Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hunter in the brush

Next Saturday Fall is here.  The crunchy leaves will be underfoot, and the sense of October with it's Halloween feel will be underway.

My first true ghost tale is from abt. 1976.  The bi-centennial year of America revealed to me a real witness of Native American life, not understood by a small child.  As I swung on my rope and wood swing, hanging from an old oak tree, I was carefree and enjoying an August day on my family's farm.  I soon froze in fear, as I saw a hunched over figure of a man.  He was dressed in deer skin, with antlers on his head, dark eyes, black paint on his cheeks, and slowly encroaching on something or someone in the brush.  He was looking straight at me, almost as if I was part of the hunt.  He had a bow, arrow ready.  Naked legs hung from below the skin he wore.  While he was crouched and slow, in a strange way he also seemed swift.

I sat there froze, on my swing, probably 100 feet from the figure.  I thought, maybe he didn't see me.  We were looking straight at each other, when he began to move.  I reacted with utter terror, screaming all the way to my ranch farm house, about 30 feet away, the opposite way of the hunter.  

Having just come out of that house door, I quickly grabbed the handle to go inside.  Astonished, I could not. The door was locked.  The door is never locked, my family never locks the door even when leaving for the day, but on that day, the door I had just exited from, was locked.  Hearing my screams, family members who were just finishing up their dinner, came to the door, astonished themselves that the door had been locked.  In disbelief, I described what had happened to me.  My family said little, but my father paid especially close attention to my tale.

About a week later, my father handed me a book about Native Culture, and Native American life.  He said nothing.  As my older sister and I turned the pages, I was again frozen with fear.  I called to my family, that's it, that's him!!!  It was a drawing of a Native American hunter, very similar to what I had seen just a week earlier.  He was wearing a deer skin, with antlers on it, black paint under his eyes, and crouched down in a position, stalking his prey.  The caption read that this was how some Native American hunters hunted deer, to sneak into the herd, or get close enough to them.  They were pretending themselves to be a deer, and then would kill their prey by firing an arrow at them.

I know this is what I saw.  At the time, I did not think it was a ghost, but a real person, as solid as anyone in life.  Upon reflection over the years, I have come to realize this was an apparition of the past, a window into the former world that was on my Wisconsin Dairy farm.  The hunter may have later allowed me into his world more, when, at the age of 22, I discovered a perfect white arrow head on the farm, as myself and my father hunted for deer.
Native American Hunter in Yosmite (not image I saw, but similar)
from book "Indians of the Yosmite Valley and Vicinity, Their History, Culture and Traditions" by Galen Clark
c 1904 by Galen Clark

No comments:

Post a Comment