Dead Man Tells No Tales but Beliefs Prevail: Death Mythology [Sorcery]
Death because of Sorcery
Findings show that the native people in the Pacific, or whom Frazer (1911) called savages, strongly believed that there was no such thing as a natural death. Death, they believed, was caused by sorcery. For instance, in the Torres Straits and New Guinea people believed that sorcery is necessary and an inevitable condition of existence for Islanders (page 47).
Some Melanesians believed that death is a consequence of violence, poison or sorcery. For instance, in New Georgia, in the Solomon Islands, people believed that being sick was the result of being bewitched (agarad) by a man or woman. Islanders in New Georgia also believed that burying food or the belongings of the deceased could make a man sick. As a result, the sick persons friend would search for a culprit and then pay him to dig up the buried items. If the illness did not go away, they believed that someone else must also have agarad him. In other words, they would just assume that the man had too many rivals that wanted him to die. Therefore, the relatives would just accept his death.
In Central Australia, the natives strongly believed in sorcery as the cause of death that whenever someone died, Australian aborigines would put a fly into the grave and the avengers (closest relative of the dead) would take the direction in which the fly winged. Or, they would follow the direction of the smoke if the body was burnt. They always collected the kidney fat and thigh skin as the trophies, just like when the American Indians collected the scalp of the deceased. They call the avenging the bucceening party (Frazer, 1911). Fortunately enough, not all dead men lead to avenge; some relatives of the deceased did not bother to avenge, some avengers are repelled, and some have to return without meeting anyone. Still, the impact of this belief is startling, as you will hear a couple of saddest stories I would ever tell in this essay in the next section.
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