duk duk if you see them coming

In Papua New Guinea there is a secret religious society known as the Duk Duks.


It represents a rough sort of law and order through its presiding god Duk-Duk, a mysterious figure dressed in pine branches down to its waist, with a leafy green helmet like a gigantic candle-extinguisher made of leaves. Women and children are forbidden to look at this figure – but shemales are permitted to do so.


The society uses male Duk-Duk and female Tubuan masks. Both types are cone-shaped and are constructed of cane and fibre, with short, bushy capes of pine needles. Traditionally the Duk-Duk was taller than the Tubuan and was faceless. The Tubuan had circular eyes and a crescent-shaped mouth painted on a dark background.


Only males could belong to Duk-Duk, the entrance fees often being 50 to 100 human limbs.

Below is an excerpt from The Western Pacific and New Guinea by H Romilly (1886)

This curious and interesting institution, by working on the superstitions of the rest, enables the old men of the tribe to secure for themselves a comfortable retirement and unbounded influence.  The appearance of the Duk Duk is announced well in advance by the old men. Great preparations of food are then made to appease them.

The day before the Dukduk’s expected arrival the women usually disappear, or remain in their houses. It is immediate death for a woman to look upon this unquiet spirit. Before daybreak everyone is assembled on the beach, most of the young men looking a good deal frightened.

At the first streak of dawn, singing and drum-beating is heard out at sea, and five or six canoes, lashed together with a platform built over them, are seen to be slowly advancing towards the beach. Two most extraordinary figures appear dancing on the platform, uttering shrill cries.


The outward and visible form assumed by them is intended to represent a gigantic cassowary, with the most hideous and grotesque of human faces. The dress, which is made of leaves, certainly looks much like the body of this bird, but the head is like nothing but the head of a Dukduk. It is a conical-shaped erection, about five feet high, made of very fine basket work, and gummed all over to give a surface on which the diabolical countenance is depicted. No arms or hands are visible, and the dress extends down to the knees.

Cassowary found here

As soon as the canoes touch the beach, the two Dukduks jump out, and at once the natives fall back, so as to avoid touching them. If a Dukduk is touched, even by accident, he very frequently tomahawks the unfortunate native on the spot.

NOT this kind of Tomahawk

In the evening a vast pile of food is collected, and is borne off by the old men into the bush, every man making his contribution to the meal. The Dukduk, if satisfied, maintains a complete silence; but if be does not think the amount collected sufficient, he shows his disapprobation by yelping and leaping.

When the food has been carried off, the young men have to go through a very unpleasant ordeal, which is supposed to prepare their minds for having the mysteries of the Dukduk explained to them at some very distant period. They stand in rows of six or seven, holding their arms high above their heads.

The Dukduk selects a cane, dances up to one of the young men, and deals him a most tremendous blow, which draws blood all round his body. There is, however, on the young man’s part no flinching or sign of pain. After the blow with the cane he has to stoop down, on the ‘tail,’ which must be most unpleasant. Each of these young men has to go through this performance some twenty times in the course of the evening. He will nevertheless be ready to place himself in the same position every night for the next fortnight. The time of a man’s initiation may and often does last for about twenty years, and as the Dukduk usually appears six times a year, the novice has to submit to a considerable amount of flogging to purchase his freedom of the guild.


Published in: on April 12, 2010 at 8:08 am  Comments (40)  
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macaroni or ortolan?

