A Sattahip woman who went to live alone in the woods because a fortune teller said she would bring bad fortune to family has been persuaded to live at a Pattaya-area nursing home.
Boonmee Udomsuk, 83, left her home, six children and comfortable life 10 years ago to scavenge for recyclables and ended up living alone, broke and disabled in the woods outside Navythong 1 Village in Sattahip’s Bon Kai Sub-district, all because she believed the “prophecies” of a person who claimed to see the future.
Boonmee Udomsuk, 83, left her home, six children and comfortable life 10 years ago, all because she believed the “prophecies” of a person who claimed to see the future.
After nearby residents alerted authorities the district’s Department of Elderly Affairs brought her to Sattahip Km 10 Hospital to treat the gout that disabled her before convincing her that, if she still didn’t want to go home to her family, she should reside at the Banglamung Home for the Elderly. She agreed, but is still not convinced she’ll stay.
Boonmee is an example of how the random utterances of supposed fortune tellers can destroy a superstitious person’s life. “Grandma Hew” was told by an unnamed soothsayer she would bring death and financial ruin to her family if she continued to live with them. In her early 70s at the time, the woman believed what she was told and moved out over the objections of her children who put no stock in the ramblings of self-proclaimed psychic.
Social workers have convinced her, at least in the short term, to live at a Pattaya-area nursing home.
For a while, Boonmee worked as a maid. Then she earned money by collecting junk and she lived in a dharma retreat. But she was forced out by residents, supposedly over body odor. She then contracted gout and couldn’t walk easily anymore, so she moved into the woods.
When social workers found her, Boonmee was living alone in a ramshackle hovel full of old junk and mosquitos. Village residents occasionally brought her food and water, and her family has tried to get her to move home. But Boonmee remained steadfast, even as those around her feared she would die from the recent cold snap or disease.
Even now, she remains just as stubborn, refusing new offers to go back to her family after nursing home staff contacted her family, which remained eager to take her. Grandma Hew said she still thinks about returning to the woods.
A friend, Boonpa Cheunchom, 51, said the old woman used to have a comfortable life. However, the fortune teller’s prophecy changed her life. Her children wanted to take care of her, but the grandmother said it would be best if she lived in the forest until she died.
Elderly Affairs Director Anusan Tienthong said Boonmee will continue to receive both medical and mental therapy in hopes she can one day be reunited with her loved ones.