The Erawan Shrine is not old, but it is an interesting testament to the belief in spirits, in Thai society. Built in 1956, next to what is now the Grand Hyatt Erawan, it stands defiantly at the center of a busy corner plot, right next to fume-belching buses and overshadowed by the BTS. In a sumptuous spirit house at the center of this yard, a gilded statue of the four-faced Hindu god of creation, Brahma, named Phra Phrom in Thai, is enshrined. Its construction is believed to have put a stop to all the accidental deaths of workers constructing the hotel site, and due to such mystic powers, it is today one of the most revered spots in the kingdom. The area is crowded with worshipers wafting bunches of incense and praying for success in business or love. Even taxi drivers raise their hands from the steering wheel to give a wai as they pass by. The shrine made news a while back, when a mentally deranged Thai man decided to take an ax to the statue. As painful testament to the depth of Thais' devotion to the spirits (and a pitiful lesson in human rights), the onlookers turned on him and beat him to death in broad daylight.