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In North Germany, if a ghost persistently intrudes on your premises, you can get rid of him very simply. You have only to throw a sack over him, and having thus bagged him to walk off with your sack to some other place (as a rule the back garden of a neighbour is selected) and there empty it out, having first clearly explained to the ghost the exact bounds which you wish him to keep. Of course no sooner is your back turned than the ghost starts for home too. His plan is to jump on the back of the first person he sees and ride him in, but when he comes to the boundary, off he falls; and so it goes on, the ghost falling off and jumping on again most gamely, to all eternity. I nearly forgot to say that you had better not try to sack a ghost unless you have been born on a Sunday night between eleven and twelve o'clock.1


The favourite haunt of the ghost is usually the spot where he died. Hence in order to keep him at least from the house it has been a common practice to carry dying persons to lonely places and leave them there; but if the man dies in the house, it is deserted and left to its ghostly tenant. Thus the Kaffirs carry a sick man out into the open air to die, and the Maoris and Esquimaux remove their sick into special sheds or huts. If a Kaffir or Maori dies before he can be carried out the house is tabooed and deserted. If an Esquimaux is present at the death of a relative he has to throw away his clothes and never use them again. The Bakalai in Central Africa drive sick people from the village, but if several people should happen to die in the village it is deserted. Amongst the Balondas, when a chief or his principal wife dies, the village is deserted; but when an ordinary man dies it is only his house which is abandoned. In England up to the end of last century it was a common practice to shut up a room in which a member of the family had died." Amongst the Damaras, when a chief dies, the tribe deserts the neighbourhood; but after a time they return, the new chief offers sacrifice at the grave of his predecessor, and the village is occupied as before. After a death the Andaman Islanders

p. 120.

Kuhn und Schwartz, "Norddeutsche Sagen, Märchen und Gebraüche," 2 Lichtenstein, "Travels in Southern Africa," I, pp. 258, 259; J. Campbell, "Travels in South Africa," p. 515 seq.; G. Fritsch," Die Eingeborenen SüdAfrika's," p. 116; R. Taylor, "Te ika a maui; or, New Zealand and its inhabitants," p. 170; Yate, "New Zealand," p. 86; J. G. Wood, "Natural History of Man," II, p. 719.

3 Du Chaillu, "Equatorial Africa," pp. 384, 385. So with the Ashira, ib. p. 413.

Wood, "Natural History of Man," I, p. 419.

5 Dyer, "English Folk-lore," p. 231.

6 G. Fritsch, Die Eingeborenen Süd-Afrika's," p. 236; Wood, "Natural History of Man," I, p. 349.

migrate temporarily to a new camping ground.' The Altaians in Siberia make a practical distinction between a hut which is portable (a felt hut) and one which is not so (a hut of bark or wood). After a death they abandon the latter, but carry the former away with them after it has been purified by the shaman.' In Panama and Darien they send the sick into the woods, just as in Persia they sent them into the wilderness, to die.3 In Madagascar no one except the sovereign is allowed if ill to stay within the palace. There are traces in Greece, Rome, China, and Corea of this custom of carrying dying persons out of the house."

But in case the ghost should, despite of all precautions, make his way back from the grave, steps were taken to barricade the house against him. Thus in some parts of Russia and East Prussia an axe or a lock is laid on the threshold, or a knife is hung over the door, and in Germany as soon as the coffin is carried out of the house all the doors and windows are shut, whereas so long as the body is still in the house the windows (and sometimes the doors) are left open to allow the soul to escape. In some parts of England every bolt and lock in the house is unfastened, that the ghost of the dying man may fly freely away.8

But if primitive man knew how to bully he also knew how to outwit the ghost. For example, a ghost can only find his way

1 E. H. Man, "Aboriginal Inhabitants of the Andaman Islands," pp. 74, 77. 2 Radloff, "Aus Siberien," I, p. 321. Cf. Klemm, "Culturgeschichte," III, p. 174. On the huts, see Radloff, p. 267 sqq.

