« PreviousContinue »
unlimited. They fill all nature, in which no power or ohject, from the sea to the clods of the field, is without its deity. They are the guardians of hills, groves, streams, fountains, .paths, and hamlets, and are cognizant of every human action, want, and interest in the locality, where they preside." 1 Describing the animistic mythology of the Turanian tribes of Asia and Europe, Castren has said that every land, mountain, rock, river, brook, spring, tree, or whatsoever it may be, has a spirit for an inhabitant; the spirits of the trees and stones, of the lakes and brooks, hear with pleasure the wild man's pious prayers and accept his offerings.2 Such are the conceptions of the Guinea negro, who finds the abodes of his good and evil spirits in great rocks, hollow trees, mountains, deep rivers, dense groves, echoing caverns, and who passing silently by these sacred places leaves some offering, if it be but a leaf or a shell picked up on the beach.3 Such are examples which not unfairly picture the belief of the lower races in a world of spirits on earth, and such descriptions apply to the state of men's minds along the course of civilization.
The doctrine of ancient philosophers such as Pythagoras* and Iamblichus,5 of spiritual beings swarming through the atmosphere we breathe, was carried on and developed in special directions in the discussions concerning the nature and functions of the world-pervading host of angels and devils, in the writings of the early Christian Fathers.6 Theologians of modern centuries have for the most part seen reason to reduce within comparatively narrow limits the action ascribed to external spiritual beings on mankind; yet there are some who retain to the full the angelology and demonology of Origen and Tertullian. These two views' may be well contrasted by setting side by side the judgments of two ecclesiastics of the Roman Church, as to the belief in pervading demons prevalent in uncivilized countries. The celebrated commentator, Dom Calmet, lays down in the most explicit terms the doctrine of angels and demons, as a matter of dogmatic theology. But he is less inclined to receive unquestioned the narratives of particular manifestations in the mediasval and modern world. He mentions indeed the testimony of Louis Vivez, that in the newly discovered countries of America, nothing is more common than to see spirits which appear at noonday, not only in the country but in towns and villages, speaking, commanding, sometimes even striking men; and the account by Olaus Magnus of the spectres or spirits seen in Sweden and Norway, Finland and Lapland, which do wonderful things, some even serving men as domestics and driving the cattle out to pasture. But what Calmet remarks on these stories, is that the greater ignorance prevails in a country, the more superstition reigns there.1 It seems that in our own day, however, the tendency is to encourage less sceptical views. Monsignor Gaume's book on 'Holy Water,' which not long since received the special and formal approval of Pius IX., appears " at an epoch when the millions of evil angels which surround us are more enterprising than ever;" and here Olaus Magnus' story of the demons infesting Northern Europe is not only cited but corroborated.2 On the whole, the survey of the doctrine of pervading spirits through all the grades of culture is a remarkable display of intellectual continuity. Most justly does Ellis the missionary, depicting the South Sea Islanders' world crowded with its innumerable pervading spirits, point out the closeness of correspondence here between doctrines of the savage and the
1 Maqiherson, 'India,' p. 90. Sec also Cross, Karens, in 'Journ. Araer. Or. Soc.' vol. iv. p. 315; Williams, 'Fiji,' vol. i. p. 239.
* Castre'n, 'Finn. Myth,'p. 114, 182, etc.
• J. L. Wilson, 'W. Afr.' p. 218, 388; Waitz, vol. it p. 171. 4 Diog Laert. Vita Pytlmgor. 32.
* Iamblichus, ii.
• Collected passages in Calmet, 'Diss, sur les Esprits;' Horst, 'ZauberBibliothek,' voL ii. p. 263, etc.; vol. vi. p. 49, etc .; see Migne's Dictionaries.
1 Calmet, 'Dissertation sur les Esprits,' vol. i. ch. xlviii. ■ Gaume, *L'Kau Bemte au XIX"" Steele,' p. 295, 341.
civilized animist, expressed as both may be in Milton's familiar lines :—
"Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth,
As with souls, so with other spirits, man's most distinct and direct intercourse is had where they become actually present to his senses in dreams and visions. The belief that such phantoms are real and personal spirits, suggested and maintained as it is by the direct evidence of the senses of sight, touch, and hearing, is naturally an opinion usual in savage philosophy, and indeed elsewhere, long and obstinately resisting the attacks of the later scientific doctrine. The demon Koin strives to throttle the dreaming Australian ;2 the evil "na" crouches on the stomach of the Karen ;3 the North American Indian, gorged with feasting, is visited by nocturnal spirits; 4 the Caribs, subject to hideous dreams, often woke declaring that the demon Maboya had beaten them in their sleep, and they could still feel the pain.5 These demons are the very elves and nightmares that to this day in benighted districts of Europe ride and throttle the snoring peasant, and whose names, not forgotten among the educated, have only made the transition from belief to jest.6 A not less distinct product of the savage animistic theory of dreams as real visits from personal spiritual beings, lasted on without a shift or break into the belief of mediaeval Christendom. This is the doctrine of the incubi and succubi, those male and female nocturnal demons which
1 Ellis, 'Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 331.
* Backhouse, 'Australia,' p. 555; Grey, 'Australia,' vol. ii. p. 337.
* Mason, 'Karens,' l. c. p. 211.
