A beautiful young woman from the Phra Khanong district in Bangkok who married a man called Tid Mak. While she was pregnant with their first child, he was called to join the army in the north of Thailand. During his absence, mother and baby died but when he returned he found them waiting for him.
When they embraced he was shocked to feel her unusually cold and thin body but thought nothing of it. She prepared food for him and they sat down for dinner. A sudden gust of cold wind made him drop his spoon and Mae Nak lengthened her hand to catch it. Tid Mak commented about it and his wife cried out and told him that she died, and only then did he realize that his wife and child were ghosts. A different version tells of how Mae Nak was making chilly paste (nam phrik) when she accidentally dropped a lime. The lime fell through a hole in the floor into the cellar, and in her haste she extended her arm to retrieve it, not knowing that her husband witnessed the whole event.
When Mae Nak refused to leave him, Tid Mak fled, with Mae Nak in pursuit. He hid behind a Blumea balsamifera bush whose sticky leaves ghosts reputedly are afraid of. He then fled to Wat Mahabut, and Mae Nak was unable to enter the holy place. Angered, she began to terrorize the neighborhood until she was bound by an exorcist (mhor phi) who put her ghost in an earthen jar and cast it into the canal.
Sometime later the jar was fished up, either by an older couple new to the district or by two fishermen, and her ghosts was unwittingly freed. This time, the ghost of Mae Nak was bound by the venerable monk Somdet To (later Somdet Phra Phutthachan), who confined her within the bone of her corpse's forehead. Alternatively, the monk foretold that she would be reunited with her husband in a future life whereupon she voluntarily left this world
The story is said to be based on actual events that happened during the reign of the nineteenth-century King Mongkut.
Mae Nak has featured in many Thai horror movies. Her shrine is located near Sukhumvit Road 77, soi 7, Phra Khanong, Bangkok.