The Onundaga’ono and my days in the hills –
a true account by N.P.S. Senior Director J.M. Duell
In my time of keeping residence up in the hills of the Onondagas, I have certainly experienced many different observations and experiences that could only be described as paranormal in nature. This came as no surprise to me; the Onondaga nation has had its share of tragedy — one of the most feared men of the five Iroquois nations was an Onondaga native by the name of Tadodaho who was said to rule in fear and possess the ability to kill his enemies from a distance without seeing them. During his time of tyranny; Tadodaho was said to lead attacks against the nearby Seneca tribes and Cayugas. Peace among the nations of the Haudenosaunee was delayed due the fear of Tadodaho; eventually Deganawidah of the Mohawk people, and Hiawatha of the Onondaga desired peace among the Haudenosaunee people. This desire for peace and its attempts eventually lead to the deaths of Hiawatha’s daughters which is said to have been caused by Tadodaho’s powers. In time, Tadodaho was led to peace through healing and massaging out the seven crooks in his body. He was then permitted by the Onondagas to join the council of peace and he was then given the title of firekeeper. In recent years, the Onondaga nation has had numerous tragedies which include gun shots fired at school buses which transported the reservation children to New York state schools, and even great fires and other acts of violence performed by non-natives who have tried to take over the lands from the true Onondagas. Due to various disagreements within the nation, there have been rather brutal murders documented though little is truly known about these incidents. One of the more well known tragedies is the suspicion that a local missing teenage girl had last been seen while visiting a party on Onondaga territory. Although there seems to be a current peaceful existence today, one must wonder what sort of residue was left behind from the numerous tragedies that have taken place on this land.
When first visiting the home of my fiancé (who we will call Eetu), I felt an immediate intensity of constant energy that I didn’t recognize as either good or bad. My personal energy level seemed to deplete almost as fast as I recognized the presence of something that lingered around the property. While viewing the surrounding wooded area, a buzzing sound persisted in my head—a light humming which is comparable to white noise—the slightest sense of vertigo had immediately followed. As I slowly approached the house behind him, the onset of exhaustion overtook my previously upbeat mood and I felt a sense of dry sadness that left the moment I stepped through the door. Once inside, a sense of comfort returned and the humming had silenced to a low tremble. I recognized this as a sign that the home was protected from whatever energy permeates the land.
Eetu had rarely spoken of things considered to be paranormal. When we first met, I had questioned him about personal experiences to which he maintained of never experiencing anything and seemed overall disinterested in speaking any further about it — he would later confess that his mother had the gift of sight and his sisters the gift of healing touch. In one conversation, he explained that during his teenage years on two separate occasions, he witnessed what is known as a fireball which is said to be a witch traveling at high speeds. He explains that though it was passing through the woods, it never seemed to catch anything on fire while moving straight through the trees. The legend of the fireball suggests that if you were to catch it, this will stop the witch from ever practicing witchcraft again. On other occasions, he has also discussed instances where he has traveled out-of-body and is able to teleport himself while in a deep concentration. While not as readily open, Eetu has certainly experienced numerous paranormal phenomena that has convinced him that something more is out there. One of the more interesting of these was an experience he had while walking from the back of his house to the shed about 50 feet away. As he approached the shed, he came to notice a winged creature that sat perched just beyond the shed at the foot of a small cliff. It momentarily looked directly at him until it opened its wings and took flight; then gliding past him and back through the woods while never once flexing its wings in which he described it to be at least 8 feet in length from wing tip to wing tip. He seemed befuddled that it fit through the trees and almost felt as though it was a phantom vision of a creature that doesn’t seem to resemble any sort of known animal in existence.
As Eetu and I spent more time together in his home, I began to notice a lot of strange occurrences. According to Eetu; the home was formerly owned by his aunt and uncle who have both since passed due to illness while in a hospital over 15 years ago. His uncle had lost a lower leg and commonly wore a prosthetic in its place. After the aunt and uncle pass, Eetu’s younger brother acquired the property and began minor construction to the original structure. As the younger brother would rest at night, he claimed to have heard what he believed to be footsteps on the upper floor. One night he comes to discover through a dream that the footsteps he’d been hearing upstairs were the footsteps of the since deceased uncle who’s spirit remained at unrest due to a search for the prosthetic. To put his uncle’s spirit to a final rest, the younger brother buries the prosthetic while burning a tobacco prayer and asks the uncle’s spirit to simply ‘continue on his way.’ Some years later, the younger brother unfortunately passed away from diabetes leaving Eetu the sole owner of the house.
