Homegrown Hauntings

WHAT’S PLAYING: All American RejectsGives You Hell

Since it is October, I thought I’d share tales of a few monsters from Choctaw lore that never failed to scare the ever-loving-shit-crap out of me when I was a kid.

1. Shampe – A giant, foul-smelling beast that lives in the deepest parts of the woods, some believe the Shampe followed the Choctaw on their long migration from the West. Often described as part vampire, part wendigo, and part Sasquatch, they are nocturnal monsters that can’t stand sunshine or fresh air. These vampire beasts are attracted by the smell of blood and will often stalk hunters carrying fresh kills. They do not have very good vision, but posses a keen sense of smell. They can track any person or animal for miles.

Wendigo_II

There are two ways to tell if a Shampe is near. One is the foul smell, a scent so terrible that many have died from its odor. The other is the whistling noise they make as they stalk their prey. Once this beast has caught your scent, your only hope is to drop a dead or wounded animal and pray that the smell of fresh blood will draw the Shampe away from your trail. Then run as far and as fast as you can.

2. Hattak Chito “Big Man” – A huge, manlike beast similar to Sasquatch that lives in the swamps or tangled creek bottoms. Covered in coarse grey or brown hair, this creature has long arms and a stooped walk that appears shambling but is deceptively speedy. Legend has it that the Hattak Chito was once a slave to an evil conjurer called Ohoyotubbi “Woman Killer,” who would use the beast to terrorize anyone who angered him. On one occasion, Ohoyotubbi became angry with a farmer that lived near his home on the Little River and sent the manbeast to kill the farmer’s cattle. In retaliation, the farmer and his sons crept to Ohoyotubbi’s home the next night and set it afire, destroying the witchman. Since then, the manbeast has continued to live in the Boklawa area.

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He tries to avoid people, but some reported sightings have occurred as late as 1979. It is said in legend that should you meet the manbeast and are frightened, he will run away from you. But, if you meet him and are not afraid, he will become your slave and serve you as he once served Ohoyotubbi.

3. Na Lusa Chito “Big Black Thing” – The ancient Choctaw’s counterpart to Satan or the Devil, the Na Lusa Chito, or soul eater, is the cause of depression. If you allow evil thoughts to enter your mind, the Na Lusa Chito will creep inside you and eat your soul, barring your way to the Happy Land where Choctaws enjoy life after death.

depression_lost

Thus it became a practice that, after an Oklan dies, his name was never again mentioned aloud by any member of his family or any of his friends for fear that the soul eater might discover that he was dead and devour his soul. Also, a wife never refers to her husband by name. In conversation, he is “My Husband,” and perhaps later will become “My Son’s Father.”

The Times, They Are A ‘Changing

WHAT’S PLAYING: Placebo “Running up that Hill”

Last month, I learned that my nuclear power plant would not be taking on new fuel next year, so by late 2014, the doors will shut for good and I’ll be out of a job.

monkey surprise

As you can imagine, my gut reaction was pure panic. “But I just bought a new car! I have a five-year plan! I’M NOT READY!”

And then I went to my crazy place.

I started coming up with scenarios that would allow me to survive in a nuclear power free world. You name it, I thought of it. Everything from selling my teeth to going off the grid and wearing nothing but blue gingham and ass-less chaps. By the end the day, I was mentally fashioning the spear I would use to hunt rats for food.

A couple of days later, I decided to go on vacation. I needed time and space to calm down and gain some perspective. I attended Donal Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel Intensive and spent a fantastic week in Virginia Beach surrounded by some very talented writer and taking long, peaceful walks through the garden below:

Garden

It took some time, and a lot of soul-searching, but I finally realized that I’m in a pretty good place. Thanks to living well below my means the last 10 years, I’m financially secure with no debt, mortgage, kids or spouse to worry about. For the first time in my life, I don’t need to work. I can go anywhere and do anything I want. With this realization came a heady sense of freedom, followed immediately by overwhelming fear.

What the hell am I going to do? Take a year off and write full-time? Cast my net into the nuclear power river and see who bites? Raise ocelots? Start a business selling toupees for bald chimps?

