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An interesting story from Cabeza de Vaca's journey across North America in 1527:

The Story of the Visitation of Mr. Badthing

"The Avavares and the tribes we had left behind related an extraordinary experience which, in our equivalent of their vague way of counting, seemed to have occurred fifteen or sixteen years before.
They said that a little man wandered through the region whom they called Badthing {Mala Cosa}. He had a beard and they never saw his features distinctly. When he came to a house the inhabitants trembled and their hair stood on end. A blazing brand would suddenly shine at the door as he rushed in and seized whom he chose, deeply gashing him in the side with a very sharp flint two palms long and a hand wide. He would thrust his hand through the gashes, draw out the entrails, cut a palm's length from one, and throw it in the embers. Then he would gash an arm three times, the second cut on the inside of the elbow, and would sever the limb. A little later he would begin to rejoin it, and the touch of his hands would instantly heal the wounds.
"They said that frequently during the dance he appeared in their midst, sometimes in the dress of a woman, at other times in that of a man. When he liked, he would take a buhio up into the air and come crashing down with it. They said they offered him victuals many times but he never ate. They asked him where he came from and where his home was. He pointed to a crevice in the ground and said his home was there below.
"We laughed and scoffed. Indignant at our disbelief, they brought us many whom they said had been so siezed, and we saw the gash marks in the right places. We told them he was an evil one and, as best we could, taught them that if they would believe in God our Lord and become Christians like us, they need never fear him, nor would he dare come and inflict those wounds; they could be certain he would not appear while we remained in the land. This delighted them and they lost much of their dread.

This is taken from the book Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America by Cabeza de Vaca. It's a terrific book. Please read it.
I find it interesting that the rational Euros set the natives straight: it's not Mr. Badthing, silly, it's Satan! How would we explain it today? Mass hysteria? Alien abduction?
Doesn't this make a strange counterpoint to Communion by Whitley Streiber?

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