As part of a ritual to draw out the evil spirit known as Phi Pob, those accused of being possessed must crawl through a pond and cover themselves in mud before bathing in the Mekong. Pictures: Thomas Cristofoletti

Demonic possession in Laos - is it real, or a pretext for village chiefs to banish troublemakers and nonconformists?

The animist spirit Phi Pob is believed to cause illness and death, and eat human livers; in a tumbledown Mekong River village, Laotians who’ve stood up to authority live in forced exile, accused of being possessed by the demon

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As part of a ritual to draw out the evil spirit known as Phi Pob, those accused of being possessed must crawl through a pond and cover themselves in mud before bathing in the Mekong. Pictures: Thomas Cristofoletti
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