The South Pacific "Cargo Cult"-Still Extant?

I read once of a very curious phenomenon, seen in certain areas of the south Pacific Islands (places that were once bases for American forces in WWII). Basically, the natives remember a time (the War) when starnge white men came, bringing food, airplanes, trucks and jeeps, and countless luxuries never seen before. The natives also noticed that the American soldiers would construct long paved areas (landing strips), after which big metal birds would descend from the skies, bringingall this good stuff (the “cargo”). Anyway, long afetr the War, the natives tried to lure the cargo-bearing big birds from the sky-by building rudimentary landing strips (sometimes with little “control towers”). Are these stories true? One would think that by now, 61 years since the end of the war, the people till remeber this. Also, given that their attempst to lure cargo, why would these persist with this strange behavior?

The Last Cargo Cult

Yes, they are true, and pathetic for a variety of reasons due to the human condition.

Another, often-forgotten, part of the religion is the tendency to give snails tiny little cars with an S painted on the side.

It’s always the dumb jokes that catch you by surprise

The cargo cult mentality has also given rise to a popular local practical joke whereby some natives hide behind trees and leap out at unexpected moments to shout, “Supplies!”.

It is worth noting that Cults who do this always carve their snail autos in the form of Nissans, Toyotas or Subarus. :smiley:

Great link, thanks.

Another article, from the February 2006 Smithsonian about cargo cults.