Where The Hell Am I? And What Am I Doing In This Handbasket?

September 6, 2005 at 8:56 pm (Uncategorized)

(PART ONE)

Welcome to WILD, WONDERFUL WEST VIRGINIA WEEK!! And I do mean, WILD.

What? Where’s the applause? I know you want the skinny on my home state. The good, the bad, the ugly, and mostly, the just plain weird.

Since I’ll be having an out-of-state visitor next month, thought I would attempt to paint my state in the very best light possible. Yeah, I got some flat land here too. Every place has its ups and downs, and being called “The Mountain State,” you can imagine we have plenty of both. By the way, that’s our nickname. Every state has one, like – The Peach State – GA, or The Sunshine State – FL.


(Photo from wvculture.org)
A little WV pre-history to get things rolling. For the past 12,500 years (maybe sooner), WV has been an inhabited land. First came the Paleo-Indians who hunted the mastadon and mammoth until the climate changed and they moved on. The Archiac Indians were next and they stuck around for about 7,000 years and somewhere along the line they became Woodlands Indians. The Woodlands Indians which inhabited this part of the WV were called the Adena Indians or moundbuilders. Indeed, there is a mound within ten miles of my house and there was one plowed under to build a high school which was even closer. Moundsville, WV, is named for the Grave Creek Mound, the largest Adena burial mound in WV. (Although it is in the northern part of the state.)

WV was at one time completely submerged in water and many fossils of seashells can be found high in the mountains. Many Indian villages can be recognized by mussel shells as the Kanawha River used to be clean and the fish didn’t glow from the toxicities spewed forth by the chemical factories in the area. You will not find mussels and clams in the Kanawha River now, although I’m told in certain areas the crawdads grow to the size of small lobsters and have two heads.

Given our rich Native American history, its quite possible wherever you build your home, you may be building it on an Indian burial ground. The Shawnee, Iroquois, and Cherokee used the Kanawha Valley as hunting ground but resisted actually living here. Something about bad spirits. There are also whispers of an ancient Native American tribe, even more ancient than the Paleo-Indians, which were a blonde-haired, blue-eyed tribe of giants, some over 8 feet tall, which were eventually ran out, killed, or assimilated into other tribes. Ahhh, the unexplained mysteries of man.

I’ve got a bit of Native American blood in me. I have at least two ancestors on my Mom’s side, and one on my Dad’s who were Native American. Its presumed they were either Cherokee, Shawnee, Creek, or all the above.

In the Appalachians, many claim Native American ancestry, and its probably one of the many explanations for WV/Appalachian folklore, rich in ghost sightings, the Mothman, and other unexplained phenomena, including the Braxton County Monster, the Lady in White, banshees, and other fabulous things about my home state and its people.

As T-Bird and I would say, “Get in, sit down, shut up, and hold on.”

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