"’Yes grandfather, I come seeking knowledge.’ (Among all tribes of my people, grandfather is the term of greatest respect which one man can pay to another.)
"’We, the Paiute Nation, have known of these ships for untold generations. We also believe that we know something of the people who fly them. They are called The Hav-musuvs.’
"’Who are the Hav-musuvs?’
"’They are a people of the Panamints, and they are as ancient as Tomesha itself.’
"He smiled a little at my confusion.
"’You do not understand? Of course not. You are not a Paiute. Then listen closely and I will lead you back along the trail of the dim past.
"’When the world was young, and this valley which is now dry, parched desert, was a lush, hidden harbor of a blue water- sea which stretched from half way up those mountains to the Gulf of California, it is said that the Hav-musuvs came here in huge rowing-ships. They found great caverns in the Panamints, and in them they built one of their cities. At that time California was the island which the Indians of that state told the Spanish it was, and which they marked so on their maps.
"’Living in their hidden city, the Hav-musuvs ruled the sea with their fast rowing-ships, trading with far-away peoples and bringing strange goods to the great quays said still to exist in the caverns.
"’Then as untold centuries rolled past, the climate began to change. The water in the lake went down until there was no longer a way to the sea. First the way was broken only by the southern mountains, over the tops of which goods could be carried. But as time went by, the water continued to shrink, until the day came when only a dry crust was all that remained of the great blue lake. Then the desert came, and the Fire-God began to walk across Tomesha, The Flaming-Land.
"’When the Hav-musuvs could no longer use their great rowing-ships, they began to think of other means to reach the world beyond. I suppose that is how it happened. We know that they began to use flying canoes. At first they were not large, these silvery ships with wings. They moved with a slight whirring sound, and a dipping movement, like an eagle.
"’The passing centuries brought other changes. Tribe after tribe swept across the land, fighting to possess it for awhile and passing like the storm of sand. In their mountain city still in the caverns, the Hav-musuvs dwelt in peace, far removed from the conflict. Sometimes they were seen in the distance, in their flying ships or riding on the snowy-white animals which took them from ledge to ledge up the cliffs. We have never seen these strange animals at any other place. To these people the passing centuries brought only larger and larger ships, moving always more silently.’
"’Have you ever seen a Hav-musuv?’
"’No, but we have many stories of them. There are reasons why one does not become too curious.’
"’Yes. These strange people have weapons. One is a small tube which stuns one with a prickly feeling like a rain of cactus needles. One cannot move for hours, and during this time the mysterious ones vanish up the cliffs. The other weapon is deadly. It is a long, silvery tube. When this is pointed at you, death follows immediately.’
"’But tell me about these people. What do they look like and how do they dress?’
"’They are a beautiful people. Their skin is a golden tint, and a head band holds back their long dark hair. They dress always in a white fine-spun garment which wraps around them and is draped upon one shoulder. Pale sandals are worn upon their feet...’
"His voice trailed away in a puff of smoke. The purple shadows rising up the walls of the Funerals splashed like the waves of the ghost lake. The old man seemed to have fallen into a sort of trance, but I had one more question.
"’Has any Paiute ever spoken to a Hav-musuv, or were the Paiutes here when the great rowing-ships first appeared?’
"For some moments I wondered if he had heard me. Yet as is our custom, I waited patiently for the answer. Again he went through the ritual of the smoke-breathing to the four directions, and then his soft voice continued:
"’Yes. Once in the not-so-distant-past, but yet many generations before the coming of the Spanish, a Paiute chief lost his bride by sudden death. In his great and overwhelming grief, he thought of the Hav-musuvs and their long tube-of-death. He wished to join her, so he bid farewell to his sorrowing people and set off to find the Hav-musuvs. None appeared until the chief began to climb the almost unscaleable Panamints. Then one of the men in white appeared suddenly before him with the long tube, and motioned him back. The chief made signs that he wished to die, and came on. The man in white made a long singing whistle and other Hav-musuvs appeared. They spoke together in a strange tongue and then regarded the chief thought- fully. Finally they made signs to him making him understand that they would take him with them.
(***My note – the first explorers, Spanish, in 1400s to the Canary Islands found the Guanches people - tall and blond some red haired. They had a whistle language. The whistle language is found in Turkey and Greece too. They are all over the world and especially in remote mountain areas.***)
"’Many weeks after his people had mourned him for dead, the Paiute chief came back to his camp. He had been in the giant underground valley of the Hav-musuvs, he said, where white lights which burn night and day and never go out, or need any fuel, lit an ancient city of marble beauty. There he learned the language and the history of the mysterious people, giving them in turn the language and legends of the Paiutes. He said that he would have liked to remain there forever in the peace and beauty of their life, but they bade him return and use his new knowledge for his people.’
"I could not help but ask the inevitable.
"’Do you believe this story of the chief?’
"His eyes studied the wisps of smoke for some minutes before he answered.
"’I do not know. When a man is lost in Tomesha, and the Fire-God is walking across the salt crust, strange dreams like clouds, fog through his mind. No man can breathe the hot breath of the Fire-God and long remain sane. Of course, the Paiutes have thought of this. No people knows the moods of Tomesha better than they.
"’You asked me to tell you the legend of the flying ships. I have told you what the young men of the tribe do not know, for they no longer listen to the stories of the past. Now you ask me if I believe. I answer this. Turn around. Look behind you at that wall of the Panamints. How many giant caverns could open there, being hidden by the lights and shadows of the rocks? How many could open outward or inward and never be seen behind the arrow-like pinnacles before them? How many ships could swoop down like an eagle from the beyond, on summer nights when the fires of the furnace-sands have closed away the valley from the eyes of the white-man? How many Hav-musuvs could live in their eternal peace away from the noise of white-man’s guns in their unscaleable stronghold? This has always been a land of mystery. Nothing can change that. Not even white-man with his flying engines, for should they come too close to the wall of the Panamints a sharp wind like the flying arrow can sheer off a wing. Tomesha hides its secrets well even in winter, but no man can pry into them when the Fire-God draws the hot veil of his breath across the passes.
"’I must still answer your question with my mind in doubt, for we speak of a weird land. White-man does not yet know it as well as the Paiutes, and we have ever held it in awe. It is still the forbidden ‘Tomesha - Land-Of-The-Flaming-Earth.’"
This tale has stuck with me for some time because whenever I get deep into studying ancient giants, it seems that in the western half of the US, they could be found in caves above Pleistocene melting lakes such as Bonneville, Lahontan, Manly, Panamint, and others. This was also mining territory, so very appealing. How wide the Colorado Basin was at the time, if it conjoined with any lakes in Death Valley, if Baja went up through California, are all factors in whether a seafaring people might want to land in Death Valley in times when water was high (10,000+_ years ago).
The Channel Islands in California found many giant skeletons when Ralph Glidden began digging them up on Santa Catalina Island in the 1920s. Others have been reported on various channel islands off the coast of California. This supports a seafaring people who might have spread themselves out around the region.
When we were studying the Hav-Musuvs, Dennis and I immediately recalled the video (below) that describes a find of an item that is so like what the Paiutes said the Hav-Musuvs used as a weapon. Here's the Paiute description again -