The Tale of Phi Krasue and Her Floating Head – Spooky Stories From Thailand | What is Krasue?


It’s October, Halloween is approaching and what better way to get into the spooky season by diving into some of the many stories Thailand has about ghosts, creatures and spirits. The supernatural is very intertwined into Thai culture and everywhere you look you will see evidence of it. Whether it’s trees wrapped in colourful fabric, spirit houses, or offerings of food and drinks in front of shops and shrines. Many spirits and mythical entities are believed to be benevolent, but for this blog let’s focus on Phi Krasue – one of the most well known phi (ghost) tales in Thailand!

A common sight in Thailand – people leaving offerings for tree spirits

(Image Source | An Extraordinary And Ordinary Life)

As a kid I remember hearing people singing songs about Phi Krasue all the time as her story had been adapted to many movies and TV shows. “During the day she is a regular woman, but at night there’s only her head and intestines”, the song went

Depiction of Krasue on movie posters – Krasue Sao (1973) & Bloody Krasue (1994)

(Image Source | Ninja Dixon)

Krasue in Central Thailand is always portrayed as an older woman who is quite ordinary during the day but has a sinister secret at night. Once the sun sets, she would detach her head and leave her body behind in a safe place. Emitting an orb of pulsating light, she floats around with just her head and intestines looking for food (many who claim to have seen this orb describe it as being about the size of a takraw ball, green or orange in colour).

A more modern take on Krasue from the movie Inhuman Kiss (2019)

The origin of Phi Krasue is unclear but many believe that she is a punished or sinful being that has been involved with ‘black magic’. Because requirements were not fulfilled or rules have been broken, she was then condemned into a being that has to only consume filthy things. The smell of blood and guts draw her attention and raw or rotten things and faeces are her food of choice.

This makes many in the olden days fear when someone is giving birth, as they believe a Krasue will be able to smell it and come devour on fresh placenta and newborns. To protect themselves, families will surround their houses with sharpened bamboo or thorny bushes, suspecting that she will fear getting her intestines caught in these. Other sources however believe that she avoids human interaction in fear of exposing her identity, preferring to hunt small frogs in rice fields and eating faeces in secret. Is it also said that to kill her, one must destroy the body she had left behind before she can come back to it.

The jujube plant is said to be a good defence against Krasue due to its thorny branches (Image source | ONTOUS)

Although there have been written records of this lore since the Ayutthaya period (around 14th – 18th century), the beliefs of Phi Krasue are still very much alive today. Many sightings are still being reported each year in rural areas with people blaming Kra Sue activity for mysterious livestock deaths making headlines. In the past few years there have also been news about villages setting up night patrol squads after a reported Krasue sighting, an attempt at keeping villagers at ease from this terrifying news.

A floating head ghost with entrails hanging from its neck may not seem like something many people can dream up, but lores with similar beings have also been told elsewhere in other South East Asian cultures. In Malaysian folklore, the Penanggalan exists – a vampiric entity that “twinkles like a ball of flame” from afar and is shaped like a “floating disembodied woman’s head with trailing organs”. When looking at the Cambodian Ahp, Laotian Krasu, Kuyang from Borneo or Ungga-Ungga from the Philippines, it seems like similar lores are being told but with different names. Whether Phi Krasue exists or ever existed, I’m definitely not hanging around if I see a mysterious orb of light coming towards me!

A drawing of Ungga-Ungga from the Philippines (Image source | STOIC-ASWANG)


Article by Oun V.


Silpa Mag


Benjamin Baumann