Fortean Bangkok

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#1
Bangkok Museum of the Macabre

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- It's a rare museum where visitors are welcomed by the founder's skeleton.

But the father of the Bangkok's Forensic Museum donated his body to his life's cause, and his bones now rest in peace at the entrance for medical students and ordinary onlookers to examine.

This macabre monument to death and its causes attracts more visitors -- often 100-plus a day -- than any art gallery and many other museums in Thailand's capital. They range from those with a morbid curiosity to serious students of medicine and forensic science.

Visitors can study hemorrhaged brains, severed arms with tattoos, and lungs with stab wounds.

In one case are skulls punctured by bullet holes, shot at from different angles by forensic scientists in an experiment to study how bullets ricochet inside a human head. Results helped them analyze evidence in murder cases.

At the doorway is the skeleton of Songkran Niyomsane, Thailand's father of forensic medicine and the museum's founder. He died in 1970.

By far the most popular display is the mummified body of Si Ouey, a notorious cannibal and serial killer of boys and girls in the late 1950s.

"Don't commit a crime, otherwise you will end up like this," joked Dr. Somboon Thamtakerngkit, the museum curator and chief of forensic pathology at Siriraj Hospital, where the museum is located.

Somboon said Thai mothers used to scare naughty children with tales of Si Ouey, who was finally caught when the father of one victim and a policeman discovered him at home about to partake of the child's organs.

"Si Ouey thought that it was healthy to eat fresh livers and hearts," said Somboon

Now, Si Ouey, shriveled, brown and coated in wax to prevent mould, slumps against the glass of a phone-booth-like case. A close look reveals incisions in his head made by Thai pathologists who examined his brain for any abnormalities that would mark a serial killer.

Many of the displays teach medical students and visitors about the body and what can go wrong with it. And also serve as graphic warnings.

"We call the dead bodies 'Big Teacher.' We respect the bodies as if they were our teachers or professors. Without them we wouldn't be able to learn," Somboon said.

'Extraordinary'
One set of blackened lungs may give second thought to smokers. An aorta with calcium deposits shows how heart attacks result from clogged arteries. One heart is twice its normal size from hypertension.

Reactions range from scientific curiosity for the human body to grimaces of revulsion, and from giggles to quiet respect for the dead.

Some visitors leave candies or toys near the bodies of babies preserved in formaldehyde.

One baby boy is displayed as an example of hydrocephalus, a condition in which the head becomes too large for the body to support. Somboon explained, "We asked the parents -- 'Can we keep the body? Then if you miss him, you can come and see him.' They said OK, and so we have him."

One visitor, Pearl Tay, stood near a photo of a woman who was choked to death and noted that visiting after lunch might not be the best idea.

Her friend, Victor Chia, a biology buff from Singapore, called the museum "extraordinary."

"It's not available in our own country," he said. "It's very definitely not what you see in other museums."

http://www.cnn.com/2003/TRAVEL/DESTINATIONS/07/23/bankok.macabre.ap/index.html
 

luohan

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#2
I visited the Forensic Museum when I was in Bangkok a few years ago. It is pretty hardcore. :splat:
 

MrSnowman

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#3
Don't we have a similar institution over here somewhere?

I seem to recall there being a 'Black Museum' that was run by the police or something, and in there are all sorts of artifacts from the most terrible of cases that Scotland Yard have dealt with over the years. Or maybe it's more of an archive? As I say, I'm not entirely sure, but I definitely remember hearing or reading about it.

