This article examines the process of building kinship relations
between Thai spirit devotees and violent spirits. I examine three spirit
shrines on the outskirts of Bangkok: a shrine to the ghost of a woman
killed in childbirth, a shrine to a cobra spirit that causes accidents
along a busy highway, and a household shrine to an aborted fetus. The
devotees to whom I spoke actively sought out such places known for
death in order to ‘adopt’ or ‘become adopted by’ the spirits in those
locations—an action that, I argue, allowed for a renegotiation of the
devotees’ position vis-à-vis accident and trauma. I suggest that becoming
a spirit’s ‘child’ forms a mutually dependent relationship that allows
for the domestication of forces outside of oneself.
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