Thursday, April 25, 2019

Guest Post Marilyn Meredith: Spirit Wind



Coming Tomorrow: My review

Native American Legends in the Tempe Crabtree Series

Thank you so much for inviting me to appear on this wonderful blog.

I thought I’d write about some of the Indian legends I’ve woven into my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. Tempe belongs to the Yokut tribe of California’s Central Valley. Over the period of the books, she has not only learned about the many legends of her own tribe, but those of other tribes in California. Including these legends in various books, I feel has enriched the plots.

The famous Big Foot of Northern California appeared in Kindred Spirits, and while I was researching for that book I discovered the most famous legends of the Yokuts are about the Hairy Man. A pictograph of him and his family can be seen on a cave in the Painted Rock area of the Tule River Indian Reservation.  Once I learned about the Hairy Man, and saw the pictographs for myself, I knew he needed to be a part of the series and has been an important character in several books.

In other books, I’ve included the legends of the creation of the world, what the appearance of an owl means, and the howling of a dog.

The latest in the series, Spirit Wind, is set in the mountain community of Tehachapi. Anyone who has driven on Highway 58 between Bakersfield and Mojave has passed by Tehachapi. The hillsides are covered with a multitude of huge wind machines. However, Tehachapi is probably better known for the Loop where extremely long freight trains pass themselves as they go around a mountain. Tourists come from all around to watch this engineering phenomenon.

While doing the research for this mystery, I learned about the Kawaiisu people who first inhabited the area. Like the Yokuts, they were forced by soldiers to move on foot many miles away to Fort Tejon. When that didn’t work out, both tribes were marched back to their former homes. Many died.

One of the Kawaiisu legends is about the Rock Baby. The story was told to Tempe by Nick Two John, a friend who is also a Yokut, and this is what he said. “Watch out for Rock Baby. Many call him the spirit of doom. He painted pictures of himself. The images are said to change daily. All are warned if someone touches his likeness that person will go blind. If you hear him crying, it means something evil will happen.”

Of course, this legend is included in the story. The Rock Baby’s crying alerts Tempe to dangers awaiting her.

I feel privileged to be able to use these fascinating legends in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries.



Author Bio

Marilyn has had so many books published, she’s lost track of the count, but it’s getting near 40. She lives in a community similar to the fictional mountain town of Bear Creek, the big difference being that Bear Creek is a thousand feet higher in the mountains.
She is a member of Mystery Writers of American, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, and is a board member of Public Safety Writers of America.
Facebook URL: Marilyn Meredith
Twitter: @marilynmeredith

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