Kompong Chhnang province authorities Sunday ordered a 43-year-old woman claiming to be possessed by the spirit of a goddess to leave a pagoda in Boribor district where she has been collecting money from people who have come to see a platinum ring she supposedly gave birth to.
Chea Ith and her husband Bou Run, 50, first came to the Domrey Kon pagoda in Anh Chanh Roung commune on October 8, where they say Ms. Ith—possessed by the spirit of the goddess Preah Neang Kong Siim—gave birth to a platinum ring and produced a second, white ring from her torso, district governor Khuon Sarom said Sunday.
Ms. Ith also brought a chicken egg that she claims appeared magically inside her cow pen in July, Mr. Sarom said.
“We ordered the woman to leave the pagoda today, but she asked to stay for one more day because she told us that she wanted more people to come and look at the rings and the egg,” he said, adding that authorities would honor Ms. Ith’s request.
Mr. Sarom said that rumors of the woman’s divine nature drew as many as 100 people to the pagoda per day for the first few days she was there, but that this number dwindled as skepticism about her claims mounted.
Mr. Run on Sunday defended the validity of his wife’s assertions, saying that on the morning of October 8, she spontaneously burst into tears and asked him to arrange for her to be brought to the pagoda, where she gave birth to the platinum ring at about 3 p.m. and expelled the white ring from the right side of her rib cage shortly afterward.
“My wife was not pregnant, but she delivered two rings at the pagoda in the afternoon,” he said. “Laypeople in the pagoda also saw my wife deliver the two rings.”
Mr. Run added that on each of the first four days the couple stayed at the pagoda, they netted between 50,000 and 60,000 riel, or about $12.50 to $15, from people paying their respects to the goddess.
“We did not force those people to pay. The visitors did so voluntarily,” Mr. Run said.
Commune chief Khlong Varth said Ms. Ith was nothing more than a scam artist.
“This woman is lying to make money. I don’t believe that the spirit of the god is inside this woman because nobody is able to give birth to rings,” he said.