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Lecture 20 The Belief in Immortality Among the Natives of Eastern Melanesia (Fiji) (concluded)

Lecture 20
The Belief in Immortality Among the Natives of Eastern Melanesia (Fiji) (concluded)
Worship of ancestors in Fiji.
IN the last lecture I described the rites of ancestor worship which in certain parts of Fiji used to be celebrated at the sacred enclosures of stones known as Nangas. But the worship of ancestral spirits was by no means confined to the comparatively small area in Fiji where such sacred enclosures were erected nor were these open-air temples the only structures where the homage of the living was paid to the dead. On the contrary we are told by one who knew the Fijians in the old heathen days that among them “as soon as beloved parents expire they take their place amongst the family gods. Bures or temples are erected to their memory and offerings deposited either on their graves or on rudely constructed altars—mere stages in the form of tables the legs of which are driven into the ground and the top of which is covered with pieces of native cloth. The construction of these altars is identical with that observed by Turner in Tanna and only differs in its inferior finish from the altars formerly erected in Tahiti and the adjacent islands. The offerings consisting of the choicest articles of food are left exposed to wind and weather and firmly believed by the mass of Fijians to be consumed by the spirits of departed friends and relations; but if not eaten by animals they are often stolen by the more enlightened class of their countrymen and even some of the foreigners do not disdain occasionally to help themselves freely to them. However it is not only on tombs or on altars that offerings are made; often when the natives eat or drinkanything they throw portions of it away stating them to be for their departed ancestors. I remember ordering a young chief to empty a bowl containing kava which he did muttering to himself ‘There father is some kava for you. Protect me from illness or breaking any of my limbs whilst in the mountains.’”1
Fijian notion of divinity. Two classes of gods namely gods strictly so called and deified men.

“The native word expressive of divinity is kalou which while used to denote the people's highest notion of a god is also constantly heard as a qualificative of any thing great or marvellous or according to Hazlewood's Dictionary ‘anything superlative whether good or bad.’… Often the word sinks into a mere exclamation or becomes an expression of flattery. ‘You are a kalou!’ or ‘Your countrymen are gods!’ is often uttered by the natives when hearing of the triumphs of art among civilized nations.”2 The Fijians distinguished two classes of gods: first kalou vu literally “Root-gods” that is gods strictly so called and second kalou yalo literally “Soul-gods” that is deified mortals. Gods of the first class were supposed to be absolutely eternal; gods of the second class though raised far above mere humanity were thought nevertheless to be subject to human passions and wants to accidents and even to death. These latter were the spirits of departed chiefs heroes and friends; admission into their number was easy and any one might secure his own apotheosis who could ensure the services of some one to act as his representative and priest after his death.3 However though the Fijians admitted the distinction between the two classes of gods in theory they would seem to have confused them in practice. Thus we are informed by an early authority that “they have superior and inferior gods and goddesses more general and local deities and were it not an obvious contradiction we should say they have gods human and gods divine; for they have some gods who were gods originally and some who were originally men. It is impossible to ascertain with any degree of probability how many gods the Feejeeans have as any man who can distinguish himself in murdering his fellow-men may certainly secure to himself deification after death. Their friends are also sometimes deified and invoked. I have heard them invoke their friends who have been drowned at sea. I need not advert to the absurdity of praying to those who could not save themselves from a watery grave. Tuikilakila the chief of Somosomo offered Mr. Hunt a preferment of this sort. ‘If you die first’ said he ‘I shall make you my god.’ In fact there appears to be no certain line of demarcation between departed spirits and gods nor between gods and living men for many of the priests and old chiefs are considered as sacred persons and not a few of them will also claim to themselves the right of divinity. ‘I am a god’ Tuikilakila would sometimes say; and he believed it too. They were not merely the words of his lips; he believed he was something above a mere man.”4

Writers on Fiji have given us lists of some of the principal gods of the first class5 who were supposed never to have been men; but in their account of the religious ritual they do not distinguish between the worship which was paid to such deities and that which was paid to deified men. Accordingly we may infer that the ritual was practically the same and in the sequel I shall assume that what is told us of the worship of gods in general holds good of the worship of deified men in particular.
The Fijian temple (bure).
Every Fijian town had at least one bure or temple many of them had several. Significantly enough the spot where a chief had been killed was sometimes chosen for the site of a temple. The structure of these edifices was somewhat peculiar. Each of them was built on the top of a mound which was raised to the height of from three to twenty feet above the ground and faced on its sloping sides with dry rubble-work of stone. The ascent to the temple was by a thick plank the upper surface of which was cut into notched steps. The proportions of the sacred edifice itself were inelegant if not uncouth its height being nearly twice as great as its breadth at the base. The roof was high-pitched; the ridge-pole was covered with white shells (Ovula cypraea) and projected three or four feet at each end. For the most part each temple had two doors and a fire-place in the centre. From some temples it was not lawful to throw out the ashes however much they might accumulate until the end of the year which fell in November. The furniture consisted of a few boxes mats several large clay jars and many drinking vessels. A temple might also contain images which though highly esteemed as ornaments and held sacred were not worshipped as idols. From the roof depended a long piece of white bark-cloth; it was carried down the angle so as to hang before the corner-post and lie on the floor. This cloth formed the path down which the god was believed to pass in order to enter and inspire his priest. It marked the holy place which few but he dared to approach. However the temples were by no means dedicated exclusively to the use of religion. Each of them served also as a council-chamber and town-hall; there the chiefs lounged for hours together; there strangers were entertained; and there the head persons of the village might even sleep.6 In some parts of Viti Levu the dead were sometimes buried in the temples “that the wind might not disturb nor the rain fall upon them” and in order that the living might have the satisfaction of lying near their departed friends. A child of high rank having died under the charge of the queen of Somosomo the little body was placed in a box and hung from the tie-beam of the principal temple. For some months afterwards the daintiest food was brought daily to the dead child the bearers approaching with the utmost respect and clapping their hands when the ghost was thought to have finished his meal just as a chief's retainers used to do when he had done eating.7
Worship at the temples.
Temples were often unoccupied for months and allowed to fall into ruins until the chief had some request to make to the god when the necessary repairs were first carried out. No regular worship was maintained no habitual reverence was displayed at the shrines. The principle of fear we are told seemed to be the only motive of religious observances and it was artfully fomented by the priests through whom alone the people had access to the gods when they desired to supplicate the favour of the divine beings. The prayers were naturally accompanied by offerings which in matters of importance comprised large quantities of food together with whales' teeth; in lesser affairs a tooth club mat or spear sufficed. Of the food brought by the worshippers part was dedicated to the god but as usual he only ate the soul of it the substance being consumed by the priest and old men; the remainder furnished a feast of which all might partake.8
The priests.
