Chippewa legend alleges Native American meeting with 'Sky-man'
By Jay Rath
"I don't belong here, I dropped from above." Those are the words spoken to Chippewa Indians by a strange visitor, according to Chippewa legend.
That's why some of the Indian legends collected in 1930 by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin are of special interest to modern UFO investigators. According to the stories, Wisconsin's Indians were visited several times by "Sky-men," sometimes in strange crafts.
Wisconsin historian Charles Brown, who recorded these stories, wrote intriguingly of the beliefs of the Cherokee, another Indian tribe: "There are different opinions as to the nature of the stars. Some Indians say they are balls of light, others say they are human, but most [Cherokee] people say they are living creatures covered with luminous fur or feathers."
"Luminous fur" sounds like unlikely garb for space travelers, but Brown also recorded a Chippewa tale that is surprisingly believable. Though the historian-anthropologist recorded the story decades before NASA provided us with images of real-life Sky-men and Sky-women -- and 17 years before the first modern UFO sighting in 1947 -- this legend paints a reasonable portrait of a marooned astronaut:
"Some Indians were walking over the plains when they saw someone sitting on the grass. It was a man. When they approached, he halted them by raising his hand.
"He said, 'I don't belong here. I dropped from above.' They wished to take him home with them. He told them to go home and clean the place where he was to stay. Then he would return with them. After they had done this, they came back for him. He was a nice-looking man, clean and shining bright. He stayed with them.
"Every day at sundown, he watched the sky. In a clear voice he said, 'Something will come down, I will go up.' He said that he had been running in the sky. There was an open place; he couldn't stop running, so he dropped through.
"One day in the afternoon he said, 'Now it's coming.' Everyone looked up but they could see nothing for a long time. The man who had kept Sky-man at his home could see better than the others. He saw a brilliant star shining way up in the sky. The other Indians didn't see it until it came near the ground. They had never seen anything nicer in the world.
"Two men got a hold of it and pulled it down. Sky-man got into it. Then it rose and he was gone. They had tried to get him to stay but he said that he must go.
"He is up there yet. You can see him on clear nights."
Was Sky-man "clean and shining" because he wore a silvery pressure-suit? If the legend is true, it's possible that the visitor insisted on clean quarters for fear of encountering human viruses against which he had no resistance.
Did Sky-man ever come back to thank his Indian rescuers? Perhaps. If so, he passed unrecognized, his Indian hosts displaced by a less hospitable civilization.