A hundred years ago, a strange phenomenon occurred amongst the Vailala native tribes of the territories of Papua New Guinea. Whole Villages were infected by a spontaneous dancing trance-like disease. It spread from village to village causing the natives to enter into trance-like, involuntary dance movements. The phenomena occurred for a few years from 1919 to 1923 and then died out. It was recorded by the anthropologist F. E. Williams in his book – ‘The Vailala Madness and the Destruction of Native Ceremonies in the Gulf Division‘,
Is this an example of Group Spontaneous Qigong?
I have been researching a phenomenon, I refer to as, ‘spontaneous qi or spontaneous qigong’. For more information, visit this page.
In my research, I suspect that this phenomenon – the Vailala Madness, contains aspects of spontaneous qigong. And in fact, there are several other instances in recorded history of groups of people being drawn into performing spontaneous trance-like dances or involuntary movements.
Such a phenomenon sounds bizarre, just like something out of an X Files episode, but there have been records of it, especially in the so called ‘primitive’ and native civilisations in the World, and even in Europe in the Middle Ages.
Usually in the past, such occurrences have been attributed to a kind of mass hysteria, or some sort of toxin – perhaps mould on their crops causing group hallucinations. In other cases, a specific medical disorder is attributed to these occurrences, though there are no way of proving, disproving or confirming any of these assertions. They are just theories.
Scientists seek ‘rational’ explanations for everything. I suspect if this had occurred today, it would be blamed on global warming or even the corona virus, rather then something supernatural. Personally, I believe these phenomena to have a spiritual and energetic aspect to them, as well as a spontaneous qi component.
Why is this important to research? I think that spiritual awakening offers humanity the one and only true freedom in this world. I believe that spontaneous qi offers a step into this direction.
However, I do not simply want to triumph these phenomenon as only being a positive thing. It is quite possible there are element of spirit possession, possibly even demonic possession in some of these cases.
I also consider that possibly Christianity, in particular the imposition of this Middle Eastern religion onto a people that previously had their own cultures, gods and spirits, can be a distortive and disruptive factor upon these people, and may even be the cause of such dance like phenomenon, particularly the Vailala Madness. I will discuss this in part two of this article.
As with all things energetic and spiritual, there are dangers to be weary of, should you explore these paths.
Below is an extract of Appendix B., taken from the book – ‘The Vailala Madness and the Destruction of Native Ceremonies in the Gulf Division‘, written by F. E. Williams in 1923, which concisely reports this ‘dancing-type mania’ amongst the native tribes of the Guinea territories a hundred years ago:
Appendix B. Extract from Annual Report, 1919-1920, of the Gulf Division, by G. H. Murray, Acting Resident Magistrate.
The Vailala Madness.
A most curious movement originated in the Western part of the Division in August or September, 1919, the villages of Nomu and Arihava both being credited with having started it, but whether any one individual is responsible still remains a mystery. It spread Eastward from village to village, causing intense excitement amongst the natives and alarm to some Europeans, being commonly known as the Vailala or Orokolo kava-kava (madness).
In Pidgin-English the symptoms were described as “head going round,” and when word would come that a new village was affected it would be such-and-such a village “head-he-go-round”. It was thus described because with the majority of the natives concerned their heads would jerk quickly from side to side, and, with some, the muscles of the legs and arms would also twitch as in St. Vitus’ dance, and one can readily imagine how the former, if kept up for any length of time, would make them fall to the ground from giddiness.
Some Europeans, who know nothing of the movement except from heresay, may be disposed to ridicule it and say it was all chicanery or mummery, but there is not a shadow of doubt that hundreds of natives were thoroughly sincere in their statements and I believe that they were the victims of auto-suggestion, unconsciously putting themselves into a state akin to hypnosis… Hypnosis, far from being a condition of sleep, is a condition of heightened attention.
And like the corona virus epidemic today, the Vailala Madness spread swiftly through the villages…
The phenomena of the Vailala Madness may be regarded in their collective aspect. Once begun, the madness spread with the swiftness and certainty of an epidemic throughout the coastal villages, meeting almost everywhere ready acceptance or the feeblest resistance.
Spontaneous Qi movements
This extract describes movements that sound very similar to spontaneous qi movements. For example the description of “head-he-go-round”, whereby the native’s heads would jerk quickly from side to side. Also, the movements such as “the muscles of the legs and arms would also twitch as in St. Vitus’ dance” can be observed in people with a spontaneous qi activation.
Additionally, the reference to St Vitus’s dance opens up a whole new avenue, which I will cover in another article. St Vitus’s dance takes its name from a Roman Saint in the 4th century, which legend speaks of, as being a famous healer who performed miracles. St Vitus’ dance refers to a group phenomenon which seems to draw people into a trance like dance. It occurred in Europe in the Middle Ages.
Additionally, the extract above considers that this Vailala Madness is a form of self activated hypnotism. I understand that the spontaneous qi state, is similar to a trance state, albeit it, one where you have full awareness. Alexander Brighton, who wrote a book about spontaneous qigong called ‘Zifagong‘, describes the spontaneous qi state as a ‘hypnagogic state’ – a state in-between waking and sleeping, and a state similar to hypnosis.
The author F. E. Williams gives individual accounts of people he observed affected by the Vailala Madness:
During a moonlight evening numbers of people were collecting in the open squares of the village. A young man named Mara stood on the eravo platform; he was bending, swaying and tottering, hands on hips. He continually rolled his eyes and uttered exclamations, which the onlookers said were unintelligent to them…
On the same evening another man, Mankape, was seen sitting on a verandah. He did not declaim, but moaned and shuddered continually in a way suggestive of teeth chattering.
