11 May 2007

Mysterious Death in Chiang Mai

Waiting at reception of a vet clinic will never quite be the same for me again. Typically I would sit and eye the waiting dogs to see if I could understand their problems and then I looked at the people who brought them there and ask myself if I should talk with them about their dogs and maybe introduce our work to them. I do this as I feel it works on many levels.

Firstly it helps to raise awareness of there being a group who genuinely care for dogs and possibly increase that circle of log carers who one day might make more of a difference to the poor creatures on the streets of Chiang Mai & for that matter, anywhere in the world.

Another reason I welcome conversation is to increase the awareness of the hundreds of dogs that need homes right there & then, some at our shelter and others currently being fed at temples after being dumped there by their heartless owners.

I also talk to these folks because I want them to appreciate that like them, waiting at the reception of a vet clinic for your turn to come or the results of tests, is a bit like taking your child to a hospital and fearing the worst. And that’s why I write this story.

On 9th March 2007, Karin & I went to the Small Animal Hospital ( a facility run by Chiang Mai University) where we took several cases from the shelter with bone problems. No not digging & burying problems but jaw, leg and hip problems. We sat in reception waiting our turn and on the bench next to us was a woman with her rottweiler Shuu. This woman we later knew as Manuela talked about her dog and after a while started speaking in German with Karin and I left them to it & wandered off to eye up more dogs.

In April, Karin found an advert in Chiang Mai City Life magazine regarding the sale of a cage for dogs and as is our want, we thought it would be useful at the shelter. We emailed and found that it was the same woman we had met at the Small Animal Hospital in March and eventually arranged to meet up at Prem Tinsulanada International School, north of Chiang Mai city on 19th April. I drove there alone with my pickup truck, met her outside the school and then followed her whilst she rode her motorbike further north about 15 kilometers, where she led me up to her home in the back of beyond.

As big & ugly as I am, even at this point I was getting a little concerned, as we kept winding through smaller & smaller roads and less populated areas, eventually up a bumpy off road track to a wilderness location, revealing a tiny house on top of a hill over looking a valley with a beautiful panoramic view.

As I got our of the car, the words were already coming out, asking her why she lived here. At this remote spot, why here, on her own and so far from civilisation. She immediately started to talk about her meditation and said that this was ideal for her and she went on and on about it, despite me wanting to change the subject. I was already spooked, now I was getting scared.

I managed to get her to talk about her dog and she mentioned that she needed to find a temporary home for him on the occasions she wanted to go away and suggested the new dog training & boarding place “The Happy Gambol” which was situated just the other side of the PremCentre on the way to Mae Rim. After about 20 minutes of trying to guide the conversation to a close I asked if we could lift the cage onto the back of my truck. The cage was at the side of the kitchen, an out building from the small one room house. As we moved around, I saw her bed through the mass of glazed doors & windows without curtains. It was a square wooden platform at one end of the room and on its surface were circles drawn in white and triangles within those. There were some words written on the walls that to me seemed like spiritual belief statements and then at the rear of the house I saw something that made my hair stand on end. A large earth circle with a raised edge and outside of that, what seemed to be a table type structure covered in ceramic tiles.

I asked her what she did with her time and she started on about the meditation again and this time said that she was able to reach a higher level of consciousness that some people thought they reached only on drugs. She said she could achieve this easily and spent a lot of time meditating.

I was now urgently trying to get out of the place as soon as I could and hurried the loading of the cage. In fact she had 2 cages, so that was a bonus. I paid her the money and left.

Driving away, I could not stop thinking why on earth she would want to live all that way away from civilisation on her own and about how obsessed she seemed to be about meditation.

On Monday 7th May 2007, I was cycling round the village (taking my 4 dogs for their evening trot at) 6pm. Karin called me to say that the same woman, Manuela, had been calling her on & off during the afternoon and that she was worried for her as she sounded very agitated and confused. We agreed that we should go to her, as we interpreted this as a call for help by someone who was desperate and troubled.

We visited the German Consul on the way & chatted with him about the matter and he advised us to be very careful and if she appeared to be suffering from mental or clinical problems, not to force her to go with us to a hospital but try to talk her round.

On the 40 minute journey, driving through thunder & lightening and torrential rain and following the route I made previously in daylight, I became every increasingly scared as the darkness of the night covered all the landmarks I had remembered.

