vigorous in its proselytism and lasted from 1914 into the
late twenties. Dreams, ritual, and shaking fits played a prominent part
in it. Off-shoots were the Kava
Kava and Kekesi cults in the same area (Northern Division).
The Vailala Madness of Papua7
The "Vailala Madness", which swept the Gulf
Division of Papua from 1919 to 1923, was in the hands of sorcerers who
had the power of divination during trances, and who encouraged their
followers to take part in orgies of shaking fits. The great bull-roarer
cere- monies of the kinship groups were abandoned, and new ceremonies
were created to take their place. A steamer was expected, bringing the
deceased relatives who were to have white skins. The new ceremonies
contained a Christian element, flag-poles were given names and treated
as the media through whom messages from the dead were received. there
was a certain element of military drill, and. women were given equality.
Public confessionals took place.
The Murder of Clapcott, New Hebrides.8
In 1923 the inland people of Espiritu Santo, New
Hebrides, were influenced by rumours of death,-raising. The prophet
concerned claimed that if all the Europeans were killed the dead would
arise, with white skins. They would bring European goods with them, and
a house was built to receive these. To join the movement, it was
necessary to pay a pig, or a fee of 5/- to one pound. During a great
feast the prophet's wife died, and a European, Clapcott, was immediately
killed. It is stated that the same people killed some Europeans called
Greig in 1908, but details do not seem to have been published. These are
the only occasions in which Europeans have been assaulted. during these
movements, though resistance and threats have been offered on several
The Cargo Cults of Buka.10
In 1932 and 1933 a cargo cult arose which, appeared to he
re- lated to the previously
mentioned Lontis cult. The prophets claimed that a steamer would
arrive, laden with good things, and
that all Buka would he ruled from their village. A store was to be
7. See F. E. Williams, The
Vailala Madness, Papuan Anthropology Report No. 4, Port
Moroby, 1923, the best account
which has yet appeared of any of these movements.
8. See Appendix in Williams, 1928, op. cit.
9. 1 am assuming that the
numerous killings in the nineteenth century, the two revolts in New Caledonia, and the murder of Europeans
and police on Guadalcanal and Malaita in 1927, were not accompanied by these movements.
10. Report to the Council of the
League of Nations an the Administration of the Territory of New Guinea, Canberra, 1933/4, 1.934/5.