A blog Post sent to me by writer Mark Davis
“He will come back to us one day bringing all manner of goods cars coke a cola chewing gum refrigerators”. In the island nation of vanuatu there is an island called Tanna and on this island there is a cult, the cult of John Frum. Legend has it that John Frum is a US service man who came to free the local population from the missionaries and to restore the traditional way of life known as kastom for the islanders. He came down from the volcano one night from out of the mist and its told that he uses the volcano to travel from america to the island, so legend has it. They say he told them to throw their money into the sea, take off the white mans clothes and go back to drinking the local narcotic drink made from kava roots. The cult which started in the late 1930 was the result of the rules and laws imposed on the islanders by the missionaries and the french and British governments who jointly ruled the nation at the time, it was later reinforced by the events on the islands during the second world war first by the arrival of the Japanese then by the Americans. Who did indeed bring much wealth and material goods to the islands at the time and despite several attempts to put the cult down by putting it’s leaders in jail it still remained. The local tribesmen cut landing strips into the jungle and erected control towers made of wood and rope in the hope of coaxing down the planes that carried the goods, they also built bamboo docs in anticipation of the cargo ships John Frum would bring to them. It is known by anthropologists as a cargo cult and cargo cults were once very common in this part of the world. But now the heydays of the cargo cults are coming to an end because of disillusionment in the promises of the never arriving cargo. But still it lives to this day in a place know as sulphur bay. Every Friday hundreds of locals gather, the men drink the narcotic drink kava which is made by chewing the kava roots into a pulp and straining the pulp through cloth this, must be done by young boys who have never touched a woman so the resulting drink stays pure. the women walk around in trances healing the sick and murmuring prophecies. They play home made guitars and ukuleles and sing of John Frum. This ceremony goes on all night until dawn the next day. He will return to us one day and bring many thing to make us happy they say.