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To a desire to deceive the dead man I would also refer the curious custom amongst the Bohemians of putting on masks and behaving in a strange way as they returned from a burial.1 They hoped, in fact, so to disguise themselves that the dead man might not know and therefore might not follow them. Whether the widespread mourning customs of smearing the body with ashes, mud, or paint, mutilating it by gashes, cutting off the hair or letting it grow, and putting on beggarly attire or clothes of an unusual colour (black, white, or otherwise), may not also have originated in the desire to disguise and therefore protect the living from the dead, I cannot here attempt to determine.2 This much is certain, that mourning customs are always as far as possible the reverse of those of ordinary life. Thus at a Roman funeral the sons of the deceased walked with their heads covered, the daughters with their heads uncovered, thus exactly reversing the ordinary usage, which was that women wore coverings on their heads while men did not. Plutarch, who notes this, observes that similarly in Greece men and women during a period of mourning exactly inverted their usual habits of wearing the hair-the ordinary practice of men being to cut it short, that of women to wear it long.3


The objection, deeply rooted in many races, to utter the names of deceased persons, sprang no doubt from a fear that the dead might hear and answer to his name. In East Prussia if the deceased is called thrice by his name he appears. This reluctance to mention the names of the dead has modified whole languages. Thus among the Australians, Tasmanians, and Abipones, if the name of a deceased person happened to be a common name, e.g., the name of an animal or plant, this name was abolished and a new one substituted for it. During the residence of the Jesuit missionary Dobritzhoffer amongst the Abipones, the name for tiger was thus changed three times." Amongst the Indians of Columbia near relatives of the deceased often change their names, in the belief that the ghost will return if he hears the familiar names.


1 Bastian, "Der Mensch in der Geschichte," II, p. 328.

2 See note I at end.

3 Plutarch, "Quæstiones Romanæ," p. 14.

Tylor, "Early History of Mankind," p. 142. Amongst some Indian tribes of North America whoever mentions a dead man's name may be compelled to pay a heavy fine to the relatives (Bancroft, "Native Races," I, p. 357, note). Wuttke, "Deutscher Aberglaube," § 754.

6 Tylor, op. cit., p. 144 sqq.

7 Klemm, "Culturgeschichte," II, p. 99; Dobritzhoffer, "The Abipones," II, p. 208 sqq.

8 Bancroft, "Native Races," I, p. 248. Cf. Waitz, "Anthropologie," VI, p. 811. When a survivor bears the same name as the deceased he drops it during the time of mourning (Charlevoix, "Journal Historique d'un Voyage dans

While no pains were spared to prevent the dead man from returning from the grave, on the other hand precautions were taken that he should not miss the way to it. The kings of Michoacan were buried at dead of night, but the funeral train was attended by torch-bearers and preceded by men who swept the road, crying, "Lord, here thou hast to pass, see that thou dost not miss the way." In many Wallachian villages no burial takes place before midday, because the people believe that if the body were buried before noon the soul might lose its way and never reach its place of rest. But if it is buried in the afternoon they think that the sun, descending to his rest, will guide the tired spirit to its narrow bed.2

"Soles occidere et redire possunt:

Nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux,
Nox est perpetua una dormienda."

I must pass lightly over the kindlier modes of barring the dead by providing for the personal comforts of the poor ghost in his long home. That the dead still think and feel in the grave is a very old opinion, the existence of which is attested by many customs as well as by the evidence of the poets, those lovers of the past, and by no poet more vividly than by Heine, where he tells us how the French grenadier lies in his quiet grave, listening, listening, till his ear catches the far-off thunder of the guns, and with a clatter of horse-hoofs and clash of steel the cavalry rides over his grave. Hades, or the common abode of all the dead, whether beneath the earth or in a far island of the sea, is probably the later dream of some barbaric philosopher, some forgotten Plato; and the partition of Hades into heaven and hell is certainly the latest, as it is possibly the last, development of the belief in a life hereafter.3

The nearly universal practice of leaving food on the tomb or of actually passing it into the grave by means of an aperture or tube is too well known to need illustration. Like the habit of dressing the dead in his best clothes,' it probably originated in l'Amerique Septentrionnale," II, p. 109; Lafitau, "Mœurs des Sauvages Ameriquains," II, p. 434).

p. 302.

1 Bancroft, II, p. 621. Cf. Charlevoix, op. cit., p. 107. 2 Schott, "Wallachische Mährchen,” The custom is perhaps a relic of night burial. The reason assigned for it is too beautiful to be old. In Russia also the sun is regarded as vɣоñоμñós; but it is apparently enough if the burial takes place by daylight (Ralston, "Songs of the Russian People," p. 319). 3 It is interesting to find the three strata of belief still clearly existing side by side in modern Greece. See B. Schmidt, "Das Volksleben der Neugriechen,' p. 235 sqq.

