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appears that the place is simply abandoned to the ghost. In Old Calabar it was customary for the son to leave his father's house to decay, but after two years he might rebuild it, the ghost being thought by that time to have departed; the Hottentots abandoned the dead man's house, and were said to avoid entering it lest the ghost should be within ;? the Yakuts let the hut fall in ruins where any one had expired, thinking it the habitation of demons; : the Karens were said to destroy their villages to escape the dangerous neighbourhood of departed souls. Such proceedings, however, scarcely extend beyond the limits of savagery, and only a feeble survival of the old thought lingers on into civilization, where from time to time a haunted house is left to fall in ruins, abandoned to a ghostly tenant who cannot keep it in repair. But even in the lowest culture we find flesh holding its own against spirit, and at higher stages the householder rids himself with little scruple of an unwelcome inmate. The Greenlanders would carry the dead out by the window, not by the door, while an old woman, waving a firebrand behind, cried "piklerrukpok !” i. e., "there is nothing more to be had here!"5; the Hottentots removed the dead from the hut by an opening broken out on purpose, to prevent him from finding the way back ;6 the Siamese, with the same intention, break an opening through the house wall to carry the coffin through, and then hurry it at full speed thrice round the house ;7 the Siberian Chuwashes fling a red-hot stone
· Bastian, 'Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 323.
4 Bastian, • Oestl. Asien.' vol. i. p. 145 ; Cross, 1. c., p. 311. For other cases of desertion of dwellings after a death, possibly for the same motive, see Bourien, *Tribes of Malay Pen.' in “Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. p. 82 ; Polack, ‘M. of New Zealanders,' vol. i. pp. 204, 216 ; Steller, ‘Kamtschatka,' p. 271. But the Todas say that the buffaloes slaughtered and the hut burut at the funeral are transferred to the spirit of the deceased in the next world ; Shortt in ‘Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vii. p. 247. See Waitz, vol. iii. p. 199.
s Egede, 'Greenland,' p. 152; Cranz, p. 300. 6 Bastian, ‘Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 323 ; see pp. 329, 363. 7 Lowring, “Siam,' vol, i. p. 122 ; Bastian, 'Oestl. Asien.' vol. iii. p. 258.
after the corpse is carried out, for an obstacle to bar the soul from coming back ;so Brandenburg peasants pour out a pail of water at the door after the coffin, to prevent the ghost from walking; and Pomeranian mourners returning from the churchyard leave behind the straw from the hearse, that the wandering soul may rest there, and not come back so far as home. In the ancient and medieval world, men habitually invoked supernatural aid beyond such material shifts as these, calling in the priest to lay or banish intruding ghosts, nor is this branch of the exorcist's art even yet forgotten. There is, and always has been, a prevalent feeling that disembodied souls, especially such as have suffered a violent or untimely death, are baneful and malicious beings. As Meiners suggests in his History of Religions, they were driven unwillingly from their bodies, and have carried into their new existence an angry longing for revenge. No wonder that mankind should so generally agree that if the souls of the dead must linger in the world at all, their fitting abode should be not the haunts of the living but the resting-places of the dead.
After all, it scarcely seems to the lower animistic philosophy that the connexion between body and soul is utterly broken by death. Various wants may keep the soul from its desired rest, and among the chief of these is when its mortal remains have not had the funeral rites. Hence the deep-lying belief that the ghosts of such will walk. Among some Australian tribes the "ingna," or evil spirits, human in shape, but with long tails and long upright ears, are mostly souls of departed natives, whose bodies were left to lie unburied or whose death the avenger of blood did not expiate, and thus they have to prowl on the face of the earth, and about the place of death, with no gratification
Castrén, ‘Finn. Myth.' p. 120. ? Wuttke, Volksaberglaube,' pp. 213—17. Other cases of taking out the dead by a gap made on purpose : Arbousset and Daumas, p. 502 (Bushmen); Magyar, p. 351 (Kimbunda); Moffat, p. 307 (Bechuanas); Waitz, vol. iii. p. 199 (Ojibwas);—their motive is not clear.
but to harm the living. In New Zealand, the ideas were to be found that the souls of the dead were apt to linger rear their bodies, and that the spirits of men left unburied, or killed in battle and eaten, would wander; and the bringing such malignant souls to dwell within the sacred burialenclosure was a task for the priest to accomplish with his charms. Among the Iroquois of North America the spirit also stays near the body for a time, and “unless the rites of burial were performed, it was believed that the spirits of the dead hovered for a time upon the earth, in a state of great unhappiness. Hence their extreme solicitude to procure the bodies of the slain in battle."3 Among Brazilian tribes, the wandering shadows of the dead are said to be considered unresting till burial. In Turanian regions of North Asia, the spirits of the dead who have no restingplace in earth are thought of as lingering above ground, especially where their dust remains.5 South Asia has such beliefs : the Karens say that the ghosts who wander on earth are not the spirits of those who go to Plu, the land of the dead, but of infants, of such as died by violence, of the wicked, and of those who by accident have not been buried or burned ;6 the Siamese fear as unkindly spirits the souls of such as died a violent death or were not buried with the proper rites, and who, desiring expiation, invisibly terrify their descendants.7 Nowhere in the world had such thoughts a stronger hold than in classic antiquity, where it was the most sacred of duties to give the body its funeral rites, that the shade should not fit moaning near the gates of Hades, nor wander in the dismal crowd along the banks 1 Oldfield in 'Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. pp. 228, 236, 245. Taylor, ‘New Zealand,' p. 221; Schirren, p. 91; see Turner, ‘Polynesia,'
Morgan, ‘League of Iroquois,' p. 174. * J. G. Müller, p. 286.
