Painting by Mark Hallett © 1988

the Wanderling

Throughout most history and almost all cultures there has been tales, stories, and legends of giant birds. I have heard many of the stories myself, although in real life, except for the incident as a young boy I mention at the bottom of the page that transpired under somewhat mitigating circumstances, the largest living flying bird I ever saw personally (as an adult) was a California Condor with a wingspan of around nine feet. I have seen, and many times over because I have found myself going back and looking at it again and again ever since my Uncle took me there as a kid, the skeleton of the Teratorn found in and now on display at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California. When alive that particular bird had a wingspan somewhere between fourteen to sixteen feet.

There continues to be reports of huge birds and flying creatures being sighted around the country to this day, such as the sightings of Thunderbirds Over Illinois, giant avians from Native American lore that rode the winds and updrafts ahead of moving storms to the so-called Cloud Dragons over Texas, reputed to be fifty-foot wingspan pterosaurs. However physical evidence of those sightings, from photos, to footprints, to feathers, is usually not forthcoming. There is evidence in the fossil record of the huge pterosaurs as well as giant feathered birds capable of flying with wingspans as large as twenty-five feet, and, in relation to the birds, not necessarily that far back in time. As reported in the article presented below by David Rhys the feather size from such a bird is estimated to have been 1.5 meters long (60 inches); and 20 centimeters wide (8 inches). Such a size would make the feather at least five feet long, similar in length to the one described as coming from the American southwest in The Boy and the Giant Feather.

In the flood plain of the Willamette Valley near Portland, Oregon at a place called Mill Creek Park a large bone was found that the excavators first identified as the leg bone of an elk. However, further examination revealed it to be the upper wing bone of a bird. The size of the bone meant that the wing span of the bird would had to have been well over twelve feet, and probably closer to fourteen to sixteen feet. Other recovered elements include both quadrates and other cranial bones, partial dentaries, partial sternum and other partial post-cranial bones, and a series of cervical and thoracic vertebrae. Given the size of the bones even the giant condor was small compared to this specimen.

Bird humerus originally thought to be a leg bone of an
elk, measured against a six-inch rule.- Click image for
larger view as well as additional supportive evidence.

Archeologist Alison Stenger, the project leader at the evacuation site, took the bones to the La Brea Tar Pits and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to compare them to their collection of bird skeletons. They identified the bones as that of a Teratorn. These large birds had very large wing spans, and, though they could weigh over 170 pounds, they could still fly. A similar Teratorn specimen found in Argentina has the largest wingspan of any known bird, at over twenty-four feet.

Finding a bird bone in such good condition is of particular significance because bird bones don't usually last as long as mammal bones. In order to fly, birds need to be as light as possible, and their bones are usually very thin and fragile. The bones of a horse or bear need to be strong to carry the weight of these large animals, so they are more likely to survive predation, deposit, and burial.

A partial humerus (wing bone) of a Teratorn was discovered by San Bernardino County Museum paleontologists near Murrieta, Riverside County, California.

The discovery was made by Quintin Lake, senior field paleontologist for the San Bernardino County Museum. The fossil was described by Kathleen B. Springer, Senior Curator of Geological Sciences, and Eric Scott, Curator of Paleontology, also of the San Bernardino County Museum, working closely with fossil bird expert Kenneth E. Campbell of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The new find was announced in a Smithsonian Institution publication, "Avian Paleontology at the Close of the 20th Century."

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The fossil from Murrieta suggests a wingspan of at least eighteen feet. Besides the Murrieta site, scattered and fragmentary fossils of the Teratorn have been discovered in many places throughout the desert-southwest, including Nevada, the Anza-Borrego Desert in California, and the Arizona Strip.(see) Also, beyond the the desert and Oregon as cited above, Teratorn remains have been found as far east as the state of Florida. Recently the former presence of California Condors in upper New York state was confirmed by Richard Laub of the Buffalo Museum of Science and David Stedman of the New York State Museum. The condor bones were found in an Ice Age layer at the Hiscock Site in Genessee County, New York, and, until the fossils were discovered, it was believed that the condors closest habitat was in Florida. Fossil bird bones, a rare find on similar sites, are abundant on the Hiscock Site. About 30 species of birds have been found, many of them extinct or no longer found in Western New York. In that the Teratorn and Condor seemed to have shared similiar haunts elsewhere it can be presumed that Teratorns ranged as far northeast as present day New York as well. (see)

Scott added, echoing a similar tone to one of the paragraph above, "Fossils of large animals from Murrieta are usually from extinct mammals — mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, large horses and other animals of that size. Birds are very rare because their bones are thin and fragile and don’t often preserve well. Quintin’s fossil is most unusual in that context. We’re glad he has such good eyes!"

