Paiute Legend at Pyramind Lake

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Paiute Legend at Pyramind Lake

Paiute Legend at Pyramind Lake

Pyramid Lake is a geographic sink of Truckee River, located in Nevada, just northeast of Reno.  It was first inhabited by the proud nineteenth century Paiute tribe.  The Paiute War was even fought at the very site.  Pyramid Lake was not first mapped until 1844, and is one of the largest natural lakes in Nevada.

Paiute Legend at Pyramind Lake

(images:roadsideheritage/flickr)

Pyramid Lake is very well known for being home to some of the largest cutthroat trout in the entire world.  Hundreds of fishermen come from all over to fish Pyramid Lake, however, those cutthroat salmon seem to come at a cutthroat cost.

Every Spring, at least one fisherman disappears.  Unfortunately, their bodies are seldom recovered.  Some blame the many deaths that occur at Pyramid Lake on the conditions in the 350 foot lake.  Others tell a different story.  One of gruesome deaths of the most innocent kind.

Some say that Pyramid Lake is the home of the Water Babies.  Many visitors have reported hearing baby cries or laughter and not being able to locate a single source.  Some blame it on wild animals in the area, but the Paiute heed a very important caution- those who hear the sounds are hearing a bad omen, but those who see the source of the cries are dead.

Legend has it that the Paiute tribe used to throw their deformed or premature babies into Pyramid Lake.  The tribe was determined to continue to be one of strong warriors and families.  The babies who were not fit were cast aside to keep the tribe strong for the harsh conditions that came as a part of living in the desert environment.  They also did not want the weak creating more weak amongst the tribe.

Paiute Legend at Pyramind Lake

(images:roadsideheritage/flickr)

Many say that this is the reason for the deaths, that the water babies’ spirits haunt the lake and continue to dwell there, long after the days of their untimely deaths.  Many of the Paiute tribe deny participating in that practice, but their reputation for being strong warriors and overcoming great hardships continue to follow them.  Instead, the Paiute tribe tell different stories, ones that closely resemble fables, heeding words of caution to those who are lucky enough to hear them as they pass through the generational lines, attempting to explain the misfortune at Pyramid Lake.

In the first story, Paiute sons were traveling the coast, gathering supplies.  One of the brothers met and fell in love with a mermaid creature.  He decided to marry her.  Excited, the boy brought his beloved back to the tribe at Pyramid Lake.  Unfortunately, they saw the woman as a horrible creature and rejected her.  Not wanting to be kicked out of his tribe, the boy agreed to return her to the coastal waters, but not before the woman cursed the lake.

In the final story, the Paiute tribe shares a story of two sisters who were doing clothes at the edge of Pyramid Lake.  One sister had a baby but was very lazy, often watching while the other sister did the work.  As they washed the clothes, the baby lay sleeping in the shade of a tree.  Not keeping an eye on her child, a serpent emerged, ate the baby, and took its form.  When the lazy mother went to feed her baby, the serpent attempted to eat the mother.  The sister and the tribe attempted to get the serpent to release her, but it would not give.  Ultimately, the tribe sought their Medicine Man who was forced to let the demon inhabit the lake, taking one of their great resources, in exchange for the life of the lazy mother restored.

Megan Borchert
Megan Borchert
Lover of all things unusual, Megan is a staff attorney for the state of South Dakota. When she's not stuffed in an office writing case synopses, you can find her at home with her army of Schnauzers, snuggled up with some strong wine and a good book.

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