talk on Thai Spirit Houses and local customs
with Marisa Cranfill

at the Neilson Hays Library
Monday 16th June, 2014


We are joined in Bangkok by Marisa Cranfill – who is one of very few Westerners who is an expert on the topic of Thai Spirit Houses.

You have seen these little palaces everywhere, from the simple to the ornate, with all kinds of offerings placed around them. What are they? What are the rituals? Is this some kind of animism? How does it tie with Buddhism?

  • Event is at the Neilson Hays Library, near Chong Nongsi BTS Station.
  • 6:30-8:15 pm
  • Free of charge (donations to the Library)

 Spirit Houses

Thai society is rich in culture, history, Buddhism and animism. Thai’s love to make offerings and request boons. They are quick to believe in spirits and magic, while still holding Buddhism as the main ideal.

Spirit Houses are a part of this culture. Their form matters – are they for ground or celestial spirits? What colour they are and what kind of offerings are given: it is all relevant. How to get one installed, and how to maintain the proper rituals … This is a really great topic. All visitors to Thailand have wondered about it.

 Marisa’s new Spirit House Connection is now live – with blogs, images and videos on Thai shrines, customs and of course, spirit houses.

 Marisa Cranfill

12 Marisa and spirit house 2

Marisa ran her family business exporting Thai Silk in high fashion under the fashion label Marisa Baratelli. You may have seen the showroom on Sukhumvit 31 in the past. She modeled, designed, and looked after the artistic/creative side, as well as the business itself. Five years ago Marisa transitioned from the world of catwalks and extravagant fashion to teach Yoga, Qi Gong and Vipassana meditation.

Frequent trips to Thailand as a child compelled her to study comparative religions in Japan, India and China through Long Island University, as well as speaking Thai language. Seeing her Thai ‘family’ making offerings to the local guardian spirits prompted her to research this topic, and become one of very few westerners knowledgeable in its intricacies.

You can catch here an informative interview with Marisa by the once famous Bangkok Podcast team here (interview starts about 10 minutes into the recording)


The Neilson Hays Library is a place every Bangkok resident should know about. Aside from a very extensive library there is a great little cafe, local artist galleries, book signings, and other community activities. The learned atmosphere of dozens of large bookcases is a perfect atmosphere for this kind of event.


We will be gathering in the cafe from about 5pm – for those who would like to arrive early and hang out a while.

The Library is hosting this event free of charge as a community service. There will be donation boxes for contributions to their continual good work in bringing art and culture to our ever commercialising Bangkok.

  • 6:30pm gather in the main Library building
  • 6:45pm Talk and presentation by Marisa
  • 7:45pm Questions and comments
  • 8:15pm end

The Library is a 15 minute walk from the Chong Nong Si BTS Station.
It is about 20 minutes from Silom or Sam Yan MRT Station
After the event there will be shared taxis back to the BTS Station

Click the map to enlarge it:Neilson-hays-Library

….. or if you prefer the Google Maps Link


What’s not to like? See you there …..