Indian Mounds, Whistles, Birdmen, and Star Visitors
by: Brent Raynes
Some three decades ago, Dr. Greg Little’s obsession with Indian Mounds began with recurrent dreams in which he was standing on mound after mound, photographing them and studying them it seemed. Then one day, while visiting an area museum with the remains of an ancient village and mounds on the property, Greg and his wife Lora noticed an artistic reconstruction of a spider effigy that they had known was important to the mound visits.
Soon Greg and Lora’s weekends became consumed by trips to Indian Mound sites across Tennessee, in Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and as things progressed their curiosity and data base grew larger and the destinations became greater. Greg jokingly says how in the beginning of all of this that what he knew about Indian Mounds could have been scribbled on the back of a postage stamp, but soon he became obsessed with the idea of compiling an extensive encyclopedia on the subject, and by 2009 his dream came true with the publication of his massive book, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Mounds & Earthworks.
While many mounds were for burial purposes, others were doubtless used for rituals and ceremonies. Some researchers and authors have even concluded that many had been sacred places that often held unusual energetic properties. The late researcher John Burke, the author of Seed of Knowledge, Stone of Plenty, even concluded that those properties were in fact scientifically measurable. “We wondered how an ancient people without our fluxgate magnetometer, electrostatic voltmeter, and ground electrodes could have discovered such energies,” Burke explained to me. He and his colleague and co-author Kaj Halberg had tested ancient sites in England, and in North America and Central America. “But then we stumbled into a spot in the Black Hills of South Dakota that was both a geomagnetic anomaly and a vision quest site, dating from the days of Crazy Horse and his visions. That’s when we found that many sensitives, such as shamans, can sense these energies as well as our instruments.” Burke and Halberg found that such sites were again and again located atop what are known as conductivity discontinuities. “A conductivity discontinuity is simply the intersection of two zones of land, one of which conducts natural electrical ground current relatively well and the other less well,” Burke explained. “At such sites the normal daily fluctuations of the earth’s geomagnetic field are magnified several hundred percent, and with them the telluric currents that flow through the ground.” Burke told me that the Black Hills was the second largest conductivity discontinuity in the U.S. In fact, during a lunch break there, he experienced a “powerfully disorienting sensation” when he unknowingly, at the time, leaned his head back against “a highly electrified vein of quartz.”
At Albuquerque, New Mexico, on the west bank of the Rio Grande, is the Petroglyph National Monument, which consists of a 17-mile long mesa made up of volcanic rock, where there are estimated to be more than 20,000 rock carvings judged to have been created some four to seven centuries ago. Burke pointed out that anthropologists considered many of the carvings to have been “made by shamans illustrating their trance hallucinations.” He added, “I measured very powerful and extremely odd surges of electric current in the ground there,” noting that it was in fact the “largest conductivity discontinuity” site that he had measured in the U.S. During a visit there myself in August 2008, my wife and I visited this location with a medicine woman of Apache and Spanish ancestry who at one point complained of getting an electric shock when she was screwing the cap back on her plastic water bottle! A couple of days later, we were driving through the medicine woman’s childhood hometown, located in the southern San Luis Valley of Colorado, as she pointed out an area she called a “portal,” a group of three hills situated around an extinct volcano. She described how she and others had seen “disks” around the volcano, even flying impossibly straight into the side of it without leaving a trace. There had even been reported a UFO abduction there and the sighting of a “man in black.”
The medicine woman recalled climbing to the top of the volcano and looking down inside. I asked her what she saw, and she replied, “Just rock like we’d seen over there at the petroglyphs,” referring to the Albuquerque site. Naturally, I wondered what sort of readings Burke would have gotten with his instruments there. I felt that I had a pretty good idea.
“Because the sites were built over areas with high ‘magnetic aberrations’ their brain chemistry was further altered,” Dr. Greg Little explained in his book, People of the Web, regarding the ancient people who used to conduct ceremonies and rituals at mounds and other ancient earthworks. “And as they tuned themselves to the spirit world, the realm of spirit emerged at the site in a rush of experiences both mental and physical.”