The office of priest (mbete bete) was usually hereditary but when a priest died without male heirs a cunning fellow ambitious of enjoying the sacred character and of living in idleness would sometimes simulate the convulsive frenzy which passed for a symptom of inspiration and if he succeeded in the imposture would be inducted into the vacant benefice. Every chief had his priest with whom he usually lived on a very good footing the two playing into each other's hands and working the oracle for their mutual benefit. The people were grossly superstitious and there were few of their affairs in which the priest had not a hand. His influence over them was great. In his own district he passed for the representative of the deity; indeed according to an early missionary the natives seldom distinguished the idea of the god from that of his minister who was viewed by them with a reverence that almost amounted to deification.9
Oracles given by the priest under the inspiration of the god.
Paroxysm of inspiration.
The principal duty of the priest was to reveal to men the will of the god and this he always did through the direct inspiration of the deity. The revelation was usually made in response to an enquiry or a prayer; the supplicant asked it might be for a good crop of yams or taro for showers of rain for protection in battle for a safe voyage or for a storm to drive canoes ashore so that the supplicant might rob murder and eat the castaways. To lend force to one or other of these pious prayers the worshipper brought a whale's tooth to the temple and presented it to the priest. The man of god might have had word of his coming and time to throw himself into an appropriate attitude. He might for example be seen lying on the floor near the sacred corner plunged in a profound meditation. On the entrance of the enquirer the priest would rouse himself so far as to get up and then seat himself with his back to the white cloth down which the deity was expected to slide into the medium's body. Having received the whale's tooth he would abstract his mind from all worldly matters and contemplate the tooth for some time with rapt attention. Presently he began to tremble his limbs twitched his features were distorted. These symptoms the visible manifestation of the entrance of the spirit into him gradually increased in violence till his whole frame was convulsed and shook as with a strong fit of ague: his veins swelled: the circulation of the blood was quickened. The man was now possessed and inspired by the god: his own human personality was for a time in abeyance: all that he said and did in the paroxysm passed for the words and acts of the indwelling deity. Shrill cries of “Koi au! Koi au!” “It is I! It is I!” filled the air proclaiming the actual presence of the powerful spirit in the vessel of flesh and blood. In giving the oracular response the priest's eyes protruded from their sockets and rolled as in a frenzy: his voice rose into a squeak: his face was pallid his lips livid his breathing depressed his whole appearance that of a furious madman. At last sweat burst from every pore tears gushed from his eyes: the strain on the organism was visibly relieved; and the symptoms gradually abated. Then he would look round with a vacant stare: the god within him would cry “I depart!” and the man would announce the departure of the spirit by throwing himself on his mat or striking the ground with his club while blasts on a shell-trumpet conveyed to those at a distance the tidings that the deity had withdrawn from mortal sight into the world invisible.10 “I have seen” says Mr. Lorimer Fison “this possession and a horrible sight it is. In one case after the fit was over for some time the man's muscles and nerves twitched and quivered in an extraordinary way. He was naked except for his breech-clout and on his naked breast little snakes seemed to be wriggling for a moment or two beneath his skin disappearing and then suddenly reappearing in another part of his chest. When the mbete (which we may translate ‘priest’ for want of a better word) is seized by the possession the god within him calls out his own name in a stridulous tone ‘It is I! Katouviere!’ or some other name. At the next possession some other ancestor may declare himself.”11
Specimens of the oracular utterances of Fijian gods.
From this last description of an eye-witness we learn that the spirit which possessed a priest and spoke through him was often believed to be that of a dead ancestor. Some of the inspired utterances of these prophets have been recorded. Here are specimens of Fijian inspiration. Speaking in the name of the great god Ndengei who was worshipped in the form of a serpent the priest said: “Great Fiji is my small club. Muaimbila is the head; Kamba is the handle. If I step on Muaimbila I shall sink it into the sea whilst Kamba shall rise to the sky. If I step on Kamba it will be lost in the sea whilst Muaimbila would rise into the skies. Yes Viti Levu is my small war-club. I can turn it as I please. I can turn it upside down.” Again speaking by the mouth of a priest the god Tanggirianima once made the following observations: “I and Kumbunavannua only are gods. I preside over wars and do as I please with sickness. But it is difficult for me to come here as the foreign god fills the place. If I attempt to descend by that pillar I find it pre-occupied by the foreign god. If I try another pillar I find it the same. However we two are fighting the foreign god; and if we are victorious we will save the woman. I will save the woman. She will eat food to-day. Had I been sent for yesterday she would have eaten then” and so on. The woman about whose case the deity was consulted and whom he announced his fixed intention of saving died a few hours afterwards.12
Human sacrifices in Fiji.
Ferocious and inveterate cannibals themselves the Fijians naturally assumed that their gods were so too; hence human flesh was a common offering indeed the most valued of all.13 Formal human sacrifices were frequent. The victims were usually taken from a distant tribe and when war and violence failed to supply the demand recourse was sometimes had to negotiation. However obtained the victims destined for sacrifice were often kept for a time and fattened to make them better eating. Then tightly bound in a sitting posture they were placed on hot stones in one of the usual ovens and being covered over with leaves and earth were roasted alive while the spectators roared with laughter at the writhings and contortions of the victims in their agony. When their struggles ceased and the bodies were judged to be done to a nicety they were raked out of the oven their faces painted black and so carried to the temple where they were presented to the gods only however to be afterwards removed cut up and devoured by the people.14
Human sacrifices offered when a king's house was built or a great new canoe launched.
