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What good and bad Ghosts turn into

The Northern Mewuk say:

The heart-spirits or Ghosts (Soo-lek'-ko) of good Indians turn into Too-koo'-le the Great Horned Owl; those of bad Indians into Et-tā’-le the Barn Owl, Yu'-kal-loo the Meadowlark, O-lā’-choo the Coyote, or Choo'-moo-yah the Gray Fox. 26 Whatever they turn into they continue to be forever—there is no change after that.

The night after the Ghost leaves the body it may come back and do harm to someone—so it is well to look out. [My informant told me that the night after his wife’s Ghost left her body it came back while he was, asleep and beat him severely.]

Note. The Tribes of Midoo stock also believe in transmigration. The No-to'-koi-yo or Northeastern Midoo say that their ghosts go into the Great Horned Owl, while the Pā’-we-nan or Southwestern Midoo say that when a person dies his spirit (oos) may go into any one of a number of things: it may turn into an Owl or Coyote, a Snake or a Lizard; it may become a Whirlwind, or it may go into the ground and become earth. Sometimes, but rarely, it goes off to a good place.


Footnotes

219:26 The Coyote and Fox are badthey kill too much and make too much trouble; good Indians do not like them. Yu'-kal-loo the Meadowlark is a bad bird; he is mean and is always saying disagreeable things.


Next: Ghosts Hide in Stumps and Whirlwinds

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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

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