The Ortolan Bunting is a small European songbird, now a protected species that is illegal to sell in France. They used to be netted in great numbers, kept alive in a dark box to disrupt their feeding schedule, and fed with grapes, figs, oats and millet. In a very short time they would become enormously fat and were then killed by drowning them in Armagnac.

image found here

Cooking l’ortolan is simplicity itself. Simply pop them in a high oven for six to eight minutes and serve. The secret is entirely in the eating. First you cover your head with a traditional embroidered cloth. Then place the entire four-ounce bird into your mouth. Only its head should dangle out from between your lips. Bite off the head and discard. L’ortolan should be served immediately; it is meant to be so hot that you must rest it on your tongue while inhaling rapidly through your mouth. This cools the bird, but its real purpose is to force you to allow its ambrosial fat to cascade freely down your throat.

image found here

When cool, begin to chew. It should take about 15 minutes to work your way through the breast and wings, the delicately crackling bones, and on to the inner organs. Devotees claim they can taste the bird’s entire life as they chew in the darkness: the wheat of Morocco, the salt air of the Mediterranean, the lavender of Provence. The pea-sized lungs and heart, saturated with Armagnac from its drowning, are said to burst in a liqueur-scented flower on the diner’s tongue.

Francois Mitterand ate foie gras, oysters and two ortolans as his last meal

image of Mitterand found here

After grabbing the last of 12 birds, the dying president disappeared for a second time behind the large, white napkin, which is ritually placed over the head of anyone about to indulge in the act of eating an entire ortolan. The table listened in embarrassment as the former president masticated the little bird to a paste behind the napkin, in the approved manner, before swallowing it. Then Mitterrand lay back in his chair, his face beaming in ecstasy. He refused to eat again after that; suspending all treatment for his cancer he died just eight days later.

image found here

Prisoners on death row don’t seem to be the least bit interested in gourmet meals. A quick search of deadmaneating.com reveals a preference for pork chops, fried chicken, french fries, tacos and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Followed by strawberry ice cream and 16 or so Pepsis.

image found here

My last meal would consist of dishes that have great memories attached to them. I’d start with my mother’s Bluff oysters fried in beer batter followed by giant succulent Vietnamese prawns dipped in chili salt, the pumpkin stuffed ravioli in burnt sage butter that Stephen used to make, then brandy snaps filled with New Zealand cream, just like the ones we used to buy in South Dunedin’s cake shop near my old high school.

image found here

If you could choose anything at all, what would your last meal consist of?

Published in: on March 27, 2010 at 9:26 am  Comments (48)  
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protecting the odor soul

We’ve reported on smell before at the gimcrack here and here and here. But there’s still more to be found at the Social Issues Research Centre

“Among the Amazonian Desana, for example, all members of a tribal group a believed to share a similar odour. Marriage is only allowed between persons of different odours, so spouses must be chosen from other tribal groups. This belief is expressed in rituals involving the exchanges of goods with different odours: one group will present the other with a gift of meat, for example, and receive fish in return. Some rituals involve the exchange of differently scented ants.

image found here

The Batek Negrito of the Malay Peninsula take the same taboo on the odour-mixing of close relatives a stage further: not only is sexual intercourse between those of similar odour prohibited, but even sitting too close to one another for too long is considered dangerous. Any prolonged mixing of similar personal odours is believed to cause disease in the people involved and in any children they may conceive.

The dangers of odour-mixing are even more extreme for another Malay Peninsula people, the Temiar. The Temiar believe that each person has an odour-soul, located in the lower back. If you pass too closely behind a person, the odour-soul is disturbed and mingles with your body, causing disease. This must be prevented by calling out ‘odour, odour’ whenever you approach a person from behind, so that the odour-soul is forewarned of the intrusion.

For the Dogon people of Mali, odour and sound are believed to be intrinsically related because both travel on air – the Dogon speak of ‘hearing’ a smell. In addition, speech itself is believed to be scented: good speech – with appropriate grammar and pronunciation – smells pleasant (in Dogon terms, this means an odour of oil and cooking, which are highly valued), while nasal, indistinct or ungrammatical speech has an unpleasant, stagnant odour. Ten-year-old children who persist in making mistakes of grammar or pronunciation will have their noses pierced as a corrective.

Western notions of aesthetically pleasing fragrances are by no means universal. For the cattle-raising Dassanetch of Ethiopia, no scent is more beautiful than the odour of cows. The association of this scent with social status and fertility is such that the men wash their hands in cattle urine and smear their bodies with manure, while the women rub butter into their heads, shoulders and breasts to make themselves smell more attractive.

