USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘hurricane’
Legends

Calusa Protective Spell-Tampa

This piece of folklore came from my co-worker, who grew up in Tampa, Florida. Although he did not know much about the history of the Calusa Indians, what he did know was the legend in Tampa that the Calusa Indians cast a spell to keep them safe. Since it seems to be working, many people still believe in the legend. The Calusa Indians lived in the area where my co-worker lived, so the people in his area knew a little more about them, whereas people in other parts of Tampa might not be as familiar with the legend.

“There’s this urban legend in Tampa, where I’m from, about the Calusa Indians who were destroyed by the Seminoles, and it’s a whole history that I don’t know much about. But, there’s a legend that this chief put a spell over the Tampa area protecting it from hurricanes. So, when Hurricane Andrew came through and destroyed all of Florida, it was weird that Tampa was mostly unaffected. In recent history, with Katrina, it was supposed to go directly at Tampa and then a day before it was supposed to make landfall it just veered off towards Louisiana. In the last 20 years all of the really strong hurricanes have been forecasted to go at least somewhat into Tampa and none of them have ever hit Tampa. It’s really weird. We also get the branches of the storms that aren’t bad, so a lot of people believe that the Calusa Indians are protecting.”

Q: Will people say specifically that it’s because of the Calusa Indians?

“I mean, my mom would always say it and there were other people who believed it too…at least a lot of the people I knew would be like ‘oh it’s that old Indian tribe’ or something along those lines”

Legends
Narrative

Uncle Colin and the Hurricane

My informant told me a story about his Uncle Colin and the story that his family tells about the 1954 hurricane that struck Cape Cod, MA:

“I have heard from a number of people that in the Cape Cod hurricane of 1954, the sea at Buzzards Bay rose as the Atlantic Ocean swelled. When it looked as if the rising inlet next to his house may rise further and wash his house away, my Uncle Colin went out to his fishing boat with a glass of milk and a baloney sandwich and said if it was going to get his house, he couldn’t stop it and he’d rather go down in his boat. So he rowed out to the boat in the storm and waited and ate. The water rose, but never reached the house and the boat never left the mooring.”

My informant said that each time he head the story it was slightly different, but the jist of it is the same. He particularly liked the story because he was named after this particular uncle, and therefore was proud of being associated with him. The story is also quite humorous, so he often re-tells it to family during gatherings and holidays.

From my point of view, this is a story about bravery. It shows the respect that a family has for its elders and their sometimes odd, but impressive actions. It also ties the family to the property in showing their devotion to it. Uncle Colin would not sit in his boat during a hurricane unless he deeply cared about the property he was willing to risk his life for. It can also be used to teach children the values of their family.

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