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When I was 16, I signed up for a week long dig at the Homolovi Ruins through EarthWatch. My aunt had sent me the magazine and since Indiana Jones was my hero (or so I thought, turns out it was just a crush), I was going to become an archaeologist too. I did receive my BA in cultural anthropology years later, but it was in no way Indiana Jones-esque.

So here I was in Williams, AZ on the Hopi Reservation. I lived in Flagstaff at the time, so my parents were only a little concerned dropping me off for a week. Dad kept telling me to call asap if I wanted to come home. I blew them off and said I could handle it, and away I went.

Everyone stayed in these dorms in town, then at 7am we rode in vans out to the dig site, worked until 4pm and then did nothing until the next day. The anthro guys had slide shows and stuff like that, but that was pretty dull. Homolovi was where the kachina "cult" appeared, and the Peaks were sacred, stuff I already knew. I spent the dorm time helping the cook wash the dishes, and doing this god awful 2000 piece puzzle of water or something.

My job out at the site was to walk on the top of the houses with a broom, and brush off the dirt. Good grief I was bored, and I kept looking at the San Francisco Peaks imagining my high school crush to pull up in his car and come whisk me away so I could go back home.

There were a ton of rules about the site, no one could touch anything without the anthro's permission, no digging, no souvenirs. The Hopi tribe was really ticked off these guys were digging out there, I guess, so they were on borrowed time and were rushing to get as much in as possible. The dorms were also locked and bolted at all times. No one was in there during the day, and we were locked in at night. The cook was the only one who didn't come to the dig site, but he had no key, the anthropologist was the only one. I think he would have strip searched us if he could, he was that paranoid about the tribe calling off the dig.

Sometime near the end of the week, I was the first one in the door from a day of sweeping, and was running to my room to grab my things for the shower. Hot water ran out fast there. In the hallway, outside of the room next to me, was a large black piece of broken pottery. I was the first one in the door, and I know that no one was supposed to touch anything. I looked at that hunk of black, thought oooh, that's bad! Stepped over it and grabbed my stuff for the showers. On the way back down the hall, I noticed it was gone. Thought nothing of it, went on with my boring evening.

That night I laid down and dreamed I was back at the house. I heard the front door knock, I head down the stairs and look through the door window out at who it could be. I stop dead as I look, because there is a mummified Hopi man standing there, really mad. He is trying to shapeshift into the form of my brother, so I refuse to open the door. He keeps banging away until I dream my brother comes downstairs and opens the door. I try to stop him, but he opens it and then just stares at his twin. The Hopi shatters his disguise (it wasn't very good anyway) and starts coming after me, screaming WHERE IS IT?! WHERE IS IT?! I'm terrified and yelling I DON'T HAVE IT, and put my arm up to protect myself. The Hopi then opens his mouth and starts swallowing my arm. I can smell him and feel him breathing, until I suddenly wake up.

I am drenched in sweat, terrified, back in the dorms. I hear something pacing back and forth outside the door, and I have a very strong urge to open it. Remembering the dream, I grab the sheets and hang onto the bed to fight the feeling. I lay there like this listening to something on the other side of the door until the room turns grey with the sunrise. It stops and I fall asleep.

When I wake up for the day of sweeping, I tell my roommate (from England) about the bad dream. She asks if I'm Native American, I said no, I'm Icelandic and Scottish, ha! I said maybe I imagined the black pottery anyway, and am just stressed out. We go to breakfast and I'm thinking nothing of it, bad lucid dream, when the anthropologist bangs on the table for everyone's attention.

He holds up the piece of black pottery that was laying in the hallway and demands to know who brought this back. No one said anything, I certainly didn't. He was extremely upset, but let us finish eating. I think that was the last day I was there, because I don't know what happened to that piece of pottery. I still wonder where that thing came from and if the dead Hopi ever got it back.

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shelbyloree (5 stories) (285 posts)
5 years ago (2017-03-17)
Sorry to hear your good luck ran out, that's annoying!

