The kite bird is considered as the messenger of the death. This folklore explores the myth of heaven and hell of the Nocte society.
When a person dies, his Jú, which means spirit, enters the spirit realm where it has to travel through a long and rugged tunnel of rocks. However, the walk is always a Herculean task for the spirit. Those spirits who give up in the tunnel itself, are marked to suffer on earth as lost souls for all eternity, and such spirits often interfere with the affairs of the living.
The Noctes associate kite bird known as Láh with afterlife, and it is also known as Mangdapha, which means shadow of the dead. Like in every culture, the Noctes believe in the existence of heaven and hell. Balúng is the name of their heaven and Joam that of hell, and they also believe that Jú, which means spirit, are immortal. They picture balúng as a place where a spirit can live peaceful with its ancestors, and picture joam as a place full of pain and unholy insects, who are always crawling over and eating the spirits for eternity!
At the end of the tunnel, the jú is judged by the Jobán, which means God, irrespective of what its earthly status was. Jobán then tag it as either a Sun Jú, which means good spirit, or Chhi Jú, which means bad spirit.
After that, the jú reaches a bi-road called Chiruap Lam. The left side of the road leads to joam & the right side to balúng. The chhi jú & the sun jú has to take the left & the right side of Chiruap Lám, respectively.
At the junction point, there stands an unresponsive naked jú of an old man, with deformed genitals, whose name Phuang Chawa and every crossing jú bursts into laughter by seeing the old man.
The chhi jú is always tempted to take a right of Chiruap Lám. It can travel through this side until it reaches a landmark called Phuaksa Thong. Here, it is chased away by the spirits of balúng by brandishing weapons and by saying offensive words. With no other option left, the chhi jú has to travel back towards joam and when it crosses the junction, Phuang Chawa laughs back at it!
When the sun jú reaches balúng, it is heartily welcomed by the other spirits and officially becomes a dweller of heaven. Then, a day after Mángbin, which means burial, the sun jú transforms itself into a láh, and then visit its home. After reaching home in the form of a láh, it acknowledges the fact that it no longer belongs to the world of men, and returns to the spirit realm forever.
In order to be sure that the láh is the shadow of the deceased, a red thread is tied to one of the toes of the dead body. It is said that if a láh comes home after mángbin, it always has a red thread tied to its leg!
The family of the deceased accepts this as a message from Jobán that their beloved is now in balúng. If the láh flies in from the Jomay, which means east, the spirit is with Sánkát Jobán, which means God of Sunrise, and if it flew in from the Jokú, which means west, the spirit is with Sányub Jobán, which means God of Sunset.
However, if a láh is not seen near the home a day after mángbin, the family mourns again by knowing that the jú of their beloved is either in joam or could not make it through the tunnel.
When a Chopha, which means ruler, or member of the ruling family dies, there are usually two láhs to be seen after mángbin. One is the royalty and the other is its Há, which means slave.
Many people belief that there will be more deaths in the following months when a chief dies, because the Noctes believe that a Chief is sent by Gods and thus, his jú demands to be served in the spirit realm by the jú of his subjects.