The specimen has been cataloged into the collections of the San Bernardino County Museum where it will be preserved for future study. A variety of fossils from southern California, including fossils from Murrieta, are presently on exhibit at the Museum.

Taxonomy and Nomenclature

  • Teratorns originally placed in family of Vultures (Cathartidae) because of hooked beak and condor-like skeleton of Teratornis merriami (Miller 1909)
  • In 1981 and 1983 Campbell suggested T. merriami was not a vulture or a scavenger, but an active predator capable of hunting and walking with features common to both storks and vultures as well as unique features of neither group.
  • In 1999, Campbell revised the taxonomy of T. incredibilis and placed it in a new genus, Ailornis.
  • In 2007, paleontologists said Argentavis and other teratorns are related to storks (Ciconiidae) and New World vultures (Vulturidae) and belonged in the order Ciconiiformes with other long-legged wading/walking/soaring birds. (Chatterjee et al 2007)
    • Much current discussion about which modern and fossil birds belong in this order, considering recent genetic studies.

Evolutionary History

  • An ancestral teratorn (Argentavis magnificens) known from Miocene rocks (about 6 million years old) in Argentina (Campbell & Tonni 1980)
    • Teratorns probably originated in South America.
  • Ailornis incredibilis (known previously as Teratornis incredibilis) fossils found from 3-4 million years ago to about 20,000 years ago; this long time span suggests Ailornis is actually more than one species. (Campbell et al 1999)
  • Cathartornis gracilis is known from only two leg bones at Late Pleistocene La Brea deposits; it may not be distinct from T. merriami. (Campbell & Tonni 1983)
  • Oldest North American records for T. merriami are from the Anza-Borrego Desert in California from Pliocene and Pleistocene rocks. (Howard 1963, 1972). Also over 100 specimens from Late Pleistocene California's Rancho La Brea asphalt deposits.
  • No members of the teratorn family survived Pleistocene times; they have been extinct for at least 10,000 years.

The article below appeared in Bioscience, December 1980:

Argentine scientists' have unearthed the fossil remains of what Seems to be the world's largest known flying bird, Argentavis magnificens. With a wingspan of 25 feet, the bird measured' 11 feet from beak to tail, and weighed in at l60 to 170 lbs. Its first wing bone, the humerus, was approximately 22 inches long.

Paleontologists Kenneth E. Campbell and Eduardo P. Tonni identified the fossil remains at Argentina's La Plata Museum. Working with leg, wing, and skull bones, Campbell and Tonni, have tentatively concluded that the enormous bird probably did more soaring than flapping. They admit that it seems initially unlikely that a bird of that size could even get off the ground, but believe that the size of the wing bones and their markings indicate that Argenravis magnificens did fly. "It has the right size wing bones, and it has the markings on the wing bones of secondaries, a type of flight feathers," Campbell said. "It's unlikely that a bird would have feathers and wing bones suitable for flight if it didn't fly."

In the past, there have been larger birds and larger flying animals, but no larger flying birds. Pterosaurs, giant flying reptiles, were the biggest creatures to take off; one pterosaur found in Texas had a wingspan of 30 to 33 feet. The largest previously known flying birds were the North American Teratorn with a wingspan of sixteen feet.

Based on his studies of another teratorn fossil, Teratornis merriami (the skeleton above), Campbell believes that the teratorns were predators. "The long, narrow hooked beak and the type of jaw mechanism found in this species are similar to those that would be expected of a bird that grabbed small animals with its beak and swallowed them whole," he said.

Copyright 1991, Laura Cunningham

The next article is from the Geoscience Research Institute, Origins 7(2):87-88 (1980), by David Rhys.

