If you ask me, common scarecrows are creepy enough, but the Cambodian Ting Mong carry real firearms and instead of birds they scare off evil spirits.
Scarecrows usually belong in the fields, protecting villagers’ crops, but in some Cambodian villages you’ll see them in front of houses, by the gate, or on garden paths, and you can bet they’re not there to scare some man-eating birds. Ting Mong are a part of old Khmer culture, and even though Budhism came to Cambodia thousands of years ago, there are still some rural areas where people believe in spirits and their power over the living. These creepy “scarecrows” are actually guardians who ward off evil spirits and protect against disease and death.
Many Khmers believe a powerful force is embodied in the Ting Mong, which will keep spirits from coming inside, and to make them even more effective, they equip the life-size dolls with real or sculpted weapons. Some carry machetes and swords, while other carry modern weaponry like revolvers, AK47s and even sculpted bazookas. Even a bad-ass spirit wouldn’t dare approach a Ting Mong carrying this kind of firepower.
Photo via All Points East
While such a custom might seem funny to most Westerners, the Ting Mong custom is actually pretty interesting. It’s obvious the Cambodians who use them don’t put their trust in the actual doll, but in a powerful guardian equipped with a powerful force enhanced by the weapon with which it is equipped.
Above photos via Asia Obscura