Cherokee Registry

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Kalona - Raven Mocker (imitator)

This is the Kalona Ayeliski. It's also known as the Raven Mocker (imitator), the worst of all evil spirits. Think of it as the “Angel of Death”. Because of this, the point man in a Cherokee attack was designated the Kalona.  Though it is sometimes referred to as a witch, that is a European term. The Cherokee call evil spirits that torment the sick Sunnayi Edahi, or "the Night Goers." The Night Goers cannot be seen except by certain medicine men. Then they may look like a person, or take the form of an animal. They come to the house at night when a person is sick, stomp on the roof, beat the side of the house, knock him out of bed, and drag him on the floor. They try to hasten death. They want the sick person to die faster and not use up any of his life span so that they can take his unused lifetime and add it to their own.

The Kalona Ayeliski imatates the sound of a diving raven when it arrives. All other evil spirits flee when it shows up. It steals the heart of the sick person without leaving a mark and eats it. This adds the number of years to it’s own life. The Kalona is usually invisible. Imagine how terrifying to already be deathly sick and have to worry about all this! The family will summon a medicine man to keep watch and hold it away until the person recovers. It the person dies, the medicine man will keep watch until the person is buried. After burial the heart cannot be taken.

The medicine man drives a sharpened stick into the ground at each corner of the house. Then, about noontime he gets ready the Tsâl-agayû'nlï or "Old Tobacco", (reborn or remade - sacred tobacco) with which he fills his pipe, repeating the chant below. He then wraps the pipe in a black cloth. This sacred tobacco is smoked only for this purpose. He then goes out into the forest, and returns just before dark, about which time the sprit will arrive. Lighting his pipe, he goes slowly around the house, puffing the smoke in the direction of every trail by which the sprit might approach. He then goes into the house to wait. When the spirit arrives, the sharpened stick on that side of the house shoots up into the air and comes down like an arrow upon his head. This causes the sprit to die within seven days. Family and friends check near and far for someone who dies within that time, knowing they were the Night Goer.

The chant below against this spirit is from the book of a Cherokee Medicine man named Ayuninis, collected and published in 1891. He calls upon two spirits to help him fight the evil one. They are the Red Man and the Purple Man. Red Man is the spirit of power, triumph, and success. Purple Man brings trouble, vexation and defeat.

Sgë! Uhyûntsâ'yï galûnlti'tla tsûltâ'histï, Hïsgaya Gigage'ï, usïnu'lï di'tsakûnï' denatlûnhi'sani'ga, Uy-igawa'stï duda'ntï. Nûnnâ'hï tatuna'watï. Usïnu'lï duda'ntâ dani'yûnstanilï'.

Sgë! Uhyûntlâ'yï galûnlti'tla tsûltâ'histï, Hïsga'ya Të'halu, hinaw?sü'?ki. Ha-usïnu'lï nâ'gwa di'tsakûnï' denatlûnhisani'ga uy-igawa'stï duda'ntï. Nûnnâ'hï tätuna'wätï. Usïnu'lï duda'ntâ dani'galïstanï'.

Translation:
Listen! In the Frigid Land you repose, O Red Man, quickly we two have prepared your arrows for the soul of the Imprecator. He has them lying along the path. Quickly we two will take his soul as we go along.

Listen! In the Frigid Land you repose, O Purple Man, Quickly now we two have prepared your arrows for the soul of the Imprecator. He has them lying along the path. Quickly we two will cut his soul in two.