A western woman stunned locals when she was ‘chosen by the Gods’ and appeared to be possessed at a religious ritual.
The woman was attending the famous Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, Thailand, on Saturday night while she waited in a temple.
She was sitting in white costume next to a Taoist shrine then unexpectedly began dozing off while mysteriously wobbling her head from side to side at 11pm.
Superstitious locals said the woman had been chosen by ‘the third Goddess of seven’ at the prayer gathering where spirits are sent back to heaven at the close of the nine day festival – best known for men inserting swords through their mouths.
Onlooker Suthicha Suthakon, 26, said: ‘’People were gathering at the shrine and the foreign woman was there.
‘’She was chosen, her body was taken over. Her head was shaking and she could not talk to anybody.
‘’I have never seen anything like this before. It is our personal belief. This is what is said happens when someone is chosen.
‘’The symptoms that the Gods possessed her were all there. Head shaking, sleeping, not talking.
‘’This ceremony is where Gods return to heaven after the festival. The leaders all said the same, that the foreign woman had been chosen by the third Goddess of seven.
‘’It is a very big blessing for her. It is special that they chose her body. I don’t know what country she is from. She left after.’’
The Vegetarian Festival is part of the Taoist religion. It takes place during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar to mark beliefs that avoiding meat and other intoxicants will cleanse the body and soul.
Participants also pray to the Nine Emperor Gods which is said to purify the mind. It is said that only pure, unmarried men or women without families of their own can become possessed – known as masong – by the gods during the event.