The desert is definitely its own force to be reckoned with - I'm now in the Midwest and am glad to be away. Any time I think maybe I want to go back, I'm filled with absolute dread, so that's a no, ha!

My parents visit Arizona all of the time, but I can't for the life of me fathom why. To each their own I guess!
SomeCallMeTim (4 stories) (13 posts)
6 years ago (2016-08-08)
Hi, shelbyloree.

I lived in Scottsdale for 2 years starting in 2005. The desert around it is both enchanting and enchanted. I used to drive out along the old dirt roads, into the desert beyond the ring of mountains that hems in metro Phoenix, and lay on the roof of my car for hours at night, staring at the millions of stars we never see here in New England due to humidity, air and light pollution.

The week I moved there, I was driving the rental car around the desert in Yavapai County and accidentally ran over a prickly pear cactus. I had a horrible feeling that I'd just ticked off something major, and since then, the run of ridiculously good fortune I'd had through that point in my life immediately evaporated. I'm glad the pottery shard's presence was not your doing, and that whatever was angered (possibly simply by your having stepped over it) has since either been appeased or has identified the real culprit.

Best wishes always,

shelbyloree (5 stories) (285 posts)
6 years ago (2016-07-14)
Oh oh! I have finally remembered my password! 😆

Sorry for the delay, blue raven. I don't know if it was the anthro guy, I just knew I was NOT opening the door. Too spooky.

I know what you mean about the pottery, my mom's friend took a piece from the Sinagua ruins and suddenly a little Sinagua boy ghost would jump in front of her car as she was pulling into her driveway over and over until she returned it.

My friend took a bag of shards and stuff started falling off the shelves constantly.

The only positive thing I ever found was this hideous ring with a triangular inlay that was clearly a man's. I picked it up in the commons after school one day walking around with my boyfriend. One minute there was nothing, then suddenly it appeared. When I put it on I felt amazing, beautiful, perfect. It was too big, so I sadly handed it over to Argent. We broke up and he kept the ring. Every time I would suddenly miss or think about the ring, he would appear. I still miss that ring, if he showed up now (20 years later) I'd still ask for it, ha!
Blueraven (3 stories) (16 posts)
7 years ago (2015-12-18)
Hi Shelbyloree, I know I'm late to the comments, but wanted to say I loved your story! In hindsight, do you think it was Anthro Dude outside the door? Creepy behavior, even if it was just him pacing in front of the girls' room during the night.

I've spent many afternoons walking the desert looking for "shiny things". Dad says I must be part crow, 😁 It's addicting! I try to leave things in place though. One summer I found a stunning pink Clovis point on the North Rim of the Grand... I know right where it is, unless someone else has found it since.

However, I do have a small (but very pretty) pottery piece from a place the locals call Sacred Mesa, overlooking the San Juan river, located several miles east of Bluff, UT. It's a mushroom shaped hill with only a thin, somewhat dangerous trail to the top. The flat top is littered with pottery shards and you can't walk without stepping on them. It's been mostly picked over though, and anything worth anything is long gone.

So... One little piece can't hurt, right? Boy was I wrong. Bad things happened - not serious bad, just weird and bothersome bad. It took me years to link the pottery to the events, but once I did, it was so obvious! Strangely, when I made the connection and decided to return it, the weird things stopped.

Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack your story, just wanted to confirm that strange things can be attached to small, found objects. Especially from other cultures.

Now I'm off to read another of your stories. ❤ ❤ Thanks again!
- Blue.
shelbyloree (5 stories) (285 posts)
7 years ago (2015-09-28)
Afraidnolonger: Yes there seems to be quite a lot of activity there, at least for me. A friend of mine who still lives there (she moves away and comes back because family still resides there) thinks that it definately is an energy vortex. Sucks you in and won't let go. I agree! The only way I was able to leave was in a rather drastic, violent manner, losing more or less everything to get out. I'm not sure what the deal is, but AZ is definately on my 'avoid' list for long term residency!
Afraidnolonger (5 stories) (21 posts)
7 years ago (2015-09-24)
I currently reside in northern AZ and its great to personally know the spots in your stories. Thanks for sharing!
shelbyloree (5 stories) (285 posts)
7 years ago (2015-09-05)
Silentwings: I hope so too. There is so much frustration and anger on the reservations out there, I'm sure this happens more often than not.

