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trickery. But that the phenomena should be thus artificially excited or dishonestly counterfeited, rather confirms than alters the present argument. Real or simulated, the details of oracle-possession alike illustrate popular belief. The Patagonian wizard begins his performance with drumming and rattling till the real or pretended epileptic fit comes on by the demon entering him, who then answers questions from within him with a faint and mournful voice.1 In Southern India and Ceylon the so-called "devil-dancers' have to work themselves into paroxysms, to gain the inspiration whereby they profess to cure their patients. So, with furious dancing to the music and chanting of the attendants, the Bodo priest brings on the fit of maniacal inspiration in which the deity fills him and gives oracles through him. In Kamchatka the female shamans, when Billukai came down into them in a thunderstorm, would prophesy; or, receiving spirits with a cry of 'hush!' their teeth chattered as in fever, and they were ready to divine.* Among the Singpho of South-East Asia, when the 'natzo' or conjurer is sent for to a sick patient, he calls on his ‘nat' or demon, the soul of a deceased foreign prince, who descends into him and gives the required answers. In the Pacific Islands, spirits of the dead would enter for a time the body of a living man, inspiring him to declare future events, or to execute some commission from the higher deities. The symptoms of oracular possession among savages have been especially well described in this region of the world. The Fijian priest sits looking steadfastly at a whale's tooth ornament, amid dead silence. In a few minutes he trembles, slight twitchings of face and limbs come on, which increase to strong convulsions, with swelling of the veins, murmurs and sobs. Now the god has entered him, and with eyes rolling and protruding, unnatural voice, pale face and livid lips, sweat streaming from every pore, and the whole aspect of a furious madman, he gives the divine answer, and then, the symptoms subsiding, he looks round with a vacant stare, and the deity returns to the land of spirits. In the Sandwich Islands, where the god Oro thus gave his oracles, his priest ceased to act or speak as a voluntary agent, but with his limbs convulsed, his features distorted and terrific, his eyes wild and strained, he would roll on the ground foaming at the mouth, and reveal the will of the possessing god in shrill cries and sounds violent and indistinct, which the attending priests duly interpreted to the people. In Tahiti, it was often noticed that men who in the natural state showed neither ability nor eloquence, would in such convulsive delirium burst forth into earnest lofty declamation, declaring the will and answers of the gods, and prophesying future events, in well-knit harangues full of the poetic figure and metaphor of the professional orator. But when the fit was over, and sober reason returned, the prophet's gifts were gone. Lastly, the accounts of oracular possession in Africa show the primitive ventriloquist in perfect types of morbid knavery. In Sofala, after a king's funeral, his soul would enter into a sorcerer, and speaking in the familiar tones that all the bystanders recognized, would give counsel to the new monarch how to govern his people. About a century ago, a negro fetish-woman of Guinea is thus described in the act of answering an enquirer who has come to consult her. She is crouching on the earth, with her head between her knees and her hands up to her face, till, becoming inspired by the fetish, she snorts and foams and gasps. Then the suppliant may put his question, Will my friend or brother get well of this sickness ?'—What shall I give thee to set him free from his sickness ?' and so
i Falkner, 1.c.
5 Bastian, 'Oestl. Asien,' vol. ii. p. 328, see vol. iii. p. 201, ' Psychologie,' p. 139. See also Römer, 'Guinea,' p. 59.
| Ellis, ‘Polyn. Res. vol. i. pp. 352, 373 ; Moerenhout, “Voyage,' vol. i. p. 479 ; Mariner, ‘Tonga Islands,' vol. i. p. 105; Williams, ‘ Fiji,' vol. i. p. 373.
2 Dos Santos, 'Ethiopia,' in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 686.
forth. Then the fetish-woman answers in a thin, whistling voice, and with the old-fashioned idioms of generations past; and thus the suppliant receives his command, perhaps to kill a white cock and put him at a four-cross way, or tie him up for the fetish to come and fetch him, or perhaps merely to drive a dozen wooden pegs into the ground, so to bury his friend's disease with them.
