Brad Steiger is the author/coauthor of 168 books with over 17 million copies in print. His first published articles on the unexplained appeared in 1956, and he has now written more than 2,000 articles with paranormal themes. From 1970-'73, his weekly newspaper column, The Strange World of Brad Steiger, was carried domestically in over 80 newspapers and overseas from Bombay to Tokyo. He was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on February 19,1936. He is married to Sherry Hansen Steiger, a licensed and ordained minister, herself the author or coauthor of over 40 books. They have two sons, three daughters, and nine grandchildren. Visit Brad Steiger's website: http://www.bradandsherry.com/. You can email Mr. Steiger at email@example.com.
In November, 1829, in a quarry twelve miles northwest of Philadelphia, a block of marble taken from a depth of between sixty and seventy feet was found to bear an indentation containing the raised alphabet characters "I" and "U." According to a report prepared by J. B. Browne (American Journal of Science Vol. 1, #19, p. 361): "Fortunately several of the most respectable gentlemen residing in Norristown were called upon to witness this remarkable phenomenon, without whose testimony it might have been difficult, if not impossible, to have satisfied the public, that …the letters [had not been made] after the slab was cut off."
In all frankness, Browne does not call the characters "I" and "U"; he calls them simply "characters" and "letters," and the illustration in the American Journal of Science pictures the two raised characters upside down. This also creates an interesting effect. With the "U" resting on its legs instead of on its curve, the character becomes a dolmen (a single chamber megalithic tomb). The "I" becomes a towering monolith to its right. It is almost as if some ancient hand had previously designated that the marble slabs should be used as tombstones or grave markers.
In November, 1832, Charles C. Jones, Jr., discovered two silver crosses in a grave-mound at Coosawattee Old Town in Murray County, Georgia. Native American tribal relics were also found in the burial mound, so those who had disinterred the grave theorized that the crosses had come to the Cherokee nation during the expeditions of Hernando de Soto at Luis de Velasco.
The Spaniards traveled with clerics, Jones reasoned, and those same priests spent a good share of their time trying to convert the tribes whom they encountered along their route of exploration. Therefore it would not be unreasonable to assume that the good fathers handed out a large number of crucifixes along the way.
The crosses are not crucifixes, however. The arms are of equal length, and each arm bears a circular design, some of which remind me of the doodling that I used to do with my compass in geometry class. Nearly all of the designs are at least vaguely crosslike in representation, especially the ones in the center. The backs of the crosses also bear circular designs, but they are all different from the frontal representations, and each design is different from the other. One of the crosses carries two drawings--one on the front, one on the back--that are not simply variations on geometric cross designs.
The top representation on one side is of an owl; the other side bears the head of a horse. This convinced Jones that the crosses had to have come from exploring Spaniards, because the horse was unknown to this continent in historic times until the advent of the European. (According to copious fossil evidence, however, the horse was not unknown to this continent in prehistoric times.)
Another argument in support of the proselytizing priests having distributed the crosses is the fact that across the face of one of the crosses is the word/name Iynkicidu, imprinted in the alphabet so familiar to all those who learn to read and write in the Western world. The "c" and the "d" are backward, but this is easily explained, according to Jones, who wrote his report for the Smithsonian Institution. It is obvious that some semiliterate Native American carved the name of his tribe on the face of the cross.
Was there a tribe named the Iynkicidus? If one pronounces the name. INK-a-ci-DOO, he might hear "Kickapoo." However, the Kickapoos were first visited by the French in 1667, and they lived near the portage of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers in Wisconsin.
Spell the name backward--to satisfy those who might be thinking it was meant to be read that way--and we have Udiciknyi, which offers even fewer possibilities. Is iynkicidu a Latin or a Spanish word? It seems unlikely, unless a silversmith or a priest engraved a corruption of the name of a person, place, or thing on the cross.
If the designs on the crosses are reminiscent of any culture, it would be that of the Pennsylvania Dutch, for the encircled geometrical representations resemble hex signs as much as anything else.
But rather than attempting to fit the crosses within the artistic or religious structure of any known culture, should we at least entertain the possibility that they may be artifacts from an unknown civilization that once flourished on the North American continent? A civilization that we might christen "The Lost Nation of Iynkicidu."
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