After 11 bodies were discovered during a raid, police in Thailand arrested a leader of a cult who allegedly worshipped corpses.
As Thawee Nanra was led to his house deep in the Chaiyaphum jungle, supporters yelled at him and jostled with police officers.
According to police, 11 bodies were found on the 75-year old’s property. Local media reported that they were likely his followers.
Kraisorn Kongchalad, the provincial governor, stated that Thawee had at most a dozen people living with him. He also said that there were many coffins with bodies scattered about the house.
Authorities are told that devotional followers believed the leader’s urine or phlegm was a cure for their diseases.
Kraisorn stated that he was shocked to find such practices continued in modern times.
He said, “It is quite disturbing to see people who believe in such superstition.”
“But this isn’t just about a personal belief anymore. We have bodies that have died, so we will need to collaborate with all agencies in order to determine facts about these people.”
Although Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, many Thai people believe in other religions, such as the worship of local spirits or fear of ghosts.
Authorities believe that the group was active for over four years, and no one noticed because the leader’s home was located in remote forest areas far from other communities.
Their anonymity was quickly ended when a daughter of one their followers complained to a social celebrity who seeks out to expose unscrupulous religious figures.
Thawee was originally charged with encroaching in a forest area. His house is allegedly located on public land. Illegal gatherings are prohibited by COVID laws.
According to police, they are investigating other charges such as the unlawful disposal or death of corpses.
According to local media, he was not granted bail Monday.