On the journey, Karin related the afternoon’s conversations on the phone with Manuela. She told me that it all started about with a call from Manuela who was in a very anxious state & screaming and crying. At the same time, there was another voice on the phone and this was a Thai woman who (with Karin’s housekeeper’s help) Karin understood had gone to Manuela’s home to ask for money for the journey by her Songthaew(PublicTaxi) the day before that she had not paid at the time. Apparently Manuela had suggested that Karin could help her pay the money.

Next there were conversations about her dog which Manuela was asking if it was with Karin and she had said it was at the place I had shown her. Karin said following this call she contacted the dog training school and they confirmed that the dog was there. They also said that Manuela had come there Sunday with the dog and been very emotional but then returned on Monday in a strange excited way, behaving very strangely, saying that if she did not come back to give a bed cover of hers to him and said she could not pay them for his stay and that she would not be back. Then Manuela called Karin again, asking Karin if she could hear volcano noises & Karin said she was scared and concerned by what Manuela was saying and then she called me.

Karin then had a further call from Manuela and this time she was very calm and said that she had found 2 gates but did not know which gate to go through, bye bye Father and that she felt sleepy. Karin had said that she & I were on our way and the call was ended by Manuela. Karin then drove to my home.

So when we arrived at Manuela’s home, approximately 90 minutes after the last call from, we saw the place in complete darkness and with my torch we could see no one in or near the house which is set on top of the hill, about 100 metres from the gate. Karin called Manuela’s phone but there was no reply. We went to the neighbour, a little old lady and told her we needed to see Manuela & asked if she had seen her. She had not & she quickly grabbed her torch & we walked to the fence between the 2 properties. Karin & I continued to call out her name and shone the torch o our left. The blanket of darkness blocked everything else out. The torch lit an arc and that was all we saw.

At the house, the doors were open and the place was much the same as I had seen it previously. A bit untidy and sparse. The more we called, the more we worried. The house which as I said earlier is just a single bed/living area, merely had the bed and books, papers and clothes on the floor. No other furniture at all. But at the far end was a door to the bathroom. It was shut. I smelt something rotting, like a dead animal or something (blame my Dad for that in giving me his sensitive nose!) and that spooked us even more. I looked into the kitchen at the back of the house and saw cutlery scattered on the floor and the place looked a tip. There was no trace of her motorbike or sidecar either. I then caught sight in the torch beam of the earthen circle behind the house and said to Karin that now I was very scared and agreed with her that we should leave. We walked carefully down the steep grass & gravel pathway to the lower level, saying that we should now go to the Police. I suggested we take a look at another small building near to the front gate, just in case she was there. Approaching it, the doors were all closed which seemed to make it even more scary, as we could not see within.

We then agreed we should go straight to the Police and let them know our feelings. Karin gripping my arm even harder now, we turned back toward the side of the property to where we had first come in, to a break in the high barbed wire fence. We had walked a circle.

We walked to the old lady’s home and she sat on the steps looking at us. We agreed to not spook her too much and merely asked her to call us if she saw Manuela return.

After driving back about 15 kms, we came across a Police Box and told them we worried for the safety of Manuela. After a while they jumped in the back of our car and we returned to the old lady’s house. Once again, I led the way with my torch, over the fence and into Manuela’s property. This time however, after helping Karin over and starting to walk ahead, I realised that the Police could not see where they were going without my torch and turned around toward the right, away from the house, intending to bring the light back behind me and as I did , there in the light was a brilliant white object in the blackness. It looked light a shop window dummy and I then realised there was a pond in front of me. I screamed something and Karin cried out too. I ran to hug Karin and cried briefly. It was Manuela in the pond, facing up, her arms out in front of her. I looked at the Policemen and one of them was shaking like a leaf, trying to use his phone keypad. I comforted him, rubbed his back and told him to slow down. I felt I needed to satisfy myself that it was her and that she was dead. I went to the bank near to her and looked into her wide cold dark eyes. She was long gone, her neck cut and a shirt top she was wearing appeared pink & red from blood having run from her neck. A cream coloured frog sat on her outstretched floating right hand and I felt I could see to her through down her nostrils and mouth was wide open too. I did not see her legs, I thought the pond was deep and she was just standing there, face above the water. I was stunned and still am many days later, at the brilliant white tone of her skin. So white, like a camera flash in my mind against the darkness of the water and the blanket of the night. I see it now.

