From a small and secluded terrace, she looked into the starry sky above her village. The golden light of the yellow moon illuminated the desert and pueblo like the shining beacon of a lighthouse; atop the roof of her house, she could see all the great stars and constellations that shone in the sky ever since the beginning of time. They were the same stars that the elders of the past had seen and counted, and that the same that the elders of today used to mark the passage of time and the dates of important ceremonies and rites.
The great and night above was as clear as it could be, for this was long before there were any machines and factories smoking up the skies of what we now call New Mexico. The stars told her many tales, for her job as the shaman’s apprentice was to interpret their meaning and the messages the gods had put on them for her people. Legend told that Grandmother Spider, sent by Tawa creator of all of the worlds as a messenger from the gods to mankind, wove her cosmic web against the backdrop of endless space, and the shiny dewdrops that formed on its silk became the very stars she used to communicate messages to the elders of man. Each different star, its radiance, position and visibility told a particular story to the people below and announced to them which would be the best season to plant and harvest the blue maize and other crops. This would ensure the survival of the people for another generation in the harsh and unforgiving climate of the mesa.
As she raced her eyes through the night, she noticed many signs of generous rainfall and bountiful harvest, for in the constellations she saw there were shapes of frogs and mayflies, both animals associated with torrential rains. She was overjoyed, knowing that her people would not go through the same hardships of the last year, when drought killed the crops and the entire pueblo came close to starving to death. But now good times were coming, and she could not wait to tell her grandmother, the village’s shaman, about the good news.
However, something was odd on Grandmother Spider’s web tonight for amongst the many auspicious stars there was also one she had never seen before. She had looked at these same skies for over 3 years during her training as an apprentice, yet not once had she seen this weird little speckle of light, shining where yesterday there was only blackness.
It was a strange star indeed, shining with a different glow than any of the others she had ever seen, scintillating erratically with shades of pink, yellow, turquoise and burgundy. The young apprentice rushed down the terrace and into her grandmother’s house for advice on this mysterious message from the gods or its meaning. Her grandmother, an old and wise woman who had stargazed her entire life looking for word from the gods, told her that she had never seen such a strange celestial apparition, but remembered well what her mother told her about mysterious flashing lights popping up in the starry sky.
She told her apprentice that those lights were signs that the Kachina, servant spirits of the gods who ruled over the forces of nature, would wish to speak personally to the shamans of man to tell them about their future and what it may hold in the grand scheme of things. The old woman told her granddaughter that it was her job as the village shaman to go receive the message of the Kachina and figure out what fate had reserved for their people. She told the apprentice that she was supposed to go to the far off lands to the west, where the veil between the spirit world and that of humans was weaker, where the Kachina would be waiting to deliver their message.
Her granddaughter, however, pleaded her not to go for she feared her old grandmother might not survive such a long and perilous journey. She offered to go in her grandmother’s stead and deliver to her and the village the word of the spirits. The grandmother advised against it, saying the young apprentice was not prepared to talk with the spirits for their knowledge was vast and overpowering and untrained ears could easily go mad from what they might hear.
The apprentice, on the other hand, was unmoved and assured the old woman that she was ready for whatever unfathomable truth about the universe these ancient spirits might deliver. She said she would rather become a babbling madwoman than have her beloved grandmother and mentor die a miserable death in the ruthless wilderness of the desert. Her grandmother, on the other hand, feared for the apprentice’s life, but she agreed that her old and shaking legs probably would not let her go very far into the wilds beyond the safety of the great mesa. She packed her granddaughter a bag full of supplies such as food, water and medicinal herbs and pleaded the young lady to be careful on the new and dangerous path she chose to tread.
And so, with her pack on her back and the fate of her people on her shoulders the young apprentice set off into the starry night, passing through the towering sandstone formations that rose from the ground as if they were the pillars that held the sky itself. The beauty of the scenery was made even more striking by its harshness and simplicity, as the roving tumbleweeds raced across the sandy floor and the melancholic howls of the coyotes filled the air with an eerily beautiful symphony. No matter the circumstances, no one could deny that it was a beautiful night, one that felt like it was special and meaningful somehow. Moreover, the apprentice wondered, what was the sort of message the spirits had to deliver to her people? Was it a good one? Who could know for sure, but the sheer pleasantness of that lonely summer night on the desert made her hopeful that it was something good for her people.