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4 Charlevoix," Journal Historique," II, p. 107; W. Radloff, "Aus Siberien," I, pp. 321, 379; Spenser St. John, “Life in the Forests of the Far East," I, p. 57; Klemm, "Culturgeschichte," II, pp. 104, 225; ib. IV, p. 38; J. G. Scott, "France and Tongking," p. 97; Schoolcraft, "Indian Tribes," II, p. 68; ib. IV, 54; Wood, "Natural History of Man," I, p. 562; ib. II, 190, 512, 542;

the selfish but not unkindly desire to induce the perturbed spirit to rest in the grave and not come plaguing the living for food and raiment. One instance, however, of the minute care with which the survivors will provide for the wants of the departed, in order that he may have no possible excuse for returning, I cannot refrain from mentioning. In the Saxon district of Voigtland, with its inclement sky, people have been known to place in the coffin an umbrella and a pair of goloshes." Whether these utensils are meant for use in heaven or elsewhere is a question which I must leave to theologians.

A pathetic example is furnished by some Indian tribes of New Mexico, who drop milk from the mother's breast on the lips of her dead babe. Similarly in Africa we hear of a Myoro woman who bore twins that died; so she kept two little pots to represent the children, and every evening she dropped milk from her own breast into them, lest the spirits of the dead babes should torment her.*

In the Mili Islands in the Pacific, after they have committed the body to the earth, they lade a small canoe with cocoa-nuts, hoist a sail, and send it out to sea, hoping that the soul will sail away with the frail bark and return no more."

Bancroft, "Native Races," I, p. 86; "The Burman." by Shway Yoe, II, p. 338; P. Bouche, "La Côte des Esclaves," p. 213; Lafitau, "Moeurs des Sauvages Ameriquains," II, p. 389; Schott, "Wallachische Mährchen," p. 302; Wachsmuth, op. cit., p. 108; Taylor, "New Zealand," p. 218; Köhler, "Volksbrauch im Voigtlande," p. 252; Baron's "Description of the Kingdom of Tonqueen," in Pinkerton's "Voyages and Travels," IX, pp. 698, 700, 730. In modern Greece the corpse is arrayed in its best clothes, but at the grave these are entirely destroyed, or at least rendered valueless, by being snipped with scissors or saturated with oil ("Folk-lore Journal," II, p. 168 sq.). This may be (as the writer half suggests) a modern precaution against thieves. On the destruction of the property of the dead, see next note.

The fear of the dead, which underlies all these burial customs, may have sprung from the idea that they were angry with the living for dispossessing them. Hence, rather than use the property of the deceased and thereby incur the anger of his ghost, men destroyed it. The ghost would then have no motive for returning to his desolated home. Thus we are told by the careful observer, Mr. G. M. Sproat, that the Ahts of Vancouver's Island" bury a man's personal effects with him, and burn his house, in the fear that if these were used, the ghost would appear and some ill consequences would follow." He adds: "I have not found that any articles are deposited in burying grounds with the notion that they would be useful to the deceased in an after time, with the exception of blankets" ("Scenes and Studies of Savage Life," p. 260). The idea that the souls of the things thus destroyed are despatched to the spirit-land (see Tylor, "Primitive Culture," I, p. 480 sqq.; and for an additional example of "killing the things placed in the grave, see H. H. Johnston, "The River Congo," p. 246) is less simple and therefore probably later. For in the evolution of thought as of matter the simplest is the earliest.

2 Köhler, "Volksbrauch im Voigtland,” p. 441; Wuttke, § 734.

3 Bancroft, I, p. 360; cf. III, 543.

J. H. Speke," Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile," p. 541. 5 Waitz, V, ii, p. 152 seq. Gerland remarks that this is a remnant of the

Merely mentioning the customs of building a little hut for the accommodation of the soul, either on the grave or on the way to it,' and of leaving straw on the road, in the hope that the weary ghost will sit down on it and never get as far as the house,' I now come to two modes of barring the ghost which, from their importance, I have reserved to the last, I mean the methods of barring the ghost by fire and



First, by fire. After a funeral certain heathen Siberians, who greatly fear the dead, seek to get rid of the ghost of the departed by leaping over a fire. Similarly, at Rome, mourners returning from a funeral stepped over fire,* and in China they sometimes do so to this day. Taken in connection with the Siberian custom the original intention of this ceremony of stepping over fire at Rome and in China can hardly have been other than that of placing a barrier of fire between the living and the dead. But, as has been the case with so many other ceremonies, this particular ceremony may well have been practised long after its original intention was forgotten. For customs often live on for ages after the circumstances and modes of thought which gave rise to them have disappeared, and in their new environment new motives are invented to explain them. As might have been expected, the custom itself of stepping over fire often dwindled into a mere shadow of its former self. Thus the South Slavonians returning from a funeral are met by an old woman carrying a vessel of live coals. On these they pour water, or else they take a live coal from the hearth and fling it over their heads. The Brahmans contented themselves with simply

Polynesian custom of sending the body (as well as the soul) out to sea. Cf. Turner, "Samoa," p. 306. The Norsemen sometimes disposed of their dead thus (Grimm, "Deutsche Mythologie," II, p. 692 sq.; Weinhold, op. cit., pp. 479, 483 sq.; Rochholz, I, p. 174). The custom of burying the corpse in a canoe or boat is common to the Norsemen, Slavonians, Ostjaks, Indians of the Columbia River, and Polynesians (Grimm, loc. cit.; Weinhold, p. 495 sqq.; Ralston, op. cit., p. 108; Brinton, "Myths of the New World," p. 265; Bastian, "Mensch," II, p. 331; Waitz, loc. cit. and VI, pp. 401, 405, 411).

