When Siamese soldiers crushed the Holy Man Rebellion and scoured the area for escaped rebels, terrified locals sought refuge in temples while others turned to local spirits for protection. A local chief who became an executioner of rebels bore a ring of black which returned to black even when scratched. Had the ring absorbed the malice of its bearer and the dark crimes he committed? Was he the “Sauron of Isaan”? Guest contributor Janista Aphasaengphet investigates, with photos by The Isaan Record intern, Tatiya Trachu.