I rejoined Karin & we gripped each other quietly climbing over the fence & back to our car.

After a short while, most of the surrounding village people had gathered, motorbikes continued to trickle in for about 2 hours. People just standing around laughing & joking, some swaying with the effects of too much to drink and some still consuming. Slowly more Police arrived and it was clear that the first 2 were no longer needed, especially as this was not their territory. The asked us to drive them back and when we started the car with them in the back seat, it became clear that we were going no where! We had a body guard that tailed us around the shadows of the old ladys garden for the next 2 hours. I started the car again to charge the torch and Karin’s phone but that set their alarm bells ringing and I shut the engine off.

By now, it was about 11pm and the head honcho of Police had arrived. One zealous officer demanded my torch and the crowd migrated to the house. Karin & I stayed at the car with our bodyguard and after about an hour, we were asked to go to the house. The villagers were everywhere. In the house, garden, round the pond, everywhere. The house had so many people in it, as I walked towards it, it seemed more like a social gathering rather than a scene of death, let alone crime. It was a shambles and already I felt a dislike for the lack of respect for Manuela being shown by allowing her to be exposed publicly like this.

The head honcho asked us to look at papers with writing scrawled on in thick green or blue pen. It was ramblings of a confused mind. A particular set of papers seemed to rant on about emotions and thoughts and yet despite reading them over & over again, the words although written in English, failed to make any real sense. There seemed to be a sense of failure or anger about some pieces and others seemed to merely state an obscure remark. This set of papers were signed by Manuela on the 7th and there were various points in the writing that included times, ie 16:13 & 16:17 (during the afternoon when she had called Karin). The police were constantly asking what words meant and Karin did her best to translate them. It was hard, as many of the guys just stood there thinking we both had 2 heads when we talked about the words & connotations of her writings.

I had now put aside my feelings of dislike for the lack of respect and entered the house. There were about 12 people in a room that made it feel cramped, turning over papers & looking to be busy. They were looking for Manuela’s passport. They also turned on her Cd player and amongst this creepy and morbid scene, blasted a monotone voice demonstrating how to imaging a line running from the top of your head to the middle of your stomach and how to breath and reach a level of consciousness. WTF! I am already aware that Thai folks generally do not understand this stuff and as the only 2 English speakers in the place, this was doing my head in!

After much searching and rummaging by so many, the passport turned up & the place emptied. Then a new super head honcho arrived and started from scratch with the questions. I got bored and wandered off into the kitchen and found a book with similar writing dated January this year, containing a similar style of writing but appearing to be a little calmer & more understandable. I also found a bundle of screwed up papers near her hand bag with a sheet from an Airline booking system, suggesting that she had been enquiring about flights to Germany in the next few months.

After another period of soaking in the drizzling rain we were finally allowed to walk back to the car. This time we exited by the front gate. It was 1am and half the population of local villages were still hanging around the gate and at the gate on the ground, exposed to all, was the body of Manuela, no clothes, legs straight, arms outstretched and there for all to see. There was no respect for her dignity or ours for that matter and I could imaging the glee of the old men gawping at the sight of a lithe fair skinned foreigner laid bare before them. Back in the UK, I would have thought there would be at least one necrophile in the crowd of a similar situation, how many were here?

I caught Karin’s arm tighter and complained bitterly till we reached the car and then moaned even more about the lack of organisation, respect and courtesy.

The drive home was slow because of the rain but eventually we arrived back at 2am. I slept on the couch with the dogs next to me, not wanting to be alone tonight and missing Pe’Took so much ( her being away in Bangkok with friends at a Funeral of all things!) and amazingly, Karin would sleep alone with her dogs too as her husband was away on business for a few days.

As anyone might imagine, my emotions were all over the place and routine things tended to remind me of the events of the night before and the images and feelings constantly flooded my day to day life.

Tuesday & Wednesday went by and eventually we met with the Police at their premises on Thursday. Karin, her housekeeper, a friendly solicitor we know and Pe’Took & I sat from 10am through till about 8pm going over & over the events of Monday.

It was a strange situation. The day before, local papers were showing front page headlines of Murder and pictures of Manuela in the pond. The stories elaborated and many facts distorted for good reading and increased sales. I had not slept well and the slight prospect of being accused of murder was never far from my mind against a back drop of brilliant white images in the dark and the earth circle in the back garden.