My first experience within the home occurred during my second visit. At a quarter till 2 in the morning, I had grown a disinterest in watching television and as I turned towards the open door which leads to a set of stairs, I noticed a shadow figure that moved from right to left by the bottom of the steps in the living room. It was at least 5 foot tall and wasn’t identifiable as either male or female—it visually resembled a human by shape and it seemed to move rapidly—As I kept my focus at the bottom of the stairs, it then went in the opposite direction and vanished out of sight. I was immediately intrigued and began to question Eetu in hopes that he too experienced the sighting. Though slightly hesitant, he described what he had witnessed and his description was rather similar to mine, only, he mentioned that it was about time I had seen it. I continued to question him about the shadow figure and why he would say it was ‘about time’ to no avail. Finally he ended the conversation by stating that “You have to experience the house for yourself.” I respected this reply. The next day after Eetu had left for work, I went downstairs in hopes to recreate the event. Through numerous attempts using flashlights and other methods, I was unsuccessful at recreating the shadow person. The very next evening, the shadow person had again returned but this time it was at the foot of the bed. The sighting was brief, and I was in the room alone. I’d been reading through my messages when I looked up from my phone and there it stood to the left side at the end of the bed almost like it was watching over me. As quickly as I had seen it, it vanished into thin air. Eetu entered the room a moment later and proceeded to ask me if I was all right. I gave him that reassuring nod and kept the experience to myself.
A few nights thereafter; around 4 o’clock in the morning—while upstairs in the bedroom, both Eetu and myself witnessed the movement of the rocking chair which sits at the bottom of the stairs. The chair faces a television that is approximately 5 feet to its front, and a couch just to the right. Also to the right and slightly adjacent to its position is a door which leads to the outside of the home. On any given day or evening, I have never noticed a draft from said door, and there are no windows in that specific room. The wood floor seems squarely flat with no creaks, shakes or other play when walking around and near the chair. From what I can see, there seems to be no explanation that would cause the rocking chair to suddenly move unless someone (or something) had physically caused it to. Being quite logical minded, I wanted to dismiss the event even though the both of us experienced it. What struck me curious was when Eetu mentioned that the chair does this quite a lot around 4 o’clock in the morning and that he figured that the spirit of the house was paying it a visit. This house sits inside a section of a hill that was manually dug out by Eetu’s family and Eetu with his younger brother had modified the original structure. Also, the home is dated to be approximately 70 years old. Like any aging home, there are shifts and vibrations to be expected and this could be what is causing the mysterious movement of the rocking chair. While I do consider this, it must be mentioned that this chair rocks every morning at 4 o’clock and has been experienced by Eetu numerous times throughout his 10 years living here.
About a week later, a strange and yet unintelligible voice rose from the eastern end of the house and occurred just after what I would describe as banging (or knocking) from about the same area. Installed on this home are 14 cameras that surveillance the entire outside perimeter. From these cameras I could easily see that no such living person was in sight although the banging sounded similar to somebody (or something) knocking at the wall. I made several attempts through digital recording to capture the anomaly but was left with what sounded like a heartbeat thumping through an ultrasound. Also, I had observed by a walk-around that nobody or no thing within the home was causing the audio enigma. I was alone with a sleeping child whom I could see from where I was sitting when the noises had occurred. Was I truly experiencing a phenomenal event that can’t be easily explained? As I patrolled the inside of the house; again the shadow figure appeared in the far room. This time, I couldn’t seem to look at it fully. I could sense the tension in the air and the room seemed cooler than normal. Like before, it again vanished without a trace. Though extraordinary, I mentally told myself that perhaps it was a figment of my imagination and from there, I continued on my way back to the bedroom and decided to lie down due to a minor sensation of vertigo. As I quietly remained in a state of repose, something directly whispered into my ear; ‘you smoke too much …’ I almost believed Eetu was home from work, the voice resembled his and I could feel the warmth of the breath against my ear but to my disbelief, it was an hour before he was due back and I was still alone with a sleeping child.
Perhaps Eetu is projecting his soul out-of-body, an incredible conclusion, yes. But, what else could it be? I have taken all the steps before considering this phenomenal claim. I have thought in rational terms, I have observed with rational eyes, and I have taken the steps to recreate the events to no avail. So. What else am I to believe?
While visiting a close friend, both of us witnessed and observed a silhouette that resembled the exact shape of Eetu although he had been gone for at least 10 minutes. I checked to see if maybe he had returned yet discovered that himself and his car were nowhere in sight. He was due to be at work when we both witnessed the silhouette. In disbelief of what we both witnessed, I looked at either end of the driveway and there is no possible way he could have walked by the window towards the front door of her home and then made it back into his car and left without my spotting him in the driveway. The traffic at that time of the day was constant and steady, and unless he can fly, it is impossible for him to have passed the window and then left without being seen. That evening when he returned from work, I explained what I had witnessed and he simply said that a part of him stayed with me to make sure I was out of harm’s way. He explained to having felt a sense of guilt for leaving me as I wasn’t able to work that day myself because of a minor yet strenuous situation. He further suggested that a part of him will always stay with me to protect me even when he passes, that I shouldn’t ever worry about safety again. It was an interesting thing to consider while thinking about the shadow person in his home—perhaps they are guardians of the home or an extension of Eetu sent by him to protect me while on the land of permeating negative energy that circles all around the woods of the reservation. I have come to conclude that simply, I am meant to personally experience the situations as they occur while within the company of Eetu. After all, it appears to be his protective shield draping over me as an attempt to protect what he loves the most.
The energies outside persist; most of which feel sorely negative and if close enough to the woods, my energy depletes and the humming returns. My eyes caress the edge and carefully observe in hopes of just a glimpse of what could be looking back at me. However, often enough I wonder if I should even dare to see … Perhaps I am not meant to.