Lost Limbs Foundation

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

From the book -American Indian Ghost Stories

“In 1992, I was attending the University of Arizona in Phoenix. I was in my senior year and majoring in biology. During the summer of that same year, five seniors (including myself), four graduate students and a professor were conducting fieldwork at Theodore Roosevelt Lake. The Lake is located in the Tonto National forest, about a two-hour drive northeast of Phoenix. Our two-month study and research focused on native amphibians of the lake, specifically bullfrogs. Throughout the years, this particular species of frog had begun to change the ecology of Arizona’s lake and streams. Although the bullfrogs had increased in populations, other smaller native population of frogs was showing the beginning signs of extinction. Bullfrogs have a voracious appetite and will consume anything smaller than them, including snakes, other frogs, lizards and mice.
Our focus of study was to specifically record data...
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From the book -American Indian Ghost Stories

“In 1992, I was attending the University of Arizona in Phoenix. I was in my senior year and majoring in biology. During the summer of that same year, five seniors (including myself), four graduate students and a professor were conducting fieldwork at Theodore Roosevelt Lake. The Lake is located in the Tonto National forest, about a two-hour drive northeast of Phoenix. Our two-month study and research focused on native amphibians of the lake, specifically bullfrogs. Throughout the years, this particular species of frog had begun to change the ecology of Arizona’s lake and streams. Although the bullfrogs had increased in populations, other smaller native population of frogs was showing the beginning signs of extinction. Bullfrogs have a voracious appetite and will consume anything smaller than them, including snakes, other frogs, lizards and mice. 
     Our focus of study was to specifically record data, and to ultimately discover a link to the bullfrog population explosion.  Although I enjoyed the research fieldwork, it was wet, muddy, and smelly and I had to wade in waist-deep cold water. In order to catch the frogs, I had to dress in watertight rubber overalls. Also part of my uniform was a net laundry bag, which I tied to my belt, a pith helmet with a flashlight strapped on top, and of course a fish net attached to a six-foot pole. 
     My colleagues and I would get in the water at about eight in the evening and begin our “hunt,” which would last until around ten or so at night. We initiated a process of surprise by which we would catch these fast and alert bullfrogs by slowly wading towards a floating mass of leaves or plants. Using the light strapped to my helmet, I would scan the area until I spotted the bright telltale sign of a bullfrog’s reflecting eyes. Once spotted, I would make my way towards the frog, careful not to make any ripples and, using my fishing net, quickly catch it and place it inside the net bag tied to my belt. This system, although primitive, would bring in about ten to twenty frogs a night per student. Each pair of students had a section of lake in which to capture the frogs. After finishing our work for the night, we would drive back to the lab and place the frogs in a large stock-water tank for study the next day. Our evening captures took place three nights a week. Due to the many frogs in the area, we had enough specimens and paperwork to keep us very busy. 
     So what does capturing bullfrogs have to do with ghosts? Well, one evening during a night of bullfrog catching, something very, very strange happened to me. Another girl and I went off for the evening to do the night’s frog gathering. We went into the water at about eight in the evening. The frogs were making their croaking sounds as unusual, and we got right to work. But at about nine o’clock, I began to feel sick. My stomach was turning. I figured it was something I had eaten earlier at dinner. I decided to end the evening’s hunt and get back to my warm bed. I informed my partner that I would be taking the truck, and for her to catch a return ride to the lab with the others. “No problem,” she said. So off I drove. 
     The road was dark. I had to drive slowly due to javalinas (wild desert pigs) and other small desert animals that were out and about. It was summer, so to get fresh air; I had both the windows in the truck lowered. Suddenly, I felt something come in through the passenger side window! Something hit the right side of my body and gave me a terrible scare! I quickly put on the brakes and nervously turned on the interior truck light. That’s when I saw it—a small owl! Apparently the owl had flown across my path on the road, and mistakenly entered the truck through the open window. Well, there it was, on the floor of the truck flapping its wings with its beak wide open. I can look back now and say, that confused bird gave me a good scare! I opened my drivers’ side door and scrambled outside. I walked over to the passenger side door and opened it, to allow the owl a way out. But when I opened the door the owl was gone! Where had it gone? I carefully looked under and behind the truck seat, but there was no owl. If it had exited the truck on its own, I would have heard it, or even seen it because the dome light was still on inside the truck. 
     This was definitely a strange thing that had just occurred. The owl in my truck simply disappeared! Knowing something about animal behavior, I knew that this was not usual. Also, being an Apache gave me a cultural knowledge about such things. Traditional Apache people do not consider owls to be positive animals to be associated with. I knew this owl was not a good omen. Owls to Apaches are messengers of bad news, and even death. My parents have told me that some medicine people who do evil use the owl’s spirit in their witchcraft. 
     I quickly got back into the truck, rolled up both windows and drove at a fast speed to the cabin. I admit that at the time, I was scared being all by myself. When I entered the cabin, I went straight to the bathroom and showered. I still had the stomachache, but now I was more concerned about my recent owl incident. After making sure that all the doors in the cabin were locked, and the outside light was on, I got into bed and waited for the return of the others. After about twenty minutes, no one had returned, and I began to get worried. I got out of bed and looked out the window, and saw nothing but darkness. I thought it best to try and sleep, even though my stomach was a ball of nerves. As soon as I got back into bed, I heard the sound of footsteps in the front room. I knew there was no way someone could have entered the cabin without opening the locked door and making a sound. Something bad was definitely going on, and I was scared! 
     As I gazed from my bed at the open doorway that led into the bedroom, the footsteps stopped. Then there was silence for a few seconds. Soon I heard the voice of what sounded like a small child speaking in my Apache language, “Can I go see mama, I want to see Mama, can I go see mama?” I couldn’t stop trembling. The words were very clear, and because they were spoken in Apache, that made them even more terrifying to me. I had had enough of this, so I jumped out of the bed and, in the darkness, scrambled for the light switch on the wall. Nervously, I tripped over my own shoes, fell to the floor hitting my left shoulder, and smashed my big toe against the dresser. I was in pain. I figured my toe was broken. I managed to crawl across the floor, then find the wall with the light switch, turn it on, and crawl to the bathroom. No sooner had I entered the bathroom, I heard the sound of my fellow students’ trucks returning to the lab. I was an emotional mess. 
     I decided it would be best not to tell anyone about what had happened to me. After all, what could they say or offer me? One thing that I did need was to get some medical help for my toe. It was already swelling up when my roommate came in the door. I told her that I had fallen, and that was all. I was driven that night to the student university clinic in Phoenix, where an x-ray was taken, and I was given the good news that the toe was not broken, but I eventually lost the nail. Still it hurt quite a lot and was very bruised. Unable to do any more night wading for frogs in cold lake water, my research ended. I spent the remainder of the summer at home. Once I arrived home, I told my parents all about the experience with the owl, and the child’s ghostly voice. They told me to pray and to never again be out alone in that area. My parents could not offer an explanation regarding the owl that came into my truck, or the ghostly voice of the child. All I was told was that sometimes these “things” are forces that foretell a future event. 
     As of this date, I have not had anything happen to me that I can connect to that summer night in 1992. But, that does not mean I won’t. I’m hoping not to ever experience anything like that again. I’m not the type of person that goes looking for ghosts and things. Ghosts scare me.”
Buy the book here 
https://www.ebookit.com/books/0000000840/American-Indian-Ghost-Stories-of-the-West.html