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Myers/Lehmann, Magic, Witchcraft and Religion, 6/e
Magic, Witchcraft and Religion: An Anthropological Study of the Supernatural, 6/e
Arthur Lehmann, California State University -- Chico
Pamela Moro, Willamette University
James Myers, California State University -- Chico

Ghosts, Souls, and Ancestors: Power of the Dead

Chapter Outline


Life After Death
-universal belief
-human need?
-ancestor worship

The Role of Ancestors
-cults of the dead versus ancestor cults
-wide variation of function
-reflective of social structure/ kin relationships
-in many non-Western societies
-special status among spirits in afterlife

The Power of the Dead
-religion and social control
-customs associated with the welfare of the ancestors

-Western stereotype
-stuck in between

Included Articles

Article: A New Weapon Stirs Up Old Ghosts by William E. Mitchell

The Wape of New Guinea
-native weapons and game at contact
-contemporary situation: the impact of the shotgun

The Introduction of the Shotgun
-sanctions on native use
-new legislation in the 1960s
-contemporary legislation
-associated belief and behavioral system

"Wape Shotgun Cult"
-adaptation of traditional and introduced concepts
-conservative institution
-explaining an unsuccessful hunt

Fieldwork and Data
-the village of Taute
-the Franciscans and Wape appropriation of Catholicism

Wape Society
-sacred curing rituals and demon-curing cults
-cash flow and contract labor
-low-protein intake
-pre and post-contact attire
-identification with power

The Establishment of the Shotgun Cult
-collective purchase
-associated with Europeans and modernity
-Melanesian pidgin: sutboi and laman
-permit process
-sanctions and village quarrels
-native perception

The Sutboi or Laman
-Auwe's appointment in Kafiere
-involvement of ghosts in the hunt
-guardian of the gun and morality
-the problem of scarcity and unsuccessful hunts
-cartridge ownership
-conceptual basis of sanctions against quarreling

When the Hunt is Poor
-the clairvoyant and the "shotgun clinic"
-identifying the problem
-remedial rituals
-social tensions and polarization
-enlisting the aid of mani
-continued lack of success and suspension of the cult

Article: The Real Vampire

The Vampire
-excerpt from Bram Stoker
-the folkloric versus the fictional
-the undead
-accounts reviewed with modern insights

Early European Accounts of the Vampire
-exhuming and "killing" bodies
-an Austrian medical investigation in Medvegia
-Arnold Paole and signs of vampirism
-the attack on Stanacka
-Visum et Repertum: physiological findings
-phenomenon obscured by fiction

Folklore and Fiction of the Vampire
-evidence of exhumations from Eastern Europe
-humble origins
-becoming a vampire
-the bat connection
-the color red
-held responsible for a variety of crimes

A Modern Look at the "Facts" About the Undead
-misunderstood decomposition
-misguided cause and effect deductions
-ready to "see the signs"

The "Attacks"
-Stanacka's account
-the body and the mobile image
-dream perceptions and the traveling soul
-the Slavic mora
-situational factors

Contradictory Facts About the Vampire
-body versus the soul
-methods of killing
-methods of protection: similia similiis curantur

The Vampire Craze
-a context of terror
-attempts to "neutralize" the dead
-personification of death
-modern parallels: the AIDS epidemic
-ignorance, fear, and panic

Article: Voodoo by Karen McCarthy Brown

Voodoo or Vodou
-the Haitian context
-origins and connotations of the term
-"serving the spirits"
-roots of the stereotype

The Religion
-African-based, Catholic-influenced
-lemò, lemistè, lemarasa
-loosely organized; ritual variations
-rural versus urban practices
-chofe and possession

African Influence
-historical context
-three major groups: Yoruba, Fon, and Kongo
-continuity and change
-Africa as a concept: frangine

Roman Catholic Influence
-French Catholic slaveholders
-tradition of syncretism
-influential rites and images
-system of parallels
-Bondye, the saints, and the spirits
-"antisuperstition campaigns" and an uneasy peace

Voodoo Spirits
-lwa and other names
-rural and urban distinctions
-Rada and Petro

The Voodoo View of the Person
-the body and the souls
-rough parallels: social categories and analyses

Voodoo and the Dead
-cemeteries and the kwa Baron
-lemò and lemistè

Voodoo Ceremonies
-rural simplicity
-urban ritual routinization
-meeting needs through various rituals
-annual pilgrimages

