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Visitors to Wat Chedi, a temple in southern Thailand, have donated countless chicken figures to honor Ai Khai (or Egg Boy), a statue housing the spirit of a boy said to bring good luck.

When the coronavirus pandemic closed borders, Thailand’s massive tourism industry—more than 20 percent of its GDP, by some calculations—ground to a halt. Within months, word spread that the spirit of an 18th-century statue in southern Thailand, known as the Egg Boy, had provided someone with winning lottery numbers. Then an influential figure publicly attributed her wealth and success to Egg Boy. Soon Wat Chedi, the provincial temple housing the statue, was inundated with Thais seeking hope and good fortune.

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