Dolls containing children’s spirits are believed to provide good luck

The closer a doll comes to looking human, the more it makes our skin crawl and our suspicions of being murdered in our sleep rise.

What should be a truth universally acknowledged, reinforced time and again by horror movies, is apparently being ignored in Thailand, as people are adopting Look Thep (Child God) dolls, which they believe to be inhabited by children’s spirits.

These people believe that by caring for the possessed dolls they will be the recipient of good luck and prosperity.

The dolls are created through a special religious ritual, an updated version of the ancient kuman thong, the traditional practice of worshipping human foetuses that died before birth. These dolls keep the idea of revering spirits without the messy business of obtaining a dead foetus.

Some Thai celebrities have even jumped on the Look Thep bandwagon. “The first day I got [my doll], I took him shopping for clothes in the baby section,” said DJ Bookkoh Thannatchayapan of 94 FM of Wansai, his Look Thep doll. “Right after I paid for his clothes I got a call that my cancelled job was back on!

“I feel like Wansai really exists,” he said. “I love him as my child.”

A prominent creator of the dolls is Bangkok-based Mae Ning, who came up with the idea of a more pliable child after struggling to deal with her son.

She modifies factory-made dolls by adding weight and styling their hair, before conducting a ritual, invoking the power of the Hindu goddess Parvati, to create new children’s souls to live inside the dolls. Then all they need is to be adopted by a new mother or father.

“We treat them as if they’re really alive,” she said. “I created a soul into it. Can’t you see that he looked very alive?”

Unfortunately it’s something we can never un-see.