Back around 1977, my wife Joan and I had discovered evidence that within certain circles of shamanic practice, sacred ceremonial mounds not only continued to be used for ritual and ceremony but were also still being constructed too, though on a lesser and not so grand a scale as those from centuries earlier. “I pray on mounds and commune with the Great Spirit and the Spirit of Mother Earth,” a Susquehannock descendant in Pennsylvania, following the ancient medicine ways of his ancestors, explained to us. He explained how at the early age of four he had been given instructions by his teachers for the construction of a tortoise shaped “prayer mound.” “I am a Turtle Clan,” he explained. “My Family Totem is a Rattlesnake.” He described how spirits would often make themselves known on these mounds. “Often they manifest to us in physical form,” he stated. “Sometimes only a voice.”
We were introduced to the Pennsylvania medicine man by an Ohio woman who was deeply steeped in all sorts of eclectic metaphysical beliefs and concepts, be they Native American or Eastern Indian. Her name was Madeline Teagle. Madeline, who proudly claimed to have about an eighth Iroquois in her ancestry, was no stranger to paranormal and spiritual experiences either. She even claimed to be in contact with a UFO being named Amana, who it seemed had a pleasing angelic type appearance! “When he appears there is generally a brilliant white tube of light first,” she explained. “Then he just seems to ‘form’ within it.” In 1990, I learned that she was constructing her own “prayer mound” at her home in Cuyahoga Falls, just outside of Akron. She wrote that it would be “just under a large pine that was the space where we first met Amana as a beautiful ball of light, lemon colored, but clear. About the size of a basketball.” She had collected some quartz crystals to be buried in it (the Pennsylvania medicine man had told us that crystals were buried inside many mounds; sometimes for healings, and even yet sometimes he said as “beacons to guide in the outer space craft.”)
In August 1993, a Native American practitioner who followed old Cherokee teachings, conducted with us a sacred fire ceremony at an ancient village site in Wayne County, Tennessee. First a small “stomping mound” was built, atop of which the sacred fire was to be burned. During the ceremony all of us gathered (coincidentally seven of us for a fire ceremony that used seven different kinds of wood) saw an odd pulsating light noiselessly shooting straight up into the night sky. The area had had a history of UFO sightings in previous years (which I had been investigating), as well as paranormal manifestations. Our Indian guide had explained how UFOs frequented his property in Alabama where he often performed his rituals and ceremonies. To him, a UFO sighting was not that unusual or unexpected during such a ceremony.
“The tradition of the Creeks is that they were part extraterrestrial,” Richard Thornton, an architect and city planner from Georgia explained to me in a recent phone conversation. A Creek Indian himself he was featured awhile back on an episode of the History Channel’s America Unearthed because of his research and belief into what he feels was an ancient Maya presence in Georgia. Of Creeks and ET’s, he adds, “What they said is that they came by craft to many town sites and landed in the squares, and after awhile they built three places. Three spiral mounds were built for stargates in which they could come and go.” Richard told me that the famed spiral mound at Macon, Georgia’s Ocmulgee site was one of the stargates. “Some of the priests of the wind clan were allowed to go where these people came from. But it was very dangerous for humans because we are a little bit different genetically. There were cases when the priests were deformed or died on the way back.”
I asked Richard if these were oral traditions or what, and he pointed out that the Creeks actually had a writing system. “That’s another thing that you don’t read about,” he said. The writing, he pointed out, was described as consisting of strange red and black letters. “We’re trying to find the original writing system of the Creeks,” he explained.
“The word ‘monster’ seems to be a combination of the words ‘mound’ and ‘star,’” author Andrew Colvin, former resident of Mound, West Virginia, and a Mothman witness himself, noted in his book The Mothman Speaks. “If you see an anomalous light around a mound, you may likely see one of these temporary monsters. In Point Pleasant, we have these munitions storage mounds. These domes are very similar to Indian mounds in shape and size. In Native lore, you could build a specific type of domed tent to call in monsters and spirits. Shamans would enter them and see into the future. Sparks were said to have flown out of the tents as the shamans accessed the psychic world. I myself have twice encountered strange creatures immediately after building a tent. Mounds and domes were said to have attracted dragons in the Middle Ages and the same appears to be true today.”