After many weeks of tiresome marching and path finding, there she spotted it; rising from the horizon was a mighty rock, the one all of the peoples of the pueblos and beyond referred to as the Spider’s Rock. Legend tells that this was the place where Grandmother Spider herself, the messenger of the gods, came to the physical world to give mankind the gift of fire. For many peoples of the desert this was believed to be the earthly abode of the spider goddess herself, and the place where the world of the spirits blend with the physical world. The apprentice took her perilous steps up the mighty sandstone cliff, a climb that had killed many shamans before her, but that she would do again gladly if it meant a better future for her village and her people.
After reaching the top of the formation, she waited for the thick blanket of the night to envelop the land again, and the mysterious sparkling star that had puzzled her in the previous nights to make an appearance once again. Yet when night came it was clear something had changed. The lone mysterious star had grown brighter and was apparently moving with astonishing speed towards the direction of the young woman. The apprentice stood in awe as what was once a tiny shining dot amidst the dark of open space now appeared as a massive ball of lights overshadowing the moon itself and continuously growing in size with each second. That was when the realization hit her, the star was not growing in size, it was actually drawing closer. As it came approached, she could finally see that this was no star at all.
The object that came into her vision was large, larger than the entire mesa where her pueblo stood. Its shape resembled that of a disk or a bowl, and throughout its extension were nearly a hundred thousand sparkling lights. These lights shone with the brightness of small suns as the object whirled profusely around the starry night. Its texture was smooth and shiny, made of a metallic material that glinted bright shades of green like a precious jade, with each one of its lights twinkled independently from each other with a dizzying variety of different colours. If such a sight would make any of us, in the modern age of smartphones and televisions, drop our jaws in awe, imagine the reaction of a young girl from a small tribal village over 900 years ago. Needless to say, she was absolutely flabbergasted by the apparition, for there, standing right in front of her was something no child of man had ever graced their eyes upon for over a thousand lifetimes.
As the object drew closer and closer a larger light started to appear on its lower section, different from the rest of the lights; this one did not sparkle but shone as a bright blue beacon lighting up the entire vicinity with an eerie blue glare. Suddenly, as the blue light grew stronger a single large beam of light emerged from it, and struck the middle of the cliff, resulting in a powerful blinding flash that turned the entire world into white for a few minutes.
As the lights subsided there stood in front of her a collection of at least 12 creatures, most of them lacking any face or defined form, yet something about them that was oddly familiar, and when she finally got close enough to take a better look she realized that she had seen them before, at least in some way.
The creatures, though at the very best described as “fungoid” or “plant-like” in nature, bore a striking similarity to the ceremonial costumes, dolls and figurines who represented the spirits called Kachina by her people. Their grotesque and asymmetrical bodies bearing colors and patterns that alluded to such ceremonial garbs and motifs. For many millennia, her people held celebrations honouring these spirits and asking them for rain and good harvest with festivals and dances where people would dress themselves as these beings for the duration of the ceremony. The traditional vests and figurines depicted bizarre and outlandish yet ultimately humanoid figures. Now what stood in front of her were creatures that looked like nothing that had ever lived on earth, be it man or beast. The old depictions of her people, she realized, were the only way humanity interpreted the formless and ultimately indescribable entities whose very existence seemed incomprehensible even for the most trained of eyes.
Realizing their identity, she bowed herself in reverence to the creatures, whom her people believed controlled the weather and rain, and ruled over the forces of mighty nature itself. As outlandish as they were, these were sacred spiritual guides of her people and she knew as a good apprentice that she owed them her utmost respect. It was difficult to understand the Kachina’s reactions as they had no face or expressions whatsoever and from what was visible, no means to communicate words. Yet inside her by means she could not fully explain, from her very gut, she knew that they had been pleased with her demonstration of reverence.
