This is a translated article from Koosang Koosom Magazine, written in the Thai language and translated by Nye.
The story took place in 1973 (the Thai year 2516); I was in High school (มศ.2) and attending Siriworakorn School, a private school in Nakhon Ratchasima. It was the biggest and most famous school at that time (presently, the school is closed.) Most students had an average grade level, and most had adventurous activities during school break; whether its midterm break or summer break, we always had a trip plan.
The activity that our group liked the most was taking a hitchhiking road trip. Right after the final, our backpacks were filled with backpacking goodies. At the break of dawn, we dressed in Boy Scout uniforms and agreed to meet at the meeting place in front of Ratchasima College, which was on the outskirt of Korat city, heading towards Bangkok. By the time we gathered together, we had thought we would be ready to travel by noon; we came to find out most of us showed up late afternoon; all 7-8 of us met. It was not easy hitchhiking, and by the time we got our ride, it was a short distance, and our destination was Khao Yai National Park. The distance from Korat city to the intersection heading to Khao Yai was 85 km. It shouldn’t take that long, but that day we spent a ridiculous amount of time, and by the time we got to the road to Khao Yai, it was almost 6 p.m., and we had to hitchhike another ride up to Khao Yai before the National Park closed.
It’s not easy hitchhiking, it’s getting dark, and we couldn’t catch a ride. Then one of the friends in our group said, “I think we should pitch a tent and camp here tonight. We’ll head back out in the morning.” We were so tired, and no one refused the idea. We were pros at this and divided the tasks of gathering firewood, building a campfire, cooking, collecting water, and leveling the campsite. It didn’t take that long; we pitched our tents and camped out at the roadside, heading up to Khao Yai (at that time, it was a 3-way intersection and full of tall grass.) After dinner, we sat by the campfire chitchatting then we saw a bus and an open minibus parked at the corner for passengers to get off. After getting off the bus, those people continued to walk up the road to Khao Yai.
Once we were full, a full belly brought a bright idea. One of the friends said, “I think we should try to walk up like the locals, and if cars were passing, we could hitchhike, and we should be there in no time; it should be good. Camping by the roadside is a waste of time. I want to give it a shot. We can walk all the way up to the gate of Khao Yai.” Silent for a split second, then we made eye contact. Everyone got up and packed Krok Grag (It’s Korat slang meaning now, immediately.)
We gathered our belongings and were ready to travel. The locals who got off the bus continued to walk alongside the road, and we conversed with them. After walking for a while, the locals started to excuse themselves; some turned into the left intersection, some right corner, some side of the road, some stayed at the pavilion, and some went into neighborhoods little by little. After walking for a while, we came quite a distance, and our travel companions started to thin out, and only one left, a male backpacker that came with us the whole way. 3 to 4 of my friends and I talked with him the entire time.
My two tall friends walked ahead of us and occasionally flashed the flashlight. “Brother, is your house far from here?” One of us asked him. “Not too far, just ahead. We’re almost there.” He replied. My friends and I continued to carry on a conversation while walking. He would tell us what was on the left, right and where we were. He said ahead was where there were many serious accidents, and many people died there. We walked until a car passed and flashed the headlight at him and us. Our faces were dirty, but why was this brother’s face pale and strange looking.
Silent, no one said a word. The fatigue from traveling was replaced by the feeling of uncertainty, and we didn’t have anything to say; the conversation ceased. All of a sudden, the big brother also disappeared. Along both sides of the road were thick trees; there were no intersections in the neighborhoods. One in our group whispered, “Hey, where did big brother turn and disappear to, or maybe he has arrived at his destination, but why didn’t he tell us? Have you noticed what I’m saying?” “I’m not seeing which way he turned.” Another said. “I say, if we paid close attention to this area, it’s only a thick forest on both sides of the road.” After he said this, he shined the flashlight on both sides of the road. Strange that there was no car passing, and at this time, it was around 9-10 p.m.
A bone-chilling fear gripped our hearts, and then the flight feeling kicked in, so everyone took off running. We didn’t wait for each other, and no one slowed down. Everyone was running with fear. We ran until we saw the light. It was a light from an elementary school, which I can’t remember the name of the school because it was several decades ago. We screamed for the school custodian or the on-duty teacher for help. In a short while, an old school custodian came to open the door with the on-duty teacher; both looked sleepy. “Ah! What are you boy scouts doing here in the middle of the night, and you all looked panicking?” “Please help us! we saw a ghost.” We took turns telling the story to the school custodian and the on-duty teacher of our recent encounter in great detail.
Once again, this time, we hit the nail on the head. “Did you all know that right before you reach this school, there’s a place where there were several serious accidents, and many people died?” The on-duty teacher told us, and then the school custodian continued, “The locals that passed the area late at night all got scared by ghosts. At first, it was walking in a big group like you guys saw, carrying on normal conversations, then they saw the same thing you have encountered like the person just disappeared. You don’t even notice that he’s gone. Many took off running for their dear life and caught ghost scared fever where their hairs fell off. This happened to many people, kiddo!”
That night we asked the on-duty teacher to stay at the school, and we’ll head up to Khao Yai in the morning. But the school custodian told us that we should leave around 5 a.m., there would be cars running at that time. We were happy to know that there would be cars coming up, and we will be able to hitch a ride at 5 a.m. We hitchhiked, heading to Khao Yai that morning. We camped at Khao Yai for 2-3 nights, and on the way back, we hitched a ride from the park ranger. On the ride back down, we looked at the scenic view on both sides of the road, and it was stunning. There were trees on both sides of the road, and once the car traveled closer to the school where we stayed the first night. “Ah! What! Why there’s no right or left intersections? only the thick forest, and where did the school disappear to?”
We all turned to look at each other; it was a hair-raising experience, sending chills down the spine. There’s no elementary school, just an old spirit house on the side of the road, and there were spirit food offerings at various locations on both left and right-hand sides of the road that we walked with the locals the other night. There was no road to the neighborhood; there was only a thick forest. We were speechless, looking at each other, and we didn’t mention this again. We raised our hands above our heads and asked for forgiveness and prayed to please not to come to meet and greet with us again. And please don’t follow us home. Once we have reached Korat, we will make merit and offering to the spirits.
I mentioned our encounter to my parents, and my dad said we were challenged even before reaching Khao Yai. It’s good that they didn’t do anything to us; they just wanted a travel companion to their destinations.