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A cult leader whose followers ‘consumed bodily fluids and worshipped corpses’ is arrested after 11 bodies found during a raid

Supporters yelled and jostled with authorities as officers led Thawee Nanra to a police van at his house deep in the bush of Chaiyaphum province. The bearded, shirtless white-haired man was labeled a cult leader. 

Thawee Nanra told his followers he was the ‘father of all religions.’ police said they found 11 corpses on the 75-year-old’s premises. Local media believed them to be the bodies of his followers. A daughter of one of the followers complained to a celebrity through social media who usually exposes unscrupulous religious figures and raises the flag of suspicion.

Though most people in Thailand have their religion rooted in Buddhism, other people hold beliefs outside the mainstream religion, including the worship of local spirits and fear of ghosts. What concerns the Thai government is not the difference in faith but the difference in how they practice their religion. 

Five coffins were found outside their shelter, one of which was of a dead infant and another, of his dead mother. All of the coffins were drilled to properly allow the lymph fluid to flow out. 

Provincial Governor Kraisorn Kongchalad said Thawee had at least a dozen followers living with him and that coffins containing bodies were scattered around the house. While a daughter was visiting her mother, she saw devotees restricted to a dress code and eating and massaging the leader’s phlegm on her face and eating the man’s scurf. While she was visiting, she counted eleven dead bodies. Her mother followed up, requesting she get left on the grounds when she passes; Thawee told his followers that he stored the dead bodies to wait for the spirits to return to heaven.

Kraisorn urged the difference between exclusion and humanity, “But this is not only about a personal belief anymore. We have dead bodies, and we will have to work with all agencies to establish facts surrounding these individuals.” Authorities believe the organization went undetected for more than four years because the leader’s residence was located in a secluded wooded region far from other settlements. 

Although many would note this as a disturbance to both hygiene and human code, Thawee graciously combatted authorities’ questions by having a backup plan. Thawee told officers that all his followers were willing, saying: ‘I didn’t force anybody to stay here or do anything they didn’t want to.’ Mara, a 45-year-old devotee, explained their process to officials, “We have papers showing that the relatives have given consent with a death certificate. Some of them have practiced meditation in this place. As for the burial, we follow the process of the medical team. The body is put in a sealed bag and injected with formaldehyde to prevent the corpse from rotting.”

Thawee was initially charged with infringing on a forest area because his house was allegedly on public land, and illegal gatherings were prohibited under COVID laws. With most stones turned over, local police scrambled for a charge that could keep Thawee in jail. They landed on a charge that could hold him until officials find proper evidence to charge Thawee with the appropriate crimes. Police say they are looking into other charges, including the unlawful disposal of bodies.



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