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One of the names used in the New Hebrides for the land of the dead. In this part of Melanesia it is believed that the spirit of the deceased lingers for several days before leaving the world of the living. Possibly an underwater realm, banoi has all the amenities found above except for gardens, because there is no work. Tradition holds that the ghostly inhabitants segregate themselves according to the mode of death: thus, those who have died of cough keep together.

Banks islanders say that the nether world, which they call panoi, is as near to the earth as death is near to life. Their subterranean land of the dead seems even a beautiful place, where festivals and social activities offer solace to those who ‘have come to stay’. Fainting, or a temporary black-out, was always thought of as a brief visit to panoi. Yet a ghost, tamate, does not appear to have knowledge of distant things like a vui, a spirit or demigod: he is essentially a man who has died.

In the Solomon Islands the ghost, tindalo, of a chief or great man is revered as a link with the unseen world, a powerful ally in moments of crisis. Unpropitiated, however, the ghost can prove a dangerous enemy. Ghosts that haunt the sea are believed to be very terrible in appearance and behaviour: composed of fishes, they attack lonely canoes or swimmers.

Subjects: Religion.

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