A neighbor while there took some pottery from the Sinagua ruins at the base of Mt Humphreys and the ghost of an Indian boy chased her home every night in her car until she put it back.

My old friend also found a bag of pottery and hauled it home and things began moving and disappearing. But this was also a woman who would go into the White Mnts and dig out trees to haul home. Highly illegal and also the area "Fire in the Sky" took place, so not terribly bright, ha! Good grief, I'm glad to be out of that place.
Silentwings (guest)
7 years ago (2015-09-05)
Shelbyloree, I really enjoyed the story and how you wrote it. Hopefully the piece of pottery was put back where it belonged and not behind glass in a museum or else they may seriously have a problem on their hands.

Love and light
shelbyloree (5 stories) (285 posts)
7 years ago (2015-09-02)
Foxglove: I've come to the conclusion that anthropologists are nothing but glorified grave robbers. I don't think people understand that until they move in and do their business. By then it's too late.

The two main groups in Northern Az are the Navajo and the Hopi. The Navajo are a part of a larger Athabaskan language group from the north (think Alaska), the other half are the Apache. They share everything once you get to know them, which is why you can learn the language.

The Hopi are from the south (think Mexico) and are related to the Mayan. Socially they are pleasant, but if you pry, they clam up. No one can learn the language, they do not even agree on linguistics amongst themselves. One man was able to create a Hopi linguistic dictionary only through deception. Where it was sold, the NAU Bookstore, Hopi people would come in often complaining about it, very unhappy.

The kachina dolls tourists buy are usually made with negative intent. The Hopi kachinas are round sunlike things, represented in nature as clouds and rain. Sorry for the background, but man I hate those dolls for the tourists! My boss had one in a case that used to stare at me, bothered me constantly until he moved it. A Navajo guy I used to work with told me his Hopi friend had a doll in its case. The guy kept dreaming the kachina was telling him he was suffocating in the case, so in the dream, the guy let the kachina out. As it emerged, it touched the guy's head. Upon awakening, his hair had turned white where the kachina had touched him in the dream. It stayed white after that no matter what he did to it.

Tweed: I don't know how he's doing, he was a pain! It really irks me when people claim to be experts at things and then lord it over everyone else. As protective as the Hopi are from outsiders, I can't even see how this guy got to dig there in the first place. I just remember he was old and really ugly, LoL! That was almost 20 years ago, I'm sure he's retired or keeled over by now.

Bibliothecarius: I'm pretty sure one of the girls behind me picked it up on the way past my room. My door would shut on its own, but there were people behind me so I could hear them go past. We all got off the van at the same time, I was just a bit ahead of them. I would sleep in until the last minute in the morning and wasn't big into prepping, still am not, ha! I think I had trouble finding clothes which would have given someone time to pick it up and take it to the anthro guy, because when I walked back it was gone. I just really didn't want to touch it or move it. On site I didn't touch anything either, I took my broom around the broken pieces!

I was only there a week, it was a completely random group of people. My roommate was from England and told me about blood pudding, the girl next door was from Japan and showed me ancient Japanese designs they would do on pottery, and there was a girl a few years younger than me and her mother there who I talked to and visited with, but other than that I kept to myself. Mom sent me a picture we took, it looked to be about 30 some odd people. So when we got back, the hallway, rooms, bathrooms, all filled up fast.

