A new fad is here. What is it? Try crossing a Cabbage Patch doll with Rosemary’s Baby — only without the sinister devil aspect. But what makes it creepy? Their owners believe they hold the spirit of a real child inside and adopt them for their own. They are incredibly lifelike making it even easier for the owner to believe this is more than just a doll. It is called a Luk Thep.
This whole thing started in Thailand when local celebrities got involved. Their fans would follow their tweets and Facebook postings on how the little doll became such a huge part of their lives. Some dolls were even credited by their owners for winning the lottery. Luk Thep translates to ‘child angel.’ Many psychologists believe Thailand’s natural affinity for ‘animism’ makes it susceptible to the belief. Spirits inhabiting objects have a long history with the culture. Throw in lots of insecurity since the recent coup and unstable economy, and it’s no surprise that people are latching on to something.
The dolls are originally imported from the United States. Once they arrive, they proceed with a ritual. A good child’s spirit is then invited into the body of the doll making it a “child angel” or Luk Thep. The souls are then permanently “locked in” to the doll. Incantations attract good energy to bring luck to the new parent. Finally, they are blessed under moonlight. These dolls are then purchased anywhere from $97 to $362 each.
Evidently, these dolls can come in various sizes. The smallest are 10 inches long while the larger ones can reach 22 inches in length. The big news being reported on every news page is that owners can and are being allowed to purchase seats on a local airline. One such company has instructed their employees to make sure the doll is buckled in and make sure they are served food and drink along with the other passengers. To discourage this practice, some airlines are charging full price with no discount which means the doll could be paying more to fly than the owner. If the owners decline to buy a seat, then the doll travels as baggage though it can be considered carry on with one airline. One enterprising individual has taken advantage of the new craze and shipped his doll as baggage — stuffed with a popular (and illegal) amphetamine making the spirit child a ‘mule’ in the drug trafficking world. No word yet on whether the Luk Thep was arrested or made bail.
Some families have fully embraced the Luk Thep doll into their home. Including the children who treat the doll as a sibling. But the doll can also make some people feel creeped out. Because they are so lifelike, some children feel very uneasy around a Luk Thep doll. It has gotten to the point where some hotels have banned the doll from their premises so as not to scare away other potential customers. At the same time, the airlines of Thailand have now banded together and agreed that Luk Thep dolls will be treated as luggage and not a real person.
It seems that in a land where crazes change with the seasons, the latest craze is nearing its peak and may be on its way down. The Supreme Council and the National Office of Buddhism has forbidden their monks to perform Plook Sek which infuses the spirit within the doll. Now, owners are getting tired of the negative impact from society that looks down on their obsession strangely. In response they are dumping their dolls back to the temples just like a baby may be abandoned at the steps of a hospital here in the U.S.
As with all fads, the craze will soon be gone. If the way America treats its fads is any indication, what was once priced in the hundreds of dollars now can’t be sold and must be given away. Many entrepreneurs are now looking for the next must-have craze to swell their coffers. But, the best idea may be to just hang onto it. Put it somewhere safe and protected. In 20 years, it will become highly collectible and worth more than what it originally sold for. The American Dream.