Recently the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum displayed parts of a skeleton of the biggest known bird that ever flew. Looming over the entrance hall, a black silhouette of Argentavis magnificens spans its wings over 8 m and stands 3.5 m from tip of tail to end of beak. This is almost twice the size of Teratornis merriami which, until now, had been considered the largest size to which flying avians could evolve. Argentavis magnificens (new genus and species) has now wrested the title of "World's largest flying bird" from Osteodotornis orri, the gigantic marine bird from the Miocene of California.

E. Tonni and R. Pascual of the National Museum of La Plata, Argentina, uncovered the fossil remains of A. magnificens from the banks of Salinas Grandes de Hidalgo in the Argentine province of La Pampa, 400 miles SW of Buenos Aires. Their collection included portions of the skull, the coracoid, the left humerus (incomplete), a portion of the ulna and right radius, the right tibiotarsus, one end of metacarpal II, a portion of metacarpal III, and a shaft of right tarsometatarsus.

Systematics: Order. Accipitriformes
Family. Teratornithidae
New genus and species. Argentavis magnificens
Etymology: Greek teretos (wonder) and ornis (bird)
Latin argentum (silver) and avis (bird)

This discovery did not come to the attention of the international scientific world until K. E. Campbell, curator of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum and specialist in teratorns of Rancho La Brea, visited La Plata's Museum and with Tonni began a detailed study of the collected fossils. Their results have now been published by the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum.

The fossils were found in Argentina's central plain which is characterized by a flat, semi-arid topography, an open grassland with an abundance of fossil herbivorous animals. A large number were rodents on which the A. magnificens is thought to have fed. This latter supposition is based on studies of jaw articulation in comparison with recent similar birds. It is further supposed that the heads were not naked as are those of vultures, but covered with feathers.

The large wing size would limit this bird to more open areas, as maneuverability around trees and shrubs would seem difficult. Feather size is estimated to have been 1.5 meters long (60 inches); and 20 centimeters wide (8 inches). It is not presently known if this Teratorn actively flew by flapping its wings or if it mostly soared as do present-day condors.

Further expeditions are planned to Argentina to search for additional fossils of this most magnificent bird.

© 1980 Geoscience Research Institute. All rights reserved.

On Wednesday October 16, 2002, in an article published in the Anchorage Daily News, and also picked up by the wire services, reported "a giant winged creature like something out of Jurassic Park" sighted several times in Southwest Alaska. A pilot that spotted the creature while flying passengers to Manokotak, Alaska, calculated its wingspan matched the length of a wing on one side of his Cessna 207, about 14 feet. Other people have put the wingspan in a similar range.

The Associated Press passed on much of the same story stating: "Villagers in Togiak and Manokotak say the huge bird has a wingspan of about 14-feet -- the size of a small plane." Reported as well was a sighting that occurred the previous Thursday, October 10, 2002, when a 43 year-old heavy equipment operator named Moses Coupchiak saw the bird flying toward him from about two miles away as he worked his tractor. "At first I thought it was one of those old-time Otter planes," Coupchiak was quoted as saying. "Instead of continuing toward me, it banked to the left, and that's when I noticed it wasn't a plane."

The actual related articles by the news services and newspapers have since come down due to the length in time since the reported incident occurred, however reproductions and facsimiles (many with personal comments and updates) have shown up all over the net and can easily be found by going to the Google search engine. They can also be linked through by clicking HERE.

As to the question have I seen or come into contact with a bird of such large size that it would require a feather as big as the one I mention, I cannot answer with all certainty. However, the following may add some insight as to IF and why of the possible uncertainty:

One day as a young boy I wandered off into the desert unescorted. When my uncle found me missing he went searching for me. Years later he told me the distance I traveled that day, from the point I started to the location he found me, was way to far for me to have covered given the time, especially considering the level of my own abilities, the terrain, heat of the day, etc. He told me he had tracked me some distance quite clearly, then my tracks suddenly just ended as though I had disappeared into thin air. Knowing I didn't have a large supply of water or any at all he continued to look in areas he thought I might seek out and just happened across me --- many, many miles from where he had last seen my tracks. How I got there he couldn't say with any amount of certainty. However, he told me, and he kept it a secret from his wife even to the point of burning my shirt, that my shirt below both shoulders as well as part way down the back and along my sleeves were punctured in spots and appeared to have what he called grip marks on them. So too, my skin had red abrasions almost like minor scratches as though my arms had been clutched by something. He told me he was sure I had been carried off and if he hadn't happened across me I may had been carried off even further, maybe even never to be found.

In that my uncle was not able to get me to tell him verbally --- OR I was unable or unwilling to put into words my experience of what happened that day --- my uncle suggested I sit down and draw whatever pictures came to mind that related to the event. All of those drawings are long gone as are any finite memories of same, except for one. I remember it clearly as if only yesterday because of the striking comparison my uncle made between one of my drawings and an ink and watercolor drawing by Leonardo Da Vinci. They were nearly identical, desert landscape and all. The major exception was that where Leonardo's drawing depicted a lake with a shape similar to a bird, my drawing, although having a similar shape, was instead, a SHADOW of a giant bird.

Leonardo Da Vinci: Bird's-Eye View of a Landscape. 1502.
Pen, ink and watercolor on paper. Windsor Castle, Windsor, UK

In an incident that happened some years before the above I had only been with my grandmother a short time when I went shopping all day long in town along her daughter (my mother's sister, otherwise known as an aunt) and her daughter's two children (otherwise known as first cousins). Returning at the end of the day we pulled up in front of the garage and I got out of the car opening the two side-by-side wooden garage doors. There, only a few steps from where I stood, right in front of me on the garage floor in the glare of the headlights, in a slowly expanding pool of blood, was what was left of the husband of my mother's sister. The whole back of his head blown out from the blast of a double barrel shotgun he had stuck in his mouth.

With everything in a major turmoil with adults screaming. kids crying, and cops and ambulances all over the place, not knowing how it was done or by who, I ended up somehow in bed that night. The next morning, although I personally wasn't very high up on anyone's priority list considering the circumstances, it was eventually discovered I was not only not with any of the cousins, I was nowhere to be found. Weeks, possibly months went by when my grandmother was contacted by a sheriff from a department in a distant desert community saying they had found me, that I was OK, and basically all she had to do except for some minor paperwork, was to come and get me.

Apparently the night of the shooting a neighbor who was trying to help found me walking around my aunt's property in some kind of a semi-dazed state and without consulting anybody, under her own initiative, carried me into one of my cousin's bedrooms and covered me on the bed fully clothed and in the confusion all but forgotten. The next morning, miles, and miles away from where I had been the night before, I was found wandering out in the middle of the desert by an old desert prospector, with no idea who I was or how I got there. Eventually the prospector, the honorable man that he was, albeit living on his own prospector-like desert time, took me to the authorities who contacted my grandmother, re the following:

"The sheriff told my grandmother that the old man informed him he was driving along Old Woman Springs Road located down and behind the mountains from Big Bear Lake on the high desert floor when he noticed an unusual group of vultures circling in the thermals. They didn't seem to be zeroing in on an unmoving carcass of some kind, but moving their circle as though following something possibly injured but still alive. Reading the signs of the desert like a book and using his intuition as much as his curiosity, the old man turned north on a dirt road that led toward the old Bessemer iron mine thinking he might be able to get closer and get a better look. When he reached a point about even with the general eastward movement of the vultures he pulled over to the side of the road and standing up on the seat of his open top jeep peered out over the desert with binoculars to see if he could see anything. Sure enough, visually sweeping the area under the vulture's circle through his binoculars he saw some distance off the road what looked like and turned out to be, a young boy all by himself out in the middle of nowhere walking along almost if he had no clue as to where he was or what he was doing. However, the old man said, such it would seem, was not the case. It was as though the boy knew exactly what he was doing, but why he was doing it was a mystery.

(please click image)

"If the boy was following the vultures with them acting as guides or they were following his lead it didn't seem to matter as the young boy walked straight to and into, only to then sit down in the middle of, one of the most unusual features in all of the Mojave Desert, a creosote ring. But not any creosote ring the old man said, but a specific one, with a huge diameter the likes of which he had never seen. By all description and location, without knowing it, the young boy had walked to, selected out, and sat down in the middle of what, after it's discovery 30 or 40 years later, turned out to be, and has since been given the name King Clone, the oldest known living thing on Earth, dated as being over 11,700 years old."

The Curandero and the Magic of the Mojave Desert Creosote Ring

The above incidents occurred while I was a young boy. In later years, without getting into all of the details here, but as an adult the following transpired as presented in the source so cited:

"As to the period of time I was on the promontory and didn't move, eat, and apparently didn't drink any water for days --- as the two teaspoons a day were unconsumed and continued to add up in the water jar to such a point that it held the equivalent of at least five days of water --- and what happened during that period that I have described above as a deep meditative state that sort of melded together varying aspects of samadhi, nirodha, and shamanic journeying is, well, a story for another time. I will tell you that the birds continued to get larger, going from vultures the first day to condors the second. Then, as I write above, the distinction between days and time began to fade as I fell deeper into a meditative state. However, during an area of transition between the total completion of the fading into the deep meditative state I remember something that must have been on the third day. On that day, no longer were there vultures or condors, but an enormous bird of even larger size perched on the promontory with it's back toward me and tailfeathers spread in such a fashion that I was able to walk up on it's back and sit."

Incident at Supai

The drawings my uncle had me do, unrelated to giant birds and flying creatures, came about after a series of unfortunate events.

When I was a young boy my mother became very ill. Soon she began spending more and more time time in the hospital. Eventually she died there. Before she was admitted full time, as she got closer to the point where she could no longer independently tend to her own personal needs let alone fulfill day-to-day activities required of a mother of three young boys --- and my dad continuing to work longer and longer hours in order to meet mounting medical expenses --- my two brothers and myself were shipped off to stay with relatives and friends. First a day at a time, then overnight, then weeks and months at a time.

I ended up living with a couple that just happened to be visiting neighbors. Before my father knew it, without his approval or authorization, they took me to India, albeit with the unintended privilege of me meeting the venerated Indian holy man, the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. See:


Unconnected with any of the above events, within months of my return and still a very, very young boy, a dear and close relative committed suicide from the blast of a shotgun he stuck in his mouth. Within minutes I personally stumbled upon the aftermath. During the ensuing milieu I got caught up in an auto accident wherein I was rendered unconscious and found wandering in the desert all alone. During that trek lost across the desert a series of incidents led me to a near carcass of a dying coyote, a coyote easily twice the size of any normal one, an incident that ended with startling results. That in turn was then followed by a two year-plus blackout period of any memory from my mother's death forward to the end of that two year period.

My uncle, because of the blackout period and concern with "how my brain worked" --- or didn't work like everybody else's as the case may be --- along with the fact I did not talk much, for reasons unexplained at the time, took me high into the mountains of the Sierras to meet with a man of great spiritual Attainment by the name of Franklin Merrell-Wolff. After our meeting and without me being within earshot, Wolff and my uncle talked a long while. Following the several hours drive after leaving Wolff's mountain compound I was tired and wasted and fell asleep for what seemed like forever.

What followed after I woke up I cannot confirm had anything to do with Wolff except from my own suspicions. It could have been because my uncle was an artist and it would be an easy ploy for him to work it in, but, following the several hours drive after leaving Wolff's mountain compound and my long sleep, within minutes of me waking up --- and continuing on for years afterwards --- my uncle had me make simple free-form drawings in cartoon or comic book narrative style of what was going on in my head. Then we would sit down and go over the drawings verbally, with me explaining in my own words what I drew and the why of my thoughts behind their visual content. In the process of those discussions my uncle either took notes at the time or wrote notes later about my drawings and what I said.


Why all the fuss about giant flying creatures, giant birds, and giant feathers, and all somehow and in someway related back to the Wanderling?

Basically, the Wanderling's uncle stated many times that he felt the reason for his destiny and fascination regarding all aspects of giant flying creatures went back to an incident that involved the fly over of a giant airborne object that the Wanderling witnessed as a young boy. The object, of an unknown nature and an unknown origin, was seen by literally thousands of people along the coast of California barely three months into World War II. Eventually to be called the Battle of Los Angeles, the incident is mostly forgotten now. However, during the early morning hours of February 25, 1942 the whole city and surrounding communities were in an uproar as thousands of rounds of anti-aircraft shells were expended in an attempt to pull down whatever it was in the sky that night. The slow moving object, said to be as big or bigger than a Zeppelin, was caught in the glare of the searchlights from Santa Monica to Long Beach and seemed impervious to the the constant barrage of shells. It eventually disappeared out over the Pacific after cruising along the coast and cutting inland for a while. The huge object was never clearly explained and was basically hushed up without response from the authorities.





QUETZALCOATLUS: Dragon of the Clouds



Where Is It Now, What Happened To It?



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Compare the Teratorn skeleton above with Leonardo Da Vinci's flying machine from the 1500s

DA VINCI: Did He Fly?


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In 1984, while recovering bones from an ancient spring at the Hiscock site, Laub first thought one was from a cervid (deer-like) animal because of its size. Examination of its structure in the lab revealed it was from a bird, perhaps a large vulture. He sent it to David Steadman, then with the New York State Museum, who identified it as the humerus of a California condor. Both men were excited by the discovery, since fossil condor remains had previously been found only along the Gulf Coast and along the Pacific Coast into northern California. Two additional bones found in the next two years confirmed the presence of the condor in Ice Age New York. The condor, we now know, was a very tough bird that was adapted to a wider range of climates than previously thought. The article on the occurrence of the condor at the Hiscock site by Dr. Steadman and co-author Dr. Norton Miller that appeared in Quaternary Research (vol. 28, 1987) states that its reduced range (today it is found only in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California), rather than being the result of climate change, may be due instead to the diminished supply of large carcasses at the end of the Ice Age.(source)

The desert southwest in full of all kinds of mysterious and sacred places. Native Americans have inhabited the area for thousands of years and in the process they have histories of those mysterious and sacred places both orally as well as visually as found recorded on the rocks in the form of petroglyphs. At the home of the Sun Dagger site in Chaco Canyon is a petroglyph depicting the supernova explosion of a star in the year 1054 AD which since that explosion has created the Crab Nebula. The same supernova event is found in caves in Baja California. Just south of Anza-Borrego Desert in California near the ancient coastline of Lake Cahuilla is a petroglyph showing what is thought to be the Lost Viking Ship of the desert. So it isn't just bones that show up in the desert.

When my Uncle was in his early 20s he was traveling with a number of Native Americans around his same age in a then remote part of northeastern New Mexico when he came across a young man age 15 or 16 wandering across the desert. That young man, in later years, turned out to be the author of over a 100 cowboy and western novels, Louis L'Amour.

In 1970 my uncle was in California to visit his ailing brother, my dad, and while in California visited L'Amour to catch up on the old days and discuss things new. In the process of that visit my uncle took me with him. During conversation, knowing L'Amour had been engaged at one time to Margaret Runyan, who eventually married Carlos Castaneda, and both my uncle and I knew Castaneda, I brought it up.

After that, a good portion of what was left of the afternoon either circulated around or drifted back to Castaneda. Until L'Amour was told by me and elaborated by my uncle when questioned, he had no clue, as so many others still have no clue to this day, that my uncle was the Informant that Castaneda and others write about so often as having been the original source for his introductions into the rituals and use of Datura.

The most important part of the Castaneda discussion between L'Amour and my uncle was how it impacted L'Amour, or at the very least how it related to two of his major works. L'Amour wrote two books, one published in 1976 the other written in 1977 but not published until ten years later, that were seeped with a heavy mystic quality about them intertwined with Native American spiritual lore and magic. The books, The Californios and The Haunted Mesa, both relied heavily on consultation with my uncle and his indepth strengths in both areas, but most surely so in Native American spiritual lore. A lot of what L'Amour weaved through both stories, but especially so The Haunted Mesa which unfolded under the same spiritual blanket that covered my experience, was drawn from the kind of knowledge that my uncle was familiar with and that encompassed what happened to me as outlined in Incident at Supai. L'Amour writes in The Haunted Mesa:

"The Indians the white man met were no more original inhabitants of the country than the Normans and Saxons the original inhabitants of England. Other peoples had come and gone before, leaving only shadows upon the land. Yet some had gone into limbo leaving not only physical artifacts but spiritual ones as well. Often encroaching tribes borrowed from those who proceed them, accepting their values as a way of maintaining harmony with the natural world.

"There were ancient mysteries, old gods, who retired into canyons to await new believers who would bring them to life once more.

"Who has walked the empty canyons of the lonely land above the timber and not felt himself watched? Watched by what ghosts from a nameless past? From out of what pit or horror and fear?

"The Indian had always known he was not alone. He knew there were others, things that observed. When a man looked quickly up, was it movement he saw or only his imagination?"