Spirit Houses can be found in many Southeast Asian countries. These small, often ornate, structures are generally placed on a dais or pillar near a family's home or the site of a business. The Spirit House helps protect the family or business and serves as a shelter for spirits, including those that were displaced in the building process.
In my trips to Laos, Myamanar, Cambodia and Thailand, I've seen many Spirit Houses. They are filled with gifts to appease the spirits -- fruit, soft drinks, food, small amounts of money and even cigarettes. The photo below is a Spirit House near our lodge in the countryside of Laos.
For those of you who have read my novel, DEAD of SUMMER, you know that Spirit Houses play an important role in the story. But I want to direct your attention to another story - the wonderful non-profit called The Elephant Story.
The Elephant Story has posted a great blog about Spirit Houses which you can access here.
I first encountered The Elephant Story at the Four Seasons Tented Camp in the Golden Triangle where I learned about their work in promoting elephant conservation in Asian elephant countries, most notably Thailand -- and got to ride a rescued elephant. They state that their "objective is to increase the awareness of the plight of what has become an endangered species given the deforestation in Thailand, Laos and Myanmar." They also sponsor an Elephant Polo Team in northern Thailand. You can purchase your own Spirit House at The Elephant Story's non-profit, on-line store and help support Asian elephant conservation here.
I have a Spirit House. It's important to keep the spirits happy.