Fire-Walking Ceremony, Fiji

Photograph by Luis Marden

"Of all the ceremonies I witnessed in Fiji, the most curious was the fire walking, as performed on Mbengga. I accompanied the governor of Fiji, Sir Ronald Garvey, on a visit to Mbengga.…'Talking with a small devil,' the brawny fire walkers remain secluded all night in a hut. Then, at a signal, they come out and walk across the pit of red-hot stones. Immediately their assistants throw damp leaves on the rocks. Hissing clouds of steam and the chants of performers heighten the eerie effect."—Luis Marden

National Geographic magazine, October, 1958