A Battle In The Air

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

In the country about Tishomingo, Indian Territory, troubles are foretold

by a battle of unseen men in the air. Whenever the sound of conflict is

heard it is an indication that many dead will lie in the fields, for it

heralds battle, starvation, or pestilence. The powerful nation that lived

here once was completely annihilated by an opposing tribe, and in the

valley in the western part of the Territory there are mounds where
r /> hundreds of men lie buried. Spirits occupy the valley, and to the eyes of

the red men they are still seen, at times, continuing the fight.

In May, 1892, the last demonstration was made in the hearing of John

Willis, a United States marshal, who was hunting horse-thieves. He was

belated one night and entered the vale of mounds, for he had no scruples

against sleeping there. He had not, in fact, ever heard that the region

was haunted. The snorting of his horse in the middle of the night awoke

him and he sprang to his feet, thinking that savages, outlaws, or, at

least, coyotes had disturbed the animal. Although there was a good moon,

he could see nothing moving on the plain. Yet the sounds that filled the

air were like the noise of an army, only a trifle subdued, as if they

were borne on the passing of a wind. The rush of hoofs and of feet, the

striking of blows, the fall of bodies could be heard, and for nearly an

hour these fell rumors went across the earth. At last the horse became so

frantic that Willis saddled him and rode away, and as he reached the edge

of the valley the sounds were heard going into the distance. Not until he

reached a settlement did he learn of the spell that rested on the place.