In culture after culture, people believe that the soul lives on after death, that rituals can change the physical world and divine the truth, and that illness and misfortune are caused and alleviated by spirits, ghosts, saints ... and gods.
STEVEN PINKER, How the Mind Works
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Location - Roche Percee
A mile south of the village of Roche Percee, off Highway 30, lies the massive landmark of sandstone known as pierced rock, or Roche Percee. The wind whistling through the many holes caused early natives to revere it and fear it. it also served as a benchmark - and one suspects as a calling card or bulletin board.
Hunters and early travelers out of Red River (Winnipeg) or Montana used it as a guide post and even General Custer and his famed 7th Cavalry stopped here once to inscribe their names for the future generations to read in eerie awe.
The rock itself was originally twice it's present size, but the erosive forces of wind, frost and rain have reduced it. the most important damage was done during a 1922 thunderstorm when lightning shattered the crown and knocked off the upper half. The mass of rubble thrown down contained many of the early Indian paintings.
Well we decided to take a road trip to check out this great Saskatchewan landmark and we were not disappointed. Tucked away in a rugged little valley the rocks poke out of the trees in the distance. My initial impression was that the stone formation have really shrunk from how they looked in the 1910 picture, which I posted above, but are still an impressive sight.
Climbing up we took a closer look at the scores of names and dates carved into the soft sandstone formations. The dates ranged from this year to all the way back to the 1800's. It sad to see all the really old carvings are being covered by the new but for the most part the writing is respectful without any lewdness. It is my understanding the majority of the native carvings were destroyed when the arch was hit by lightning.
Back behind the major rock formation is a number of other portions of rock in a wooded area. Some of the formations have small tunnels winding threw them as well as a larger cave-like tunnel. Past visitors have given the rocks a mystical reverence and walking amongst them I can understand why. Some have even said the rocks are haunted. This whole area is know for being haunted by beings know as "Rugeroos." Old Indian spirits that change into animals. They are vicious and will harm you if you don't leave when you see them. They don't speak but will growl.
Investigating the site we did not feel any menacing presence or something that did not want us there. But we did have two strange experiences. The first was by my wife when I had returned to the car to fetch something. She was taking pictures when a shadow fell across her as if somebody was standing on the stone above her. She assumed I had returned and climbed up there but on standing up to look around nobody was around. The second encounter was when we were getting ready to leave. My wife went one way taking the dog with her and I went another way and lost sign of them. Just then I heard the heavy panting of an animal in my left ear and right away assumed my dog had decided to follow me. I turned around but nothing was there. Then it occurred to me the panting was right in my ear and my dog would have to riding on my shoulders to duplicate the noise.
All in all it was interesting trip and we plan to return soon for another visit.