Native Sightings (UFOs, Sky Beings, and Spirits), Black Rock Big Foot

Be respectful of the animals...  Spirit sightings on the Black Rock Desert, Black Rock Desert Big Foot,

Gerlach Spirit Sighting

    There is a small little butte just beyond the Gerlach Hot Springs.A teenager at the time, I enjoyed taking our golden lab, Rusty, out there. We'd sit up on that butte, Rusty and I, and watch dust devils twist across the Black Rock.  Mostly undisturbed.  The hot springs.are about a half a mile away and the road that curved around the playa toward California, is not heavily traveled now, and was even less so then.
    One morning Rusty and I assumed our usual seats.  He leaning against my side, and me just letting all that beauty flood my senses. It was quiet.  The wind had shifted so not even the 
occasional sounds from Gerlach reached us.  After a bit, Rusty got up and walked away.  It disturbed me enough so that I turned to see what had caught his attention.
    Rusty was approaching the largest cougar I had ever seen.  Other sightings I'd glimpsed of this species didn't match the size of this cougar.    Rusty, a large example of his breed, looked small next to that cat.  I caught my breath and just watched.  Rusty didn't bark, he didn't snarl.  He walked straight up to that cat, touched noses with it and simply stood there.  The cat touched Rusty's nose then turned his golden eyes on me.  That look went straight though to my soul and held.  I think I stopped breathing.  The cat stepped back, flicked that long tail at us and vanished.  I mean vanished!
    Years later I told this story to an elder.  He peered at me for a long moment, laughed and told me, "That was not a cougar.  It was a spirit being.  Your dog knew, if you did not."

Why Coyotes

    After I posted the pieces about spirit animals, I was asked, "Why coyotes?"
    I thought about it for a bit, then decided my knowledge might not be sufficient.  So, I contacted one of my elders and asked him.
    He laughed when I asked.  "They are more like us than any other animal.  So close, that they might be brothers in an animal skin.  Because they are so close, they understand us.  They can tolerate us."
    He hesitated for a moment.  "Indian people believe differently than whites.  We believe that when we die we have a lot of choice in how we spend the afterlife.  We can come back here especially if there is a person or an animal that is close to us and will let us come.  Coyotes often allow this."
    I thought back to the story.  "Two?  The woman who told me her story said it was a man and his wife in coyote form."
    He shrugged, "Could be one, could be two, or more.  Depends on the people and the reason they came back.  Some come back just to visit.  Some come back because they need to tell somebody something, finish something.  Some come just because they can."
    "She said it's not a good idea to shoot or fight with spirits."
    My friend laughter, "She's right.  Just makes them mad.  They don't like to feel death again."
    He turned and stared out my kitchen window.  I didn't say anything .  I knew he'd speak when he was ready.
        "When they're mad they cause trouble.  Most of the time they don't stay mad for a long time.  But, if they're angry enough, they can mess with somebody their whole life.  You never know.  Best not to anger them.  Best to stay away from them."

Black Rock Desert-Big Foot, and other Creatures

White people haven't been here long enough. Add to that that they are  increasingly cocooned in their machines, listening to sounds from other machines.  They could be in New York City instead of the Black Rock for all the difference it makes.  
     A few do stop and step out into the desert air.  They breath deeply as though the act of breathing could swallow up the desert.  Somehow internalize it.  They don't stay outside for long, a few minutes, a half an hour or so, and they're back in their metal cocoon whizzing down the road satisfied that they have experienced the desert.
     Living on it as native peoples have is a whole different universe.  They experience the energy of the place directly, they breath it, they touch it, it  hums through every fiber of their bodies.  When they walk across  it they see things the rest of us cannot.  That plant is good to eat, don''t touch that one, there are rabbits here, good healthy rabbits, good to eat.  And they see more than these material things.  Much more.  Not surprising on the Black Rock.
     It is a large amazing place.  The people experience it now as a desert, their far back grandfathers experienced it as a lake with mammoths grazing on its shores.  The animals may have gone extinct, but they are remembered.  Stories about unusual creatures flowed down the generations.
    There is another element to all of this.  Those grandfathers experienced far more than the abundance of creatures the lake changing to desert had,  they experienced other.  Other intelligences, other beings, things not so common to every day life but still there.  They told stories about these things as well.  Giants dwelled in part of the desert, large creatures modern people call Big Foots, tiny beings that were much like them only smaller, and spirits,whole realms of others.
     Anthropologists have recorded and catalogued many of these beings.  Using their science as a means of containing them.  I can hear the grandfathers laughing.  When you are  out on the Black Rock, really out there, how an academic indexes a creature means nothing.  The grandfathers knew that spirits and some of these "others" could be as deadly as the most venomous of material creatures.  Ignorance is no  protection.  Far better to remember the story, and the wisdom it contains, and live. 

 Coyote Beings


    A native friend of mine lives up in a canyon a little bit away from a small town.  She has animals, horses, a few cows, and dogs.  One of her dogs is particularly hers.  She takes care of him, brushes him, and checks him for cheat grass heads.  A common task for dog lovers in the northern desert.  One early evening, just at sunset, she was outside brushing her dog while her son brought in the animals for the night.  A normal routine for both of them.  Under her hands her dog became particularly still and stared up at some rocks above their home.
    Above them, staring down at them was a large coyote.  She called him a "Mister Coyote."  He had that look of authority.  She watched him, not moving for quite a time.
    Her son, curious, came to her side. "I'll go get the rifle."  Like any good stockman, he was worried about the coyotes attacking his animals.
    She held up her hand and shook her head.  "Just watch."
    Slowly, from behind the rocks, another coyote appeared.  This one was smaller, female, and had a distinctive limp.  It came down the hill very slowly, only once glancing back at her mate.   Closer and closer it came until it was close enough that the dog shivered.  But the dog didn't bark, it didn't try to chase that crippled coyote.
    Still brushing her dog, my friend asked her son, "Who does that coyote remind you of?
    He hesitated only a moment, "Our neighbor, the old lady with the limp, she just died.  Just a week after her husband."
    "No need for the rifle.  They won't hurt our animals. Still" she took her dog's collar and led him back to their home, "I don't want Red forgetting himself and tangling with spirits.  That's not good luck, not anymore than shooting them would be."