Be Unscared: The Cambodian Spirit World
Jerry Redfern

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  • A sign at the Temple of the Floating Tree outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia, calling on people to unafraid as they live their lives.A sign at the Temple of the Floating Tree outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia, calling on people to unafraid as they live their lives.
  • Kru Khmer (or magic man) Sun Sao extinguishes candles in his mouth after using them in a blessing ceremony in his home near Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Kru Khmer (or magic man) Sun Sao extinguishes candles in his mouth after using them in a blessing ceremony in his home near Siem Reap, Cambodia.
  • Chuk Saw Po has been a Kru Khmer since the age of seven. Her mother was also a Kru Khmer. She and her husband - also a Kru Khmer - offer blessings and tell fortunes in the large front room of their home near Siem Reap, Cambodia. Here she blesses a woman's tongue with incense during a ceremony.
Chuk Saw Po has been a Kru Khmer since the age of seven. Her mother was also a Kru Khmer. She and her husband - also a Kru Khmer - offer blessings and tell fortunes in the large front room of their home near Siem Reap, Cambodia. Here she blesses a woman's tongue with incense during a ceremony.
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    • Cambodia Spirit World 03.JPG
      Cambodia - 08/01/2010: Chuk Saw Po has been a Kru Khmer since the age of seven. Her mother was also a Kru Khmer. She and her husband - also a Kru Khmer - offer blessings and tell fortunes in the large front room of their home near Siem Reap, Cambodia. Here she blesses a woman's tongue with incense during a ceremony.
      Credit: ©2009/Jerry Redfern
  • A young man in a massage parlor in Siem Reap, Cambodia, shows off the magic string most Cambodian mothers attach to their children soon after they are born. Cambodians believe the string ties their spirit to their body and can protect them from harm. The strings are never removed, and small sections are added as people grow older and bigger.A young man in a massage parlor in Siem Reap, Cambodia, shows off the magic string most Cambodian mothers attach to their children soon after they are born. Cambodians believe the string ties their spirit to their body and can protect them from harm. The strings are never removed, and small sections are added as people grow older and bigger.
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    • Cambodia Spirit World 04.JPG
      Cambodia - 06/01/2010: A young man in a massage parlor in Siem Reap, Cambodia, shows off the magic string most Cambodian mothers attach to their children soon after they are born. Cambodians believe the string ties their spirit to their body and can protect them from harm. The strings are never removed, and small sections are added as people grow older and bigger.
      Credit: ©2009/Jerry Redfern
  • A young man laughs as he is coined in Phnom Penh. People believe rubbing the skin until it burns or is bruised can relieve pain.
A young man laughs as he is coined in Phnom Penh. People believe rubbing the skin until it burns or is bruised can relieve pain.
  • Men pray along with a Kru Khmer named Pouman, or Kru Dteu (Short Teacher),  at his home near Battambang. Most afternoons he prays with dozens of guests looking for good luck and blessings. He also drives out bad spirits from afflicted body parts, cellphones and other things.Men pray along with a Kru Khmer named Pouman, or Kru Dteu (Short Teacher),  at his home near Battambang. Most afternoons he prays with dozens of guests looking for good luck and blessings. He also drives out bad spirits from afflicted body parts, cellphones and other things.
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    • Cambodia Spirit World 06.JPG
      Cambodia - 06/01/2010: Men pray along with a Kru Khmer named Pouman, or Kru Dteu (Short Teacher), at his home near Battambang. Most afternoons he prays with dozens of guests looking for good luck and blessings. He also drives out bad spirits from afflicted body parts, cellphones and other things.
      Credit: ©2009/Jerry Redfern
  • Kru Khmer (or magic man) Pouman, aka Kru Dteu (Short Teacher), sits amid his accoutrements at his home near Battambang. Most afternoons he prays with dozens of guests looking for good luck and blessings. He also drives out bad spirits from afflicted body parts, cellphones and other things. Many Khmer people believe that dwarves have special powers.Kru Khmer (or magic man) Pouman, aka Kru Dteu (Short Teacher), sits amid his accoutrements at his home near Battambang. Most afternoons he prays with dozens of guests looking for good luck and blessings. He also drives out bad spirits from afflicted body parts, cellphones and other things. Many Khmer people believe that dwarves have special powers.