"Y'know, you remind me of a poem I can't remember, and a song that may have never existed, and a place I'm not sure I've ever been to."-Grampa Simpson :rolleyes:
 

chockfullahate

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#4
there is a link to a black museum page on the official scotland yard website somewhere... can't remember what it is though...
 

carole

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#5
But apparently it's not called the Black Museum any more, because that's being racist . . . :hmph:

Carole
 
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Anonymous

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#6
Has the Mutter Museum ever been mentioned on this board? Sort of a slightly-less-grizly version of that place. Well, maybe not much less. Look at that soap lady.
 

theredmeanie

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#7
I will be staying in Bangkok for a few months soon, and I wondered if any of you loverly people know of some good and fortean locations in and around The Big Mango.
So far on my list, I've got the Songkran Miyomsane Forensic Medicine Museum, Wat Bang Phra and Phra Luang Ta Bua Temple.
Any ideas or recommendations?
 
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Anonymous

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#12
Just looked at Escargot's link.
You HAVE to find the parasite museum!!
Just think, ticks, fleas, huge tapeworms...
:D
 
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#16
shaun petrie said:
I will be staying in Bangkok for a few months soon, and I wondered if any of you loverly people know of some good and fortean locations in and around The Big Mango.
So far on my list, I've got the Songkran Miyomsane Forensic Medicine Museum, Wat Bang Phra and Phra Luang Ta Bua Temple.
Any ideas or recommendations?
I hope you will take lots of pictures and write this up for the magazine ;)

Emps
 

theredmeanie

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#17
I most certainly will;)

I got a tat of Hanuman from Wat Bang Phra, which I am informed makes me impervious to bullets.....
 
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#18
THAI TATTOOED ASSASSINS

Written by Thomas Brecelic
Tuesday, 28 September 2004

Thugs dripping with amulets that can supposedly deflect bullets; sacred markings that make killers tremble with fear; and men possessed by the spirits of animals tattooed on their backs. You could be forgiven for thinking you'd just come across a Hell's Angels rally, because big burly men covered in tattoos of serpents, tigers and bears are throwing themselves into a frenzy.

One man is tackled to the ground, eyes rolling, while another comes charging in, hissing and clawing his way towards a stage full of chanting Buddhist monks. This is World Wrestling Federation stuff - Thai occult-style - except none of it's staged.

This is the annual Wat Bang Pra Tattoo Festival at Nakhon Pathom. The temple, famous for its magical tattoos, is located just outside Bangkok.....
The rest is here:
Source

Black Magic Monk

Written by Tom Brecelic

Wednesday, 03 November 2004

He's an expectant mother's worst nightmare and totally unrepentant. The defrocked Saraburi monk who spent six months in jail for grilling over 1,000 stillborn babies is now Thailand's foremost black magic practitioner.

"I've grilled 1,000 stillborn babies," proclaimed Nain Ae, opening up debate on the ancient Thai practice of kumon tong - grilling stillborn babies to unleash the spirit of the 'Golden Baby.'

The 50-year-old black magician, who was previously a monk for 35 years, fears a few things in life, and one of them is not appearing in the news.
Source
 

theredmeanie

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#19
Yup, that's pretty much how it was...glad I beat him to it! The odd thing about the tattoo was that it didn't bleed or scab over, and hurt significantly less than a regular tat with a gun, despite being on my shoulder blade and the monk going at it with a five-foot metal spike like billy-o.

I asked before I had the tattoo about the risk of H.I.V and Hepatitis, as the conditions were clearly not up to health and safety standards (on a monastry floor with a chain-smoking monk dipping his spike into beer cans full of ink, but he laughed and told me that it was a magic tattoo and therefore I had nothing to fear. After it was done (the whole thing took about 25 minutes) my tattoo was blessed by the monk (he blew on it a few times and chanted).

Oddly, for days afterwards, I would often hear people whisper 'Hanuman' as I walked past (without tattoo on display).

Odder still, I STILL haven't been hit by a single bullet!
 

elffriend

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#20
shambles said:
Yup, that's pretty much how it was...glad I beat him to it! The odd thing about the tattoo was that it didn't bleed or scab over, and hurt significantly less than a regular tat with a gun, despite being on my shoulder blade and the monk going at it with a five-foot metal spike like billy-o.

