Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/240

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CHAPTER XIII.

POSSESSION. INTERCOURSE WITH GHOSTS.

It is difficult to separate the practice of magic arts from the manifestation of a ghost's or spirit's power in possession; because a man may use some magic means to bring the possession upon himself, as in the case of prophecy, and also because the connexion between the unseen powerful being and the man, in whatever way the connexion is made and works, is that which makes the wizard. Yet there is a distinction between the witchcraft and sorcery in which by magic charms the wizard brings the unseen power into action, and the spontaneous manifestation of such power by the unseen being; even though there may be only a few who can interpret, or to whom the manifestations are made. In a case of madness the native belief is that the madman is possessed. There is at the same time a clear distinction drawn by the natives between the acts and words of the delirium of sickness in which as they say they wander, and those which are owing to possession. They are sorry for lunatics and are kind to them, though their remedies are rough. At Florida, for example, one Kandagaru of Boli went out of his mind, chased people, stole things and hid them. No one blamed him, because they knew that he was possessed by a tindalo ghost. His friends hired a wizard who removed the tindalo, and he recovered. In the same way not long ago in Lepers' Island there was a man who lost his senses. The people conjectured that he had unwittingly trodden on a sacred place belonging to Tagaro, and that the ghost of the man who lately sacrificed there was angry with him. The