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Who Is The Mysterious American God Called John Frum?

If one were to visit the remote Pacific island village of Lamakara today, one would likely encounter natives performing bizarre rituals in homemade U.S. military outfits with large American flags flying over bamboo huts. The unusual display worships American materialism and honors a mysterious and mythical messiah they call John Frum: a still unidentified American who is said to have first appeared on the island in the late 1930’s. A figure who many believe is more spirit than man, Frum is a hero to the island people of Tanna. Many claim to have seen or known him, island lore says that he still lives at the top of the smoldering volcano, which they call [quote] “John Frum’s House,” and many of the locals worship him to this day.

According to one village elder interviewed by Smithsonian Magazine, John Frum promised the island people that he would [quote] “bring planeloads and shiploads of cargo to us from America if we pray to him. Radios, TVs, trucks, boats, watches, iceboxes, medicine, Coca-Cola and many other wonderful things.” Yet, despite the assertion that the mysterious American is [quote] “even more powerful than Jesus,” there is scant evidence that John Frum is still alive today, let alone that he ever existed to begin with…

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