Mankape is a much older man, of rather forbidding appearance but of mild and pleasant manners. He is popular in the village. He has a reputation as diviner, and possibly as puripuri-man (Sorcerer or medicine man). There was no suggestion of imbecility in his appearance, but he had that lined face and somewhat worried expression which may possibly be associated with puripuri or native occultism.
Lifting the energy around the Solar Plexus Centre (Chakra)?
Another extract shows a young man sounding as though he was trying to activate or raise the energy of the solar plexus centre:
A young man, Karao (of fine physique and appearance)… stood aside, stuttering and mumbling in the familiar manner suggestive of teeth chattering; he made a few symmetrical gestures with both hands, but for the most part motioned with his right hand before his solar plexus as if encouraging his stomach to rise. (Both the symmetrical gestures and the “fanning” movement before the stomach have been noted in one of two other cases).
Meanwhile he heaved long sighs, and looked genuinely distracted. Finally he moved across to the flag-pole, and stamped round and round it, shouting such phrases as – “Hurry up!” “What’s-a-matter?” “Come on boy!”…
I would interpret these actions by Karao as someone who was purposely trying to activate the spontaneos qigong by “fanning” upwards around the solar plexus energy centre. However, it sounds as though he wasn’t able to activate it, hence his frustrated exclamations of “Come on boy!” and “What’s-a-matter?”
Is the source of these Vailala movements coming from the Dantian?
These account examples were of the recognized “Head-he-go-round Men”. What was also described in this book was a subjective description of the symptoms of the Vailala Madness. One example suggests that the movements emanates from the lower belly, which equates to the Dantian field in Traditional Qigong and Chinese Medicine.
The actual feelings of the subject are not very easily understood. The common native name for the condition, Iki haveve, which means literally “Belly don’t know, ” would appear to arise from the facts (1) that the seat of the strange sensations is commonly felt to be in the belly; and (2) that the subject, when overcome by them, does not know what he is about.
The stomach is certainly regarded as the source of inspiration by those especially gifted Automaniacs who can divine; and one of them has defined to me two distinct stages of the seizure: first, iki haveve, when he is simply dizzy or ecstatic; second, iki pekakire – “Belly he think,” when the inspiration rises. Pekakire means literally, “to climb.” As for the alternative name haro heraripe, haro means head, and the word heraripe appears to indicate a whirling motion. It is usd of the wind, bea heraripe meaning a whirlwind.
Here the author shows the connection between the dantian (energy centre) with the ‘spontaneous’ movements of the Vailala madness, but also as the source of power for diviners or witch doctors.
I find it curious that the word “iki” is also a word used in Japanese, meaning ‘life‘, and which would be the source of spontaneous qigong activation.
The word “Pekakire” meaning to climb, possibly alludes to kundalini rising energy or it could be the energy rising from the dantian, maybe up the Ren Channel (Meridian) into activating a spontaneous qigong state.
The word “heraripe”, indicating a whirling movement – suggests the energetic spiral and dancing movement of the whirling dervishes. I have already written before about the spinning motion in spontaneous qigong activation here.
Consider that the dantian (the lower energy centre) is universal energy centre for all humans regardless of where they are from, what race, culture or land they are from. The dantian field is not just a theoretical construct that only the ancient Chinese knew. All humans have the dantian as their energy centre. However, as we have become more modern, civilised, and ‘educated’, we have moved away from the hara (lower belly) as being a source of focus and instead we focus on the brain. Too much yang energy above. Too much yin below, making us unbalanced.
I believe that these trance-like movements, as observed in the Vailala Madness are similar to spontaneous qigong trance states. The movements such as “Head-go-round” -where the head jerks quickly from side to side, and “the twitches of the legs and arms” are movements that can occur in spontaneous qi activation.
What I do find interesting is that the ‘Vailala madness’, (perhaps in actuality a manifestation of spontaneous qi movement), or what I would like to call the ‘sacred dance’, can actually be passed on and spread from person to person just like a viral disease.
This idea I find fascinating, particularly, as at the time of writing this, the world is in the midst of the ‘Corona pandemic’, which has a huge amount of media-driven manipulated fear, and hysteria.
Reading this extract about the Vailala Madness gives me hope because it suggests to me that spiritual awakening – can be passed on from just one single awakened person, to all those around him or her. So therefore if just one person awakens (reaches a state of enlightenment), then potentially everyone around that person, can do too.
This is the end of Part One. In my next article, I will discuss the theory put forward behind the sudden start of this mysterious phenomenon: The Imposition of Christianity and the Vailala Madness. I will also briefly consider spirit possession, or demonic possession. Again, I draw no conclusions. This is a blog post, not a peer reviewed article, so I have the leeway to go wherever I want.
Avicii and the Vailala Madness???
So what’s the Vailala madness got to do with the music star, Avicii?
Yes, it is clickbait, but there may be a connection…
Here is a curious video from Avicii, that for some reason seems to show something quite similar to how the Vailala dance, spreads from person to person.
It makes me wonder if there is a message being sent out by Avicii or at least whoever directed his videos. If you consider that many music videos these days are full of subversive/sexual symbolism and imagery, then it has got to be said that Avicii’s videos bucked the trend. Compared to them, his videos seem more positive.
Next Post –
Part Two: The Introduction of Christianity and the Vailala Madness
- 30 Day Trial of Spontaneous Qigong Practice
- Encounters with Spontaneous Qigong: Serialisation
- People who are able to set off Spontaneous Qigong Activation (Amended)
- Activating Spontaneous Qi / Shi Delon, Jason Dean videos – Message from Janne (1)
- Longevity and Yoga
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