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Halloween Countdown Day 1: Spearfinger

Happy October! Let the countdown commence!

Thank you for joining me for the eleventh year of my blog-a-thon celebration of Halloween. I have some special treats for you this year, including two exclusive interviews and two giveaways, and I truly hope you'll enjoy them.

For today's spookiness, I'd like to quote from the story exhibit at the wonderful Museum of the Cherokee Indian (which I encourage everyone to visit!). Here's what the exhibit says about the Cherokee tradition regarding Spearfinger:

"Long long ago, hilahiyu, a terrible monster lived in the mountains. Her name was Spearfinger, Utlvda, because she had a long, sharp, stony forefinger of bone like an awl. She used to stab people and scoop out their livers -- her favorite food. She had a thick stony skin, but the scariest thing about her was that she could change her appearance to look like your grandmother, or someone in your family. When she got close to her victim, she could stab him, scoop out his liver, and eat it without him even noticing. A few days later he would get sick and die.

"Finally the Cherokees held a council to decide how to get rid of her before she killed everyone. They dug a deep pit, and covered it over with brush and grass. Soon Spearfinger came along the trail, looking like someone's granny, and fell in the pit. Then she changed into the monster that she was, and all their arrows just bounced off her stony hide.

"The titmouse, utsugi, sat on a branch and sang, and the warriors thought it was saying 'heart, heart.' They aimed at her heart, but their arrows and spears bounced off and broke. This is why they say now the titmouse is a liar.

"Then the chickadee, tsikilili, flew down and lit on Spearfinger's right hand, where she kept her heart clenched in her fist. The warriors shot at that, hit her hand, and killed her. Ever since, the chickadee is known as a truth teller."



( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 1st, 2016 12:14 pm (UTC)
Happy October! And ooh, what a good October-type story to start with! *shudders* Thank you!
Oct. 1st, 2016 11:32 pm (UTC)
Happy October to you, too! :D I'm so glad you enjoyed this. It gives me a shudder, so I had to share.
Oct. 1st, 2016 12:55 pm (UTC)
Well done, Amy! We are so thrilled about your Halloween Countdown each year! Let the madness begin!

Oct. 1st, 2016 11:32 pm (UTC)
Yay! Thank you! What's a little (or a lot of) madness among friends, right? *wink*
Oct. 1st, 2016 01:45 pm (UTC)
Happy October to you as well! The story is wonderfully creepy and the drawing even more so! This is a great beginning for the frights of the month. Thank you for the goosebumps :)
Oct. 1st, 2016 11:33 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm always happy to share goosebumps. :) I look forward to celebrating October with you!
Jessica O'Brien
Oct. 1st, 2016 01:59 pm (UTC)
Looking forward to this month-long journey with you!
Oct. 1st, 2016 11:33 pm (UTC)
Re: October!
Yay! Thank you for sharing it with me. :)
Oct. 1st, 2016 02:41 pm (UTC)
I've been looking forward to this! Happy October!
Oct. 1st, 2016 11:34 pm (UTC)
Woohoo! Thank you. Happy October to you, too!
Abbie Culbertson
Oct. 1st, 2016 04:41 pm (UTC)
Oh that is absolutely terrifying! What a wonderfully creepy tale.
Oct. 1st, 2016 11:36 pm (UTC)
Yay! Happy October to you, too! I'm so tickled you liked this.
Oct. 1st, 2016 07:15 pm (UTC)
We visited Cherokee when we were kids; would like to visit again.

My friend, the late Tom Deitz, put Spearfinger in one of his David Sullivan novels; those are a fantasy series set in the North GA mountains with Cherokee legends and the High Elves from the British isles, some of whom had immigrated to North America. Very good books!

I dreamed as a kid of a witch who would poke me--what a nightmare! Obviously an archetype!
Oct. 1st, 2016 11:24 pm (UTC)
Aw, I'm sad to hear Tom is gone. I loved his books back in the 80s & 90s.
Oct. 2nd, 2016 02:34 am (UTC)
Sadly, yes. Here's the wiki article on him:


We try to keep his legacy alive!

Oct. 2nd, 2016 12:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for this! Clearly I need to read Tom Deitz's work. It sounds marvelous. I am so sorry about the loss of your friend.

The Unto These Hills production in Cherokee has been completely revamped and is now performed in a new theater. If you go back to visit sometime, it's very much worth attending!

It does seem to be an archetype, doesn't it? Cue the cold chills!
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 2nd, 2016 12:19 pm (UTC)
Woohoo! :) Happy October!
Oct. 1st, 2016 11:15 pm (UTC)
Yay! I love your Halloween countdown.

Have you seen the New England Folklore blog? It's right up your alley! http://newenglandfolklore.blogspot.com/
Oct. 2nd, 2016 12:20 pm (UTC)
Yay! Thank you so much, my friend.

Ooh, this blog does indeed look right up my alley. Thank you for putting it on my radar! *bounces in glee*
Oct. 3rd, 2016 12:55 pm (UTC)
I seem to recall Spearfinger being a monster in the Deadlands Weird West RPG.
Oct. 3rd, 2016 07:56 pm (UTC)
I love it!
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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