The island is rather unsettled inland. The Spanish had it long enough to make several interesting touches in the customs and to leave many antiques of great value. Outside of this they have nothing to show but a depleted population and the establishment of the Catholic church.
It is said that at one time the language and people were very civilized. At that time there were supposed to be one hundred thousand inhabitants. These people were killed off during the great smallpox epidemic, late in the nineteenth century. There are only 15,000 natives at present.
The superstitions are intensely interesting. The “great cheese ghost” is named “Tadamona.” He is supposed to dwell on “Missionary Point” and to ramble around after midnight. He has a man shape at times and attains the height of the cocoanut trees. Again he is seen in the form of a beautiful woman. The former bring sickness and disease, and the latter good luck. Should you ask a native whether or not he has seen either of them, instead of saying “yes” he explains them and makes ambiguous remarks about him.
It is a known fact that the island at one time was a kingdom because of the “latis” sacrificial stones, and graves that have their feet to the sea. They were also cannibals at one time as the remains of several feasts are reputed to be in evidence....
Our houseboy, Jesus, was typical Chamorro. It sure was tough on him to see me depart. He was shockheaded and his skin was nearly as dark as his hair. It seems queer to me that they take the name Jesus for so many of their children. I do not think that there are over a dozen names on the whole island. The one next in abundance is “Inaquin” which is followed by “Francisco” and “Francisca.”
Their eyes are for the most part brown, though blue eyes are not infrequent. Against such a dark skin the latter shows up beautifully. To my notion, their whole appearance is ruined by their teeth. They indulge in the “betel nut” habit as do the people of the Philippines and India. This small nut is not harmful to the constitution, but it makes the lips a fiery red and the teeth a coal black. It gives you the impression that they have pyorrhea, but it cannot be so because more than four out of five have it. The women do not need rouge because of it.
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