Graciano Lisua doesn't look like someone who would get too worked up about ghosts. Yet superstition, says the broad-shouldered, barrel-chested Chomorron as he leans on his machete, is of great import for the inhabitants of the Mariana Islands.

Traditionally, it seems, the aboriginal Chomorro people believe in taotaomona — spirits of the dead that are said to occupy, and even haunt, the mountains and jungles.

"Offend them and you'll be cursed with ill fortune," he warns.