However roasting alive in ovens was not the only way in which men and women were made away with in the service of religion. When a king's house was built men were buried alive in the holes dug to receive the posts: they were compelled to clasp the posts in their arms and then the earth was shovelled over them and rammed down. And when a large new canoe was launched it was hauled down to the sea over the bodies of living men who were pinioned and laid out at intervals on the beach to serve as rollers on which the great vessel glided smoothly into the water leaving a row of mangled corpses behind. The theory of both these modes of sacrifice was explained by the Fijians to an Englishman who witnessed them. I will quote their explanation in his words. “They said in answer to the questions I put respecting the people being buried alive with the posts that a house or palace of a king was just like a king's canoe: if the canoe was not hauled over men as rollers she would not be expected to float long and in like manner the palace could not stand long if people were not to sit down and continually hold the posts up. But I said ‘How could they hold the posts up after they were dead?’ They said if they sacrificed their lives endeavouring to hold the posts in their right position to their superior's turanga kai na kalou (chiefs and god) that the virtue of the sacrifice would instigate the gods to uphold the house after they were dead and that they were honoured by being considered adequate to such a noble task.”15 Apparently the Fijians imagined that the souls of the dead men would somehow strengthen the souls of the houses and canoes and so prolong the lives of these useful objects; for it is to be remembered that according to Fijian theology houses and canoes as well as men and women were provided with immortal souls.
High estimation in which murder was held by the Fijians.
Perhaps the same theory of immortality partially accounts for the high honour in which the Fijian held the act of murder and for the admiration which he bestowed on all murderers. “Shedding of blood” we are told “to him is no crime but a glory. Whoever may be the victim—whether noble or vulgar old or young man woman or child—whether slain in war or butchered by treachery—to be somehow an acknowledged murderer is the object of the Fijian's restless ambition”16 It was customary throughout Fiji to give honorary names to such as had clubbed to death a human being of any age or either sex during a war. The new epithet was given with the complimentary prefix Koroi. Mr. Williams once asked a man why he was called Koroi. “Because” he replied “I with several other men found some women and children in a cave drew them out and clubbed them and then was consecrated.”17 Mr. Fison learned from another stout young warrior that he had earned the honourable distinction of Koroi by lying in wait among the mangrove bushes at the waterside and killing a miserable old woman of a hostile tribe as she crept along the mudflat seeking for shellfish. The man would have been equally honoured adds Mr. Fison if his victim had been a child. The hero of such an exploit for two or three days after killing his man or woman was allowed to besmear his face and bust with a mixture of lampblack and oil which differed from the common black war-paint; decorated with this badge of honour he strutted proudly through the town the cynosure of all eyes an object of envy to his fellows and of tender interest to the girls. The old men shouted approval after him the women would lulilu admiringly as he passed by and the boys looked up to him as a superior being whose noble deeds they thirsted to emulate. Higher titles of honour still were bestowed on such as had slain their ten or twenty or thirty; and Mr. Fison tells us of a chief whose admiring countrymen had to compound all these titles into one in order to set forth his superlative claims to glory. A man who had never killed anybody was of very little account in this life and he received the penalty due to his sin in the life hereafter. For in the spirit land the ghost of such a poor-spirited wretch was sentenced to what the Fijians regarded as the most degrading of all punishments to beat a heap of muck with his bloodless club.18
Ceremony of consecrating a manslayer.
The temporary restrictions laid on a manslayer were probably dictated by a fear of his victim's ghost.
The ceremony of consecrating a manslayer was elaborate. He was anointed with red oil from the hair of his head to the soles of his feet; and when he had been thus incarnadined he exchanged clubs with the spectators who believed that their weapons acquired a mysterious virtue by passing through his holy hands. Afterwards the anointed one attended by the king and elders solemnly stalked down to the sea and wetted the soles of his feet in the water. Then the whole company returned to the town while the shell-trumpets sounded and the men raised a peculiar hoot. Custom required that a hut should be built in which the anointed man and his companions must pass the next three nights during which the hero might not lie down but had to sleep as he sat; all that time he might not change his bark-cloth garment nor wash the red paint away from his body nor enter a house in which there was a woman.19 The reason for observing these curious restrictions is not mentioned but in the light of similar practices some of which have been noticed in these lectures20 we may conjecture that they were dictated by a fear of the victim's ghost who among savages generally haunts his slayer and will do him a mischief if he gets a chance. As it is especially in dreams that the naturally incensed spirit finds his opportunity we can perhaps understand why the slayer might not lie down for the first three nights after the slaughter; the wrath of the ghost would then be at its hottest and if he spied his murderer stretched in slumber on the ground the temptation to take an unfair advantage of him might have been too strong to be resisted. But when his anger had had time to cool down or he had departed for his long home as ghosts generally do after a reasonable time the precautions taken to baffle his vengeance might be safely relaxed. Perhaps as I have already hinted the reverence which the Fijians felt for any man who had taken a human life or at all events the life of an enemy may have partly sprung from a belief that the slayer increased his own strength and valour either by subjugating the ghost of his victim and employing it as his henchman or perhaps rather by simply absorbing in some occult fashion the vital energy of the slain. This view is confirmed by the permission given to the killer to assume the name of the killed whenever his victim was a man of distinguished rank;21 for by taking the name he according to an opinion common among savages assumed the personality of his namesake.
Other funeral customs based on a fear of the ghost.
The same fear of the ghost of the recently departed which manifested itself if my interpretation of the customs is right in the treatment of manslayers seems to have imprinted itself though in a more attenuated form on some of the practices observed by Fijian mourners after a natural not a violent death.
Persons who have handled a corpse forbidden to touch food.
Seclusion of grave-diggers.
Thus all the persons who had handled a corpse were forbidden to touch anything for some time afterwards; in particular they were strictly debarred from touching their food with their hands; their victuals were brought to them by others and they were fed like infants by attendants or obliged to pick up their food with their mouths from the ground. The time during which this burdensome restriction lasted was different according to the rank of the deceased: in the case of great chiefs it lasted from two to ten months; in the case of a petty chief it did not exceed one month; and in the case of a common person a taboo of not more than four days sufficed. When a chief's principal wife did not follow him to the other world by being strangled or buried alive she might not touch her own food with her hands for three months. When the mourners grew tired of being fed like infants or feeding themselves like dogs they sent word to the head chief and he let them know that he would remove the taboo whenever they pleased. Accordingly they sent him presents of pigs and other provisions which he shared among the people. Then the tabooed persons went into a stream and washed themselves; after that they caught some animal such as a pig or a turtle and wiped their hands on it and the animal thereupon became sacred to the chief. Thus the taboo was removed and the men were free once more to work to feed themselves and to live with their wives. Lazy and idle fellows willingly undertook the duty of waiting on the dead as it relieved them for some time from the painful necessity of earning their own bread.22 The reason why such persons might not touch food with their hands was probably a fear of the ghost or at all events of the infection of death; the ghost or the infection might be clinging to their hands and might so be transferred from them to their food with fatal effects. In Great Fiji not every one might dig a chief's grave. The office was hereditary in a certain clan. After the funeral the grave-digger was shut up in a house and painted black from head to foot. When he had to make a short excursion he covered himself with a large mantle of painted native cloth and was supposed to be invisible. His food was brought to the house after dark by silent bearers who placed it just within the doorway. His seclusion might last for a long time;23 it was probably intended to screen him from the ghost.