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1 Chalmers and Gill, "Work and Adventure in New Guinea," p. 56; Klemm, Culturgeschichte," II, p. 297; Bastian, "Mensch," II, p. 328; Waitz, Anthropologie," II, p. 195; ib. III, p. 202; ib. V, ii, p. 153; ib. VI, pp. 686, 806, 807; Wood, "Natural History of Man," I, p. 574; Cook's "Voyages," IV, p. 62 seq. (ed. 1809); ib. I, p. 93 seq.; Bosman's "Guinea" in Pinkerton's Voyages and Travels,” XVI, p. 431; J. Leighton Wilson, “Western Africa,” p. 171 (German translation); J. Anderson," Mandalay to Momien," p. 144; Cameron, "Across Africa," I, p. 49; Marco Polo, i, c. 40.

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2 Wuttke, "Deutscher Aberglaube," § 739; Töppen,

Masuren," p. 109.

3 Meiners, "Geschichte der Religionen,” II, p. 303.

4 Festus, s.v. aqua et igne.

Gray, "China," I, pp. 287, 305.

Ralston," Songs of the Russian People," p. 320.

Aberglauben aus

touching fire, and in Ruthenia the mourners merely look steadfastly at the stove or place their hands on it. The Arabs of old, it may be noted, adopted much the same means to prevent the return of a living man whom they disliked; when he departed they lit a fire behind his back and cursed him.3

So much for the barrier by fire. Next for the barrier by water. The Wends of Geislitz make a point of passing through running water as they return from a burial; in winter, if the river is frozen, they break the ice in order to wade through the water. In modern Mytilini and Crete if a man will not rest in his grave they dig up the body, ferry it across to a little island, and bury it there. The Kythniotes in the Archipelago have a similar custom, except that they do not take the trouble to bury the body a second time, but simply tumble the bones out of a bag and leave them to bleach on the rocks, trusting to the "silver streak" of sea to imprison the ghost. In many parts of Germany, in modern Greece, and in Cyprus, water is poured out behind the corpse as it is being carried from the house, in the belief that, if the ghost returns, he will not be able to cross it. Sometimes, by night, the Germans pour holy water before the door; the ghost is then thought to stand and whimper on the further side. The inability of spirits to cross water might be further illustrated by the Bagman's ghastly story in Apuleius, the Goblin Page in the "Lay of the Last Minstrel," the witch in "Tam O'Shanter," and other instances."

1 Monier Williams, "Religious Life and Thought in India," pp. 283, 288. 2 Ralston, loc. cit.

3 D. J. Lassen Rasmussen, "Additamenta ad historiam Arabum ante Islamismum," p. 67.

4 K. Haupt, "Sagenbuch der Lausitz," I, p. 254.

B. Schmidt, "Das Volksleben der Neugriechen," p. 168.

6 J. T. Bent, "The Cyclades," p. 441 seq.,

7 A. Kuhn, “Märkische Sagen," p. 368; Temme, "Volkssagen der Altmark," p. 77; Nork, "Sitten und Gebraüche der Deutschen und ihrer Nachbarvölker," p. 479; Wuttke, § 737; Rochholz, I, p. 177; Lammert, "Volksmedizin," p. 105; Töppen, "Aberglauben aus Masuren," p. 108; Panzer, "Beitrag zur deutschen Mythologie," I, p. 257; Folk-lore Journal," II, p. 170; Wachsmuth. "Das alte Griechenland im neuen," p. 119; cf. Tettau und Temme, "Die Volkssagen Ostpreussens, Litthauens und Westpreussens," p. 286.


8 Wuttke, "Deutscher Aberglaube," § 748; Rochholz, "Deutscher Glaube und Brauch," I, p. 186.

9 Apuleius, "Metam.," i, 19, cf. 13; "Lay of the Last Minstrel," iii, 13. Cf. Giraldus Cambrensis, "Topographie of Ireland," c. 19; Grimm, "Deutsche Mythologie," III, p. 434; Theocritus xxiv, 92; Homer, "Odyss.," xi, 26 sqq.; Henderson's "Folk-lore of the Northern Counties," p. 212. Observe that the inability of spirits to cross water is not absolute, but is strictly analogous to that of living men. The souls, like the bodies of men, can cross water by a boat or bridge, or by swimming. For instances of the soul of the sleeper leaving his body and crossing a brook by means of a sword laid across it, see Paulus, "Historia Langobardorum," iii, c. 34; Grimm, "Deutsche Sagen," 451. Again the souls of the dead regularly pass by bridge or boat the River of Death,

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