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    • Cambodia Spirit World 07.JPG
      Cambodia - 06/01/2010: Kru Khmer (or magic man) Pouman, aka Kru Dteu (Short Teacher), sits amid his accoutrements at his home near Battambang. Most afternoons he prays with dozens of guests looking for good luck and blessings. He also drives out bad spirits from afflicted body parts, cellphones and other things. Many Khmer people believe that dwarves have special powers.
      Credit: ©2009/Jerry Redfern
  • A monk at the Temple of the Floating Tree outside Phnom Penh blesses people with water poured over an elephant tusk. Many people believe that another monk used this tusk to cure a woman with a mental illness.
A monk at the Temple of the Floating Tree outside Phnom Penh blesses people with water poured over an elephant tusk. Many people believe that another monk used this tusk to cure a woman with a mental illness.
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    • Cambodia Spirit World 08.JPG
      Cambodia - 08/01/2010: A monk at the Temple of the Floating Tree outside Phnom Penh blesses people with water poured over an elephant tusk. Many people believe that another monk used this tusk to cure a woman with a mental illness.
      Credit: ©2009/Jerry Redfern
  • A woman receives a blessing from a monk at the Temple of the Floating Tree outside Phnom Penh. The blessing comes from pouring water over a scared elephant tusk. Many people believe that another monk used this tusk to cure a woman with a mental illness.
A woman receives a blessing from a monk at the Temple of the Floating Tree outside Phnom Penh. The blessing comes from pouring water over a scared elephant tusk. Many people believe that another monk used this tusk to cure a woman with a mental illness.
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    • Cambodia Spirit World 09.JPG
      Cambodia - 06/01/2010: A woman receives a blessing from a monk at the Temple of the Floating Tree outside Phnom Penh. The blessing comes from pouring water over a scared elephant tusk. Many people believe that another monk used this tusk to cure a woman with a mental illness.
      Credit: ©2009/Jerry Redfern
  • A spirit house frequented by fishermen in the middle of the Tonle Sap Lake, in the middle of Cambodia.A spirit house frequented by fishermen in the middle of the Tonle Sap Lake, in the middle of Cambodia.
  • A woman named Sokha undergoes cupping in a massage parlor near Siem Reap. Believers swear by the procedure, which they say pulls bad spirits and the pain they cause from their bodies.
A woman named Sokha undergoes cupping in a massage parlor near Siem Reap. Believers swear by the procedure, which they say pulls bad spirits and the pain they cause from their bodies.
  • People - mostly women - pray for good luck and fertility at Preah Ang Dang Ker, in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. The temple is devoted to the Bodhisattva Lokesvara, who pledged to assist every being on Earth to Nirvana before ascending to Nirvana himself.People - mostly women - pray for good luck and fertility at Preah Ang Dang Ker, in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. The temple is devoted to the Bodhisattva Lokesvara, who pledged to assist every being on Earth to Nirvana before ascending to Nirvana himself.
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    • Cambodia Spirit World 12.JPG
      Cambodia - 06/01/2010: People - mostly women - pray for good luck and fertility at Preah Ang Dang Ker, in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. The temple is devoted to the Bodhisattva Lokesvara, who pledged to assist every being on Earth to Nirvana before ascending to Nirvana himself.
      Credit: ©2009/Jerry Redfern
  • A soldier with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces shows off his tattoos while practicing kick boxing at a military base outside Siem Reap.
A soldier with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces shows off his tattoos while practicing kick boxing at a military base outside Siem Reap.
  • A former soldier who lives and does repair work at Wat Preah Einkosei in Siem Reap shows off the tattoos that did not keep him from danger when he fought on the side of the Cambodian government against the Khmer Rouge.
A former soldier who lives and does repair work at Wat Preah Einkosei in Siem Reap shows off the tattoos that did not keep him from danger when he fought on the side of the Cambodian government against the Khmer Rouge.
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    • Cambodia Spirit World 15.JPG
      Cambodia - 06/01/2010: A former soldier who lives and does repair work at Wat Preah Einkosei in Siem Reap shows off the tattoos that did not keep him from danger when he fought on the side of the Cambodian government against the Khmer Rouge.
