Spirit Doctors in Phuket

Spirit Doctors in Phuket – Once a year the tourist town of Phuket, Thailand witnesses the ‘Vegetarian Festival’ when ‘spirit doctors’ from the area’s Chinese population perform amazing feats of self-mutilation and asceticism. Men and women, possessed, pierce parts of their their faces and tongues with any and every object to hand including branches of trees, umbrellas, model aeroplanes made of coca-cola cans, spikes, TV satellite dishes and a host of other unlikely things. They also walk across burning coals and up ladders of razor sharp metal. The events end in a crescendo of deafening fire crackers just after dawn. All this is done in the name of purification. Once over, life goes back to normal and all the previously possessed return to their normal daily lives and everyday jobs as bus drivers, teachers, travel agents, car mechanics and every other occupation that makes the economy of a small provincial town function.