"There are 28 souls, or kinds of souls, we can say, to which the Tampoun people sacrifice." says Churk, the leader of Boeung Yeak Laom. "Souls of grandfathers and grandmothers, souls that live in houses.
Neak Yeak Laom, the spirit that guards Boeung Yeak Laom, is one of these souls.
"It will take a water buffalo, a pig, or a chicken, Neak Yeak Laom," says Thal Khat, village chief of Lom.
In exchange for the sacrifices, Neak Yeak Laom protects them, they say, and the land where they are living.
In 1991 and 1992, during the UN mission, a man set up a KTV called Ka'on at the edges of the lake, in a concrete building which is now the Boeung Yeak Laom cultural center.
Yeak Laom didn't like them-but the eviction was peaceful; in 1996, the government sent in investigators and decided to give the lake back to the Tampoun, destroying Ka'on.
Monks still walk the edges of Boeung Yeak Laom from time to time, and there are basins thick with incense set far back from the edges of the lake, on a rise near the first plat form.
The villagers speak of Boeung Yeak Laom with a mixture of awe and familiarity and darkness-the way that folk on the Gulf Coast speak of the hot months' hurricanes, or my uncle in Montana speaks of the mountain in Glacier National Park that broke his arm.
"Yeak Laom likes gentle, straight people," says Churk.
One man fished in Boeung Yeak Laom. The first fish he caught, he let back into the waters.