The spirits turned to each other and suddenly many luminescent flashes ran through their bodies in alternating patterns, something she somehow inexplicably understood was their form of communication. The tallest one of the beings, who stood in the middle of them moved towards her on its slow but steady gait. Everything about the Kachina felt wrong, as if they were not made for this planet at all and struggled to cope with merely existing on it, which made sense, considering their supposed spiritual and otherworldly nature. The slow and somewhat clumsy creature finally stood in front of her, and though it said absolutely nothing, for some unexplainable reason, she realized that the creature was asking her to stand up and face it.
The creature produced a tendril from its formless body and slowly touched her forehead. Suddenly the appendage fused with her flesh and found her brain. What happened next felt like an entire lifetime yet it only lasted a fraction of a millisecond.
The apprentice was sent to a state of trance where she had visions of the world and the future of all of mankind. She saw hundreds of thousands of years into the future; images of places and events that were yet to take place. Images of war and strife, with weapons that quaked the world like thunder and death and could obliterate entire cities far larger than any desert pueblo. She also saw the future of her people as a nation of strangers with pale skin and spears that breathed fire drove them from their lands in a far off future. She witnessed war crimes and the collective extermination of millions of people inside weird and deadly smokehouses. She marveled at people flying through the sky in metal birds and then gasped in horror as they set people and buildings ablaze. She saw torture and religious persecution, innocent women accused of being witches burned at the stake as well as just about every atrocity that would happen many centuries to come.
She experienced all of that in gruesome and excruciating detail, and while she also did experience many good things about the future, the sheer horror of those experiences would haunt her like a ghost for as long as she lived. Nevertheless, perhaps the most shocking part of her revelation was the far distant future, which would also explain the reason why the Kachina were there in the first place, and why they were sharing this message with her.
On a time so far in the future that would seem distant even to us in the age of computers and machines, humanity, now finally experiencing prolonged global peace and unparalleled technological development, finally makes contact with another intelligent race from beyond the stars. This contact however, unlike what we would have hoped, was not peaceful, and these beings, even more outlandish and alien than the bizarre Kachina would effortlessly conquer the earth and bend all of mankind to their will. Yet, they would not destroy us, no, that would be far too merciful. These creatures, who consider themselves gods in their own right, want to shape all the life in the universe to their will. Those beings, she saw, would mutate humans into livestock, pets, brainless slaves and even commodities and utensils, turning the progeny of man into a grotesque menagerie of degenerated abominations that would make any sane person’s stomach turn; a fate a billion times worse than death for the once proud human race.
The Kachina, as it was revealed in another vision had been fighting those evil conquerors for millennia. They were doing a remarkable job on keeping them at bay in the far away space a long, long way from the Milky Way. Yet they were also slowly losing ground and one day, they’d succumb to the ferocity of these cruel and despotic fiends just as man would.
The real reason that the Kachina had contacted humans for so long and shared messages with them was that they needed our help. They were trying to show mankind future happenings and technology so that the societal development of our species was sped up in a way that humans might one day finally catch up with them in terms of technology and help them defend the galaxy before it was too late. The Kachina are not spirits of the elements or earth, she would find out, no, in fact, they weren’t from earth at all, they came from beyond the stars and they brought with them a plea for help.
How desperate must they be that a species as primitive as humans were their only hope to defeat such a foe? How strong and incomprehensible is the might of their enemies? How many other intelligent species remain unconquered and untainted by the evil of those who lurk beyond?
If those questions terrify you, imagine it for a North American tribeswoman over 900 years ago, try to think what her reaction was after she was exposed to all of this with terrifying clarity and gruesome detail, and try to fathom what could have possibly run through her mind on the very moment the visions ended.
