Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Man Mound Commemoration Event - August 9th, 2008

For those that know anything of my talks about the "Mound Builder Myth" or the effigy mounds that I have traveled around the country to see, you can imagine how I felt when I opened the mail this morning and received a flier and invitation to the Man Mound Commemoration Event in Sauk County, Wisconsin in a couple of weeks...

"Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the preservation of the Man Mound in Sauk County, Wisconsin and highlighting the importance of this unique Native American Effigy Mound.

Man Mound is believed to be the best preserved man-shaped Native American effigy mound remaining in the United States. In 1907 efforts by founding members of the fledgling Sauk County Historical Society along with the Wisconsin Archeological Society and the Wisconsin Federation of Women's Clubs were successful in saving Man Mound from
the farmer's plow. The park was dedicated in August of 1908.

Plans are underway not only to commemorate this significant Native American artifact, but also to initiate an archeological study of the mound, focusing on its importance to Sauk County and the state of Wisconsin. Importantly, we hope to engage both public and private groups in establishing a best practices plan of stewardship to preserve Man Mound for generations to come.

The 100 year commemoration of Man Mound Park will be held on August 9,2008, from 10 a.m.12 p.m. at Man Mound Park. Speakers will include representatives of the Sauk County Historical Society, Wisconsin Historical Society, Ho-Chunk Nation, Wisconsin Archeological Society, Wisconsin Archeological Survey and the General Federation of Women's Clubs - Wisconsin.

The mission of the Sauk County Historical Society is to preserve, protect, and share the rich history of Sauk County. As stewards of Man Mound, we feel privileged to address the importance of effigy mounds in Wisconsin." ~ Sauk County Historical Society


The Man Mound is quite a place and I was lucky enough to visit it twice to date.

The first time Susan and I had no idea how to get to it as the book we were reading was quite vague. As a result we stopped at an ice cream stand (my favorite place to get directions...) Inside, there was a high school band fundraiser going on so that there was alot of parents and kids and obviously they looked at us (tourists) and wanted to know where we were from, etc....They were incredibly nice people we thought and so it wasn't long before we asked one of the "moms" for directions to the Man Mound...

Side Note: Have you ever watched one of those shows where someone says something and at that moment the crowd freezes, there is a noise like someone just scratched a record into a dead stop, and they feel immediately as if they have suddenly grown three heads? Well, that was us at that moment....

The mom finally asked us why would want to go there, and we said we were studying the mounds up there....She then went off into the crowd and brought back a gentleman who gave us directions.

We got our ice cream and walked out to the parking lot. Just as we were getting into the car, the mom yelled out the door. "Pray to the Indians!" and we just looked at her and I said something like, "WHAT?????"

Anyway - - we finally did get there after driving through miles and miles of pastures and farmland...and even though we thought we were up there in the middle of nowhere with only the cows across the road where the Man Mound's feet once were, another car pulled in right behind us...

Strangely, before we could even get out of the car these two took off their sandals and started rolling around on the Man Mound's chest.

NOW if you know me, you know that patience is not one of my strongest points...I had come thousands of miles to see this mound and to video tape my experience there only to have two "hippies" rolling around on it seemingly doing a "new wave" fertility dance of some sort.

Only making matters worse was the fact that the the mound was thick with mosquitoes, and it was hot as all heck!

So when you look at the following page and you watch the video at the bottom there, you will see as it begins that I am actually looking over at the mound as I am swatting mosquitoes and waiting for the hippies to leave....(they did after they did a perfect somersault between the horns on the mound's head by the way...) You actually even hear the car pull away...

As you can see by the video, the mound really captivated me even after all of the distractions that had occurred...

In fact, I can't help but think that this mound is a man with cat-like features (earth/water - spirit - panther? - yes they had varied names like that....) because of the so-called horns that resemble cat's ears and the hands and feet resembling paws.... To me a man taking on the earth spirit ..... in other words a shaman trained in ways of the earth medicines, such as medicinal plants, herbs, agriculture, minerals, and so on. Of course this is only my theory.....no science...just thoughts pieced together...

And if I am right...this mound at Devil's Lake (also in Baraboo, Wisconsin) would be his opposite...The Bird Man Mound:


By the way - - the bird man shows up in PA as well- this is an image of the Safe Harbor petroglyphs that our own Ellsworth Cowles helped the state save before a new dam would have submerged them forever... Here is where the petroglyphs were located..(thousands of miles away from the mounds in Wisconsin!

Anyway - - the birdman in Wisconsin seems to look JUST like the Bird man of PA.....hmmmmmmm.... Somewhere I believe I also have a picture that is eerily a copycat of the the man mound in a petroglyph in PA but have yet to find it again...stay tuned!

You see, there are hundreds of bird mounds in Wisconsin...mostly referred to as "Thunderbirds" -(and these are represented on the Safe Harbor petroglyphs as well btw..) but they don't have human legs on them...For this reason, I tend to think that again this was a mound dedicated to another shaman, a person....from what I understand, but this one would have been trained in "sky spirit" medicine such as lightning, rain and so on but also other things like mental disorders and dreams.

Together the sky and earth spirits were believed to be opposing forces and bitter enemies....In fact you can read more about this in the following article:


With any luck I will be able to talk to someone from one of the speakers from the great Ho-Chunk nation (that is said to be the ones whose ancestors created thousands of these mounds not only in Wisconsin but across several states in that region) about all this stuff that I have read here and there and hopefully understand what they believe the mounds were made for and for whom when I attend this ceremony on August 9th. Wish me luck.

You can count on the fact that I will be reporting whatever my experience is when I return!

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