Monsters and caricatures: spirit possession in Tana Toraja


School of Social and Political Studies, Social Anthropology, The University of Edinburgh, Adam Ferguson Building, George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9LL, UK.


Focusing on a specific healing ritual, this article explores the efficacy of spirit possession in Tana Toraja. Framed in terms of indigenous exegesis, this exploration centres on the link between spirit possession and death, which manifests an intrinsic connection between spirit possession and sacrifice. In articulating this connection, the article foregrounds the body of the healer and attempts to explicate its ‘monstrous’ potency.