One of the reasons I enjoy researching and writing about haunted history is that inevitably the truth is always a great deal more fascinating and stranger than fiction. In the U.S., many tend to write about the history of the past couple hundred of years on this land, yet truth be told, the natives have lived here for perhaps thousands of years and their history is rich with tradition and spiritual tales.
With a rich history reaching back more than one thousand years, the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy–the Mohawk, the Oneida, the Onondaga, the Cayuga, the Seneca, and the Tuscarora–are considered to be the most avid storytellers on earth with a collection of tales so vast it would dwarf those of any other society. Covering nearly the whole of New York State from the Hudson and Mohawk River Valleys westward across the Finger Lakes region to Niagara Falls and Salamanca, this mystical culture’s supernatural tradition is the psychic bedrock of the Northeast, yet their treasury of tales and beliefs is largely unknown and their most powerful sacred sites unrecognized.
Assembling the lore and beliefs of this guarded spiritual legacy, authors Michael Bastine and Mason Winfield share the stories they have collected of both historic and contemporary encounters with beings and places of Iroquois legend: shapeshifting witches, strange forest creatures, ethereal lights, vampire zombies, cursed areas, dark magicians, talking animals, enchanted masks, and haunted hills, roads, and battlefields as well as accounts of miraculous healings by medicine people such as Mad Bear and Ted Williams.
Grounding their tales with a history of the Haundenosaunee, the People of the Long House, the authors show how the supernatural beings, places, and customs of the Iroquois live on in contemporary paranormal experience, still surfacing as startling and sometimes inspiring reports of otherworldly creatures, haunted sites, after-death messages, and mystical visions. Providing a link with America’s oldest spiritual roots, these stories help us more deeply know the nature and super-nature around us as well as offer spiritual insights for those who can no longer hear the chants of their own ancestors.
In their book, Iroquois Supernatural: Talking Animals and Medicine People, Bastine and Winfield bring the paranormal beings and places of the Iroquois folklore tradition to life through historic and contemporary accounts of otherworldly encounters. One of my favorites can be found on page 209 called The Dale, which discusses the village of LilyDale and Cassadega Lake in New York. Other fascinating tales include:
• Recounts stories of shapeshifting witches, giant flying heads, enchanted masks, ethereal lights, talking animals, Little People, spirit-choirs, potent curses, and haunted hills, roads, and battlefields
• Includes accounts of miraculous healings by shamans and medicine people such as Mad Bear and Ted Williams
• Shows how these traditions can help one see the richness of the world and help those who have lost the chants of their own ancestors
Author Michael Bastine is an Algonquin healer, elder, and former student of famous Tuscarora medicine man Wallace “Mad Bear” Anderson and Tuscarora healer Ted Williams. Author Mason Winfield is a supernatural historian, founder of Haunted History Ghost Walks, Inc., and the author of 9 books, including Supernatural Saratoga. Both authors live near Buffalo, New York.