The creature who shared the visions with her withdrew its tentacle and for ten minutes she stared a thousand yard stare into the alien being, her body in near absolute shock from all that information. Even though one cannot tell what goes on the mind of an alien creature, if it has feelings and emotions similar to those of humans, she could somehow understand that the luminescent sign the Kachina creature flashed at her as she stared at its misshapen form was filled with the closest its species could feel to sorrow and regret. It was probably the closest thing in their method of communication to “I’m sorry…”
The creature moved back near to the others of its kind and in a blinding flash as bright as the last they disappeared from her sight as if they had never been there. The light blinded her for several minutes but she regained her sight soon enough to see their flying, shiny spacecraft disappear into the horizon back into the farthest reaches of outer space. For minutes she stood there just glaring at nothingness contemplating the revelation that was shared with her on that fateful day.
She made the voyage back the next day, and when she finally reached the village all the people noticed her stare. The same stare often showed up on the faces of the warriors after a particularly nasty battle or on the faces of mothers who lost their children or children who lost their parents. It was undeniable that she had seen something beyond horrifying and had went through enough pain that her entire complexion had turned pale. She refused to eat, locked herself in her quarters mumbling incoherent words and talking about the lights in the sky and the demons that lurk beyond. Moreover, she kept repeating one single phrase (“We must be ready…”) in unison and the entire village worried about her mental state, without being able to as much as grasp the meaning of those words or why that formerly sane young woman was acting the way she was.
Her grandmother blamed herself, for she knew that the girl was too inexperienced to handle such a message, yet the apprentice herself knew that not even her wise and old grandmother could have handled such a terrifying and oppressive truth as the one that had been delivered to her that night on Spider Rock. The apprentice’s young husband cared for her during these hard times. Every day he worried more and more about his wife, yet he never left her side, for the young lad loved her deeply.
Things did not go very well in the next weeks though, and following night after night of remembering those visions as bad dreams the apprentice gouged her eyes out to stop the pain. She thought this would make the visions go away. She nearly bled to death and were it not for the efforts of her beloved husband and grandmother, she would not have lived another day.
Her nearly suicidal attempts however were not enough to stop the visions, so she decided she would finally bring an end to all the pain; on a dark and moonless night she set off alone, not warning a single soul of her departure. And headed several miles north of the village even though she was by now, completely blind. It was a miracle she did not fall down a ravine and die, but finally, she reached a secluded place alongside the rocky ridges of the mesa. It was a small cave, barely tall enough for her to stand upright but it was there that she decided to leave her message. Taking with her a few natural paints her people used to dye clothes she started to draw nearly everything she saw. From the European colonists who’d come many centuries later to the invasion by the monstrous creatures from beyond our galaxy, she covered up all of the walls of the cave with paintings, and even though she was blind, her memory alone let her reproduce the things that haunted her mind on astonishing detail. She left her people her message and her testament, for she knew that she could not live much longer bearing this painful knowledge anymore.
The next day her body was found on the bottom of a cliff near the pueblo, her face smashed against the rocks was nearly unrecognizable after the fall. She felt so badly tormented by the visions of that day that she preferred death to the continuation of such living hell. Her poor husband, desolated and heartbroken, slit his own throat a few days later.
It was the grandmother, however, who ended up finding the cave, and everything the apprentice painted within it. She showed the drawings to her people and while none of them were able to understand them, they made a vow to protect the apprentice’s memory no matter the cost, and even today, the location of the cave is kept secret.
In modern days, most people consider this story all but a legend that is told among the Hopi and the Zuni peoples of New Mexico and Arizona; however, two things are certain. First, this old legend predicted many events that were to happen with staggering accuracy. From the Salem witch-hunts, the Holocaust and many other events that pre-Columbian Anasazi peoples could had no idea were going to happen someday. Second, there are leaked FBI and CIA reports of a hidden cave in New Mexico, full of cave paintings that they say the natives refer to as “The Blind Woman’s Cave”. The leaked FBI reports mention that the cave “must remain secret from the public”, for some of its contents and what they imply about humanity's future would cause “mass popular hysteria on a worldwide scale”.
Make of this information what you want.
Written by Leonardo F. Oliveira