Sattahip ‘Spirit Hunter’ saves souls lost at sea


For 30 years, a Samae San fisherman has tried to honor his late parents by collecting dead bodies from the sea that no one else wanted to touch.

Arom “Ta Yui” Ninsha, 61, calls himself a “Spirit Hunter”, a term that means looking for the bodies of drowning, marine accident or murder victims. In the past three decades, Arom figures he’s collected 300 bodies from the sea, taking them to the morgue without any expectation of payment.

The old fisherman said he began spirit hunting to honor his late parents, as he was too poor to be trained to become an ordained monk. So he began making merit by doing one of the most meritorious tasks in Buddhism: Fetching the dead from the sea.

Arom “Ta Yui” Ninsha brings in another dead body (not shown) from the clutches of the sea.

His first job was 30 years ago, when someone hired him for 200 baht to bring his small boat to collect a dead body.

At that time, there were many Thai and migrant fishermen in Samae San. As a result, many people died due to murder, drowning or shipwrecks. However, few dared to collect the bodies. He volunteered to help every time.

Sometimes, Arom said, people would give him about 1,000 baht for fuel and compensation, but not every time. The money gained was used for supplies and altar offerings to pay respect to the boat nymph according to the fishermen’s beliefs.