Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/148

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MYTHS OF ORIGIN AND THE HOME OF THE DEAD IN INDONESIA.

BY W. J. PERRY.

Those engaged in the endeavour to trace out the early history of human culture are well aware of the variety in the modes of disposing of the dead and in the beliefs concerning the origin and destiny of man to be found among primitive peoples. It is suspected that the beliefs and practices concerning death are based upon ideas and beliefs which are deep-seated in the mental life of such peoples, yet it is curious that few, if any, systematic attempts have been made to seek these psychological bases of belief and action, or to elaborate a method which will lead to their discovery.

The aim of this paper is to put forward some evidence which shows that it is possible to group together certain of these beliefs and practices, and it is hoped that thereby a step forward will have been made in the study of that branch of Ethnology which concerns itself with such matters.^

An examination of the beliefs of the peoples inhabiting Indonesia regarding death, reveals the fact that the ghosts of the dead are sometimes supposed to go to a land of the dead situated somewhere on this earth. For example,

1 This paper is a summary of some of the results of an investigation into the modes of disposing of the dead in Indonesia. It is only possible to enunciate results here with illustrative examples : the full evidence upon which the demonstration is based will be published later, together with the discussion of other problems that have arisen in the course of the investigation.