The Spirit House

Strategically placed in most any Thai residential or business compound is an elegant little structure resembling a miniature house or Buddhist temple. Known as a spirit house, it is built, usually upon a pillar, as accommodation for the resident genius Mei in order to avoid ill feelings when humans wish to move in. The spirit retains tremendous power over the fortunes of anyone occupying its plot, and so must be placated with regular offerings of food, water, candles, incense and flowers. Tiny figurines of dancers or lucky animals may also be placed on the shrine, to please and divert the occupant. Respect for such spirits derives from purely animist beliefs that date back before the introduction of Buddhism, and remain pervasive even today.
Thais of Chinese origin have their own spirit house, which is kept indoors on the floor. Daily offerings of food, water and incense are made.