4 Schoolcraft, 'Indian Tribes,' part iii. p. 226.
* Rochelort, 'Antilles,' p. 419.
* Griium 'D. M.'p. 1193; Hanusch, 'Slaw. Myth." p. 332; St. Clair & Brophy, 'Bulgaria,' p. 59; Wuttke, 'VoIksaWgluubo,' p. 122; Bastian, 'Psychologie,' p. 103; Brand, vol. iii. p 279; The mare in nightmare means spirit, elf, or nymph ; compare Anglo-Sax. wudumvere (wood-mare) = echo.
consort sexually with men and women. We may set out with their descriptions among the islanders of the Antilles, where they are the ghosts of the dead, vanishing when clutched;1 in New Zealand, where ancestral deities "form attachments with females and pay them repeated visits," while in the Samoan Islands such intercourse of mischievous inferior gods caused "many supernatural conceptions ; " s and in Lapland, where details of this last extreme class have also been placed on record.3 From these lower grades of culture we may follow the idea onward. Formal rites are specified in the Hindu Tantra, which enable a man to obtain a companion-nymph by worshipping her and repeating hfer name by night in a cemetery.4 Augustine, in an instructive passage, states the popular notions of the visits of incubi, vouched for, he tells us, by testimony of such quantity and quality that it may seem impudence to deny it; yet he is careful not to commit himself to a positive belief in such.spirits.5 Later theolo'gians were less cautious, and grave argumentation on nocturnal intercourse with incubi and succubi was carried on till, at the height of mediaeval civilization, we find it accepted in full belief by ecclesiastics and lawyers. Nor are we to count it as an ugly but harmless superstition, when for example we find it set forth in the Bull of Pope Innocent VIII. in 1484, as an
1 'Vita del Amm. Christoforo Colombo,' ch. xiii. ; and Life of Colon in Pinkerton, vol. xii. p. 84.
3 Taylor, 'New Zealand,' p. 149, 389. Mariner, 'Tonga Is.' vol. ii. p. 119.
! Hogstrom, 'Lapmark,' ch. xi.
* Ward, 'Hindoos,' vol. ii. p. 151. See also Borri, 'Cochin-China,' in Pinkerton, vol. ix. p. 823.
6 Augustin. 'De Civ. Dei,' rv. 23 : "Et quoniam creberrima fama est, multique se expertos, vel ab eis qui experti esseut, de quorum fide duUtainlum noil csset, audisse continuant, Silvanos et Kaunos, quos vulgo incubos vucaut, improhos urpe extitisse imilieribus, et earum appetisseac peregisse coucubitum; et q uosdam dremones, quos Dusios Galli nuncupant, hanc assidue iiuuiuuditiam et tiutare et efficere; plures tulesque asseveiant, ut hoc negare impudentis vidcatur; nun hinc aliquid audeo deliuire, utruiu aliqui spiritus . . . possiut etiam hanc pati hbidiuem; ut . . . . sentieutibus leminibus iuisceautur." Pee also Grimm, 'D. M.' p. 449, 479; Hanusch, 'Slaw. Myth.' p. 332; Cockayne, 'Leechdoms of Early England,' vol. i. p. xxxviii. vol. ii. p. 345.
accepted accusation against "many persons of both sexes, forgetful of their own salvation, and falling away from the Catholic faith." The practical outcome of this belief is known to students who have-traced the consequence of the Papal Bull in the legal manual of the witchcraft tribunals, drawn up by the three appointed Inquisitors, the infamous Malleus Maleficarum; and have followed the results of this again into those dreadful records which relate in their bald matter-of-fact phraseology the confessions of the crime of diabolic intercourse, wrung from the wretched victims worked on by threat and persuasion in the intervals of the rack, till enough evidence was accumulated for clear judgment, and sentence of the stake.1 I need not dwell on the mingled obscenity and horror of these details, which here only have their bearing on the history of animism. But it will aid the ethnographer to understand the relation of modern to savage philosophy, if he will read Richard Burton's seriously believing account in the 'Anatomy of Melancholy,' where he concludes with acquiescence in a declaration lately made by Lipsius, that on the showing of daily narratives and judicial sentences, in no age had these lecherous demons appeared in such numbers as in his own time—and this was about A.d. 1600.2 N
In connexion with the nightmare and the incubus, another variety of nocturnal demon requires notice, the vampire. Inasmuch as certain patients are seen becoming day by day, without apparent cause, thin, weak, and bloodless, savage animism is called upon to produce a satisfactory explanation, and does so in the doctrine that there exist certain demons which eat out the souls or hearts or suck the blood of their victims. The Polynesians said that it was the
1 The 'Malleus Maleficarum' was published about 1489. See on tho general subject, Horst, 'Zanber-ISibliothek,' vol. vi.; Ennemoser, 'Magic,' vol. ii. : Maury, 'Magie,' etc. p. 256; Lceky, 'Hist. of Rationalism,' vol. i.
1 Burton, 'Anatomy of Melancholy,' iii. 2. "Uuum dixero, uon opinari me ullo retro aevo t mtaru copiani Satyrorum, et salacimn istormn Geniorum se oslendisse, quantum nunc quotidians uarrationes, et judiciules sententioa prefer unt."