Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- For many, tattoos can be a sign of rebellion, individuality or fashion; but in Thailand, tattoos have a whole different meaning.
Devotees of Yan tattoos have been gathering outside Bangkok for an annual festival, where believers demonstrate the supposed super-human powers radiated from the designs.
Men covered in ornate ink depictions of tigers, Buddhas and ancient scripts rant and rave, scream, laugh and charge around as if they are possessed. They claim the chanting of the monks brings out the power of their tattoos.
Wat Bang Phra resembles a lunatic asylum, as hundreds of apparently insane tattooed men demonstrate their special powers.
"You can't control it, sometimes it controls your body, but it is a good thing, it's a good thing for the spirit to come to the body, it's a blessing," says Akilon Krishnan, who traveled to the event from Malaysia.
Yan tattoos are becoming ever more popular in this mainly Buddhist country. It's an ancient belief dating back hundreds of years. Some think their tattoos provide protection at a time when there is such political turbulence and division in the country.
"I managed to escape from my enemies, because of the special powers of the tattoo," says Noom Korat.
Ajarn Noo is perhaps the most famous tattoo mystic in Thailand -- people pay hundreds of dollars for his designs.
"It brings great luck, success, and attracts money. The tattoo represents the birth, death and enlightenment of Lord Buddha," says Noo at his Bangkok tattoo parlour.
It actually appears more like a temple with incense, Buddhist statues and scores of eager Yan fans.
But it's not just Thais who are going crazy for Yan tattoos. Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie came to Bangkok for a huge Yan tattoo of a tiger in 2004. Her photo adorns the walls of Ajarn Noo's tattoo parlour -- he's keen for potential customers to see that he's inked one of the most famous and desirable women in the world.
He claims his tattoos can attract the opposite sex, as well as money. They also help to ward off enemies and bad luck.
And it seems the tattoos aren't doing him any harm either -- customers are queuing all day long.