The Dogon of Mali would find these customs incomprehensible. For the Dogon, the scent of onion is by far the most attractive fragrance a young man or woman can wear. They rub fried onions all over their bodies as a highly desirable perfume.

I highly recommend visiting this site and reading more about the perfume box rituals of Arab countries

Published in: on December 14, 2009 at 7:03 am  Comments (53)  
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the anti-vagina complex

In the Western Highlands of New Guinea many men believe that female sexuality is potent and dangerous. They think that prolonged contact with women can make their bones dissolve, and lead to debilitation and even death.

“As one might expect, the terror of women’s contamination focuses on the vagina. Vaginal discharges are so poisonous they can be used by witches to kill a man overnight, simply by depositing them near his clothing. Everything from the vagina is polluted, even nonsexual things like babies. Until a baby is purified, its father will not touch it, only poke it playfully with a small stick.

Any object that passes over or near the vagina can no longer be used safely by a man. If a woman’s genitals are physically higher than a man’s head, serious health risks may ensue. For instance if a woman steps over a sleeping man, he will sicken and his body will rot unless he is treated with an exorcism. Women therefore are not allowed to climb above men in trees or on ladders.

The woman’s vulva must never be above a man’s nose, lest her genitalia menaces him with lethal radiation. Some men will place spearmint leaves up their nostrils to avoid inhaling vaginal exhalations.

A woman who entices her husband into excessive sexual relations (more than a few times a year) is said to be purposefully driving him to an early death. “Coitus is contaminating, it can cause the stomach to distend and lose its taut masculine quality.”

Published in: on November 30, 2009 at 7:28 am  Comments (42)  
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more marriage matters

Among some people of the Caucasus in Russia, there was a custom that a very small boy should marry an adult woman. The boy had to wait until he was mature to have any sexual relations with his ‘old’ wife. In order not to leave the newly wed wife without a lover, a clever arrangement was made.

Claudia Cardinal needing constant cooling down after her marriage

The boy’s father acted as husband to the wife. The problem of potential offspring from this relationship was solved too. All the children from the relationship belonged to the son. The father of the married boy was said to be merely the “seed raiser” for his son, only contributing to the building of his son’s family.

In Somalia, people believe that evil spirits may attack a bridal party so a false couple is substituted for the real bride and groom. The false couple are married in the house while the real couple stay in the nuptial chamber to deceive the evil spirits. The false couple may exchange their clothes and dress to impersonate the opposite sex. The girls dress up their partners, using padding to make the disguise as complete as possible.

Then, assuming all the airs of husbands, they flog their partners with horsewhips and order them about in the same way as they themselves have been treated by young men. These activities may last for a week. Those who impersonate the real couple to rescue them from the forces of evil are paid well for their service……

image found here

Published in: on November 26, 2009 at 7:19 am  Comments (31)  
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fruit, tree, stone…..

Different cultures view marriage in different ways. The Newar people of Nepal marry their young girls to bel-fruits.

A majority of Newars observe the symbolically arranged marriage of their daughters with a bel fruit before they ever marry a man. The bel fruit marriage is done when the girl is seven to nine years old, or before she attains puberty; and since it is the general belief of Hindu and Buddhist Newar communities that a proper marriage with full rites can be held only once in a lifetime, her subsequent marriages, if any, are considered of only secondary importance.

image found here

Punjabi men can have one, two or four wives, but not three. To get around this prohibition, they sometimes would go through a third marriage ceremony with a tree. In Madras, if a younger son wishes to marry but his older sibling has not yet decided upon a wife, the elder son can wed a tree. After the ceremony, a priest cuts the tree down and pronounces it dead. The family all mourn the man’s deceased wife, and then the younger son is free to marry.

image of 1960s icon Penelope Tree found here

The daughter of a courtesan is unable to marry but she may get herself a ritual husband by marrying a house plant which she then cares for in a special way.

image of Robert Plant found here

Two trees may also marry each other. This type of wedding is arranged by a childless couple who are trying to conceive. The trees, usually a mango and a fig are planted close together so their stems entwine. If one of them dies it is considered a very bad omen for the woman.

