Indian Ghost Of Saline River
The ghost of an old Indian by the name of Takaluma is said to roam the banks of the Saline River. The ghost appeared to a cowboy camping on the riverbank on January 23, 1879. Takaluma was condemned to wander the riverbanks until he found the skull of his father, an Indian chief murdered by whitemen in the 1840’s. The skull had been exhumed from his resting place by a farmer digging in his field. The ghost emerged from its burial mound and warned of more powerful spirits who might join in the search. But the skull was never found.
From KANSAS FOLKLORE edited by SJ Sckett & William E Koch, Pg 40,41,42
Takaluma, The Phantom Indian
[Floyd Benjamin Streeter recounts the story told to him by the man who met and talked to a ghost late at night, 23 January 1879. Mr. Streeter does not identify this man, but he gives the story in the language of his informant, a cowboy. Reprinted from The Aerend, IV (Winter, 1933), 157-159.]
I am a graduate of a college of the East and am not given to indulgences of absurd fancies, and yet the experience I met with last Thursday night was so remarkable in its character that I am almost inclined to believe it an hallucination, notwithstanding it is still so vividly engraved on the tablets of my memory.
I was engaged in herding cattle by the Saline River in the northern part of Ellis County, Kansas, and on the night mentioned I was belated several miles down the Saline from my camp in Oak Canyon. Not desiring to remain away from camp over night, I urged my jaded horse along up the river until I came to the crossing below Phil Mock’s claim, when he suddenly came to a standstill and resisted every effort to induce him to move. Just then the most terrible yell that ever waked the midnight stillness of earth greeted my ears, and looking forward, in the murky gloom I beheld an apparition that chilled the very marrow of my bones. A large powerful-looking Indian—the most perfect specimen of manhood my eyes ever beheld—stood before me. To grasp my revolver and fire at the red man was but the work of an instant; but the result was the most startling shock my nervous system has ever received. The Indian stood erect, unharmed, laughed a low mocking laugh, and then in tones of purest English said: “Does the White Man think his bullet can harm the spirit of Takaluma, the great chief of Inciennes, that has wandered by this beautiful water for more than a thousand years? White Man, I have but little time to talk and I would tell you a tale of wrong and ask you to see that it is redressed.”
By this time my fear had merged into a feeling of curiosity and recklessness, and I remarked that if he desired to talk, I would dismount and build a fire. I did so, and the Phantom-Indian, or whatever it was, continued.
“If White Man would be satisfied that I am a spirit from another world, let him feel of this hand my substance.”
I did so, and as sure as the whale swallowed Jonah, my hand swept through space. Having thus satisfied myself as to the real phantom character of the form that stood before me, I told him to proceed.
“My people,” he continued, “came from the West as many suns ago as the trees of the forest have leaves. They crossed the great water when it was but a little stream between the land of Nod, where dwell the almond-eyed Chinee (heathen Chinee) whose chronology contains an account of the Great Water which destroyed all loving things, and of a fertile land beyond. My people in search of this land traveled East for many moons, until coming into this valley. Charmed with its beauty and satisfied with the abundance of game, they built their wigwams and made it their home. Soon, however, a pestilence made its appearance among them, which gathered them all to the happy hunting grounds. Their wigwams decayed and nothing remains to mark the place where once dwelt a mighty people. For years their rest was undisturbed, but a last the white man came, and with his plowshare disturbed the rest of my people.”
Just here it occurred to me that he was very familiar with the language, habits, and occupations of the white man, and I propounded a question as to how he had obtained all this store of knowledge, to which he replied that association with the spirits of other nations had advised him; his people had spoken the Hebrew language. He continued:
“A few months ago the bones of my father were exhumed and his skull carried away by a resident of this valley. Since then for an hour each night, I am compelled to wander and search for it, and I ask you to use your influence to have it returned to its resting place. Well know I the party who desecrated my father’s grave, but I have not the power to enter habitations. But should the skull not be returned before two more moons shall have waned, then woe to the robbers of the dead, for a spirit will be sent in search of it, with full power to effect an entrance anywhere. My hour is up. I must now return to the mound of my damp sepulcher. Farewell!”
It is to be hoped that the person who carried away the skull of this Indian heeded the warning and returned it so that it is not necessary for spirits to continue their prowling around on cold nights.
Story about Indian Ghost told to Virginia Slimmer by Roy Carmichael
According to a descendant of the Mocks, Roy Carmichael told my mother, Virginia Slimmer the following: “ What I remember that Roy told me, that there was a story within the Mock family that had been handed down. A cowboy/farmhand that was doing some day work for the Mock family was on the way home when there was an apparition (ghost) appeared to him and told him that for the Mock family not to plow up a pasture as it was the burial place of his ancestors. The Mock family had talked about plowing the pasture the next day. The cowboy/farmhand went back the next day and told the Mock family about what he had seen. They did not plow the pasture that day and when the cowboy/farmhand walked home that night, he again was met by the apparition, which asked him again not to plow the field. The cowboy/farmhand again told the Mock family. They made the decision not to plow the field/pasture and the ghost was not seen again.”
Note: 2004, as close as my mom & I can figure, this area has still not been worked today.