Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/570

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

being that anything done to a preserved part of a corpse is done to the corresponding part of the ghost; and that thus a ghost may he coerced by maltreating a relic. Hence the origin of sorcery all over the world; hence the rattle of dead men's bones so prevalent with primitive medicine-men; hence "the powder ground from the bones of the dead" used by the Peruvian necromancers; hence the portions of corpses which our own traditions of witchcraft name as used in composing charms.

Besides proving victory over an enemy, the trophy therefore serves for the subjugation of his ghost; and that possession of it is, at any rate, in some cases, supposed to make his ghost a slave, we have good evidence. The primitive belief everywhere found, that the doubles of men and animals slain at the grave accompany the double of the deceased, to serve him in the other world—the belief which leads here to the immolation of wives, who are to manage the future household of the departed, there to the sacrifice of horses needed to carry him on his journey after death, and elsewhere to the killing of dogs as guides—is a belief which, in many places, initiates the kindred belief that, by placing portions of bodies on his tomb, the men and animals they belonged to are made subject to the deceased. Hence the bones of cattle, etc., with which graves are in many cases decorated; hence the placing on graves the heads of enemies or slaves, as above indicated; and hence a like use of the scalp. Concerning the Osages, Mr. Tylor cites from McCoy and Waitz the fact that they sometimes "plant on the cairn raised over a corpse a pole with an enemy's scalp hanging to the top. Their notion was that, by taking an enemy and suspending his scalp over the grave of a deceased friend, the spirit of the victim became subjected to the spirit of the buried warrior in the land of spirits." The Ojibways have a like practice, of which a like idea is probably the cause.

 

A collateral devolopment of trophy-taking, which eventually has a share in governmental regulation, must not be forgotten. I refer to the display of parts of the bodies of criminals.

In our more advanced minds the enemy, the criminal, and the slave, are well discriminated; but they are little discriminated by the primitive man. Almost or quite devoid as he is of the feelings and ideas we call moral—holding by force whatever he owns, wresting from the weaker the woman or other object he has possession of, killing his own child without hesitation if it is an incumbrance, or his wife if she offends him, and sometimes proud of being a recognized killer of his fellow-tribesmen—the savage has no distinct ideas of right and wrong in the abstract. The immediate pleasures or pains they give are his sole reasons for classing things and acts as good or bad. Hence, hostility and the injuries he suffers from it excite in him the same feeling, whether the aggressor is without the tribe or