Do YOU Believe?
The Mississippi Archaeology Association held its annual meeting on February 17-19, 2017. A couple of months ago, I discovered that history lovers like me could pay a small membership fee and be a part of excavations around the state. It was an exciting idea since my formal education in English and Art History did not include Archaeology. So I decided to join the association because I absolutely love history and secretly wish that I was Indiana Jones.
As the event neared, I became increasingly excited about hanging out with the friends of Indiana Jones. A roomful of archaeologists. People who study ancient cultures and dig up bones. It all seemed so cool, but I began to wonder about the ancient cultures and what might have been their superstitions or religious beliefs. Had they placed a curse upon any person who disturbs their grave? Would death certainly come to those guilty of the desecration of a dead man’s bed?
I enjoyed my time in the Archaeology museum on the campus of Mississippi State University, but I learned so much more at the lecture series the following day. Several professors, archaeologists, and graduate students participated in presentations that included intriguing finds all across the state. The people of ancient Mississippi were an indigenous culture of hunters. Nowadays, we never see a black bear or a cougar, but hundreds of years ago, these animals were common and plentiful in the region. The Native Americans treasured the black bear’s paws and often used the claw in jewelry making. Over the years, burial sites have been unearthed to find the skeletal remains of an Indian who once lived in a hut that stood over the site of their grave. Artifacts such as pottery, jewelry, and weaponry have been found beneath the soil surrounding former Native American villages, but as I listened to the speakers discussing these historic archaeological digs, images of a supernatural and superstitious culture filled my mind.
During a ten-minute break, I walked over to the snack table and began pouring myself a cup of coffee when I was joined by an archaeologist who claimed to have experienced the supernatural during some of his digs. He mentioned that the weather always seemed to turn volatile when a gravesite was disturbed. Often times, the rain would delay the excavation for days after unearthing human remains. One such event occurred after “rainmakers” were found by a group of kids who began to play and dance with the ancient rattles. Little did they know, they were literally “drumming” up a storm.
Remember the curse of King Tutankhamun? The opening of the Egyptian king’s tomb was reportedly the cause of several deaths. Although the alleged curse was considered nothing more than superstition to scientists, there are numerous accounts of disaster, bad luck, and even death that has struck after an ancient burial ground has been disturbed. Superstitions abound and warnings all demand the same adherence. “Never, ever build on land that is an ancient burial ground or suffer the consequences of the curse!” The same seems to go for digging up the past. Better leave it alone. And if you dig it up, you better put it back the way you found it!
Before the final presentation of the day, I wandered through the room searching for the Director of the Chickasaw Archaeology. (The Chickasaw Nation once inhabited the hills of North Mississippi) I was eager to speak with him because I wanted to tell him about the land that I currently live on. I’ve lived here for more than five years and recently discovered that the site was once a Native American village. Upon learning this, I concluded that the land’s history was the explanation that I had been seeking for a long time. It’s not unusual for me to live in haunted locations. I seem to find them no matter where I move. But this house was not old. And no one had died here. At least, not that I knew of.
I found Dr. Lieb and quickly introduced myself. We talked for a few minutes about the area in North Mississippi and the ghostly sightings that had been reported. As I continued to tell him about my experiences and the sighting of the white wolf, the director’s eyes grew large and he replied, “That’s not the first time that someone has reported these things.”
I gasped and stepped back. Unbelievable. And what about the apparition of the woman walking across the highway near the airport? For years, I had heard that Indian artifacts had been unearthed during a construction project there until the director informed me that something much more sacred had been found in the area. I listened intently, holding my breath with anticipation as I heard him say, “The body of an Indian woman was unearthed in the location you are speaking about.”
A chill crawled from the bottom of my heels to the top of my head like fingernails raking across my body as I began to realize exactly where I was living. And why did my kids keep finding mounds of mussel shells near our yard? According to the friends of Indiana Jones, the natives had many feasts here, and my house was situated close to the “trash mound”. Could my house be situated over a native’s final resting place? Could that be the reason that I continue to experience paranormal phenomena here? Maybe so, but I will probably NEVER have the courage to disturb an ancient grave and risk suffering the consequences of its supernatural curse. Although I admire archaeologists and their work, I will admit that living with a ghost is one thing. Getting rid of an ancient curse? Better call your local shaman.
Suggested reading~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_the_pharaohs
Additional pictures from the annual meeting of
The Mississippi Association of Archaeology.