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THE MAKUTU, OR BEWITCHING HUMAN BEINGS.----ITS SUCCESS,----THE KANGA OR MALEDICTION.----INCANTATORY RITES.----CANNIBAL ORGIES.---- ON THE ANATHEMAS OF THE ANCIENTS.----EXTRAORDINARY EFFECTS OF SORCERY.----OATHS OF THE PEOPLE.----RECIPROCITY OF RETRIBUTION.----ANCIENT PLEDGES OF FIDELITY.----HUMAN SACRIFICES.----ADDRESSES OF THE PRIESTHOOD.----WHOLESALE DISSECTIONS.----SACRIFICING TO MOLOCH.----METHOD OF ITS PERFORMANCE.---- IMMOLATION OF CHILDREN.----AND HECATOMBS OF HUMAN BEINGS.----ALBINOS AND VICTIMS DEDICATED FOR THE MOUTH.----ON CANNIBALISM.----GENERAL DISBELIEF EXISTING ON THE SUBJECT.----REFERENCE TO WRITERS ALIKE REGARDED FOE THEIR ABILITY AND VERACITY.
THE ridiculous phantasy called Makutu , or the power of bewitching a person to death, is implicitly believed as "confirmation strong as proofs of holy writ." This evil report has often been made use of to effect the death of an innocent person.
It is believed by all barbarous nations, and in New Zealand it has slain its thousands. A person is supposed to be bewitched by smoking from the pipe of an ill-wisher, lying in his hut, putting on his dress, drinking from the same calabash, eating together from the same basket, paddling in the same canoe, and even bathing in the same river. Often have the bones of hapless wretches been produced to us, who had been murdered and subsequently devoured by their brutal foes. A konga or
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malediction is tantamount to the makutu . 1 Bewitching is often performed by incantatory rites, and when a whole tribe is consigned to death, human victims are despatched to fully effect the malediction. Cannibal orgies follow, too horrible and heart-sickening to dwell upon. The priesthood revel in the abhorrent food, and with their bodies sprinkled with human blood, raise piercing shouts, and join in dances, distorting their features and bodies in the most repulsive manner, and sing aloud the curses that shall annihilate their enemies. An illness rarely occurs without the patient or his friends attributing it to the Makutu ; consequently if he should recover, he hastens to wage war,
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murder or rob, the tribe of the person suspected, which in turn, is severely visited by the injured man or his tribe. Interminable warfare, guerre a outrance , follows. To fully effect the Makutu it is necessary to possess some corporeal portion of the devoted victim, such as a lock of hair, the paring of a nail, the saliva caught on a mat, or even yet more repulsive remnants that remind us continually that we are mortal. This obtained, it is steeped in blood, and the malediction is aspirated. But the most extraordinary circumstance is the effect that follows the curse. Death almost in all cases ensues; for as early as the victim discovers that his life has been cursed, he abstains from taking sustenance, and gradually sinks into an atrophy, that closes with death.
Some priests possess the good sense to rally their flock from the effects of the Makutu . We often attempted to rally such persons who had taken the Makutu to heart, but rarely succeeded in doing so.
One young man consented to follow the advice we gave, but notwithstanding his best efforts, he eventually sunk under this astonishing power of the imagination. This may be truly termed "Vox et praeterea nihil ,"
Oaths are much indulged in by this people--they generally savour of the dreadful enormities accompanying cannibalism. They are equally eminent in abusing each other. We have often seen and heard two men cursing each other with the most bitter and injurious expressions, several spectators
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looking on, bestowing applause on the ruffian who best acquitted himself, or whose expressions were most insulting. Among such maledictions, are the following: Ekai na to wangana , may your head be eaten off (as food for your enemy). Kai koe to matua , eat thou of thy parent. Puke tuki tukia , may your stomach be eviscerated, and many others too indelicate even to make allusion. 2 The persons to whom these oaths are addressed, have a just right to demand payment, which is demanded in sub-
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stance, but has been exacted in blood and sacrifice of life.
No chief or his tribe would rest tranquil under any malediction addressed to them. For a person to tell a chief that he would cut off his (the chiefs) head and sell it to the Europeans, would be an opprobrious curse that could not meet with forgiveness. The chief would attempt by every possible means to possess the head of the speaker, and pretended friendship, the better to disguise his treacherous intentions, would in such case be accounted fair play. This occurrence has often taken place, and retributive punishment has followed. We have already recounted the religious festivals of the natives. The most awful rite persisted in by them, 3 is the
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sacrifice of their countrymen to visionary fears, as these people possess no visible objects to pay their adoration to, no music or display to charm the senses,
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or (save the bones of the dead) to engage their veneration. Human sacrifices are performed when the fate of a foreboding war is to be ascertained, or during the interim of an engagement. The first prisoner taken is generally the victim, whose death is comparatively easy, for in the eagerness of each warrior to enslave his person, he obtains a friendly blow, that stays the necessity of competition. The chief priest devoutly addresses the god Wiro or Spirit of Evil, to render his tribe successful in the strife, and at the same time confound the enemy, who the Atua is respectfully informed to be a stubborn, cannibal, and vicious race, wholly unlike the petitioners, with whose meekness and kindness the enemy could never compete. The body is then disjointed by a tomahawk or small axe, and a fair portion is allotted to each chief representing a principal family. The arch-chiefs and priests are only admitted to gastronomize on the first body slain, and the great captain, or generalissimo of the tribes, has the peculiar gratification of having the bleeding heart of the victim as his portion of the
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feast. After the battle, wholesale dissections take place, accompanied with atrocities of the most revolting nature, and in addition, as a refinement in barbarity, the dissections are made in presence of the captured relatives and friends. The scene of intense agony and horror, presented by the tortured parents and children, wives, husbands, friends, all of whom are enslaved to the victor, is not to be described, rendered more appalling by the yells and rejoicing of the cannibals. 4 Similar enormities have been practised by every savage people, previously to the dawning of civilization. The atrocities that were committed by the negroes in the West Indies, between the French and English in North America, the former and the Spaniards in Spain, and existing cruelties in the present civil war, and in parts of disorganized Ireland, shows that human nature, unrestrained by wholesome laws, is the same in every clime. 5
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END OF VOL. I.
E. VARTY, Printer, 27, Camomile Street.