With the popularity of Apple’s iGadgets spreading like capitalistic cancer, everyone’s acquainted with its iconic wallpaper, Richard Misrach’s Pyramid Lake (at Night).
Beneath those depths lay a far greater menace beyond the imaginings of any Starbucks hipster. Nearly every year, someone ends up drowning at the lake. Bodies are rarely recovered by authorities. Park Rangers chalk it up to bad luck, and ill-prepared tourists, but Native Americans know the score.
Once upon a time, a Paiute boy fell in love with a mermaid from the California coast. Bursting with pride, he brought her home to meet the tribe, only to be rejected because she was a weird cryptid-fae monster. Understandably upset, she cursed the waters.
Evidence of her spite arose not too long after the rejection. A serpent slithered out from the lake, ate a kid, and took on its form, as was the fashion at the time. When the mother returned to feed her baby, it was like Soviet Russia where baby eats you! To save her life, the medicine man made a deal with this devil, allowing it to dwell in those waters if it let the young mother go.
So begins the tale of the water babies. These malign water spirits can be heard by visitors, but natives warn the palefaces, “If you hear it, it’s bad news; if you see it, you’re dead!”1
One of the other legends haunting these waters regards the Stone Mother. Once a mere mortal, infatuated with the Great Father she murdered her husband so she could stalk her one and only love. Strangely enough, probably because he was a god, Great Father wasn’t creeped out, they fell in love, and it wasn’t long before they were blessed with many children.
The oldest son was an asshole, constantly picking on his siblings. At wit’s end, the Great Father scattered them far and wide so he could have some peace and quiet at long last. The kids ended up founding their own tribes, but upon returning to their homeland, the feuding started all over again. Stunned, their mother wept ’til her tears filled the lake. She sat in the same place so long that she turned to stone, still sitting there to this day.2
Next time you’re futzing with your iPad, consider changing your device’s wallpaper. Heaven forbid your Angry Birds session is interrupted by the eerie cooing of a demonic baby. Should you survive, consider telling us about it on our Facebook page, at Twitter, or in the comments below!
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