Richard Thornton | Jun 3, 2017 | 15
Who were the witches of Talking Rock Creek?
It is perhaps the strangest passage in all of the De Soto Chronicles. Some of the Spaniards understood the leaders of Kusa to say that there was much gold to the southeast of the town. It could be reached by following the creek, which separated the town of the elite from the town of the commoners. De Soto dispatched a company of men, led by Native guides, to follow Talking Rock Creek to its source.
Indeed, there was much gold in them thar hills, but the Spaniards never got there. Three hundred years later a 92 pound gold nugget would be found in the Cartacay River Valley.
The exploration party reached the foot of a mountain range. Not too far to the south of there is today located the Big Canoe Community. Talking Rock Creek cascades down the mountain in a series of waterfalls. However, the Native guides refused to go any further. They said that there were witches living on the mountain above. Something made normally fearless Spaniards believe them. The exploration returned to Kusa, empty-handed.
This is the only text in the De Soto Chronicles, which mentions witches. What did the Native guides mean by “witches.” Well . . . the Spaniards had only been living on rocky hill above Kusa for a few days. There is no way that their hosts could have learned Spanish that well to know the words, brujo or bruja. . . male/female witch. Their guides must have drawn an image on the ground and then used sign language to say, “No way Jose . . . we ain’t going up there!”
Instead of the guides sketching a picture on the ground, could it have been some form of frightening display that marked the boundary of the witches’ territory? But why would either the Kusa warriors or the Spanish be frightened by that? Surely by then they had passed through numerous territorial markers, meant to scare away trespassers.
The Great Sun of Kusa had at least 3,000 men of military age living in his metropolis. His army had already conquered a fiefdom 400 miles long. What possible weapons could these strange beings living in the mountains have that could defeat his entire army? You know that if there was an enemy living 12 miles east of the Kusa capital, this army would have long since wiped it out . . . if it could.
For that matter, the Spaniards had all manner of frightening weapons . . . firearms, crossbows, lances, swords and halberds . . . probably an attack dog or two came along. Why would they also be frightened? They had so far, devastated any Native army that tried to oppose them . . . but the chronicles say “witches,” not Indians. I can think of nothing in the world of 1540 AD that could have stopped both the Kusa warriors and Spanish conquistadors . . . literally in their path.
In this world . . . hmm? Several years ago, I was chatting with a nurse from Dahlonega. She told me that she would never ever drive the highway from Dahlonega to Talking Rock at night. She said that while passing through the Dawson Forest, just east of Big Canoe, her headlight caught three humanoid beings standing on the side of the road. They were greenish colored with scales and reptilian heads. She said that later she was told that that the top secret government compound in the Dawson Forest with fencing around it like Jurassic Park, is not a former testing site for nuclear rocket engines, but actually the living quarters and Earth Base for extraterrestrial reptilian beings. They were coming and going in these mountains before the white man came.
Ah-h-h-h . . . probably this nurse was tripping out on those little white pills that doctors like to give patients . . . but then . . . Nah, couldn’t be.
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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history.Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.
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