Pre-Buddhist Thailand had a significant amount of mythology that survived as a form of spirit worship. These spirits were known collectively as the phi. The various forms of the phi were numerous, and can be compared to the ghosts, goblins, elves, and fairies of Western Europe folklore.

Among the phi that inhabited the countryside were the ghosts of people killed and/or eaten by animals, women who died during childbirth, people who did not have proper funeral rites upon their death, and those who died suddenly and unexpectedly. These spirits were the sources of various forms of attacks, which included vampirism-- signs of an attack were being bitten, scratched, or suddenly falling violently ill. The Phi Song Nang were one such type of phi (comparable to the pontianak of Java and Indonesia) and appeared as beautiful young women who viciously attacked and vampirized young men (See also: succubus).

The ways of the phi were widely known among various occult practitioners, and generally a seer would be called in cases of a person who had been attacked by a phi. After using various spells and incantations the person would be rid of the spirit, and could continue their daily lives.

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