I asked before I had the tattoo about the risk of H.I.V and Hepatitis, as the conditions were clearly not up to health and safety standards (on a monastry floor with a chain-smoking monk dipping his spike into beer cans full of ink, but he laughed and told me that it was a magic tattoo and therefore I had nothing to fear. After it was done (the whole thing took about 25 minutes) my tattoo was blessed by the monk (he blew on it a few times and chanted).

Oddly, for days afterwards, I would often hear people whisper 'Hanuman' as I walked past (without tattoo on display).

Odder still, I STILL haven't been hit by a single bullet!
You actually had one done? :shock: Shambles you are a very very brave man, or very foolish :D
 

theredmeanie

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#21
Elffriend said:
You actually had one done? :shock: Shambles you are a very very brave man, or very foolish :D
I did indeed, about 3 years ago. I have to go to Bangkok in a few weeks and I was wondering if I'd do the same now, being older and...well, older.

I must say I am tempted.
 

James_H

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#22
I've visited that museum. I thought it would be a lark but I found it genuinely disturbing. Don't attempt if you don't have a strong stomach for stuff like photos of people who have been through a wood-chipping machine.

One of my favourite things about Bangkok, a wonderful city usually known as Khrungthep in Thai, is its full name: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit ('City of angels, great city of immortals, magnificent city of the nine gems, seat of the king, city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnate, erected by Vishvakarman at Indra's behest.')

The lyrics to this big '80s tune consist entirely of the full ceremonial name for Bangkok:

 

Lord Lucan

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#23
I visited Bangkok in 1980 and had the pleasure of visiting the Royal Palace. Whilst there my father found a small, golden statue of a buddha holding a staff just over an inch and a half long on some stairs and decided to take it home as a souvenir (I know, I know). Back then, possibly still, it was illegal to remove images of the buddha from the country. Whilst not superstition, he sat it on a side board back at home and I refused to touch the thing, leaving it well alone.
Fast forward some years later, my father had passed away and I was living in his apartment with my fiance' when searching through some of his things we discovered in a cupboard, we found the buddha. I told her the story of how we came to have it and how I wouldn't touch it. She thought it highly amusing and my telling her that I felt it was ''bad luck'' a load of bunk.
Later that evening she took a shower, dried off and came out into the lounge room barefoot & naked only to step on the buddha (which now somehow was on the floor) it's staff piercing the sole of her foot quite deeply. She hobbled around for a few days afterwards and threw the little buddha away.
 

Floyd1

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#24
I visited Bangkok in 1980 and had the pleasure of visiting the Royal Palace. Whilst there my father found a small, golden statue of a buddha holding a staff just over an inch and a half long on some stairs and decided to take it home as a souvenir (I know, I know). Back then, possibly still, it was illegal to remove images of the buddha from the country. Whilst not superstition, he sat it on a side board back at home and I refused to touch the thing, leaving it well alone.
Fast forward some years later, my father had passed away and I was living in his apartment with my fiance' when searching through some of his things we discovered in a cupboard, we found the buddha. I told her the story of how we came to have it and how I wouldn't touch it. She thought it highly amusing and my telling her that I felt it was ''bad luck'' a load of bunk.
Later that evening she took a shower, dried off and came out into the lounge room barefoot & naked only to step on the buddha (which now somehow was on the floor) it's staff piercing the sole of her foot quite deeply. She hobbled around for a few days afterwards and threw the little buddha away.
I think after that and due to your being a damn fine kind of chap, I'd have taken it (or had it sent) back to the Royal Palace!
 

Lord Lucan

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#25
I think after that and due to your being a damn fine kind of chap, I'd have taken it (or had it sent) back to the Royal Palace!
In hindsight, that would have been the thing to do. Being young and not so worldly (or considerate) at the time, I had other things on my mind.
 

Lord Lucan

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#28
The little Buddha may have been left in that place deliberately (for some obscure reason only known to its former owner).
Without a doubt, hence why when my father decided to take it, I decided to have nothing to do with it. I was only 15 at the time.
 
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