We were deep in the jungle in Papua New Guinea. Silently danced the Mud Men warriors towards us with cat soft moves. Suddenly they pull their bows and aimed at us with the arrows. Our hearts beat, and for a while we stopped breathing......
The Mud Men emerged from the jungle as evil looking spirits. This was a powerful psychological tactic to frighten and to undermine their enemies will to fight.
For centuries, the 'Mud Men' of Western Highlands, Papua New Guinea, adorned themselves in clay masks and bamboo finger spears to raid other villages for their women and pigs.
The masks have different origin stories from the late 1800s. Some say they stem from the villagers' desire to intimidate enemies with their macabre appearances.
Psychological warfare has been practised since prehistoric times. Famous military commandors as Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan have achieved great success with using various tactics, and so have the Asaro Mud Men. While they campaigned their enemies, they weared clay masks with fearsome facial expressions.
Members of Papua New Guinea's Mud Men clan can still be found in Waghi Valley, in the country's highlands.
Naked apart from a leafed thong covering their genitals each warrior was covered in thick grey clay, a heavy, almost demonic, clay mask on their head.
With their their macabre appearances they attacked and defeated their enemies.
Read the full article on our global travelguide Travel Explorations.
Stein Morten Lund, 14th September 2012