Again, in Dr. Little’s People of the Web, he describes how he believes that ancient Native American ceremonies at sacred sites did actually bring about unusual physical manifestations. This seemingly consisted of a number of supernatural appearances, like little men and the appearances of the Great Mother (comparable to our more modern Blessed Virgin Mary), and perhaps even Mothman! “Additionally, giant birds appeared in the ceremonial circle,” Little wrote. “These are similar to the West Virginia Mothman and the Phoenix that appeared to Betty Andreasson during her UFO abduction experiences.”
“In the Buddhist lore, it is said that high lamas can shape-shift into balls of light and into birdmen; they travel around that way,” Colvin explained. “People have seen them go from ball of light into birdman, and birdman into ball of light.”
Madeline Teagle described to me how she had witnessed a rain making ceremony performed by the Pennsylvania medicine man. She said that four beings appeared in the sky, one appearing “almost like a half bird, half human.”
I had the pleasure of meeting Andreasson, certainly one of the most famous UFO abductees, back on December 3, 2005, at the Association for Research and Enlightenment’s international headquarters in Virginia Beach, VA. We were both speakers at an ARE-sponsored UFO conference that day. At the conclusion of my own presentation, I passed out to people in the audience four functional replicas of the Peruvian whistling vessels, as my talk had covered psychic manifestations, altered states of consciousness, and shamanic techniques, and I wanted members of the audience to have the opportunity of possibly experiencing first-hand what such an experience could be like.
Members of the audience blew the whistles and a number of people described some pretty interesting experiences. Betty Andreasson afterwards shared with me a profound “vision” that she had that, to me, partly harkened back to an earlier hypnotically retrieved Phoenix vision that Greg Little alluded to in his book, but which contained another intriguing new element. She stated: “…it seemed like a dark mountainous and forest area. There were stone steps that led upward where there was dim light from a fire. Closer there was a ring of fire surrounding a huge conical dark stone. The fire seemed to flare up and down in places. And then I saw huge wings from what looked like an eagle in back of the stone.”
Later in a phone conversation with her daughter, Betty Andreasson was told how a friend of her daughter’s had been studying ancient symbols and that the description of the mysterious conical stone in her mother’s vision sounded like something called the omphalos. “One tradition has it that the site of Delphi was located by Zeus who, wanting to find the center of the world, released two eagles from opposite ends of the earth, and where they met was Delphi,” Andreasson explained to me in an email. “An omphalos stone was promptly erected. According to Greek historian Strabo, the images of two eagles were perched on top of the omphalos, which also means navel stone.”
Betty Andreasson was so moved by her experience that she later mailed me a very incredible drawing that she had done of this vision. (a copy is attached with this article) It still remains in a picture frame above my desk where I am now typing this. Naturally curious, I began researching the omphalos myself and learned that typically they are shaped like a beehive, although some are conical and others are egg-shaped. I read how the sacred mantra sound of OM, when intoned correctly, makes a noise similar to the humming sound of bees, and bees were associated with an ancient reputation of being the bringers of order. I learned also that priestesses at temples in Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome were referred to as Melissai or Melissae, Greek and Latin words for bees. Furthermore, the ancient Hebrew word Deborah was a name that meant bee priestess, someone who was often a prophet.
This bee connection is interesting to me as in Raymond E. Fowler’s book The Andreasson Affair, there is described Betty Andreasson’s encounters with short humanoid beings and an odd shape-shifting incident. With large catlike eyes, with only holes for noses, and ears, slit-like mouths, gloved hands with only three fingers, form-fitting dark blue uniforms, and large heads, it was in an encounter with the apparent leader, who went by a name that sounded like “Quazgaa,” that the bee element slipped into this case. He placed both of his hands on her shoulders, told her “Child, you must forget for a while,” and then he’s communicating things to her. Then his head seemed to become fuzzy looking to her, followed by the appearance of a bee-like face. Interestingly, one of his huge bee-like eyes glows white while the other was black, as two deep furrows above his eyes became quite pronounced, looking like feelers.
In a book entitled Sun Songs: Creation Myths From Around The World, edited by Raymond Van Over, I read with great interest of how in many different myths around the world the ancient gods and deities had strange eyes wherein one was appearing like the sun while the other was like the moon, and these myths came out of places like Egypt, China, India, and Sumatra. Why do these unusual mythic and archetypal elements emerge from these cases again and again?