Castrén, ‘Finn. Myth.' p. 126. 6 Cross in 'Journ. Amer. Or. Soc.' vol. iv. p. 309 ; Mason in ‘Journ. As. Soc. Bengal,' 1865, part ii. p. 203. See also J. Anderson, ‘Exp. to W. Yunnan,' pp. 126, 131 (Shans).
7 Bastian, “Psychologie,' pp. 51, 99-101.
of Acheron. An Australian or a Karen would have taken in the full significance of the fatal accusation against the Athenian commanders, that they abandoned the bodies of their dead in the sea-fight of Arginousai. The thought is not unknown to Slavonic folklore : “Ha! with the shriek the spirit futters from the mouth, flies up to the tree, from tree to tree, hither and thither till the dead is burned.” » 2 In medieval Europe the classic stories of ghosts that haunt the living till laid by rites of burial pass here and there into new legends, where, under a changed dispensation, the doleful wanderer now asks Christian burial in consecrated earth. It is needless to give here elaborate details of the world-wide thought that when the corpse is buried, exposed, burned, or otherwise disposed of after the accepted custom of the land, the ghost accompanies its relics. The soul stays near the Polynesian or the American Indian burialplace ; it dwells among the twigs and listens joyfully to the singing birds in the trees where Siberian tribes suspend their dead; it lingers by the Samoyed's scaffolded coffin ; it haunts the Dayak's place of burial or burning; it inhabits the little soul-hut above the Malagasy grave, or the Peruvian house of sun-dried bricks; it is deposited in the Roman tomb (animamque sepulchro condimus); it comes back for judgment into the body of the later Israelite and the Moslem ; it inhabits, as a divine ancestral spirit, the palace-tombs of the old classic and new Asiatic world; it is kept down by the huge cairn raised over Antar's body lest his mighty spirit should burst forth, by the iron nails with which the Cheremiss secures the corpse in its coffin, by the stake that pins down the suicide's body at the four-cross way. And through all the changes of religious thought from first to last in the course of human history, the hovering ghosts of the dead make the midnight burial-ground a
" Lucian. De Luctu. See Pauly, “Real. Encyclop.’and Smith, ‘Dic. of Gr. and Rom. Ant.'s.v. inferi.'
2 Hanusch, 'Slaw. Myth.' p. 277.
place where men's flesh creeps with terror. Not to discuss here the general subject of the funeral rites of mankind, of which only part of the multifarious details are directly relevant to the present purpose, a custom may be selected which is admirably adapted for the study of animistic religion, at once from the clear conception it gives of the belief in disembodied souls present among the living, and from the distinct line of ethnographic continuity in which it may be traced onward from the lower to the higher culture. This is the custom of Feasts of the Dead.
Among the funeral offerings described in the last chapter, of which the purpose more or less distinctly appears to be that the departed soul shall take them away in some ghostly or ideal manner, or that they shall by some means be conveyed to him in his distant spirit-home, there are given supplies of food and drink. But the feasts of the dead with which we are now concerned are given on a different principle; they are, so to speak, to be consumed on the premises. They are set out in some proper place, especially near the tombs or in the dwelling-houses, and there the souls of the dead come and satisfy themselves. In North America, among Algonquins who held that one of a man's two souls abides with the body after death, the provisions brought to the grave were intended for the nourishment of this soul; tribes would make offerings to ancestors of part of any dainty food, and an Indian who fell by accident into the fire would believe that the spirits of his ancestors pushed him in for neglecting to make due offerings. The minds of the Hurons were filled with fancies not less lifelike than this. It seemed to them that the dead man's soul, in his proper human figure, walked in front of the corpse as they carried it to the burial-ground, there to dwell till the great feast of the dead; but meanwhile it would come and walk by night in the village, and eat the remnants in the kettles, wherefore some would not eat of these, nor touch the food
Charlevoix, ‘Nouvelle France,' vol. vi. p. 75; Schoolcraft, ‘Indian Tribes,' part i. pp. 39, 83 ; part iv. p. 65 ; Tanner’s ‘Narr.' p. 293.