In Bakan District in western Cambodia there is sacred shire that thousands of people give offering too each day. It is one of the most significant spirit beings which Khmer people revere and worship. The name is “Neak Taa Klang Meung”. It is a ancestral and territorial spirit.
The origins of this spirit are actually in a natural man who was a kruu. Kruu are a kind of shaman and spirit medium. Though Klang Meung was a regular citizen, not an official or military officer, he was a person who interacted with the spirits. They year was around 1500. During those days the Khmer Empire, which had once dominate in the region, was in decline and Siam (present day Thailand) was surging. They invaded much of northern Cambodia and most of Pursat province was also under their control. Klang Meung hated that his people and nation were in decline and put into servanthood under the Siamese army. Yet, he didn’t see any way that Cambodia could defeat them.
Then the demons gave him an idea. There were thousands of wandering ghosts and while it seemed impossible that Thailand could be defeated in the physical realm, they were convinced that the Thai army could be defeated in the spiritual realm. Yet, Klang Meung could not accomplish this from using sorcery , he would have to become a ghost himself. He would then convince the wandering ghosts to cause the Thai soldiers to become sick and fearful. Then the Cambodian’s could defeat them in their weakness.
So, he developed a plan where he could commit suicide along with his family and then go and lead the ghost army to defeat Thailand. This was not a spontaneous decision, but a decision in which was carefully calculated. He dug a large pit and planted spikes at the bottom of the pit. He made a small fence around the pit, which would be his grave. He then convinced his entire family, including his wife and brothers to join him in this suicidal venture. His wife was also seven months pregnant, thus her child would be killed as well. Amongst “munakum” (witchcraft rituals) he and his family approached the pit and one by one jumped to their deaths.
It is said that over the next few years, from 1510-1515 Neak Ta Klang Meung lead an army of ghosts to wage war on the Siamese army. He is worshiped today, especially by military for his courage and even today soldier ask for his help in defeating the enemies of the Khmer. He is a national hero and deity.
Historically, it is interesting to note that the Thai armies did not retreat until the French came to Indochina and in a land trade gave parts of two other provinces to Thailand in exchange for the provinces of northwest Cambodia. The year was 1907.
If there ever was doubt that a spirit of death ruled Cambodia, this should be adequate evidence that the spirit of death is real. The ritual site of Neak Taa Klang Meugn is in the very area is where Noit was held during the Khmer Rouge. Here, at the hands of the Khmer people hundreds of thousands of people were massacred. Noit recalls that every field and every roadside ditch was littered with the decomposing bodies of her countrymen and family. Death, indeed, reigned supreme. Today, however, there is another genocide taking place quietly. The genocide of abortion. It is interesting to see that Klang Meung’s wife killed herself at seven months pregnant, thus killing her unborn child. In Cambodia each year as many as 60,000 or more babies are aborted. There are more abortion services in Cambodia then medical facilities which can fix a broken bone. Every district in the nation, and even most villages, have access to inexpensive or free abortions.
The Freedom Walk to me, which goes directly through the area of Neak Taa Klang Meung is just as much a walk of life as it is a remembrance of the suffering of my wife. Everything my wife and I do, we do to bring life into this nation ravaged by death.
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).