I recall a comment someone made in the late Jim Moseley’s Saucer Smear newsletter years ago. In response to some wild sounding tales, a writer quipped, “Has the collective unconscious run amok!” One has to wonder if we’re indeed dealing with an intelligence that has been around and been with us for a very long time and is repeating certain messages or symbols, for whatever reason. Or, are people in certain profound altered states of consciousness finding themselves tapping into Jung’s collective unconscious? Or are some people producing what skeptics claim happens in reincarnation cases – cryptoamnesia (hidden memories) where a person read or heard certain specific information previously, but has forgotten, and then under hypnosis or in some sort of altered state that information gets unconsciously called up and becomes confabulated into a false memory?
A few years back (2006), we spent part of a memorable day visiting with the Little’s in Memphis (TN), whose special guest that day was British author and historian Andrew Collins. As I had the very shamanic Peruvian whistling vessels with me (seven of them) I wanted to get his take on them, as he was very well researched on shamanism. Andrew spoke to me about the importance of “bird shamanism,” Native American “bird bone whistles,” and in a global belief in the star system Cygnus as a portal to the sky world which, according to shamanic traditions, was seen as a swan, a hawk, a falcon, an eagle, etc. They perceived some sort of “Celestial Bird” or a “bird of creation” that was associated with a mysterious cosmic or primordial sound. I pointed out to Andrew how I had learned in a paper entitled The Hummingbird Clue, written by Daniel Statnekov, that an ancient Chimu statue of a man adorned with a “semi-circular headdress of gold filigree set with turquoise and jade stones” had been found. He also noted: “From each side of the headdress, next to the statue’s ears, dangle tiny hummingbirds, also made of gold.” Statnekov speculated: “Consider the sound of the hummingbird as it flies or hovers overhead: a low pulsating flutter, as if a large night butterfly, drawn to the light, beats its powdered wings against the glass. The hummingbird’s sound is unique in nature, but-interestingly-the Chimu knew how to reproduce it. Following a tradition that had existed for more than a thousand years, Chimu potters fashioned ingenius ceramic bottles that whistle when you blow into them, and when played in concert, create a sound that is most succinctly described as the low fluttering sound of a hummingbird in flight.” Later, on his website, Andrew would post: “…when using the ceramic whistling vessels people have reported hearing a sound like a hummingbird’s wings. All this I found interesting since the bird most associated with Cygnus in Nascan tradition is the hummingbird. Some researchers have actually argued that the hummingbird among the giant drawings on the Nasca Plain is aligned to Cygnus…” (http://www.andrewcollins.com/page/articles/ustrip06.htm)
Interestingly, during our whistling vessel meditation that day, four of us perceived a strange spinning vortex, and all of us saw it rotating in the same direction, which was clockwise! In addition, Andrew “saw” some strange otherworldly landscapes and what looked to him like “puma-jaguar like animals.” He got excited with the prospects of what could be achieved with these whistles. He even speculated that one might be able to remove oneself from “the normal confines of space/time” using them. “It may well be that in using this, for example, if you end up doing any controlled meditations, which might help people sometimes to actually visualize something like this and ask them to actually go into it or through it or interact with it, they could be carried to the future, the past, or they may be just carried to a different place. Almost as if by entering the vortex they could become at one with almost like a different sort of concept of space/time.” He added that “once removed into a different realm” one might be able to use it “as a vehicle” to then “fling them out, in a way, to wherever they want to go.”
Our Native American friend Wanda Dove Tice, described to us how one day back in 1986, an ordinary looking crow flew down to her from a tree, and suddenly “hovering like a hummingbird in the air” in front of her face, spoke to her about an important trip she was to make to South Dakota (which she did). Andrew Colvin, in The Mothman Photographer II, shared how there was a woman who got messages “about upcoming occurrences” from birds, a woman whose sister once “had one of the closest encounters with Mothman.”
Yup, it sure sounds like the collective unconscious has run amok….or maybe the ancient “gods” are crazy…or perhaps they’re trying to make US that way!?!