Superstitious locals are flocking to a Buddhist temple to worship lucky tree trunks – which they use to choose their next lottery numbers.
The Wat Bo temple in Pathum Thani, central Thailand, has been housing 32 of the sacred trees after they were found three metres underground in a nearby field last year.
Folklore has it that hopea odorata trees are inhabited by ‘Nang Ta-khian’, the spirit of a beautiful young woman who bestows good fortune on those who make offerings to the tree that she haunts.
Several stories have emerged of people winning different sums on the lottery after numbers appeared to them from the bark.
Now thousands of lottery-obsessed residents visit the temple every month, with it becoming busiest on the evening before the next lottery draw each fortnight.
Footage from October 15 shows how hopefuls make offerings of gold leaf, which they stick to the bark and rub, hoping that the numbers emerge in the outlines. Others pray to the gnarled bark and place fizzy drinks and incense sticks around the trees.
They then study the bark to try to identify numbers which stand out to them, then pick those on their ticket.
Wandee Khawkham said her niece had won one million baht (25,450GBP) after mysteriously seeing numbers in the bark.
She added: ”I paid my respects to the trees and they showed me some numbers. I played the numbers on the lottery and won a smaller sum.”
Another visitor to the temple claimed that someone had one the top prize of one million baht in the previous lottery draw at the start of October.
”We believe in the spirits because they bring fortune to us all,” said Nam Chanthathong, speaking in the video.
”People who have come to worship the spirits here, they have won 10 or 20 million baht, for example, a person won the first prize from the last draw.”
Another said the trees were dug up from three metres underground and locals believe there are ”spirits dwelling in them”.
The state-run lottery is the only legal form of gambling in Thailand, with more than 20 million residents of a population of 69 million, taking part in it twice a month.
Thais spend an estimated US$2.5 billion on lottery tickets each year. Prizes range from 1,000 baht to three million baht.