Voodoo and Magic
-magic: stereotype and an internal differential
-"work of the left hand" vs. common Voodoo ritual
-ritual adjustment of relational systems

Voodoo and the Haitian Diaspora
-context and massive emigration
-new communities and continuing traditions

Article: Death Be Not Strange by Peter A. Metcalf

Anthropology and the Exotic
-a tradition
-shaking the image
-potential advantage
-the anthropological modus operandi
-Frazer: the eccentric in pursuit of the exotic
-reflexive objectivity and reflexive qualities of the exotic

Bringing Reflexivity Home
-Metcalf's fieldwork among the Berawan
-background information

Berawan funeral rites
-"secondary burial"
-four stages: alternating preparation and storage
-"exotic" intimate interaction with the corpse

Berawan Cross Examination
-American funerary practices?
-silence, disgust, and shock
-the response in context

Death Rituals of Central Borneo
-of early anthropological interest
-Robert Hertz's hypothesis

A Test Case: Berawan Death Rites
-soul and body parallels in metamorphosis
-the hovering soul and the potential monster
-intense fear: an incident

American Death Ways
-the Berawan point of view: hordes of potential zombies
-literature found wanting: the whys of the way it is
-Mitford and the "death industry"
-attempts to relate and a sense of estrangement

Metcalf's Reflexivity
-straightforward Berawan rites
-exotic and gruesome American rites

Article: The Cremated Catholic: The Ends of a Deceased Guatemalan by Stanley Brandes

The Commodification of a Dead Body
-Axel's death
-options for disposal
-the family's response: religious and cultural convictions
-mix up at the morgue
-the resulting lawsuit and larger implications

The Hardship and Suffering of an Unauthorized Cremation
-the perilous fate of Axel's soul
-effects on the family's social status in the community
-cultural associations with cremation

Cremation and Roman Catholic Teachings
-unfavorable ambiguity
-official legitimization
-Mass of the Present Body
-uncertainty among Guatemalan clergy
-undermines the 'two-tiered' approach

Cremation and Bodily Fragmentation
-the family's concerns
-potential for resurrection?
-material discontinuity of the body in history
-Guatemalan mortuary beliefs

Effects on Social Status
-shame and secrecy

Other Costs
-deprived of the bodily presence
-enlisting community support with the wake
-absence from the 'happiness' of the cemetery
-relieving the grief and finding solace: the role of the body
-Axel's mother

Death and an Enduring Presence
-the insights of Robert Hertz
-the deceased live on
-companionship and integrity of the cadaver
-no sign of, or potential for, solace

The Price of Axel's Death
-economic impacts
-a suffering soul, shame, and subsequent hardships
-litigation and compensation?
-related cases
-paradox of the cost and potential reward
-commodification of misfortune

Article: Spontaneous Memorialization: Violent Death and Emerging Mourning Ritual by C. Allen Haney, Christina Leimer, Juliann Lowery

Death in the U.S.
-increasing control and resulting expectations
-unexpected, violent, and en masse deaths
-rituals and spontaneous memorialization
-assertions of the authors

Spontaneous Memorialization as Emerging Ritual
-ritual as structure and meaning
-change in society and associated needs
-public response to inadequacy of rituals
-adjunct ritual
-the memorials

Seven Characteristics of Spontaneous Characteristics
-private individualized act open for public display
-occurring at site of death or associated with victim
-extension of inclusive mourning boundaries
-shrines of eclectic combinations
-personally meaningful mementos
-not constrained by culturally based norms
-extension of focus to social and cultural implications

Examples and Interpretation of Spontaneous Memorials
-most visible types
-assertions applied to examples
--Houston Heights: identification and social dimensions
--Susan Smith: no sacred/ profane distinction
--Polly Klaas: importance of site and larger societal/ cultural implications
--Oklahoma City: death en masse and a violation of fundamental values
--Selena: cultural and sub-cultural ramifications and aspects
--Huey Newton: sociological difficulty of distinctions
-accidental deaths: automobile accidents

Discussion and Conclusion
-Moller's insights
-bureaucratization, medicalization, and "culturally invisible" death
-culturally regulated norms of mourning: privatized and dissociated
-effects of removing death from the home and community
-countering the isolation and sanitization of death
-need for new social patterns and rituals
-juxtaposition of controlled and violent deaths: negating cultural perceptions
-rapid social change and a "breakdown of hierarchy"
-spontaneous memorialization as a political act
-efforts to reinvest ritual with meaning in the public sphere
-reflections of the new social order