3 Bancroft, "Native Races of the Pacific States," I, p. 781; Agathias, ii, 23. Ellis, "History of Madagascar," I, p. 242.

5 Euripides, " Alcestis," v. 234 sqq. cf. 205; Scholiast on Aristophanes, "Lysistrata," v. 611; Seneca, "Epist.," I, xii, 3; Gray, "China," I, p. 279. In modern Greece the corpse is laid out in the entrance hall (Wachsmuth, "Das alte Griechenland im neuen," p. 108). In Corea no one is allowed to die on the kang (ordinary sleeping place), but is placed on a board (J. Ross, "History of Corea," p. 321).

6 Ralston, "Songs of the Russian People," p. 318; Wuttke, "Deutsche Aberglaube," §§ 736, 766; Töppen, "Aberglaube aus Masuren," p. 108.

7 Rochholz, "Deutscher Glaube und Brauch," I, p. 171; Schleicher, “ Volksthumliches aus Sonnenberg," p. 152; Sonntag, "Todtenbestattung," p. 169; Wuttke, §§ 737, 725; Gubernatis, "Storia comparata degli usi funebri in Italia e presso gli altri popoli Indo-Europei," p. 47; G. Lammert, "Volksmedizin und medizinischer Aberglaube in Bayern," pp. 103, 105, 106; F. Schmidt, "Sitten und Gebrauche," pp. 85. 92; Strackerjan, “ Aberglaube und Sagen aus dem Herzogthum Oldenburg," II, p. 129; Tettau und Temme, "Volkssagen," p. 285; A. Kuhn, "Märkische Sagen und Mährchen," p. 367; Nork, Die Sitten und Gebrauche der Deutschen und ihrer Nachbarvölker," pp. 479, 482; Köhler, op. cit., pp. 251, 254; F. Panzer, “Beitrag zur deutschen Mythologie," I, p. 263; Kuhn und Schwartz, op. cit., p. 435. In Masuren, on the other hand, the doors and windows are left open for some time after the corpse has been carried out in case the ghost may be lingering in the house (Töppen, "Aberglauben aus Masuren," p. 108).

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8 Dyer, English Folk-lore," p. 230; Brand, "Popular Antiquities." II, p. 231. Cf. Henderson, "Folk-lore of the Northern Counties," pp. 53, 56 seq.


back to the house by the way by which he left it. This little weakness did not escape the vigilance of our ancestors, and they took their measures accordingly. The coffin was carried out of the house, not by the door, but by a hole made for the purpose in the wall, and this hole was carefully stopped up as soon as the body had been passed through; so that when the ghost strolled quietly back from the grave, he found, to his surprise, that there was no thoroughfare. The credit of this ingenious device is shared by Greenlanders, Norsemen, Hottentots, Bechuanas, Samoieds, Ojibways, Algonkins, Laosians, Hindoos, Tibetans, Siamese, Chinese, Balinese, and Fijians. These special openings, or doors of the dead," are still to be seen in a village near Amsterdam, and they were common in some towns of Central Italy, as Perugia and Assisi.2 In Lao this mode of exit is reserved for the bodies of women dying in childbirth, the reason for which is apparent from the belief of the neighbouring Kakhyens that the ghosts of such women are changed into fearful vampires*-a villainous conceit very different from the knightly courtesy of the Aztecs, who allowed the souls of women who died in child-bed to take their places side by side with the brave who died in battle in the better land. A trace of the same custom survives in Thüringen, where it is thought that the ghost of a man who has been hanged will return to the house

1 For a similar reason you should never move a sleeper's body, for if you do the absent soul on its return will not be able to find its way back into the body and the sleeper will wake no more. See Strackerjan, “Aberglaube und Sagen aus dem Herzogthum Oldenburg," I, p. 378; ib. II, p. 114; Wuttke, "Deutscher Aberglaube," § 60; Köhler, "Volksbrauch im Voigtland," p. 501; Grohmann, "Aberglauben und Braüche aus Böhmen und Mähren,' 60.