Or maybe, just maybe, stop obsessing about the future and just live my life? 

I don’t know. But one thing I have decided is that as soon as my job has officially ended, I’m going to Ireland for a month. There, I’ll spend my time with just a laptop, my thoughts, and a view like this one. 

irish cottage

Who knew unemployment could be so beautiful?

Happy Native American Day!

WHAT’S PLAYING: Jessie JDo it Like a Dude

Yes, I know it’s not a Federal Holiday, but it should be. Besides, it’s my blog and I’ll post what I want to, thank you very much.

So, go out and hug a random American Indian today.

 

native american day

 

And then run away before they punch you in the face or call the police.

Stories from my Grandfather – The Tale of the Wind Horse (Part 2) as told by Tipi Pinti

WHAT’S PLAYING: Emeli SandéNext to Me

 

(Continued from Monday, August 26)

As they traveled, Wind Horse listened to the Boy’s hopes that someday he would run with the leaves that blew across the ground. He felt the Boy’s yearning for someone to love. Yet who could ever care for a nameless, little Boy with a bad leg?

As he listened, love for the Boy grew in his heart, and Wind Horse knew that this would be his last rider. He nuzzled the Boy with affection and slowed down, for the end of their journey was near.

1-searching-for-the-sun-resized

The Boy looked up and saw the home of those who had gone before. He realized that this journey was the last one he would ever make, and trembled with fear. But as Wind Horse finally stopped, the Boy realized that all his wounds, hunger, need, and hurt were gone. And since Wind Horse made no move to leave, the Boy knew that at last, he had found the companion he had wished for all his life.

As Wind Horse and the Boy walked into their new world, the Choctaw felt great sadness. Even though they did not know what was happening, they felt the last Wind Horse pass from this world to the next, and wept with grief.  

 native-amercian-horse-2

Wind Horse heard their cries of despair, but he had made his last journey. He knew that with the passing of many suns and moons, they would soon forget him and his race. He prayed to the Great Spirit to send a reminder of him to the Choctaw to comfort them.  

And, that is how horses came to us as gifts from the Great Spirit and the last Wind Horse.

Stories from my Grandfather – The Tale of the Wind Horse (Part 1) as told by Tipi Pinti

WHAT’S PLAYING: Fun. feat. Janelle Monáe “We Are Young”

Once upon a time, when Day and Night were still deciding who comes first, there lived a horse—the fastest and gentlest of all Indian ponies—called Wind Horse, and his kind will never be seen in the world again.

The story begins this way:

storytellertribestars

 

One day, when Wind Horse was feeling good from being free, he heard a cry for help. He ran to the edge of the forest and found a little boy who had gotten his foot caught in a bear trap. The child had managed to free himself but could not move, for the trap had crushed his foot. The Boy, who had no name, could not believe such a beautiful horse would come to him as a friend. He gave thanks to the Great Spirit and prepared himself for death.

Knowing the wound was fatal, Wind Horse bent to let the boy get on his back, so he could take him to the Sacred Hunting Ground, where he would no longer know pain, fear, or need. The thought of one so young going to the Sacred Hunting Ground made Wind Horse sad, but he did not want the boy to suffer.

 

wild mustangs

The Boy clung to Wind Horse’s back, the pain in his foot forgotten. All his life he had lived alone, for his parents were dead and no one else wanted him. Riding Wind Horse, he felt whole, as though he had finally found a family. They rode through time out of mind, the trail shifting to reflect the Boy’s life. The Boy saw himself caught in the bear trap, alone and weeping. Then the scenery changed and he saw himself smiling and happy with his parents. Soon, they travelled back to before the boy was born ad he didn’t recognize anything. As his life passed by, the Boy clutched Wind Horse tighter, frightened by what awaited them at their journey’s end.

Wind Horse was the last of a great race of horses who could share the feelings of their riders. He had never allowed anyone to ride him for too long, for once a bond was forged it could not be broken. He knew that if he continued this run, he would never again be free.

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming up on Wednesday!