Eric Christopherson wrote:

>> Mahalek are not a stable fixture of Tokana life (not every village has
>> a mahalek in residence).  Instead, they pop up from time to time, often
>> attracting large groups of fanatical followers.  Mahalek are viewed
>> by the Tokana as a highly disruptive, but also highly natural, part of
>> life.  Tokana folktales are full of stories about the exploits of
>> particularly mad or powerful mahalek.
>Reminds me of the Native American berdache, and also the supposed
>messiahs throughout Jewish history (and more recent cult leaders). Were
>there ever any mahalek that left lasting impressions on the culture?

I'm sure there were, but I can't remember any examples right now
(read: I haven't invented any examples yet).

>Also, does this culture live in the same "reality" as we do, but in a
>different time, or are they in a different "reality"?

Good question.  They appear to occupy a parallel timeline, one which
diverged from our own shortly after the invention of agriculture.  In other
words, so long ago that there is no overlap between the cultures and
societies that developed in their world and those that developed in ours -
although in all other respects they are recognisably human, and the planet
they occupy is recognisably Earth.  I.e., our world and theirs share the
same natural history and geological history, but almost entirely different
human histories (at least for the last 5000 years or so).


Matt Pearson
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UCLA Linguistics Department
405 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1543