2 Yule on Marco Polo, I, p. 188; Crantz, "Greenland," I, p. 237; Weinhold, "Altnordisches Leben," p. 476; Tylor, "Prim. Cult.," II, p. 26; Waitz, III, p. 199; Fritsch," Die Eingeborenen Süd-Afrika's," p. 335; Thunberg's "Account of the Cape of Good Hope," in Pinkerton's "Voyages and Travels," xvi, p. 142; Moffat, in Gardner, "Faiths of the World," I, p. 939; Bastian, "Mensch," II, p. 322; Klemm, "Culturgeschichte," II, pp. 221, 225; ib. III, p. 293; Sonntag, "Todtenbestattung," p. 51; "Relations des Jésuites," 1634, p. 23; Brinton, Myths of the New World," p. 255; T. Williams, "Fiji and the Fijians," I, p. 197 (ed. 1860); C. J. Andersson, "Lake Ngami," p. 466; Gubernatis, "Usi funebri," p. 52; C. Bock, Temples and Elephants," p. 262; Pallegoix, "Description du Royaume Thai ou Siam," I, p. 245; Bowring, "Kingdom and People of Siam," I, p. 222; J. Crawfurd, "History of the Indian Archipelago," II, p. 245; Lafitau, "Mœurs des Sauvages Ameriquains," II, p. 401. An extraordinary variation of this custom is seen amongst the Jolloffs on the Gambia, who break down the whole fence before they carry the dead out of the house (A. B. Ellis, "The Land of Fetish,” p. 13). A dead Pope is carried out by a special door, which is then blocked up till the next Pope dies.

C. Bock, loc. cit. Strictly speaking the body is taken out through a hole in the floor, for houses in Lao are built on posts at a height of five to eight feet from the ground (Bock, op. cit., p. 304).

4 J. Anderson, "Mandalay to Momien," p. 145.

5 Brinton, "Myths of the New World," p. 263; Bancroft, "Native Races," III, p. 533.

if the body be not taken out by a window instead of the door.1 In Burma the dead are carried out of a town by a gate reserved for the purpose." The Siamese, not content with carrying the dead man out by a special opening, endeavour to make assurance doubly sure by hurrying him three times round the house at full speed-a proceeding well calculated to bewilder the poor soul in the coffin.3

The Araucanians adopt the plan of strewing ashes behind the coffin as it is being borne to the grave, in order that the ghost may not be able to find his way back.* With a like intent the Kakhyens returning from the grave scatter rice along the path." The Tonga Islanders strewed sand about the grave.



The very general practice of closing the eyes of the dead appears to have originated with a similar object; it was a mode of blindfolding the dead, that he might not see the way by which he was carried to his last home. At the grave, where he was to rest for ever, there was of course no motive for concealment ; hence the Romans, and apparently the Siamese, opened the eyes of the dead man at the funeral pyre, just as we should unbandage the eyes of an enemy after conducting him to his destination. In Nuremburg the eyes of the corpse were actually bandaged with a wet cloth. In Corea they put blinkers, or rather blinders, on his eyes; they are made of black silk, and are tied with strings at the back of his head.10 The Jews put a potsherd and the Russians coins on each of his eyes." The notion that if the eyes of the dead be not closed his ghost will return to fetch away another of the household, still exists in Bohemia, Germany, and England.12

1 Wuttke, § 756; Schleicher, p. 152. It was an old German law that the corpses of criminals and suicides should be carried out through a hole under the threshold (Grimm, "Deutsche Rechtsalterthümer," p. 726 sqq.).

2 "The Burman," by Shway Yoe, II, p. 342.

3 Pallegoix and Bowring as above. In some parts of Scotland and Germany the corpse used to be carried three times round the church (C. Rogers, “Social Life in Scotland," I, p. 167; Rochholz, I, p. 198).

Klemm, "Culturgeschichte," V, p. 51; Wood, "Nat. Hist. of Man," II, p. 565.

5 J. Anderson, " Mandalay to Momien," p. 144.

• Mariner, "Tonga Islands, I, p. 392.

