Johnny Wulgaru aka Dread is the arch villain of the epic and sweeping Otherland series authored by Tad Williams. He is a character of consummate evil. A serial rapist and murderer. He was born with an ability to modify electronic devices through mental powers. It was an ability he nurtured and trained. He became an extremely well paid assassin, using his innate ability, his ingrained sadism, and his developed skills. In an extraordinarily pathetic climactic sequence, he becomes trapped in a gigantic computer network, living out his worst nightmares til the end of time (or until the indefinite future when someone would pull the plug on the whole deal).

All in all, not overly approachable individual.

Disclaimer: I, myself, am not a Rastafarian, nor do I profess to fully understand the complex philosophy and social structure of Rastafarianism. However, I do hold the richness of Rastafarian culture and traditions in high regard and would like to make a start at w/u-ing some of the richness to be found in, especially, the language and terminology used by Rastafarians.


The term Dread is an integral and multi-faceted part of Rastafarianism. It represents several social, religious and personal concepts in the Rastafarian religion and culture. Its richness in meaning and wide use is similar to that of other important Rastafarian concepts such as I and I and Roots.

Dread – Fear of the Lord

The term itself is not unique to Rastafarianism and most religions describe some form of reverent fear of the holy personality or force described by the religion. Rastafarianism is no different and the humbling awareness of the presence of God is often referred to simply as Dread.

Dread – I

The single term is also used to refer to a Rastafarian person (particularly a devout male) and in many cases people will add it as a title to their name, e.g. Dread Isiah. Alternatively Rastafarians may also refer to themselves as a Dread or simply Dread.

Dread Philosophy - Leonard P. Howell

Among the earliest uses, and possibly the origin of the term is as described by Jamaican liberation philosopher Leonard P. Howell (sometimes referred to as the Dread Philosopher).

Howell, a founder of Rastafarianism, developed his philosophy in the early 1930’s based on his experience of the lives of ex-slaves and rural peasants around the colonial town of St. Thomas.
There existed among these peoples a sense of loss and disillusionment at their wretched existence and the seeming impossibility of improving their lives and communities.

Howell described a ‘dreadful freedom’ which paralyzed his contemporaries but which could be used as a life force by embracing the Rastafarian culture and beliefs.
Dread Philosophy preached a return to the earth and African traditions in which Jamaicans could draw strength and direction from their roots.

Dreadlocks – Symbol of Dread

Probably the most commonly known use of the term is in Dreadlocks – the traditional hairstyle of most Rastafarians.

Dreadlocks are worn as a symbol of religious identity and separation from Western culture and, in this context, identifies the wearer as one who embraces Dread Philosophy as manifest in Rastafarianism.

Dread Talk – Holy Tool

Since the 1950’s a highly specific branch of Jamaican patois has developed and become known as Dread Talk.

Dread Talk is used as a religious and philosophical tool which uses biblical metaphors, new words and the partial inversion of words (e.g. understand becomes overstand, human becomes I-man) to create a language that emphasizes equality and the presence of the spiritual.

Dread Consciousness - Consciousness of Suffering

One of the most modern of dread concepts is Dread Consciousness - the consciousness of suffering.

Dread Consciousness is a state of mind in which personal and social suffering (physical, emotional and psychic) is seen as a necessary part of spiritual growth and maturity.

Dread (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Dreaded; p. pr. & vb. n. Dreading.] [AS. drdan, in comp.; akin to OS. dradan, OHG. tratan, both only in comp.]

To fear in a great degree; to regard, or look forward to, with terrific apprehension.

When at length the moment dreaded through so many years came close, the dark cloud passed away from Johnson's mind.


© Webster 1913.

Dread, v. i.

To be in dread, or great fear.

Dread not, neither be afraid of them.
Deut. i. 29.


© Webster 1913.

Dread, n.


Great fear in view of impending evil; fearful apprehension of danger; anticipatory terror.

The secret dread of divine displeasure.

The dread of something after death.


Reverential or respectful fear; awe.

The fear of you, and the dread of you, shall be upon every beast of the earth.
Gen. ix. 2.

His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.


An object of terrified apprehension.


A person highly revered.

[Obs.] "Una, his dear dread."



Fury; dreadfulness.




Doubt; as, out of dread.



Syn. -- Awe; fear; affright; terror; horror; dismay; apprehension. See Reverence.


© Webster 1913.

Dread, a.


Exciting great fear or apprehension; causing terror; frightful; dreadful.

A dread eternity! how surely mine.


Inspiring with reverential fear; awful' venerable; as, dread sovereign; dread majesty; dread tribunal.


© Webster 1913.

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