BANGKOK, Thailand -- A defrocked Buddhist novice who roasted a baby to create a powerful ghost has been arrested for allegedly tricking women into giving him cash and sex during useless animist rituals, according to police and anti-corruption officials.

Police, Justice Ministry officials, and Anti-Money Laundering Office agents spent Tuesday (July 19) sifting through property they seized last week from Harn Raksajit, including skulls, Buddhist and Hindu statues, a Mercedes Benz, wax dolls, Viagra, women's underwear and a large, locked safe.

Harn's clients included several distraught women who claimed he promised to enhance their ability to attract men in exchange for hundreds of dollars, and occasional sexual favors, they gave the 45-year-old occultist.

Physically, Harn displays a freakish appearance with dense "magical" calligraphy and designs tattooed all over his body.

Many Thais believe tattooed quotes from Buddhist and Hindu scripture, written in ancient Pali and Sanskrit, can deflect death, including bullets, car crashes and other danger.

When love-stricken females came pleading for help, Harn allegedly chanted cryptic prayers, performed obscure acts, and appealed to unknown spirits.

Harn, a Thai, purportedly learnt his craft in Cambodia, which many Thais fear is a land of extremely powerful black magic that cannot be resisted or defied.

Police and other investigators, however, appeared immune to Harn's mumbo-jumbo and knew his track record was morbid and macabre.

In 1995, when Harn was a Buddhist novice monk, Thai police arrested him for roasting a still-born baby.

He had boasted in a published interview that he broiled the corpse to create a much-feared ghost known as Kumarn Tong, widely believed to have hypnotic, manipulative abilities.

Buddhist monks and novices often make spirit-infused amulets or other magic items which are sold throughout Thailand in a multi-million-dollar amulet industry, but Harn's was the first publicized case in which someone boasted of using a dead baby to invoke a ghost.

Harn insisted he used a nine-month-old still-born, because it was the ideal victim to be transformed into Kumarn Tong's ghost.

He said a devotee brought the tiny corpse to him, asking for it to be cremated.

Harn, also known as Nane Ae, allowed TV journalists to videotape him roasting the baby, for a program featuring strange phenomena in Thailand.

The tape, banned from broadcast, reportedly showed Harn lifting the baby out of an aquarium filled with preservation fluid, which he kept in his living quarters at Wat Nong Rakam, a Buddhist temple in Saraburi in central Thailand.

At the base of the temple's crematorium, a fire was lit under an iron grill, and the video showed Harn giving the baby's body to an assistant who mumbled Khmer-language incantations while slowly roasting it.

After 10 minutes, a Buddhist monk appeared, catching the corpse's dripping oil in a pot while Harn chanted.

Harn then took a sword and pierced the burnt baby to facilitate the flow of human oil, which is essential in several Thai recipes to create magic potions and conjure ghosts.

Harn was defrocked from the Buddhist clergy, and jailed after being charged with committing an indecent act with a corpse, and for failing to report a death.

Thais say true Kumarn Tong oil is a valuable love potion.

One drop on a person's skin is said to make that person fall in love with whoever secretly touched them with the oil.

Many Thais wear a matchhead-sized, wooden rendition of Kumarn Tong in a vial of a sunflower oil, on a necklace, as a magic amulet.

Nok Uraiwan, a merchant who sold the inexpensive necklaces, said in an interview: "Inside this vial is Kumarn Tong's soul. He will do whatever you secretly want him to do, but you'll have to keep feeding him and watch that he does not crawl away.

"The baby's father, Khoon Paen, had a baby, but it died. But Khoon Paen loved his baby, so he kept it in a little bottle. He fed it like it was alive. And the baby's soul stayed with its father," Nok said.

"When the father wanted the baby to help him, the baby Kumarn Tong protected him from his enemies. So Thai people believe baby Kumarn Tong has power and can help or protect them," she said.

"But whoever buys this amulet, they have to feed this wooden baby like it is their own son. When you eat your meals, you have to say to this wooden baby, 'Eat lunch,' or, 'Eat dinner,' and you have to put a small bowl out for him, and place some small pieces of food in the bowl. Every day you have to feed him.

"Some people say the baby comes out of the vial sometimes, and, like a real baby, crawls away or is naughty. If somebody has this baby, they might see it crawling inside their house," she added.

In 1995, Harn also had a thriving business selling charms and amulets made from the bones of dead people and cemeteries' dirt, priced from 12 to 60 US dollars.

In 1994, however, Harn was arrested after promising to make a believer invulnerable to knives.

Harn stabbed a sword through the person's stomach, inflicting a serious wound, but the victim later dropped the charges after receiving a large cash compensation, police said.