I would think the owners of the dorms would obviously have a set, and the owners were the Hopi council people. I wonder if that piece even came from the site?! It did seem planted, why I had the bad dream, I don't know. I asked my roommate and the girl and her mom, but none had had problems. Just me. Oh lucky me. 😢
Bibliothecarius (9 stories) (1082 posts)
7 years ago (2015-09-01)
Greetings, Shelbyloree:

I have a question about chronology within your story. You were clearly in a rush to get to a refreshing shower after a long day of sweeping; you stated, "I looked at that hunk of black, thought oooh, that's bad! Stepped over it and grabbed my stuff for the showers. On the way back down the hall, I noticed it was gone. Thought nothing of it..." Now, if I know there's going to be a scramble to get to one of the showers while there's still hot water, I'd set up everything I needed to grab in a large tote bag (or something) before I left. How much time did you spend gathering your things? Was it a moment, a few minutes, or a little while longer? How many other people in the dorm could have interfered with the pottery shard, picked it up, etc., before you returned to the hallway?

Additional thoughts: Was there anyone in the dorm who displayed any animosity toward you, and -perhaps- would have been willing to risk stealing an artifact to set you up? Though you stated that only the anthropologist had the key to your dorm, WHERE or FROM WHOM did he get the key? It's entirely possible that a second key existed, but the anthropologist was not informed.

Take Care,
Tweed (29 stories) (2362 posts)
7 years ago (2015-09-01)
Shelbylore, thanks for the extra info.

That's some nasty underhandedness which, it saddens me, isn't hard to believe.
I had a sneaky suspicion there was something very unjust going on behind that piece of pottery. Like you, I thought of a potential sabotage/setup. I'd say Mr Hothead who demanded answers from you all was probably *hoping* against all hope it was one of the students. Stupid guy. Wonder what how he's doing today haha.
dreamer01 (1 stories) (117 posts)
7 years ago (2015-09-01)
shelbyloree, very much enjoyed your story, what a freaky dream, I could just see it all happening.
yeah, burying bodies is a waste of good earth. I am donating my empty shell to the med students to learn anatomy. Sounds more of a productive thing to do.
thanks again for sharing, dreamer 😊
Foxglove (23 posts)
7 years ago (2015-09-01)
This was really interesting. I've always thought that archaeology is prime territory for psychic impressions from newly unearthed sites (indeed the earliest excavation programmes at Catalhoyuk actually included dream diaries! There may be other examples of that "holistic" approach too tho I haven't researched)

My background is European archaeology and I am VERY uncomfortable with the way excavation (and lab/storage as you mention) is conducted in the US by largely non-native anthropology depts/companies. Basically still a holdover from imperialism and cultural genocide in my opinion with very little respect for the spiritual life of the existing tribes let alone the pre-columbian ancestors. So frankly no wonder you sensed some upset.

The Hopi are fantastic. The only overtly "psychic dream" I have possibly ever had was actually to do with Kachinas after a visit to the Southwest where I was fairly heavily immersed in the local nature. There is definitely something "out there"!
shelbyloree (5 stories) (285 posts)
7 years ago (2015-09-01)
Yeah, it was horrible, especially for a 16 year old! I kept thinking I could have been more productive at mom's house planting flowers and pulling up the concrete/flagstone mess in the backyard.

I had the feeling one of the Hopi snuck in and dropped it off to get the anthropologist in trouble and to shut it down. That was my thought, although I had no proof either way. I have heard the Smithsonian has some really funky stuff going on too because of the stuff they insist on keeping.

It bothered me to no end that in our university classroom in the basement of the anthro building there were boxes stacked to the ceiling filled with bones the anthropologists refused to give back to the tribes. I kept thinking what is this?! You go and steal bodies, shove them in boxes that are kept in a wet basement and basically hold them for ransom at a price the tribes can't afford. This is not "science." Grrr!

The basement flooded a few times at the university, by the way, and the bones were all ruined. So instead of returning them, they built an entirely new anthro building to hold them.

And this is why I'm being cremated. 😢
Tweed (29 stories) (2362 posts)
7 years ago (2015-09-01)
Shelbylore, I love the way you tell this story! I kept laughing at how bored you were, it sounded very dull. Don't blame you for still being curious about the pottery though. Your dream too. Bet that wasn't in EarthWatch. 😉

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