The details of demoniacal possession among barbaric and civilized nations need no elaborate description, so simply do they continue the savage cases. But the state of things we notice here agrees with the conclusion that the possession-theory belongs originally to the lower culture, and is gradually superseded by higher medical knowledge. Surveying its course through the middle and higher civilization, we shall notice first a tendency to limit it to certain peculiar and severe affections, especially connected with mental disorder, such as epilepsy, hysteria, delirium, idiocy, madness; and after this a tendency to abandon it altogether, in consequence of the persistent opposition of the medical faculty. Among the nations of South-East Asia, obsession and possession by demons is strong at least in popular belief. The Chinese attacked with dizziness, or loss of the use of his limbs, or other unaccountable disease, knows that he has been influenced by a malignant demon, or punished for some offence by a deity whose name he will mention, or affected by his wife of a former existence, whose spirit has after a long search discovered him. Exorcism of course exists, and when the evil spirit or influence is expelled, it is especially apt to enter some person standing near; hence the common saying, 'idle spectators should not be present at an exor
Divination by possessed mediums is usual in China: among such is the professional woman who sits at a table in contemplation, till the soul of a deceased person from whom communication is desired enters her body and talks through her to the living; also the man into whom a deity is brought by invocations and mesmeric passes, when, assuming the divine figure and attitude, he pronounces the oracle. In Burma, the fever-demon of the jungle seizes trespassers on his domain, and shakes them in ague till he is exorcised, while falls and apoplectic fits are the work of other spirits. The dancing of women by demoniacal possession is treated by the doctor covering their heads with a garment, and thrashing them soundly with a stick, the demon and not the patient being considered to feel the blows; the possessing spirit may be prevented from escaping by a knotted and charmed cord hung round the bewitched person's neck, and when a sufficient beating has induced it to speak by the patient's voice and declare its name and business, it may either be allowed to depart, or the doctor tramples on the patient's stomach till the demon is stamped to death. For an example of invocation and offerings, one characteristic story told by Dr. Bastian will suffice. A Bengali cook was seized with an apoplectic fit, which his Burmese wife declared was but a just retribution, for the godless fellow had gone day after day to market to buy pounds and pounds of meat, yet in spite of her remonstrances would never give a morsel to the patron-spirit of the town; as a good wife, however, she now did her best for her suffering husband, placing near him little heaps of coloured rice for the ‘nat,' and putting on his fingers rings with prayers addressed to the same offended being—Oh ride him not !'~Ah let him go!'
1 Römer, 'Guinea,' p. 57. See also Steinhauser, 1.c. pp. 132, 139 ; J. B. Schlegel, 'Ewe-Sprache,' p. xvi.
2 Details from Tatar races in Castrén, ‘Finn. Myth.' pp. 164, 173, &c, ; Bastian, “Psychologie,' p. 90 ; from Abyssinia in Parkyns, “Life in A.,'ch. xxxiii.
-Grip him not so hard !'-'Thou shalt have rice !'*Ah, how good that tastes !' How explicitly Buddhism recognizes such ideas, may be judged from one of the questions officially put to candidates for admission as monks or talapoins—'Art thou afflicted by madness or the other ills caused by giants, witches, or evil demons of the forest and mountain ?'2 Within our own domain of British India, the possession-theory and the rite of exorcism belonging to it may be perfectly studied to this day. There the doctrine of sudden ailment or nervous disease being due to a blast or possession by a bhut,' or being, that is, a demon, is recognized as of old; there the old witch who has possessed a man and made him sick or deranged, will answer spiritually out of his body and say who she is and where she lives; there the frenzied demoniac may be seen raving, writhing, tearing, bursting his bonds, till, subdued by the exorcist, his fury subsides, he stares and sighs, falls helpless to the ground, and comes to himself; and there the deities caused by excitement, singing, and incense to enter into men's bodies, manifest their presence with the usual hysterical or epileptic symptoms, and speaking in their own divine name and personality, deliver oracles by the vocal organs of the inspired medium.1
1 Doolittle, 'Chinese,' vol. i. p. 143, vol. ii. pp. 110, 320. 2 Bastian, 'Oestl. Asien,' vol. ii. pp. 103, 152, 381, 418, vol. iii. p. 247,
In the Ancient Babylonian-Assyrian texts, the exorcismformulas show the doctrine of disease-demons in full development, and similar opinions were current in ancient Greece and Rome, to whose languages indeed our own owes the technical terms of the subject, such as 'demoniac' and 'exorcist.' Homer's sick men racked with pain are tormented by a hateful demon (στυγερός δε οι έχοαε δαίμων). 'Epilepsy'(éríanyrus) was, as its name imports, the 'seizure' of the patient by a superhuman agent: the agent being more exactly defined in ‘nympholepsy,' the state of being seized or possessed by a nymph, i.e., rapt or entranced (vupóntros, lymphatus). The causation of mental derangement and delirious utterance by spiritual possession was an accepted tenet of Greek philosophy. To be insane was simply to have an evil spirit, as when Sokrates said of those who denied demonic or spiritual knowledge, that they &c. See also Bowring, “Siam,' vol. i. p. 139 ; 'Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. iv. p. 507, vol. vi. p. 614 ; Turpin, in Pinkerton, vol. ix. p. 761; Kempfer, Japan,' ibid. vol. vii. pp. 701, 730, &c.
1 Ward, 'Hindoos,' vol. i. p. 155, vol. ii. p. 183; Roberts, Oriental Illustrations of the Scriptures,' p. 529 ; Bastian, “Psychologie,' pp. 164, 184-7. Sanskrit paiçâcha-graha=demon-seizure, possession. Ancient evi. dence in Pictet, 'Origines Indo-Europ.' part ii. ch. v.