In Siberia a man sometimes married a stone. There would be no wedding ceremony, the man simply chose an attractive stone, put clothes on it and placed it in his bed. There was even some sexual connotation, since the man would treat the stone as a human, caressing it as if it were a real woman.

image of Sharon Stone found here

Marriages to objects were also known of in Mongolia. A father might sometimes offer his daughter to a guest for the night as a sexual favour. The guest would be asked to leave behind his belt as a token. If a pregnancy resulted from this hospitality, the girl was simply married the belt. On the other hand, if a girl became pregnant to a stranger outside this sexual hospitality arrangement, she would be married to a prayer rug instead.

Published in: on November 24, 2009 at 7:01 am  Comments (39)  
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the domovoy diet


Slavic Maiden

The Slavs believe in their own special household ghost called a Domovoy.


A Domovoy is seen neither as good or bad and can be mischievous or benevolent, depending upon its mood and the time of the year. The creature is described as short, all covered with hair, even on the palms of his hands and soles of his feet. If he draggd his hand across your face while you slept, a bristly and cold touch foretold of impending woes ahead. A warm and fuzzy touch meant good fortune would befall.


These spirits are thought to be ancestors of your paternal line. The Domovoy does not like to be seen so he is invisible. Reportedly, when you do sight a Domovoy, it takes on the form of an ancestor or the past owner of your home. Sometimes, when the male of the household is away, a Domovoy can be seen in his form plowing the fields at night.

peter finch sheriff

(Peter Finch’s Domovoy prepares to plough the fields)

Domovoys are to be treated with great respect. He is considered (and considers himself) the master of the house. When a family moves from one house to another, they invite their Domovoy to go with them. Your neighbors Domovoy is seen as malevolent but your household’s Domovoy protects you from him. It is believed that your neighbor’s Domovoy will try to steal your oats and livestock and yours will try to steal your neighbor’s (a convenient excuse as to why you had your neighbor’s oats).


(Livestock reputedly stolen by Domovoy)

Calling to your family’s Domovoy to enter into your home is not only a way to reconnect with your ancestors, but will also ensure you keep your house tidier. Just remember to be respectful, leave bread, cookies or porridge by the stove and do not block his path.

sean connery

(Only James Bond dares to break the Domovoy’s rules)

Published in: on November 23, 2009 at 7:27 am  Comments (28)  
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quills or pig bristles tonight my dear?

Natives of Borneo and the Philippines will go to great lengths to attract lovers. After creating a channel through their penis glans, they decorate it with ingenious contrivances made from ivory or metal and often ending in brushes or tiny bristles.

The apparatus could be a round wheel with projecting points (like a spur held in place by a pin), stars, rings, fine twisted wire, pig bristles, bamboo shavings, seeds, horn, coral, agate, hornbill ivory, beads, broken glass and, in one case, an object that looked like a snake head. Quills, as well, were used as nonfunctional retainers. The early explanations from the Codex say the women insisted upon the piercings to discourage the men from sodomy.


image found here

On Borneo and Sulawesi, a splint is used to hold the penis for the actual piercing procedure. It varies in length from several inches to a foot, approximately a one-and-a-half inches thick with a hole in both sides. The slats are placed on either side of the penis and then tightly secured, flattening out the penis. After sufficient time has passed for the lack of blood and cold water to decrease sensation, the penis is pierced – sometimes, a pigeon’s feather anointed with oil would be inserted and taken out each day. The piercing takes about one month to heal.

penis adornment

“The lady had various ways of indicating the size of the ampallang desired. She might hide in her husbands plate of rice a betel leaf rolled about a cigarette, or with the fingers of her right hand placed between her teeth she will indicates the measure of the one she aspires. The Dayak women have a right to insist upon the ampallang and if the man does not consent they may seek separation. They say that the embrace without this contrivance is plain rice; with it is rice with salt.”

borneo women

In Japan, this site claims that having the foreskin constantly “decapped” or retracted, is part of the national character of the Japanese.