      Credit: ©2009/Jerry Redfern
  • Kout Tun, at Wat Bai Damram in Battambang province, has been a monk for 10 years. He was a soldier during the Khmer Rouge years, when he got his tattoos to protect his body from bullets. "They shoot but we don't die. Or sometimes their guns don't work," he said, although he admitted some tattooed soldiers died anyway.Kout Tun, at Wat Bai Damram in Battambang province, has been a monk for 10 years. He was a soldier during the Khmer Rouge years, when he got his tattoos to protect his body from bullets. "They shoot but we don't die. Or sometimes their guns don't work," he said, although he admitted some tattooed soldiers died anyway.
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    • Cambodia Spirit World 14A.JPG
      Cambodia - 06/01/2010: Kout Tun, at Wat Bai Damram in Battambang province, has been a monk for 10 years. He was a soldier during the Khmer Rouge years, when he got his tattoos to protect his body from bullets. "They shoot but we don't die. Or sometimes their guns don't work," he said, although he admitted some tattooed soldiers died anyway.
      Credit: ©2009/Jerry Redfern
  • A stray dog walks past an abandoned house in Prey Dach village, in Battambang Province. Neighbors painted the spirit graffiti on the house after the woman who lived there died after being bitten by a mad dog, leaving behind three children.A stray dog walks past an abandoned house in Prey Dach village, in Battambang Province. Neighbors painted the spirit graffiti on the house after the woman who lived there died after being bitten by a mad dog, leaving behind three children.
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    • Cambodia Spirit World 13.JPG
      Cambodia - 08/01/2010: A stray dog walks past an abandoned house in Prey Dach village, in Battambang Province. Neighbors painted the spirit graffiti on the house after the woman who lived there died after being bitten by a mad dog, leaving behind three children.
      Credit: ©2009/Jerry Redfern
  • Caretakers sleep at noon beneath the incense basin at the namesake statue in Battambang town. Locals bring their newborn children to pray here and leave offerings at the base of the statue for good luck.
Caretakers sleep at noon beneath the incense basin at the namesake statue in Battambang town. Locals bring their newborn children to pray here and leave offerings at the base of the statue for good luck.
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    • Cambodia Spirit World 17.JPG
      Cambodia - 06/01/2010: Caretakers sleep at noon beneath the incense basin at the namesake statue in Battambang town. Locals bring their newborn children to pray here and leave offerings at the base of the statue for good luck.
      Credit: ©2009/Jerry Redfern
  • Offerings of cooked chickens, lotus flowers, bananas and bottled water at the namesake statue in Battambang town. Locals bring their newborn children to pray here and leave offerings at the base of the statue for good luck.
Offerings of cooked chickens, lotus flowers, bananas and bottled water at the namesake statue in Battambang town. Locals bring their newborn children to pray here and leave offerings at the base of the statue for good luck.
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    • Cambodia Spirit World 18.JPG
      Cambodia - 06/01/2010: Offerings of cooked chickens, lotus flowers, bananas and bottled water at the namesake statue in Battambang town. Locals bring their newborn children to pray here and leave offerings at the base of the statue for good luck.
      Credit: ©2009/Jerry Redfern
  • A young girl looks at sacrificed chickens left as payment for granted wishes behind the Yeay Thep ("Big Old Lady") shrine in Siem Reap. People leave the offerings when their wishes come true.
A young girl looks at sacrificed chickens left as payment for granted wishes behind the Yeay Thep ("Big Old Lady") shrine in Siem Reap. People leave the offerings when their wishes come true.
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    • Cambodia Spirit World 19.JPG
      Cambodia - 06/01/2010: A young girl looks at sacrificed chickens left as payment for granted wishes behind the Yeay Thep ("Big Old Lady") shrine in Siem Reap. People leave the offerings when their wishes come true.
      Credit: ©2009/Jerry Redfern
  • Tunnaka Bot Bunlay has been a Kru Khmer since the age of three. He tells fortunes and reads the future for local and national politicians in his home near Siem Reap. His wife, Chuk Saw Po, is also a Kru Khmer.
Tunnaka Bot Bunlay has been a Kru Khmer since the age of three. He tells fortunes and reads the future for local and national politicians in his home near Siem Reap. His wife, Chuk Saw Po, is also a Kru Khmer.
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    • Cambodia Spirit World 20.JPG
      Cambodia - 07/01/2010: Tunnaka Bot Bunlay has been a Kru Khmer since the age of three. He tells fortunes and reads the future for local and national politicians in his home near Siem Reap. His wife, Chuk Saw Po, is also a Kru Khmer.
      Credit: ©2009/Jerry Redfern

 

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