Hair cropped and finger-joints cut off in mourning.
The usual outward sign of mourning was to crop the hair or beard or very rarely both. Some people merely made bald the crown of the head. Indeed the Fijians were too vain of their hair to part with it lightly and to conceal the loss which custom demanded of them on these occasions they used to wear wigs some of which were very skilfully made. The practice of cutting off finger-joints in mourning has already been mentioned; one early authority affirms and another denies that joints of the little toes were similarly amputated by the living as a mark of sorrow for the dead. So common was the practice of lopping off the little fingers in mourning that till recently few of the older natives could be found who had their hands intact; most of them indeed had lost the little fingers of both hands. There was a Fijian saying that the fourth finger “cried itself hoarse in vain for its absent mate” (droga-droga-wale). The mutilation was usually confined to the relations of the deceased unless he happened to be one of the highest chiefs. However the severed joints were often sent by poor people to wealthy families in mourning who never failed to reward the senders for so delicate a mark of sympathy. Female mourners burned their skin into blisters by applying lighted rolls of bark-cloth to various parts of their bodies; the brands so produced might be seen on their arms shoulders necks and breasts.24 During the mourning for a king people fasted till evening for ten or twenty days; the coast for miles was tabooed and no one might fish there; the nuts also were made sacred. Some people in token of grief for a bereavement would abstain from fish fruit or other pleasant food for months together; others would dress in leaves instead of in cloth.25
Men whipped by women in time of mourning for a chief.
Though the motive for these observances is not mentioned we may suppose that they were intended to soothe and please the ghost by testifying to the sorrow felt by the survivors at his decease. It is more doubtful whether the same explanation would apply to another custom which the Fijians used to observe in mourning. During ten days after a death while the soul of a deceased chief was thought to be still lingering in or near his body all the women of the town provided themselves with long whips knotted with shells and applied them with great vigour to the bodies of the men raising weals and inflicting bloody wounds while the men retorted by flirting pellets of clay from splinters of bamboo.26 According to Mr. Williams this ceremony was performed on the tenth day or earlier and he adds: “I have seen grave personages not accustomed to move quickly flying with all possible speed before a company of such women. Sometimes the men retaliate by bespattering their assailants with mud; but they use no violence as it seems to be a day on which they are bound to succumb.”27 As the soul of the dead was believed to quit his body and depart to his destined abode on the tenth day after death28 the scourging of the men by the women was probably supposed in some way to speed the parting guest on his long journey.
The dead taken out of the house by a special opening made in a wall.
Examples of the custom among Aryan peoples.
When a certain king of Fiji died the side of the house was broken down to allow the body to be carried out though there were doorways wide enough for the purpose close at hand. The missionary who records the fact could not learn the reason of it.29 The custom of taking the dead out of the house by a special opening which is afterwards closed up has not been confined to Fiji; on the contrary it has been practised by a multitude of peoples savage barbarous and civilised in many parts of the world. For example it was an old Norse rule that a corpse might not be carried out of the house by the door which was used by the living; hence a hole was made in the wall at the back of the dead man's head and he was taken out through it backwards or a hole was dug in the ground under the south wall and the body was drawn out through it.30 The custom may have been at one time common to all the Aryan or Indo-european peoples for it is mentioned in other of their ancient records and has been observed by widely separated branches of that great family down to modern times. Thus the Zend-Avesta prescribes that when a death has occurred a breach shall be made in the wall and the corpse carried out through it by two men who have first stripped off their clothes.31 In Russia “the corpse was often carried out of the house through a window or through a hole made for the purpose and the custom is still kept up in many parts.”32 Speaking of the Hindoos a French traveller of the eighteenth century says that “instead of carrying the corpse out by the door they make an opening in the wall by which they pass it out in a seated posture and the hole is closed up after the ceremony.”33 Among various Hindoo castes it is still customary when a death has occurred on an inauspicious day to remove the corpse from the house not through the door but through a temporary hole made in the wall.34 Old German law required that the corpses of criminals and suicides should be carried out through a hole under the thresholds.35 In the Highlands of Scotland the bodies of suicides were not taken out of the house for burial by the doors but through an opening made between the wall and the thatch.36
Examples of the custom among non-Aryan peoples.
But widespread as such customs have been among Indo-european peoples they have been by no means confined to that branch of the human race. It was an ancient Chinese practice to knock down part of the wall of a house for the purpose of carrying out a corpse.37 Some of the Canadian Indians would never take a corpse out of the hut by the ordinary door but always lifted a piece of the bark wall near which the dead man lay and then drew him through the opening.38 Among the Esquimaux of Bering Strait a corpse is usually raised through the smoke-hole in the roof but is never taken out by the doorway. Should the smoke-hole be too small an opening is made in the rear of the house and then closed again.39 When a Greenlander dies “they do not carry out the corpse through the entry of the house but lift it through the window or if he dies in a tent they unfasten one of the skins behind and convey it out that way. A woman behind waves a lighted chip backward and forward and says: ‘There is nothing more to be had here.’”40 Similarly the Hottentots Bechuanas Basutos Marotse Barongo and many other tribes of South and West Africa never carry a corpse out by the door of the hut but always by a special opening made in the wall.41 A similar custom is observed by the maritime Gajos of Sumatra42 and by some of the Indian tribes of North-west America such as the Tlingit and the Haida.43 Among the Lepchis of Sikhim whose houses are raised on piles the dead are taken out by a hole made in the floor.44 Dwellers in tents who practise this custom remove a corpse from the tent not by the door but through an opening made by lifting up an edge of the tent-cover: this is done by European gypsies45 and by the Koryak of north-eastern Asia.46
The motive of the custom is a desire to prevent the ghost from returning to the house.
