Farmers in rural Bhutan abandon their villages when wild animals attack crops or humans, or they lose their farmland to landslides or even in search of a better life. Phungshing villagers in Thrimshing dungkhag have a spookier reason. Villagers started leaving Phungshing in the early 1990s when the local paw (shaman) told them that the death of a middle-aged villager was caused by a demon that resided below the village. More people died in the following years and villagers started abandoning Phungshing in droves.
Located on a gentle slope of a low hill descending into the Ngera Ama chhu (river), Phungshing is a fertile village where farmers grow maize, potato, chili and orange. According to villagers, since the shaman’s warning, many people, who did not heed the warning, died. They say most deaths were sudden and strange. About half a dozen people from that village have perished so far. A household, according to villagers, moved away for good after losing two members in successive years. (more…)
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