There’s something about tattoos that provokes a strong reaction. Sometimes that reaction is admiration, for the pain tolerance of its wearer. Other times its aberration, disgust that anyone would taint their bodies in such a way. But for indigenous Filipinos, receiving batok (a traditional tattoo) was a spiritual event; a ceremony.  

In this episode, I want to undo any negative stereotypes surrounding tattoos by sharing its history beyond Western sensibilities, and speaking with Lane Wilcken, one of the very few recognized mambabatok (tattoo ritualists) in the world. He shares the cultural significance of batok, as well as the intense and sometimes disturbing paranormal encounters he’s had during ceremonies.

Chapter 1: You Wanna Look Like A Gangbanger?
Chapter 2: Stories With Lane
Chapter 3: Intuition
Learn more about Lane and his work.
Lane Wilcken at work

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