In all such customs the original motive probably was a fear of the ghost and a wish to exclude him from the house lest he should return and carry off the survivors with him to the spirit land. Ghosts are commonly credited with a low degree of intelligence and it appears to be supposed that they can only find their way back to a house by the aperture through which their bodies were carried out. Hence people made a practice of taking a corpse out not by the door but through an opening specially made for the purpose which was afterwards blocked up so that when the ghost returned from the grave and attempted to enter the house he found the orifice closed and was obliged to turn away disappointed. That this was the train of reasoning actually followed by some peoples may be gathered from the explanations which they themselves give of the custom. Thus among the Tuski of Alaska “those who die a natural death are carried out through a hole cut in the back of the hut or yaráng. This is immediately closed up that the spirit of the dead man may not find his way back.”47 Among the Esquimaux of Hudson Bay “the nearest relatives on approach of death remove the invalid to the outside of the house for if he should die within he must not be carried out of the door but through a hole cut in the side wall and it must then be carefully closed to prevent the spirit of the person from returning.”48 Again “when a Siamese is dead his relations deposit the body in a coffin well covered. They do not pass it through the door but let it down into the street by an opening which they make in the wall. They also carry it thrice round the house running at the top of their speed. They believe that if they did not take this precaution the dead man would remember the way by which he had passed and that he would return by night to do some ill turn to his family.”49 In Travancore the body of a dead rajah “is taken out of the palace through a breach in the wall made for the purpose to avoid pollution of the gate and afterwards built up again so that the departed spirit may not return through the gate to trouble the survivors.”50 Among the Kayans of Borneo whose dwellings are raised on piles above the ground the coffin is conveyed out of the house by lowering it with rattans either through the floor planks being taken up for the purpose or under the eaves at the side of the gallery. “In this way they avoid carrying it down the house-ladder; and it seems to be felt that this precaution renders it more difficult for the ghost to find its way back to the house.”51 Among the Cheremiss of Russia “old custom required that the corpse should not be carried out by the door but through a breach in the north wall where there is usually a sash-window. But the custom has long been obsolete even among the heathen and only very old people speak of it. They explain it as follows: to carry it out by the door would be to shew the Asyrèn (the dead man) the right way into the house whereas a breach in the wooden wall is immediately closed by replacing the beams in position and thus the Asyrèn would in vain seek for an entrance.”52 The Samoyeds never carry a corpse out of the hut by the door but lift up a piece of the reindeer-skin covering and draw the body out head foremost through the opening. They think that if they were to carry a corpse out by the door the ghost would soon return and fetch away other members of the family.53 On the same principle as soon as the Indians of Tumupasa in north-west Bolivia have carried a corpse out of the house “they shift the door to the opposite side in order that the deceased may not be able to find it.”54 Once more in Mecklenburg “it is a law regulating the return of the dead that they are compelled to return by the same way by which the corpse was removed from the house. In the villages of Picher Bresegard and others the people used to have movable thresholds at the house-doors which being fitted into the door-posts could be shoved up. The corpse was then carried out of the house under the threshold and therefore could not return over it.”55
Some people only remove in this manner the bodies of persons whose ghosts are especially feared.
Even without such express testimonies to the meaning of the custom we may infer from a variety of evidence that the real motive for practising it is a fear of the ghost and a wish to prevent his return. For it is to be observed that some peoples do not carry out all their dead by a special opening but that they accord this peculiar mode of removal only to persons who die under unlucky or disgraceful circumstances and whose ghosts accordingly are more than usually dreaded. Thus we have seen that some modern Hindoo castes observe the custom only in the case of people who have died on inauspicious days; and that in Germany and the Highlands of Scotland this mode of removal was specially reserved for the bodies of suicides whose ghosts are exceedingly feared by many people as appears from the stringent precautions taken against them.!--fnr20056-->56 Again among the Kavirondo of Central Africa “when a woman dies without having borne a child she is carried out of the back of the house. A hole is made in the wall and the corpse is ignominiously pushed through the hole and carried some distance to be buried as it is considered a curse to die without a child. If the woman has given birth to a child then her corpse is carried out through the front door and buried in the verandah of the house.”57 In Brittany a stillborn child is removed from the house not by the door but by the window; “for if by ill-luck it should chance otherwise the mothers who should pass through that fatal door would bear nothing but stillborn infants.”58 In Perche another province of France the same rule is observed with regard to stillborn children though the reason for it is not alleged.59 But of all ghosts none perhaps inspire such deep and universal terror as the ghosts of women who have died in childbed and extraordinary measures are accordingly taken to disable these dangerous spirits from returning and doing a mischief to the living.60 Amongst the precautions adopted to keep them at bay is the custom of carrying their corpses out of the house by a special opening which is afterwards blocked up. Thus in Laos a province of Siam “the bodies of women dying in childbirth or within a month afterwards are not even taken out of the house in the ordinary way by the door but are let down through the floor.”61 The Kachins of Burma stand in such fear of the ghosts of women dying in childbed that no sooner has such a death occurred than the husband the children and almost all the people in the house take to flight lest the woman's ghost should bite them. “The body of the deceased must be burned as soon as possible in order to punish her for dying such a death and also in order to frighten her ghost (minla). They bandage her eyes with her own hair and with leaves to prevent her from seeing anything; they wrap her in a mat and they carry her out of the house not by the ordinary door but by an opening made for the purpose in the wall or the floor of the room where she breathed her last. Then they convey her to a deep ravine where no one dares to pass; they lay her in the midst of a great pyre with all the clothes jewellery and other objects which belonged to her and of which she made use; and they burn the whole to cinders to which they refuse the rites of sepulture. Thus they destroy all the property of the unfortunate woman in order that her soul may not think of coming to fetch it afterwards and to bite people in the attempt.”62 Similarly among the Kayans or Bahaus of Central Borneo “the corpses of women dying in childbed excite a special horror; no man and no young woman may touch them; they are not carried out of the house through the front gallery but are thrown out of the back wall of the dwelling some boards having been removed for the purpose.”63 Indeed so great is the alarm felt by the Kayans at a miscarriage of this sort that when a woman labours hard in childbed the news quickly spreads through the large communal house in which the people dwell; and if the attendants begin to fear a fatal issue the whole household is thrown into consternation. All the men from the chief down to the boys will flee from the house or if it is night they will clamber up among the beams of the roof and there hide in terror; and if the worst happens they remain there until the woman's corpse has been removed from the house for burial.64
Sometimes the custom is observed when the original motive for it is forgotten.
