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Native American Spirituality Exploring Native American Spirituality, Magic and Mythology

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Old 03-22-13   #1
Atehequa

 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Somewhat surrounded by Forest
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Default Only Visitors

Whenever camping, no matter where, we are always respectful to all natural life as well as any local spirits and supernatural beings whether while visiting an area familiar to us, or a strange place we've never camped at before. Upon arrival and through the duration of our stay we are concerned with both appeasement and protection regarding forest spirits and those of streams, rivers and lakes. It is better to know we are only visitors and humbly ask them to be friendly hosts.

Along time ago I was told that many of these spirits and supernatural beings, which by the way to me have a thin line betwixt them, who dwell in wild places sometimes visited by humans are rather fond of the smell black walnut gives off while burning in a campfire. Therefore we appease them by burning black walnut in our fire and upon the first evening at camp, not but it is burned upon the start. Only later when the flames die down a bit, do we add oak any other good hardwood fuel. We've also taken to leave tobacco offerings in very small beaded deerskin pouches. Sometimes strings of beads are hung upon bark and branches of trees. The local spirits usually seemed quite please to notice we have at least made an effort. The same holds true with the supernatural little people.

Never a good idea to disrespect these small human-like beings by offering no presents to them while visiting a place they inhabit. Tales of these little people are told by nearly all tribes, especially those of the eastern woodlands. Known by many names by almost just as many tribes such as the *Waymahtahkuneese, Wemategunis, Memegwesi, Paissa, Nikommo and Puckwudgie by Algonquian people. Yunwi-Tsunsdi and Nunnehi are known by the Iroquoian Cherokee. Eastern Siouans such as the Catawba and Occoneechee called them Yehasuri. Tribes of little people, some helpful, some mischievous, some both, while others are none too friendly and sometimes very dangerous to humans. Many years ago, an old Chickahominy man told me when he was young, a group of little grey men between 2 and 3’ tall were looking down at him from a high bank of the Chickahominy River. He said they wore clothing and carried small barbed pointed spears or harpoons. Although the old man’s language is for the most part forgotten, he told me they were little marsh people. Rarely seen at daylight, they are active between dusk and dawn. These little grey are said to live near the rivers and marshes where they prey upon beaver, muskrat, roosting waterfowl and fish. They are also said to be excellent swimmers.

In all my time out in the wilds, I have thought to have caught sight of something that could of either been a little person or perhaps some natural creature mistaken as such. We have thought they have visited our camp at night, made off with some cheap metal eating utensils and tied a length of spare cord into many weird knots. We dared not untie it.

Last edited by Atehequa; 03-23-13 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 03-23-13   #2
Atehequa

 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Somewhat surrounded by Forest
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Although I inquired where he encountered those little grey people, the old Chickahominy man would not impart such information perhaps out of respect for the small ones, or a concern for my safety.

As a curious young man at the time, I canoed up and down the lower reaches of the Chickahominy River attempting to catch a glimpse of those little grey people he saw back in the 1920s. Nothing. Not even when I took to hiking long stretches upon the banks.

Perhaps those little marsh people have moved further upstream to the swampland. Hard to even get a canoe up there.

Some years ago, while we camped beside the Shenandoah, my wife and I looked for whatever could be found in the dirt, exposed by earlier flood waters. She squatted down and plucked this out of the yellow-brown soil -



A tiny projectile point knapped from yellow jasper, smaller than any bird points I've come across.

Did some tribe of little people once live upon this gentle rise beside the Shenandoah River ?

That evening as dusk welcomed in the night, I looked across the valley at dark ridges and wondered if little people live in those high almost inaccessible
well wooded tangles.
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Old 03-24-13   #3
Atehequa

 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Somewhat surrounded by Forest
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All local spirits are not so hospitable.

Some years ago several of us crossed into West Virginia and set up camp at a campground beside the Greenbrier River. It was early in the camping season and there were hardly any campers, maybe a couple of camps on the other side of the campground.

Tents pitched, we had a good couple of hours fishing and with late afternoon not far from dusk it was time to make our fire, prepare supper and revel a bit in this beautiful stretch of valley. With offerings made and our first fire of black walnut burning, we assumed everything was going to be alright.

Drinking some particularly good ale, passing the pipe and playing poker, the beauty and peacefulness of this location came up often in our conversations, that is until we had a visit from what we thought was an opossum. It stopped short of coming close to where we sat, but was near enough to see it was different from any possum any of us had ever saw. It had no fur from the neck up, only wrinkled pale grey skin, huge dark eyes that reflected our camp light and a mouth, agape, full of sharp teeth. What body fur it had was much darker and bigger than any possum Iíve seen. It began issuing a wheezing hissing sound which was enough to freak us out and one of our party banged metal pots together until it unnaturally backed out of camp into the brush. Some of us are firm believers that loud noises frighten away evil spirits.

One of our party dismissed this creature as a possum with some kind of disease. Others however well knew that some spirits can take the shape of both animals and humans, but often not completely, or sometimes monstrous imitations.

Later when evening turned into the dark of night we could hear a wailing sound coming from a short distance upstream. Wailing weird enough to raise hackles and we all had an overly eerie feeling that something not so good was very near. Experienced woodsmen, we knew this sound did not come from an owl, bobcat, fox, or any other familiar nocturnal creature. It didnít take long for us to decide that leaving this place would be wise. We packed it all up and headed back over the state line where a new camp was made near the Jackson River.
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