Ghost Stories and Legends

September 12th, 2013 2:38pm

There is a local ghost story most Phoenicians’ do not know about. But was so widely talked about back in the late 1800’s that the New York Times wrote a story on it.  It is still said today that you can see the Squaw sitting at the entrance to the cave.

The Weird Sentinel at Squaw Peak  (now known as Piestewa Peak)

There is a cave under the highest butte of Squaw Peak range, Arizona, Where a party of Tonto Indians was found by white men in 1868. The white men were on the war-path, and when the Tonto fell into their hands they shot them unhesitatingly, firing into the dark recesses of the cavern, the fitful but fast-recurring flashes of their rifles illuminating the interior and exposing to view the objects of their hatred.

The massacre, the cries and groans were hushed, the hunters strode away, and over the mountains fell the calm that for thousands of years had not been so rudely broken. That night, when the moon shone into this pit of death, a corpse arose, walked to a rock just with the entrance, and took there its everlasting seat.

Long afterward a man who did not know its story entered this place, when he was confronted by a thing, as he called it, that glared so fearfully upon him that he fled in an ecstasy of terror. Two prospectors subsequently attempted to explore the cave, but the entrance was barred by "the thing." They gave one glance at the torn face, the bulging eyes turned sidewise at them, the yellow fangs, the long hair, the spreading claws, the livid, mouldy flesh, and rushed away. A Western newspaper, recounting their adventure, said that one of the men declared that there was not money enough in Maricopa County to pay him to go there again, while the other had never stopped running -- at least, he had not returned to his usual haunts since "the thing" looked at him. Still, it is haunted country all about here. The souls of the Mojave roam upon Ghost Mountain, and the "bad men's hunting-grounds" of the Yuma and Navajo are over in the volcanic country of Sonora. It is, therefore, no unusual thing to find signs and wonders in broad daylight.


The Legend of Spider Rock

Spider Rock stands guard with an awe for the beauty and majestic dignity of nature, in Canyon De Chelly National Park. Long ago, the Dine (Navajo) Indian tribe named it Spider Rock.

For many centuries the Dine lived in these cliffs where they built caves, most of the caves where located high above the canyon floor, protecting them from enemies and flash floods.

At the time of creation, it is said when the Dine emerged from the third world into this fourth world, that Spider Woman possessed supernatural power.

Dine children heard of warnings of Spider Woman, if they did not behave themselves Spider Woman would drop down her web-ladder to carry them up to her home and devour them! They were also told that on top of Spider Rock was the white of sun bleached bones of children who did not behave!

It is told, that one day a young Dine was hunting in the canyon, when he saw an enemy who chased him farther into the canyon. As he ran the Dine looked for a place in which to hide or escape through.

When directly in front of him stood the giant obelisk-like Spider Rock. What could he do? He knew it was too difficult for him to climb. He was near exhaustion. Suddenly, before his eyes he saw a silken cord hanging down from the top of the rock tower.

The Dine youth grasped the magic cord. Quickly he tied it around his waist, for it seemed strong enough. With its help he climbed the tall tower, escaping from his enemy who then gave up the chase.

When the peaceful Dine reached the top, he stretched out to rest. There he discovered a most pleasant place with eagle's eggs to eat and the night's dew to drink.

Imagine to his surprise when he learned that his rescuer was Spider Woman! She told him how she had seen him and his predicament. She showed him how she made her strong web-cord and anchored one end of it to a point of rock. She showed him how she let down the rest of her web-cord to help him to climb the rugged Spider Rock.

Later, when the young Dine felt assured that his enemy was gone, he thanked Spider Woman warmly and he safely descended to the canyon floor by using her magic cord. He ran home as fast as he could run, reporting to his tribe how his life was saved by Spider Woman!


Sources: The Weird Sentinel at Squaw Peak

The Legend of Spider Rock; editing done by Lydia Brown


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