Recently, Bangkok-based Thai Smile Airways has initiated a new policy that many people would find unnerving: the owners of Luk Thep, or “god dolls” — lifelike human effigies believed to contain actual children’s souls — are now allowed to purchase separate tickets for them, so they can be given the same treatment as living human passengers.
According to a report from UPI, increasing numbers of Thai women are purchasing the expensive and lifelike Luk Thep (also known as “child angels”), which have been heavily promoted by media celebrities in Thailand.
The eerie effigies are the creation of Mananya “Mama Ning” Boonmee, who claims that each doll is “infused with a child’s soul.” Buyers then shower the expensive dolls with lavish gifts and clothes, as a form of offering to the child’s spirit.
The Bangkok Post stated executives at Thai Smile Airways decided to accommodate Luk Thep owners after several of them insisted on seating the dolls in their laps or on nearby empty seats, which violates safety regulations. The new policy allows the dolls their very own seats… as long as the owners fork over the cost of a ticket. The airline even issued a staff memo instructing flight attendants to treat the dolls like living, breathing humans.
The “god dolls” play a similar role to the Kuman Thong — a traditional household effigy which conferred blessings upon the owner’s home. In bygone times, the Kuman Thong figure would contain the remains of an unborn fetus. But the modern “god dolls” are said to be infused with souls through so-called “spiritualization” — a ritual which “invites” an unborn child’s essence into the doll.