“Every Japanese entering maturity asks himself in the beginning why his glans is not completely free like that of other adults, and in this way arrives at an unfortunate suspicion of the naturalness of his own member”. He therefore shoves the foreskin back. “This operation is practiced by every one, but it is kept secret”. It is no custom “but an almost universal and quite secret usage”, which is “dictated by that shame of kawakamuri”.

penis head

The perpetually free glans of the Japanese is called “an artificial phenomenon”. The denudation is attained in the following manner: the foreskin is shoved back behind the corona glandis and often retained in that position by means of a string, so that finally, in many cases, it “cannot be extended forward any more to cover the glans”. The conduct of Japanese is interesting when the penis is to be exposed. At the bath or medical examinations a Japanese would never present himself otherwise than decapped. If, as sometimes happens, the prepuce slips forward again, he quickly draws it back in order not to offend against good form. ***

The Sumatran Islander goes farther: he implants in his penis a number of small stones or silver and gold platelets. The skin of the masculine organ is stretched with the fingers in such a way that it is drawn strongly to either side and back toward the root of the penis. Then with a sharp knife a cut about two centimeters long is made, and into this cut is set a small white stone, usually of one centimeter, but sometimes double this size, prismatic in form and with rounded edges. Then the skin is let go, which, due to its elasticity, returns to its former position and covers the stone. The man whose penis I saw had had these stones set in about twenty five years ago, in order, as he said, to please the women, who were “crazy” about such a man. There had originally been ten such stones, but only four were now left; the others, as he put it, had been lost in the course of time, that is, had been cast out by the tissue.


In Celebes the stimulative effect of the Kambiong is further supported by the eyelids and eye-lashes of a buck that are tied around the margin of the glans. The Araucanians of South America seem to make use of similar devices; they apply to the same part little bristles of horse hair, the so-called geskels.”

eyelashes of a buck

Motilinia reports about the people of Teoucan, Teotetlan and Cozcatlan “that the young men of marriageable age perforated their penis and drew under the skin a rope as thick as one’s finger and from ten to twenty ells long, and if any one fainted during this operation it was said of him that he had already sinned and had had intercourse with women. We hear exactly the same thing from Yucatan where sometimes penitents place themselves in a row, each one perforates his penis, and a string, as long as possible, is drawn through the members of all the penitents together.

homer swami by keith boadwee

image by Keith Boadwee

*** I wonder if headbang8 can ask Master Right if this is true?

the right to dip into


In 17th century France, the State Executioner was entitled to “droit de havage” or “the right to dip into”.


Toy guillotine found here

Among his many privileges were the right of an egg from any egg vendor and a full spoonful of green peas, walnuts, dried fruit or hazelnuts from anyone who sold these items. Sellers of butter, cheese, chicken or fish must pay him six deniers and a carp, the fruiterer gives a sous worth of oranges and lemons from every crate.


For every wagon of oysters in the shell, he gets a quarter, from broom sellers, one free broom, a scuttle full of coal from the coal merchant, free execution ropes from the rope merchant and exemption from all road tolls.” *


Napoleonic bone model guillotine found here

In England the preferred method of execution was hanging. This did not always go according to plan, as in the case of Anne Green.

“She was turned off the ladder, hanging by the neck for half an hour. The body was carried in a coffin to a private house where it began to show signs of life. Dr Petty and another set themselves to recover her. They bled her freely and put her into bed with another woman. After about 2 hours she could speak intelligently and 5 days later she was up. Within a month she had recovered and went to her friends in the country, taking her coffin with her….”


The Sleepers by Gustave Courbet

*Extract from Execution: A Guide to the Ultimate Penalty by Geoffrey Abbott

Published in: on October 14, 2009 at 7:22 am  Comments (32)  
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