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Cairns on Dartmoor—Why mostly in solitary places and on hilltops—The theory of wearing mourning—Its real origin—Various modes of deceiving the dead or discouraging them from returning—The desire of the ghost to get home—Is cajoled or scared away—How widows get rid of the ghosts of their first husbands —Disguising the dead.

ONE of the most striking experiences of an explorer of Dartmoor is the coming upon great cairns in the most remote and inaccessible parts of that waste. Not a lone hill surrounded by bogs is without its great mound of earth or pile of stones over some dead man. In the howling wilderness about Cranmere Pool, where are no traces of human habitation, there lie the dead. On every rise above the swamps and fathomless morasses of Fox Tor, there they are scattered thick. Almost always the dead were conveyed to the tops of hills, or placed on the brows of elevations far away from the settlements of the living.

Why was this?

Because prehistoric men were in fear of their dead people.

I remember, in 1860, riding across the central desert of Iceland, and coming about midnight, when