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Legends and StoriesA number of stories, legends, and myths have developed around the Falls area specifically and the Ohio River Valley generally over time. Even religious beliefs of some faith traditions have intimate ties with the prehistory of the region. The more salient of these are described below. Where it exists, references for further reading are provided within each section.
These stories and related references and links are provided for the interest of our membership and readers. They do not represent the opinions of the FOAS; nor is it our intent to belittle or demean the religious beliefs or serious research of any group of people. However, they form part of the oral history and tradition of the region, and as such, have something to say about its history. They are not presented as "truth" or even as possibility. They are what they are. The origin of some derive from actual historical events; most seek to explain the unexplainable. At worst, these are fanciful imaginings that came into existence as a means to promote some agenda; at best, these are accounts which cannot be---or have not yet been--- proven scientifically. Examine them critically, with a mind to the supporting evidence.
Madoc of Wales and Devil's Backbone in Clark County, Indiana
One of the most deeply entrenched legends of the area has to do with Prince Madoc of Wales and a supposed stone fortress atop Devils Backbone at Fourteen Mile Creek in Clark County, Indiana.
Prince Madoc: Founder of Clark County, Indiana by Dana Olsen(1987). Published by the author.
Madoc & The Discovery of America by Richard Deacon (1966). George Braziller Publishers, New York.
Visionaries, Adventurers, and Builders, Historical Highlights of the Falls of the Ohio. Chapter 2:Prince Madoc: Another Side of the Story by Carl E. Kramer (1999). Sunnyside Press, Jeffersonville, Indiana.
- Arthur in America
- The Legend of Prince Madoc and the White Indians:The Untold story of America's first colony
- Mandan Indian Tribe and Prince Madoc
The Legend of Sand Island and the White Indians
The Legend of Sand Island, The Louisville Times Scene, July 21, 1979, Pages 3-5.
Mound Builders of Ancient America: The Archaeology of a Myth by Robert Silverberg (1968)
Joseph Smith, the Mounds, and the Mormons
- Joseph Smith
- Archaeology and the Book of Mormon
- Modern Scientific Disclosures Corroborates the Statements of Joseph Smith, Jr.
The Ogam Gorget
Publisher: An Sagart
Edgar Cayce and the Moundbuilder Prophesies
Mound Builders: Edgar Cayce's Forgotten Record of Ancient America by Gregory L. Little, Ed.D., John Van Auken, Lora Little, Ed.D.
Hebrew Tablets in Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee
- Who Really Settled America? The Saga of Ancient Hebrew Explorers
- Ohio's East Fork or "Hanukkiah" Earthworks
- The Newark Holy Stones
- The Newark, Ohio Decalogue Stone and Keystone
- The Grave Creek Stone
- The Bat Creek Stone
Turkish Origins of the Melungeons and Other Tri-Racial Isolates
Roman Coins at the Falls
- Roman Coins at the Falls of the Ohio and Elsewhere in Kentucky and Nearby States
- A Few Coin Finds
- Roman Coins In Breathitt County, Kentucky
The Brandenburg Stone
See: (on file at the FOAS lending library)
A Welsh Artifact in Kentucky? Ancient American, Issue # 19/20
Brandenburg Stone Update, by Lee Pennington, Tale Trader
Ancient Stone on Loan to Museum, by Ben Schnieder, Tribune, Clarksville
Presentation reveals the mystery of Brandenburg Stone, by Jon Reiter
The Mothman Sightings on the Ohio River
The Retilian Man of the Ohio River
The following infomration was abstracted from Clark (1993) (See full reference below).
Several accounts of sightings of reptile-like bipeds originate from along the Ohio River. In 1878, Louisville,'s Metropolitan Theater exhibited the "Wild Man of the Woods" who was supposedly 6.5 feet tall and covered with fish scales. This was apparently a hoax, perpetrated by a man in costume.
But, in 1955, a Mrs. Darwin Johnson of Evansville, Indiana on the Ohio River was swimming when a claw-like hand dragged her below the water. She freed herself, but was pulled down again. She caught at a friend's inner tube, and the creature was scared away. The creature left a green palm stain on her knee (Clark 1993:327).
In October 1975, residents of the town of Milton on the Ohio River in Kentucky, across from Madison, Indiana reported seeing a giant, bipedal "lizard" (Clark 1993:327).
Northeast of Cincinnati in Loveland, Ohio along the Miami River, a tributary of the Ohio River, reports of reptile bipeds have been made since 1955. At that time, a driver on his way home after work at 3:30 A.M. claims to have seen three "grotesque-looking creatures with lopsided chests, wide, lipless, froglike mouths, and wrinkles rather than hair on their heads"(Clark 1993:328). One supposedly held a spark=generating, bar-shaped device. The driver left to alert police, and smelled a strong odor that reminded him of frsh-cut alfalfa.
In 1972, two Loveland police encountered a 4-foot tall, frog-faced biped with textured, leathery skin. It jumped over a guard rail and descended towards the Little Miami River. Two weeks later, one of the officers saw the creature again. It was lying in the road, then rose to look over the guard rail. He shot at it, but missed. A local farmer also reported seeing the creature.
See: Unexplained by Jerome Clark (1993) Visible Ink Press, Detroit. Pp. 327-329.
Jonathan Swift's Lost Silvermine
Swift Camp Creek at Kentucky's Red River Gorge was named from the legend of Jonathan Swift. In a journal, Swift talks about a large treasure of silver he claims to have buried along this stream in the Gorge. Versions of this story also refer to a silver mine along the creek. No copies of SwiftÂ's journal have ever been found, and there is no real evidence to support the fact that he was ever in the Red River Gorge area. This legend persists in the area, however, and treasure hunters have dug into the numerous rockshelters along the stream in vain attempts to find the lost mine, causing disturbance to the natural beauty of the place. Silver Mine Arch, a natural sandstone geologic "bridge" at the Gorge, is named for the same legend.
Sixteenth Century Spanish Galleon at Nolin Lake
Kentucky, the Dark and Bloody Ground
Dispelling the Myth: Seventeenth- and Eighteenth- Century Indian Life in Kentucky, by A. Gwynn Henderson. Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, Volume 90, Number 1 (1992), Frankfort, Kentucky. PP. 1-25.
Bigfoot in Kentucky