But as soon as we sat around in a semi public office, looking at photo’s of her body on the computer and handling documents & other evidence around like a treasure trove, I relaxed a little and felt a sense of therapy at work, discussing and airing my mind.

At one point I go very distressed as the Police wanted to listen to the cd which had been loaded on Manuela’s cd player in her home. It was a Cd by Tom Kenyon and was titled “Mary Magdalen Energy Meditations. As soon as they played it, the hairs on the back of my neck shot up and I needed to leave the room. I was incensed to think that we were expected to sit through this, something that related in my opinion as the vital tool with which Manuela reached a level of consciousness which allowed her to take her life. Not only did I think it too morbid, I also felt threatened because of the hypnotic monotone of the voice and the words being said were like an instruction to my inner self to follow. I imagined if I was so inclined, I too could let myself go and become mentally empowered to believe I was higher than my earthly being.

As I sat listening to Karin patiently deliver her evidence to the Police through an interpretation by our solicitor friend, I searched the internet on my Pda and looked up Tom Kenyon. Here is just a small excerpt from the intro on his website

Tom Kenyon is also a channel for the Hathors, Masters of Love and Sound. The Hathors are a group of inter-dimensional beings who come from an ascended intergalactic civilization. As they once helped ancient Egypt and Tibet, they have now returned to assist humanity’s current evolution. Their brilliant and transformative utilization of Tom’s four octave voice changes lives

And more …

The Planetary Creatrix
From the Hathors through Tom Kenyon, April 15, 2007
You are on the brink of an escalation of intergalactic energies coming to you from deep space. As we have indicated in previous communications, this wave activity, related to the expansion of consciousness, is on the rise. Specifically, the expansion of consciousness has to do with a greater awareness of the subtleties and complexities of your life as terrestrial beings, but also as intergalactic and interdimensional beings.

Now I apologise if I might sound bigoted or judgemental here but this stuff is not for everyone and should be kept under lock & key from folks who might be of an unstable mind or be sensitive enough to respond to it.

I pointed this information out to the Police and they thought I was crazy and found it difficult to find the appropriate translation in Thai for intergalactic communication. They then started asking me if I understood more about this ‘sect’ and I suggested they contact Tom Kenyon & ask him, let alone send a message to outer space.

Manuela had lived at this location for the past 5 years and it transpires that the little old lady’s husband committed suicide about 2 years ago by hanging himself.

More info was revealed that Manuela had gone by Songthaew to the airport on Sunday and when she got there, she claimed to have no money & got very upset. The Tourist Police were called and after hearing her speak and feeling that she was mentally distressed or unbalanced, they asked the same Songthaew driver to take her back home as a show of kindness.

Anyway, it transpires from the photographing of the body that she had several wounds, not just the cut neck we had seen. She had a cut on her upper left arm from a sharp knife, a wound below the region of the heart from a fork and a large cut on the top / back of her head. The Police said that they had found a cooking utensil with blood and hair on it in the kitchen and also a sharp knife near the pond. They said there was also a small card in the water which they showed us. It had a mythical picture of an angel figure and the words “Healing Angel” on it. On the back, the word “Grail”.(All those who read Davinci Code” please raise your hands!)

So at this time, the autopsy and medical reports are still awaited as are the details of any relatives and what will happen to her body now. Will we ever know for sure what caused her to take her life, or be the victim of murder or sacrifice? What will the verdict be? Will there be even more revelations to unfold in this mystery and will the truth ever be told in Thailand publicly?

One thing is for certain, I am having second thoughts about talking to people whilst waiting at Vet Clinics, I will not enter into discussion with people about meditation and certainly not buy property in MaeRim.

Perhaps I will start to sleep easier now I have talked about this so much and also get back to a routine of daily chores, living & helping dogs.


Kerrio said...

Bloomin 'eck Ally - stay safe.


Lex said...

That is a frightening story! I live in Los Angeles and people (especially women) often bring a friend or husband/boyfriend with them to job interviews (especially auditions). I don't think you should stop talking to people (because often a few words can do a world of good), but take a friend and use caution if you go to a location for a rescue or any other reason. Always someone know where you are going. Stopping by the consulate was smart!

One question still bothers me: did you ever find out what the source of the smell in the bathroom was?

FYI, I found this through a post on the "Best Friends Animal Society" forum (www.bestfriends.org)