Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/104

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


CHAPTER IX.


Pimo Superstition.—Eclipse of the Moon.—Terrible Excitement.—Dangerous Predicament.—Lieut. Whipple's Coolness.—Satisfactory Result.—Pimos and Maricopas.—Their Traditions.—Religions and Modes of Interment.—Dr. David Wooster.—Arrival of Gen. Conde.—Death of Antonio.—Horrible and Revolting Ceremonies.—The Gila Bend.—Down the Gila.—The Maricopa Refugees.—Important News.—The Colorado River.—John Gallantin and his Party.


Among the most superstitious of all our Indian races, the Pimos take precedence. They entertain an unfaltering belief in witchcraft, sorcery, ghosts, the direct influence of the evil one, and the absolute necessity of propitiating the "gentleman in black." It is not, by any means, difficult to disturb their serenity and set them almost wild, by the exercise of the most simple processes known to us. I have often fancied to myself their unbounded wonderment and fear at a skillful exhibition of the magic lantern, or the more scientific feats of chemistry such as converting fluids into solids, and vice versa but so far none of these effects have been shown them.

After joining the party under Lieut. Whipple, that superior officer and thorough gentleman, invited me to accompany him one beautiful night to assist in observing an eclipse of the moon, which was to take place about ten o'clock. The opportunity to make observations was too valuable to be lost, and as Mr. Wheaton was ill, the invitation to fill his place was kindly tendered to the writer. The large telescope and other important instruments were carried by two men of Whipple's party, and