The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - extracts from 'Account of the valley of Munnipore and of the Hill Tribes' by Major W. McCulloch

caption: maibus (priestesses); spirit possession
medium: articles
person: McCulloch/ Major W.
date: 1858
refnum: from: Selections from the Records of the Government of India, No. 27 (Calcutta) 1859
text: I may here shortly notice the Maibees. They are said to owe their institution to a princess who flourished hundreds of years ago, but whether they have preserved all their original characteristics I cannot certainly affirm. At present, any woman who pretends to have had a "call" from the deity or demon, may become a priestess. That she has had such call is evinced by incoherent language and tremblings, as if possessed by the demon. After passing her noviciate she becomes one of the body, and practices with the rest on the credulity of the people. They put some rice, or some of the coin of the country into a basket, and turning it about with incantations they pretend to divine from it. I have listened to their divinations, and wondered that any one would consult them twice. They dress in white. Some of them are in good circumstances, having land and slaves attached to the peculiar deity to which they officiate. They also have laloop.