Monday, May 30, 2005

fallen angel

I unexpectedly found myself in a small museum of natural history tucked away into a corner of the labyrinth that they call the department of biological sciences. There were mostly stuffed animals and skeleton displays, but also a few really old microscopes and cabinets and cabinets of mounted insects. The museum was deserted, but well lit, and I spent a few minutes lazily skimming over the features of the exhibits. One wall was devoted to aboriginal artifacts and old photographs illustrating their way of life, but what really caught my attention was the crucified bat-

One settlement (known only by the local name of 'bau.uli' ) was so remote that it was virtually cut off not only from the rest of civilization, but also other settlements. Their only contact with the outside world was when Fr. William, a wandering missionary, stumbled upon the site, in a state of starvation and despair, after having lost the rest of his comrades to disease and death. He recuperated slowly in the settlement, and started preaching. But the isolation and his repeated experiments with psychoactive herbs finally drove him insane. His teaching of Christ's story became more and more garbled till unfortunately, he left behind him a strange legacy. The main feature of his twisted religion that remained in the settlement was that since Christ was a fallen angel and the only reason why He was crucified was to free him from his sin against God. Every Good Friday, the people of the settlement caught a local bat, and crucified it, in a ritualistic recreation of that event.