Issan Collection

Issan winterTHIS COLLECTION PAYS TRIBUTE TO ISSAN´S PUZZLING BELIEFS. IN THIS LESSER-KNOWN REGION OF NORTHEAST THAILAND, LOCALS BELIEVED SEXUALLY DISSATISFIED WIDOW GHOSTS ATTACKED MEN IN THEIR SLEEP. AND THEY HAD THEIR EQUALLY OUTRAGEOUS SOLUTIONS TO IT.

When we decided to do a collection in Thailand it was very clear to us that it had to be from Issan, the most untouched region in the country.

Issan has so many stories to tell that it was hard to choose only one. We decided to go for Issan’s outrageous beliefs. These beliefs rule lives there to such a theatrical and obscure extent - not even Monty Python could have dreamt it up. So we went to Issan to get firsthand experience and after a few days, we started to believe in them ourselves.

In Issan some men wear women’s clothing, and you might think they are the famous Thai “ladyboys,” but they aren’t. They are straight men trying to avoid being killed by a sexually dissatisfied widow ghost. The widow ghost, who has an enormous sexual appetite, normally appears while men sleep and drains all their strength until they die.

The locals have different beliefs to avoid being killed by the widow ghost. For instance, they display large carved wooden penises at the entrance of the house hoping that the widow ghost will take them and entertain herself all night long. They also dress up as women, paint their nails and even wear wigs to make the widow ghost believe they are women. Even the local radio broadcasts the days the widow ghost might visit the villages and gives them tips on how to avoid it. Crazy, but on more than one night we thought about painting our nails too… it wouldn’t do any harm, would it?

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To get the full picture, click here and download the special book we made about our Issan stories.

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photographer: Simon Kolton
www.bluefrog-studio.com
model: people from Ban Na Choe & Ban Pan Na
location: Sakon Nakhon province