Sometimes while the custom continues to be practised the idea which gave rise to it has either become obscured or has been incorrectly reported. Thus we are told that when a death has taken place among the Indians of North-west America” the body is at once taken out of the house through an opening in the wall from which the boards have been removed. It is believed that his ghost would kill every one if the body were to stay in the house.”65 Such a belief while it would furnish an excellent reason for hurrying the corpse out of the house as soon as possible does not explain why it should be carried out through a special opening instead of through the door. Again when a Queen of Bali died “the body was drawn out of a large aperture made in the wall to the right-hand side of the door in the absurd opinion of cheating the devil whom these islanders believe to lie in wait in the ordinary passage.”66 Again in Mukden the capital of Manchuria the corpses of children “must not be carried out of a door or window but through a new or disused opening in order that the evil spirit which causes the disease may not enter. The belief is that the Heavenly Dog which eats the sun at an eclipse demands the bodies of children and that if they are denied to him he will bring certain calamity on the household.”67 These explanations of the custom are probably misinterpretations adopted at a later time when its original meaning was forgotten. For a custom often outlives the memory of the motives which gave it birth. And as royalty is very conservative of ancient usages it would be no matter for surprise if the corpses of kings should continue to be carried out through special openings long after the bodies of commoners were allowed to be conveyed in commonplace fashion through the ordinary door. In point of fact we find the old custom observed by kings in countries where it has apparently ceased to be observed by their subjects. Thus among the Sakalava and Antimerina of Madagascar “when a sovereign or a prince of the royal family dies within the enclosure of the king's palace the corpse must be carried out of the palace not by the door but by a breach made for the purpose in the wall; the new sovereign could not pass through the door that had been polluted by the passage of a dead body.”68 Similarly among the Macassars and Buginese of Southern Celebes there is in the king's palace a window reaching to the floor through which on his decease the king's body is carried out.69 That such a custom is only a limitation to kings of a rule which once applied to everybody becomes all the more probable when we learn that in the island of Saleijer which lies to the south of Celebes each house has besides its ordinary windows a large window in the form of a door through which and not through the ordinary entrance every corpse is regularly removed at death.70
Another Fijian funeral custom.
To return from this digression to Fiji we may conclude with a fair degree of probability that when the side of a Fijian king's house was broken down to allow his corpse to be carried out though there were doors at hand wide enough for the purpose the original intention was to prevent the return of his ghost who might have proved a very unwelcome intruder to his successor on the throne. But I cannot offer any explanation of another Fijian funeral custom. You may remember that in Fiji it was customary after the death of a chief to circumcise such lads as had reached a suitable age.71 Well on the fifth day after a chief's death a hole used to be dug under the floor of a temple and one of the newly circumcised lads was secreted in it. Then his companions fastened the doors of the temple securely and ran away. When the lad hidden in the hole blew on a shell-trumpet the friends of the deceased chief surrounded the temple and thrust their spears at him through the fence.72 What the exact significance of this curious rite may have been I cannot even conjecture; but we may assume that it had something to do with the state of the late chief's soul which was probably supposed to be lingering in the neighbourhood.
Fijian notions concerning the other world and the way thither.
The River of the souls.
It remains to say a little as to the notions which the Fijians entertained of the other world and the way thither. After death the souls of the departed were believed to set out for Bulu or Bulotu there to dwell with the great serpent-shaped god Ndengei. His abode seems to have been generally placed in the Nakauvandra mountains towards the western end of Viti Levu the largest of the Fijian Islands. But on this subject the ideas of the people were as might be expected both vague and inconsistent. Each tribe filled in the details of the mythical land and the mythical journey to suit its own geographical position. The souls had generally to cross water either the sea or a river and they were put across it by a ghostly ferryman who treated the passengers with scant courtesy.73 According to some people the River of the Souls (Waini-yalo) is what mortals now call the Ndravo River. When the ghosts arrived on the bank they hailed the ferryman and he paddled his canoe over to receive them. But before he would take them on board they had to state whether they proposed to ship as steerage or as cabin passengers and he gave them their berths accordingly; for there was no mixing up of the classes in the ferry-boat; the ghosts of chiefs kept strictly to themselves at one end of the canoe and the ghosts of commoners huddled together at the other end.74 The natives of Kandavu in Southern Fiji say that on clear days they often see Bulotu the spirit land lying away across the sea with the sun shining sweetly on it; but they have long ago given up all hope of making their way to that happy land.75 They seem to say with the Demon Lover.
O yonder are the hills of heaven
Where you will never win.”
The place of embarcation for the ghosts.
Though every island and almost every town had its own portal through which the spirits passed on their long journey to the far country yet there was one called Nai Thombothombo which appears to have been more popular and frequented than any of the others as a place of embarcation for ghosts. It is at the northern point of Mbua Bay and the ghosts shew their good taste in choosing it as their port to sail from for really it is a beautiful spot. The foreland just out between two bays. A shelving beach slopes up to precipitous cliffs their rocky face mantled with a thick green veil of creepers. Further inland the shade of tall forest trees and the softened gloom cast by crags and rocks lend to the scene an air of solemnity and hallowed repose well fitted to impress the susceptible native mind with an awful sense of the invisible beings that haunt these sacred groves. Natives have been known to come on pilgrimage to the spot expecting to meet ghosts and gods face to face.76
The ghost and the pandanus tree.
Many are the perils and dangers that beset the Path of the Souls (Sala Ni Yalo). Of these one of the most celebrated is a certain pandanus tree at which every ghost must throw the ghost of the real whale's tooth which was placed for the purpose in his hand at burial. If he hits the tree it is well for him; for it shews that his friends at home are strangling his wives and accordingly he sits down contentedly to wait for the ghosts of his helpmeets who will soon come hurrying to him. But if he makes a bad shot and misses the tree the poor ghost is very disconsolate for he knows that his wives are not being strangled and who then will cook for him in the spirit land? It is a bitter thought and he reflects with sorrow and anger on the ingratitude of men and especially of women. His reflections as reported by the best authority run thus: “How is this? For a long time I planted food for my wife and it was also of great use to her friends: why then is she not allowed to follow me? Do my friends love me no better than this after so many years of toil? Will no one in love to me strangle my wife?”77
Hard fate of unmarried ghosts.
