Volume 12 1903 > Volume 12, No.3, September 1903 > Notes and queries, p 191
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- 191

[163] The Fire Walking Ceremony.

Dr. S. P. Langley, Secretary to the Smithsonian Institution, in the Annual Report of that institution for 1902, describes his experiences in Tahiti, where he witnessed the above ceremony, and gives the conclusions he arrives at, which may be briefly stated as follows: That the conductivity in the porous basaltic stones used in the oven (umu-ti) is so small, that in walking over the stones the feet do not really get so heated, as appearances would seem to warrant. Of course Dr. Langley gives his reasons at length, but we think the above fairly states his conclusions.

In Vol. XXXV. Transactions of the New Zealand Institute (1902), Mr. Robert Fulton, M.B., C.M., Edin., describes the same ceremony as witnessed by him at Bega, Fiji, on 30th June, 1902, and gives the result of his observations at some length. He arrives at practically the same conclusions as Dr. Langley. For previous references to the umu-ti, see this Journal, Vol. II, p. 105, Vol. III, p. 72, Vol. III, p. 58, 188, 269.

[164] Professor A. Agassiz's Expedition to the Pacific.

We have received from the Museum Comparative Zoology, Havard College, “Reports of the scientific results of the expedition to the Tropical Pacific in charge of Alexander Agassiz,” &c., parts 1, 2, 3, and plates 1, 2, 3. This is a work got up in the usual handsome style characteristic of American Scientific Institutions. It deals principally with the study of coral reefs, and is very interesting reading. What we wish to call special attention to is the very large number of excellent photographic illustrations, which are admirable, and very fully illustrate the characters of the coral islands, besides some of the volcanic islands. We regret to see, however, several of the native names of islands mispelled.