Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Singing River of Pascagoula, Mississppi

Many years ago, a tribe of Native Americans used to dwell along the Gulf of Mexico.  They were the Pascagoula tribe who dwelled along the banks of a river in what is now south eastern Mississippi.  The river is now called the Pascagoula River, named after the tribe who vanished into extinction in it's waters long ago in the early 1800s.

The Pascagoula were a peaceful people living along the river banks in harmony with nature.  They were first discovered by white settlers in 1699. Their neighbors, the Biloxi tribe did not see it the same way and viewed their neighbors as intruders into territory which they claimed belonged to them first.  The two tribes became mortal enemies.

At one point, Altama a chief of the Pascagoula tribe, secretly fell in love with a Biloxi Princess, Anola who was daughter of the chief of the Biloxi. When Anola's father learned of this forbidden love affair, he declared war on the Pascagoula.  When the Biloxi war party approached the Pascagoula village, Altama and Anola decided to take their own lives by drowning themselves in the river.  The Pascagoula people, seeing the vast Biloxi war party, knew they were outnumbered and vowed to follow their leader to their deaths.  And so they did.  After Altama and Anola took their own lives in the river, the entire tribe, singing their death song, waded into the river and drown themselves.  If there were any survivors at all, it is believed that they faded into the local Choctaw tribe or possibly even the Biloxi tribe.

Depiction of the Pascagoula drowning by William 'Bill' Steene and Joe Moran

To this day, at certain times of the year mostly during the late summer or autumn months near Pascagoula, Mississippi, a slight buzzing or humming sound can be heard rising from the Pascagoula River. It can be heard softly, but then rises in pitch until it sounds like it is all around you.  It is said that this is the death song sung by the spirits of the Pascagoula tribe who ended their existence in the river.  There have been many attempts at explaining the source of the sound, but there has been no scientific explanation found for this phenomenon.

The Pascagoula River today

1 comment: