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They're Messing With Us


I'm going to relay this story exactly as it happened. You can draw your own conclusions.

When I was in my third year of college, I befriended a guy named Mike who was an archeology major. Over Christmas break he and I came down to the Valley from Flagstaff to work on a construction project with my father.

One day it was raining pretty hard and we couldn't work. Mike suggested that we go to one of the Indian reservations near Phoenix to look for pottery shards and other artifacts. (Don't get on me about his, I was a kid and didn't know any better).

I had never done that and I was interested to go. We drove east on I-10 past the Gila River bridge, turned west off the interstate onto a road that led past the Gila Indian Cultural Center and a ways past there... Perhaps a mile or so... Mike said to pull over and start looking. I told him I didn't know what I was looking for. He said "This," reaching down in front of my feet and picking up a small broken piece of pottery. Obviously a good sign.

Anyway, he showed me how to look for artifacts. I remember in particular how he showed me to dig through the tailings from animal burrows to find things that they have dug up. Doing so we found many, many pieces of pottery as well as broken shell braclets and a few beads and other items.

We gahtered these up. There were so many that our pockets were over flowing. We decided to take what we had found back to my truck and then come back to look some more. As I filled my pockets and turned to go to my truck, out of the corner of my eye I saw a large pot and a small flat basket sitting on a grass matt in a small clearing about 10 to 15 yards from where we were digging. Excited, Mike and I quickly hurried the hundred or so yards back to my truck dropped the artifacts next to the tire and hurried back to the site where we had seen the pot.

When we got there it was gone. Mike and I walked right to the spot and there was nothing there. The clearing was there but nothing else. We walked back and forth to check. I said "You saw that, right?" He said he had, and I asked "Where did it go?" He stood there for a minute looking around and then he turned to me and said..."They're messing with us." I asked "Who?"

He said, "The Indians." I said, "Mike, there's no one here. Where did it go?" He said, "No, not someone. The Indian spirits." I told him I thought that was nuts. He told me that it didn't matter what I thought. He said I saw the pot. He saw the pot and the pot was now gone. He said the spirits wanted us to see it and then take it away to spook us. He said it happened all the time when they went out on digs in the desert. He said things would move, things would disappear, you'd hear voices. He said archeologists don't talk about it but that it happens surprisingly often.

With that, I got creeped out. I couldn't make sense of it. We walked around a few more minutes in the rain and then drove home. We didn't really talk about it again. There was no way to explain it.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, jrose1967, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

peter1589 (1 stories) (10 posts)
11 years ago (2011-12-27)
Dear jrose:

I would humbly suggest to you that you take along some holy water and sprinkle it around you and state, I baptise you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. They are souls in purgatory who need prayers to reach Heaven.
geetha50 (15 stories) (986 posts)
11 years ago (2011-12-23)
People make mistakes and I think you can be excused because you didn't know matter. You experienced something and you are matter for it. From your last post, I see that you are respectful of our past history and you are teaching your children to be the same. So, that's really good.
taz890 (12 stories) (1380 posts)
11 years ago (2011-12-21)
great post enjoyed this one 😊
The thought of them showing you such a great find only for it to vanish made me chuckle, but did make me wonder if you had carried on looking where you were what you might have found in that area!
Could the pot and matting have been a distraction?
Anyway thanks for sharing
gothgirl (32 posts)
11 years ago (2011-12-20)
Im also from south africa and man I would love to see a place like that to... Or maby just to walk there would be pretty freaky but way cool!
jrose1967 (2 stories) (3 posts)
11 years ago (2011-12-20)
Thanks for the notes. Nysa... You are very correct about his negligence. I learned more about his lack of ethics when it comes to archeology later. But, I won't go into it now as it has nothing to do with this.

I will say the experience piqued my interest in the history and culture of Arizona's native peoples.

I live very near a hohokam ruin site now. I've taken my sons there many times to look for pottery and talk about the way the pithouses were constructed. There are simply tons of artifacts.

Now however, we do not remove anything. Just look it over and place it back for others to find after us. So, for as weird as the incident and as wrong as we were... I feel it has been a positive for me on the whole. Thanks.
anneke8 (10 stories) (274 posts)
11 years ago (2011-12-20)
It sounds so cool! I would love to see this grounds and artifacts! I live in South Africa - no native grounds on my side.
Javelina (4 stories) (3749 posts)
11 years ago (2011-12-20)
Welcome to ygs! From one Arizonan to another, those pottery shards are surprisingly plentiful. I am out in Tucson, and I can tell you that it's almost hard not to find them. I have a friend in Vail that has even been able to almost piece together an entire pot from pieces she found on her own property. We run across some each time we go out prospecting. I used to pick it up, but it got to be a hassle after a while trying to find a place for it.
I think your friend was very foolish to go onto reservation land, but I also believe he was right about the spirits messing with you two. I would expect nothing less.

Jav 😊
Nysa (4 stories) (685 posts)
11 years ago (2011-12-19)
That was one seriously negligent archaeology student. He knew he was doing something wrong, knew he was leading someone who did not know better to do something that could get you in serious trouble, & knew he was not using proper procedure even if it had been somewhere he was allowed. No wonder he was paranoid, plunderers usually are. Perhaps what you saw was an image from the past. I can't think of any realistic "mundane" explanations so whatever it was seems to fall firmly in the paranormal category.

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