Monday, November 06, 2006


30 Days, 30 Gods -- A study of little-known religions



In secret, many New Englanders worship the the sailing god Napauru.

Napauru was a Carribean sailor who came to the region on a whaling boat around 1819. The ship he'd been on was hit with a string of bad events until they took him on board; their luck immediately reversed when Napauru joined the crew. The ship's captain was on his last voyage and took on Napauru as a good-luck-charm-slash-adopted-son. Napauru was introduced to New England high society and stories of his ability to swing fortune spread. In partnership with the retired captain, and later on his own, Napauru toured the region, supported by donations from patrons and the sale of small carved likenesses.

His largest shrine is in New Bedford, MA, located in a secret sub-basement of the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Suspected adherents to this religion include Herman Melville, John Singer Sargant, and Frederick Law Olmsted. Original idols, believed to have been carved by Napauru himself, are treasured family heirlooms and can sell at secret auction for tens of thousands of dollars.


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