But if the lot of a married ghost whose wives have not been murdered is hard it is nevertheless felicity itself compared to the fate of bachelor ghosts. In the first place there is a terrible being called the Great Woman who lurks in a shady defile ready to pounce out on him; and if he escapes her clutches it is only to fall in with a much worse monster of the name of Nangganangga from whom there is humanly speaking no escape. This ferocious goblin lays himself out to catch the souls of bachelors and so vigilant and alert is he that not a single unmarried Fijian ghost is known to have ever reached the mansions of the blest. He sits beside a big black stone at high-water mark waiting for his prey. The bachelor ghosts are aware that it would be useless to attempt to march past him when the tide is in; so they wait till it is low water and then try to sneak past him on the wet sand left by the retiring billows. Vain hope! Nangganangga sitting by the stone only smiles grimly and asks with withering sarcasm whether they imagine that the tide will never flow again? It does so only too soon for the poor ghosts driving them with every breaking wave nearer and nearer to their implacable enemy till the water laps on the fatal stone and then he grips the shivering souls and dashes them to pieces on the big black block.78
The Killer of Souls.
Again there is a very terrible giant armed with a great axe who lies in wait for all and sundry. He makes no nice distinction between the married and the unmarried but strikes out at all ghosts indiscriminately. Those whom he wounds dare not present themselves in their damaged state to the great God Ndengei; so they never reach the happy fields but are doomed to roam the rugged mountains disconsolate. However many ghosts contrive to slip past him unscathed. It is said that after the introduction of fire-arms into the islands the ghost of a certain chief made very good use of a musket which had been providentially buried with his body. When the giant drew near and was about to lunge out with the axe in his usual style the ghost discharged the blunderbuss in his face and while the giant was fully engaged in dodging the hail of bullets the chief rushed past him and now enjoys celestial happiness.79 Some lay the scene of this encounter a little beyond the town of Nambanaggatai; for it is to be remembered that many of the places in the Path of the Souls were identified with real places in the Fijian Islands. And the name of the giant is Samu-yalo that is the Killer of Souls. He artfully conceals himself in some mangrove bushes just beyond the town from which he rushes out in the nick of time to fell the passing ghosts. Whenever he kills a ghost he cooks and eats him and that is the end of the poor ghost. It is the second death. The highway to the Elysian fields runs or used to run right through the town of Nambanaggatai; so all the doorways of the houses were placed opposite each other to allow free and uninterrupted passage to the invisible travellers. And the inhabitants spoke to each other in low tones and communicated at a little distance by signs. The screech of a paroquet in the woods was the signal of the approach of a ghost or ghosts; the number of screeches was proportioned to the number of the ghosts—one screech one ghost and so on.80
A trap for unwary ghosts.
Souls who escape the Killer of Souls pass on till they come to Naindelinde one of the highest peaks of the Kauvandra mountains. Here the path ends abruptly on the brink of a precipice the foot of which is washed by a deep lake. Over the edge of the precipice projects a large steer-oar and the handle is held either by the great god Ndengei himself or according to the better opinion by his deputy. When a ghost comes up and peers ruefully over the precipice the deputy accosts him. “Under what circumstances” he asks “do you come to us? How did you conduct yourself in the other world?” Should the ghost be a man of rank he may say “I am a great chief. I lived as a chief and my conduct was that of a chief. I had great wealth many wives and ruled over a powerful people. I have destroyed many towns and slain many in war.” “Good good” says the deputy “just sit down on the blade of that oar and refresh yourself in the cool breeze.” If the ghost is unwary enough to accept the invitation he has no sooner seated himself on the blade of the oar with his legs dangling over the abyss than the deputy-deity tilts up the other end of the oar and precipitates him into the deep water far far below. A loud smack is heard as the ghost collides with the water there is a splash a gurgle a ripple and all is over. The ghost has gone to his account in Murimuria a very second-rate sort of heaven if it is nothing worse. But a ghost who is in favour with the great god Ndengei is warned by him not to sit down on the blade of the oar but on the handle. The ghost takes the hint and seats himself firmly on the safe end of the oar; and when the deputy-deity tries to heave it up he cannot for he has no purchase. So the ghost remains master of the situation and after an interval for refreshment is sent back to earth to be deified.81
Murimuria an inferior sort of heaven.
The Fijian Elysium.
In Murimuria which as I said is an inferior sort of heaven the departed souls by no means lead a life of pure and unmixed enjoyment. Some of them are punished for the sins they committed in the flesh. But the Fijian notion of sin differs widely from ours. Thus we saw that the ghosts of men who did no murder in their lives were punished for their negligence by having to pound muck with clubs. Again people who had not their ears bored on earth are forced in Hades to go about for ever bearing on their shoulders one of the logs of wood on which bark-cloth is beaten out with mallets and all who see the sinner bending under the load jeer at him. Again women who were not tattooed in their life are chased by the female ghosts who scratch and cut and tear them with sharp shells giving them no respite; or they scrape the flesh from their bones and bake it into bread for the gods. And ghosts who have done anything to displease the gods are laid flat on their faces in rows and converted into taro beds. But the few who do find their way into the Fijian Elysium are blest indeed. There the sky is always cloudless; the groves are perfumed with delicious scents; the open glades in the forest are pleasant; there is abundance of all that heart can desire. Language fails to describe the ineffable bliss of the happy land. There the souls of the truly good who have murdered many of their fellows on earth and fed on their roasted bodies are lapped in joy for ever.82
Fijian doctrine of transmigration.
Nevertheless the souls of the dead were not universally believed to depart by the Spirit Path to the other world or to stay there for ever. To a certain extent the doctrines of transmigration found favour with the Fijians. Some of them held that the spirits of the dead wandered about the villages in various shapes and could make themselves visible or invisible at pleasure. The places which these vagrant souls loved to haunt were known to the people who in passing by them were wont to make propitiatory offerings of food or cloth. For that reason too they were very loth to go abroad on a dark night lest they should come bolt upon a ghost. Further it was generally believed that the soul of a celebrated chief might after death enter into some young man of the tribe and animate him to deeds of valour. Persons so distinguished were pointed out and regarded as highly favoured; great respect was paid to them they enjoyed many personal privileges and their opinions were treated with much consideration.83
Few souls saved under the old Fijian dispensation.
On the whole when we survey the many perils which beset the way to the Fijian heaven and the many risks which the souls of the dead ran of dying the second death in the other world or of being knocked on the head by the living in this we shall probably agree with the missionary Mr. Williams in concluding that under the old Fijian dispensation there were few indeed that were saved. “Few comparatively” he says “are left to inhabit the regions of Mbulu and the immortality even of these is sometimes disputed. The belief in a future state is universal in Fiji; but their superstitious notions often border upon transmigration and sometimes teach an eventual annihilation.”84
Concluding observations.