7 Pliny, “Nat. Hist.,” xi, § 150. The reason assigned by Pliny is that the dead should be seen for the last time not by man but by heaven.

8 C. Bock saw that the eyes of a dead man at the pyre were open (in Siam), and he says that in Lao (in Northern Siam) it is the custom to close the eyes of the corpse ("Temples and Elephants," pp. 58, 261).

9 Lammert," Volksmedizin," p. 103.

10 J. Ross," History of Corea," p. 325.

11 Bodenschatz,



Kirchliche Verfassung der heutigen Juden," iv, p. 174; Gubernatis, "Usi Funebri," p. 50; Ralston, "Songs of the Russian People," p. 316. 12 J. V. Grohmann, Aberglaube," &c., p. 188; Lammert, " Volksmedizin," p. 106; Wuttke, § 725; Dyer, English Folk-lore," p. 230; Schleicher, Volksthümliches aus Sonnenberg," p. 152; Rochholz, "Deutscher Glaube und Brauch," I, p. 196.


With a similar object, the corpse is carried out of the house feet foremost, for if he were carried out head foremost his eyes would be towards the door and he might find his way back. This custom is observed and this reason is assigned for it in many parts of Germany and among the Indians of Chile.' Conversely in Persia when a man is setting out on a journey he steps out of the house with his face turned towards the door, hoping thereby to secure a safe return.2 In Thüringen and some parts of the North of England it used to be the custom to carry the body to the grave by a roundabout way. In Voigtland there are special "church roads" for carrying the dead to the graveyard; a corpse is never carried along the high road. In Madagascar no corpse is allowed to be carried along the high road or chief thoroughfare of the capital. In Burma a corpse is never carried towards the centre of a town, much less taken into it; if a man dies in the jungle and the funeral has to pass a village it skirts the outside of it. The Chinese are not allowed to carry a corpse within the gates of a walled city."

I venture to conjecture that the old Hawaiian, Roman, German, and Mandingo practice of burying by nights or in the dusk may have originally been intended, like the customs I have mentioned, to keep the way to the grave a secret from the dead man, and it is possible that the same idea gave rise to the practice of masking the dead-a practice common to the prehistoric inhabitants of Greece and to the Aleutian Islanders." The Aztecs masked their dead kings, and the Siamese do so still.10 Among the Shans the face of a dead chief is invariably covered with a mask of gold or silver.11

1 Wuttke, "Deutscher Aberglaube," § 736; Klemm, "Culturgeschichte," II, p. 101. On the other hand, in modern Egypt the corpse is carried out head foremost (Lane, "Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians," II, p. 291, ed. 1836. 2 Monier's "Hajji Baba," c. i, fin. The English

3 F. Schmidt, "Sitten und Gebraüche in Thüringen,” p. 94.

custom was verbally communicated to me.

4 Köhler, “Volksbrauch im Voigtland," p. 258.

5 Ellis, "History of Madagascar," I, p. 241.

6 "The Burman: his Life and Notions," by Shway Yoe, II, p.

7 Gray, "China," I, p. 323.

342 seq.

8 Ellis, "Polynesian Researches," IV, p. 361 (cf. Cook's "Voyages," VII, p. 149 sqq., ed. 1809); Servius on Virgil, "En.," I, p. 186; F. Schmidt, loc. cit.; Mungo Park, "Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa," p. 414. Night burial was sometimes practised in Scotland (C. Rogers, " Social Life in Scotland,” I, p. 161). In Benguela (West Africa) the corpse is burned at sundown (Waitz. “Anthropologie," II, p. 196).

9 Schliemann, "Mycenae," pp. 198, 219-223, 311 seq.; Bancroft, "Native Races of the Pacific States," I, p. 93. Cf. Miss A. W. Buckland in vol. xiv, p. 229, of this Journal. I regret that I have not seen the standard work of Benndorf, "Antike Gesichtshelme und Sepulcralmasken," Wien 1878.

10 Bancroft, "Native Races," II, p. 606 ̊; Pallegoix, “Siam,” I, p. 247. A. S. Colquhoun, "Amongst the Shans," p. 279.

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