How Vietnamese Ghosts Broke my Finger!

I still cringe when I see this pic. All photos are by the author.

Back in 2015, I took a solo trip to Hanoi, Vietnam since it was only $100 to fly there from Bangkok, Thailand. I had been to Ho Chi Minh before and wanted to check out another part of the country.

It was a good trip. At the time I was still drinking and my first night there, the locals invited me to drink moonshine and beer with them on the street. It was a lot of fun.

Vietnamese people are very friendly and want to get you drunk!

I checked out Ha Long Bay which is a UNESCO World Heritage site for a reason:

Scenic Ha Long Bay

I ate a lot of amazing vegan Vietnamese food, saw Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum and mummified corpse, and even got laid!

Line to enter Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum

This trip was looking like a normal, fun trip in Vietnam so far…

But then at the tail end of my trip, I thought it would be a good idea to visit a mummified monk. I had already seen Ho Chi Minh’s extremely well-preserved mummified body, but that wasn’t enough for dark tourist ole’ me. I love death-related places and was curious to see if there were any Buddhist hells or mummified monks in Hanoi.

Throughout SE Asia, there are Buddhist monks whose bodies have stayed naturally preserved after death. These monks are kept intact and venerated at the temple. Some monks will mummify themselves with special teas and herbs and then meditate until death. Other monks will stop eating and drinking before death. These monks typically die while in a meditative pose and are kept that way in their temple.

A naturally mummified monk in Koh Samui, Thailand who died while meditating.

I’ve seen three mummified monks in Thailand and wanted to see more since I find them fascinating. Turns out, there are two mummified monks in Hanoi, but at the time there wasn’t much information about them. Even so, I thought I had enough info for the taxi to take me there, so I hired one and off we went.

The temple was much further than I realized. Vietnamese taxis are more expensive than taxis in Thailand. I was getting nervous since it was the tail end of my trip and I was running low on money. But I thought it would be worth it to see these mummified monks.

It was raining when we arrived at the temple. I had no idea where to go. There weren’t any signs pointing to the mummified monks and there was no one around to ask. It just looked like a quiet temple with no other people, not even locals.

I walked around to see if I could find the monks, either living or mummified. The temple was closed. But I did see a Vietnamese graveyard and decided to check that out. I walked around the cemetery, taking pictures and looking at the graves.

A Vietnamese cemetery in Hanoi with angry ghosts!

As I was standing and looking around, I suddenly felt a force pull me hard towards the ground. I fell on the concrete and somehow landed on my left pinky. I got up, totally confused by how I could fall hard like that out of nowhere. As soon as I got up, I felt a force push me again. I fell again and landed hard on my left pinky a second time.

I then got the sense that the spirits of that cemetery wanted me to get the fuck out of there. They didn’t like me there snooping around. I could feel that they were pissed off by my presence, so I left, making sure to walk carefully so I wouldn’t get pushed again.

I have never had issues with spirits in cemeteries before, they’re typically very calm and don’t care that I’m there, but those spirits really didn’t like me!

It was raining and the ground was wet, so a skeptical person could say that I just was clumsy and slipped twice because my feet slipped on the wet cement, but it didn’t feel like I slipped, it felt like a force pulled me down to the ground to make me fall. Also, I was standing perfectly still when it happened, how could I slip and fall that hard when I’m standing still, but not slip at all while walking?

It didn’t feel the same as if a person pushed me. It felt like an energy was pulling me down really fast and it happened two twice. Both times, instead of landing on my hands, like one normally does when they fall, I landed on my finger in the exact same way. It was really weird. I have never experienced something like that before. I wasn’t scared though, just confused as to why that happened.

My pinky was swollen but I thought it would go away by itself. I have a very high pain tolerance and to me, my finger felt sore but didn’t hurt that much. I finished off my trip, went back to Bangkok, and even celebrated Songkran with my swollen finger.

Celebrating Thai New Year

Songkran is Thai New Year and is celebrated by getting drunk and having a nation-wide water fight for up to a week depending on the province. It used to be a lot of fun but hasn’t been fun or celebrated much since the Covid outbreak.

I got wasted with my friends and splashed people with water while having a swollen pinky for a week before I realized that there was something more serious going on and I should go to the doctor.


Turns out, my pinky was broken! It looked pretty bad.

I could not keep this cast on for a month. Way too itchy,

Since I had waited a long time before getting it fixed, and I didn’t have enough money for a good doctor, and I kept taking the cast off because it was too itchy in the Bangkok humidity, my finger is now permanently disfigured.

If I have to have a broken pinky, I wish it had been the right one instead!

I can move it but it won’t bend at all. Since I’m left-handed, my hand gets sore easily when I write too much and I’m a writer…so those Vietnamese ghosts really fucked me up!

In hindsight, I think I might have been taken to the wrong pagoda and the mummified monks were somewhere else. It sucks that I didn’t get to meet them. My finger was broken for nothing!

If I ever go back to Hanoi and I try to find those monks, I have protection spells to make sure spirits don’t try to harm me. I’m also more mindful and respectful when I enter cemeteries and scared spaces so the spirits don’t get agitated like that.

I don’t think I did anything to warrant having my finger broken though. They could have simply just told me to leave and I would have left. I don’t know what was up those ghosts’ asses. They were just being cunts!



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