Legend tells of a Native American being buried up to the neck and drowned around these parts; or at least that’s the story as I’ve heard it. She was accused of speaking with the spirit of an animal thief and dragged out to the shore with no chance of telling her side of the story. They dug a hole and placed her in and said that it would be up to the spirits to spare her or take her away for her transgressions. She did not go willingly and claimed that the spirit she spoke with was simply just an ancestor of her family. The elders did not believe her and carried out the punishment. She spent three days buried, unable to move, being burned by the sun, bitten by bugs, and slowly dying of thirst. But in the early morning hours of the fourth day, it began to rain. Her first thought was of thanks, as she was able to tilt her head enough to drink some water pooling around her neck. But what she did not know is that the lake she was buried near was prone to flash flooding. In just a few hours, she found herself completely emerged under the muddy waters and succumbed to death.
She was neither the first nor the last of her tribe to meet her end in that way, but she was the only one to stay long after. And that is wear my part of this story comes into focus as I would end up having my own encounter with a spirit on the shores of the lake. I was unaware of the story, or legend by this point, of the spirit woman who haunted the area when I began spending more time fishing there. I just always appreciated the calm waters and lack of people disturbing me as I relaxed my weekends away. I almost always arrived early enough to set up and toss out a line before the sun broke over the hills surrounding the lake and that was true of the day that I had my experience with the ghost.
When I first heard that unusual gurgling sound I thought it was just some fish or other animal splashing about somewhere in the darkness. I wasn’t afraid, but just curious about what was gasping in water in such a disturbing way. I stood up out of my folding lounge chair and quickly looked through my bag for the flashlight that I used to bait my hook and set up my pole in the dark. Once I found it, I quickly turned it on and began searching the immediate area around me for any sign of whatever was gurgling and bubbling. I had been checking in the shallow part of the water since it made the most sense that whatever was making the sound had to have been doing it in the water. But I did not see anything other than a few small fish darting around in the beam of the flashlight. The sounds were getting more intense and I was feeling more and more on edge. So I began scanning the beach around me when my light finally discovered the source of the awful noises.
Even though I recognized what I was seeing, a human head that was blue tinted, bloated, and pouring water from its mouth and nose, I still was unable to really form any kind of logical reasoning or explanation for how or why I was seeing it. Had it been someone in the water fighting for air or even some kind of awful act of a murder that I discovered, I would have jumped at the chance to save the person as I consider myself a compassionate individual. But that was not my first reaction upon seeing that horrid looking head; my reaction was fear and I wanted to run as far away from it as I could.
And I did just that, leaving behind all of my equipment and even my cell phone and car keys. I ended up just sitting in the cab of my truck, trembling, and still wondering what it was I had actually just witness. But my thoughts were interrupted once again by the sounds of the woman struggling to breathe through the water in lungs. It was getting louder and more intense even though the windows to my truck were closed. I was panicking and found myself more scared and confused about was happening to me than anything else in my life up to that point. I was terrified; confused as to what was happening, full of panic, and that is when I realized that I could not breathe. It was as if I was experiencing the exact feelings that the woman had when she was first buried all those years ago.
It was with that thought that everything returned to normal and I could take a breath again. I was still shook, but no longer fearful for my life. I sat in my truck for another ten minutes or so before being calm enough to finally get back out and return to my belongings. The horrid sounds had all stopped and I could only hear the slow moving water of the lake, frogs, and birds waking up. Everything was peaceful once again, but I chose not to stay or return to that place again after that. I did, however, begin to research the area and learn about the story of the Indian woman, the spirits, and the sadness that was the end of her life.