Here I must break off my survey of the natural belief in immortality among mankind. At the outset I had expected to carry the survey further but I have already exceeded the usual limits of these lectures and I must not trespass further on your patience. Yet the enquiry which I have opened seems worthy to be pursued and if circumstances should admit of it I shall hope at some future time to resume the broken thread of these researches and to follow it a little further through the labyrinth of human history. Be that as it may I will now conclude with a few general observations suggested by the facts which I have laid before you.
Strength and universality of the natural belief in immortality among savages.
Wars between savage tribes spring in large measure from their belief in immortality.
Economic loss involved in sacrifices to the dead.
In the first place then it is impossible not to be struck by the strength and perhaps we may say the universality of the natural belief in immortality among the savage races of mankind. With them a life after death is not a matter of speculation and conjecture of hope and fear; it is a practical certainty which the individual as little dreams of doubting as he doubts the reality of his conscious existence. He assumes it without enquiry and acts upon it without hesitation as if it were one of the best-ascertained truths within the limits of human experience. The belief influences his attitude towards the higher powers the conduct of his daily life and his behaviour towards his fellows; more than that it regulates to a great extent the relations of independent communities to each other. For the state of war which normally exists between many if not most neighbouring savage tribes springs in large measure directly from their belief in immortality; since one of the commonest motives for hostility is a desire to appease the angry ghosts of friends who are supposed to have perished by the baleful arts of sorcerers in another tribe and who if vengeance is not inflicted on their real or imaginary murderers will wreak their fury on their undutiful fellow-tribesmen. Thus the belief in immortality has not merely coloured the outlook of the individual upon the world; it has deeply affected the social and political relations of humanity in all ages; for the religious wars and persecutions which distracted and devastated Europe for ages were only the civilised equivalents of the battles and murders which the fear of ghosts has instigated amongst almost all races of savages of whom we possess a record. Regarded from this point of view the faith in a life hereafter has been sown like dragons’ teeth on the earth and has brought forth crop after crop of armed men who have turned their swords against each other. And when we consider further the gratuitous and wasteful destruction of property as well as of life which is involved in sacrifices to the dead we must admit that with all its advantages the belief in immortality has entailed heavy economical losses upon the races—and they are practically all the races of the world—who have indulged in this expensive luxury. It is not for me to estimate the extent and gravity of the consequences moral social political and economic which flow directly from the belief in immortality. I can only point to some of them and commend them to the serious attention of historians and economists as well as of moralists and theologians.
How does the savage belief in immortality bear on the question of the truth or falsehood of that belief in general?
The answer depends to some extent on the view we take of human nature.
The view of the grandeur and dignity of man.
My second observation concerns not the practical consequences of the belief in immortality but the question of its truth or falsehood. That I need hardly say is an even more difficult problem than the other and as I intimated at the outset of the lectures I find myself wholly incompetent to solve it. Accordingly I have confined myself to the comparatively easy task of describing some of the forms of the belief and some of the customs to which it has given rise without presuming to pass judgment upon them. I must leave it to others to place my collections of facts in the scales and to say whether they incline the balance for or against the truth of this momentous belief which has been so potent for good or ill in history. In every enquiry much depends upon the point of view from which the enquirer approaches his subject; he will see it in different proportions and in different lights according to the angle and the distance from which he regards it. The subject under discussion in the present case is human nature itself; and as we all know men have formed very different estimates of themselves and their species. On the one hand there are those who love to dwell on the grandeur and dignity of man and who swell with pride at the contemplation of the triumphs which his genius has achieved in the visionary world of imagination as well as in the realm of nature. Surely they say such a glorious creature was not born for mortality to be snuffed out like a candle to fade like a flower to pass away like a breath. Is all that penetrating intellect that creative fancy that vaulting ambition those noble passions those far-reaching hopes to come to nothing to shrivel up into a pinch of dust? It is not so it cannot be. Man is the flower of this wide world the lord of creation the crown and consummation of all things and it is to wrong him and his creator to imagine that the grave is the end of all. To those who take this lofty view of human nature it is easy and obvious to find in the similar beliefs of savages a welcome confirmation of their own cherished faith and to insist that a conviction so widely spread and so firmly held must be based on some principle call it instinct or intuition or what you will which is deeper than logic and cannot be confuted by reasoning.
The view of the pettiness and insignificance of man.
On the other hand there are those who take a different view of human nature and who find in its contemplation a source of humility rather than of pride. They remind us how weak how ignorant how short-lived is the individual how infirm of purpose how purblind of vision how subject to pain and suffering to diseases that torture the body and wreck the mind. They say that if the few short years of his life are not wasted in idleness and vice they are spent for the most part in a perpetually recurring round of trivialities in the satisfaction of merely animal wants in eating drinking and slumber. When they survey the history of mankind as a whole they find the record chequered and stained by folly and crime by broken faith insensate ambition wanton aggression injustice cruelty and lust and seldom illumined by the mild radiance of wisdom and virtue. And when they turn their eyes from man himself to the place he occupies in the universe how are they overwhelmed by a sense of his littleness and insignificance! They see the earth which he inhabits dwindle to a speck in the unimaginable infinities of space and the brief span of his existence shrink into a moment in the inconceivable infinities of time. And they ask Shall a creature so puny and frail claim to live for ever to outlast not only the present starry system but every other that when earth and sun and stars have crumbled into dust shall be built upon their ruins in the long long hereafter? It is not so it cannot be. The claim is nothing but the outcome of exaggerated self-esteem of inflated vanity; it is the claim of a moth shrivelled in the flame of a candle to outlive the sun the claim of a worm to survive the destruction of this terrestrial globe in which it burrows. Those who take this view of the pettiness and transitoriness of man compared with the vastness and permanence of the universe find little in the beliefs of savages to alter their opinion. They see in savage conceptions of the soul and its destiny nothing but a product of childish ignorance the hallucinations of hysteria the ravings of insanity or the concoctions of deliberate fraud and imposture. They dismiss the whole of them as a pack of superstitions and lies unworthy the serious attention of a rational mind; and they say that if such drivellings do not refute the belief in immortality as indeed from the nature of things they cannot do they are at least fitted to invest its high-flown pretensions with an air of ludicrous absurdity.
The conclusion left open.
Such are the two opposite views which I conceive may be taken of the savage testimony to the survival of our conscious personality after death. I do not presume to adopt the one or the other. It is enough for me to have laid a few of the facts before you. I leave you to draw your own conclusion.