatures hungry for fresh flesh. p>

Today, these ancient stories are unearthed by online platforms like YouTube or TikTok and instant messengers.

“A man in a white suit appeared to him in a dream and told him that her time had come and that she had to follow him,” describes the first interlocutor, her voice quavering.

“But when she turned around, she saw her own body on the bed.”

In the studio, host Watcharapol Fukjaidee seeks out details.

His webcast, which has three million subscribers on YouTube, takes place twice a week, from 11 p.m. dawn.

Watcharapol Fukjaidee got its start 20 years ago with Thai “godfather of ghosts” Kapol Thongplub, whose late-night show was a hit with fans. taxi drivers.

Thanks to new technologies, “the chance of seeing ghosts increases,” he explains to AFP.

“Ghosts communicate via applications, messaging, telephone calls. Technology is becoming the channel through which they can contact people,” says Watcharapol, 46, who cultivates a discreet and tongue-in-cheek style.

More and more young people

He thus remembers the call of a man recounting having been contacted by a friend who gave him an appointment in a temple. When he arrived, what he found sent chills down his spine: “His friend was dead and his phone had been placed in the coffin.”

“Popular beliefs fit so unbelievable” to changes in society, explains anthropologist Andrew Alan Johnson, who has studied the role of the supernatural in Thai society.

Ghost stories help preserve the memory of places or explain a feeling of uprooting, especially in the megalopolis of Bangkok, which has changed a lot in recent years, continues the expert.

On the ground floor, a café dedicated to ghosts, filled with fans, provides another source of income for the show, in addition to on-air sponsors.

One employee, Khemjira, sifts through dozens of stories sent in by listeners, discarding those that touch on politics or a taboo subject of the monarchy.

“With the influence of Twitter and TikTok, more and more young people are calling,” he explains. “I think people often encounter ghosts. We hardly ever hear the same story.”

Munching on a tombstone-shaped brownie, 25-year-old police officer Chalwat Thungood recounts having had a supernatural experience during an intervention.< /p>

Called to intervene in a house, he saw on his arrival the shadow of a very fat man passing through the bathroom: after struggling to open the door, he discovered an obese man dead for at least five hours.

“I saw the spirit of the fat man,” he assures, “I believe 100% that ghosts exist.”

< p>Watcharapol, meanwhile, refuses to say if he believes in it, before admitting that he is “scared to death” of ghosts that are said to haunt hospitals.

According to him, people are find themselves on his show “because sometimes they can't tell their family about their ghostly experiences.”

“No one can prove it's real except the listener on the air “says Watcharapol, before smiling.