Archive for the ‘ Books ’ Category

Writer Elisabeth Rosenthal has worked as a physician and says it’s far more lucrative in the U.S. health system to provide a lifetime of treatments than a cure. Her new book is An American Sickness.

Health care is a trillion-dollar industry in America, but are we getting what we pay for? Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, a medical journalist who formerly worked as a medical doctor, warns that the existing system too often focuses on financial incentives over health or science.

“We’ve trusted a lot of our health care to for-profit businesses and it’s their job, frankly, to make profit,” Rosenthal says. “You can’t expect them to act like Mother Teresas.”

Rosenthal’s new book, An American Sickness, examines the deeply rooted problems of the existing health-care system and also offers suggestions for a way forward. She notes that under the current system, it’s far more lucrative to provide a lifetime of treatments than a cure.

“One expert in the book joked to me … that if we relied on the current medical market to deal with polio, we would never have a polio vaccine,” Rosenthal says. “Instead we would have iron lungs in seven colors with iPhone apps.”

Interview Highlights

On what consolidation of hospitals is doing to the price of care

In the beginning, this was a good idea: Hospitals came together to share efficiencies. You didn’t need every hospital ordering bed sheets. You didn’t need every hospital doing every procedure. You could share records of patients so the patient could go to the medical center that was most appropriate.

Now that consolidation trend has kind of snowballed and skyrocketed to a point … that in many parts of the country, major cities only have one, maybe two, hospital systems. And what you see with that level of consolidation is it’s kind of a mini-monopoly.

What happens, of course, when you have a mini-monopoly is you have an enormous sway over price. And so, what we see in research over and over again is that the cities that have the most hospital consolidation tend to have the highest prices for health care without any benefit for patient results. So consolidation, which started as a good idea in many places, has evolved to a point where it’s not benefiting patients anymore, it is benefiting profits.

An American Sickness

How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back

by Elisabeth Rosenthal

Hardcover, 406 pages


On the ways the health-care industry stands to profit more from lifetime treatment than it does from curing disease

If you’re a pharmaceutical manufacturer and you have a problem like diabetes, for example, if I invented a pill tomorrow that would cure diabetes — that would kill a multi-billion dollar business market. It’s far better to have treatments, sometimes really great treatments … [that] go on for life. That’s much better than something that will make the disease go away overnight.

On how prices will rise to whatever the market will bear

Another concept that I think is unique to medicine is what economists call “sticky pricing,” which is a wonderful term. It basically means … once one drugmaker, one hospital, one doctor says “Hey we could charge $10,000 for that procedure or that medicine.” Maybe it was $5,000 two months ago, but once everyone sees that someone’s getting away with charging $10,000, the prices all go up to that sticky ceiling. …

What you see often now is when generic drugs come out … the price doesn’t go down to 20 percent of the branded price, it maybe goes down to 90 percent of the branded price. So we’re not getting what we should get from a really competitive market where we, the consumers, are making those choices.

On initiating conversations early on with doctors about fees and medical bills

You should start every conversation with a doctor’s office by asking “Is there a concierge fee? Are they affiliated with a hospital? Which hospital are they affiliated with? Is the office considered part of a hospital?” In which case you’re going to be facing hospital fees in addition to your doctor’s office fees. You ask your doctor always … “If I need a lab test, if I need an X-ray, will you send me to an in-network provider so I don’t get hit by out-of-network fees?” …

Often that will be a little hard for your doctor, because they may have to fill out a different requisition, but it’s worth asking. And any doctor who won’t help you in that way, I think, isn’t attuned to the financial cost that we’re bearing today.

On getting charged for “drive-by doctors” brought in by the hospital or primary doctor

You do have to say “Who are you? Who called you?” and “Am I going to be billed for this?” And it’s tragic that in recovery people have to think in this kind of keep-on-your-guard, somewhat adversarial way, but I think if we don’t push back against the system in the way it bills, we’re complicit in allowing it to continue.

On how to decipher coded medical bills

Don’t be alarmed by the “prompt payment discount.” Go back to the hospital and say, “I want a fully itemized bill. I want to know what I’m paying for.” Some of it will be in codes, some of it will be in medical abbreviations. I’ve discovered you can Google those codes and find out what you’re being charged for, often, and most importantly, you might find you’re being charged for stuff that obviously you know you didn’t have.

Elizabeth Rosenthal is editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and a partner of NPR’s. Neither KFF nor KHN is affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Radio producer Sam Briger and web producers Bridget Bentz and Molly Seavy-Nesper contributed to this story.

Source: Elizabeth Rosenthal Explains How U.S. Health Care Became Big Business : Shots – Health News : NPR

Much of the book is devoted to explaining why we can’t turn to the experts for guidance, or at least, why we should expect no more from them than from parents or grandparents. As one of the world’s leading developmental psychologists, Gopnik is in a position to state, with authority, that no one knows what’s best when it comes to raising kids. That goes for co-sleeping as well as for screen time and making your kids do homework or take music lessons. Not that there aren’t good reasons for you to choose one course of action for your child, in the context of your situation. But science isn’t going to validate your decision for you.

Source: Alison Gopnik’s New Book Talks Of Science And Parenting : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR

News Spike: 9/11: Jumpers Inc.

Balcony Scene (Or Unseen) Atop the World; Episode at Trade Center Assumes Mythic Qualities

Published: August 18, 2001
The affair of the balcony ended, if indeed it ever began, with the appearance in July of a slender book of curious title, obtainable in very few places, one of them being an art gallery in a frosted storefront on Broadway near Franklin Street.

Called ‘‘The B-Thing” and produced by four Vienna-based artists known collectively as Gelatin, the book is demure to the point of being oblique. What little explanation it contains appears to have been scribbled in ballpoint. Among the photos and schematic drawings, there are doodles of tarantulas with human heads.

In short, the book belies the extravagance of the feat it seems to document: the covert installation, and brief use, of a balcony on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center, 1,100 feet above the earth. Eight photographs — some grainy, all taken from a great distance — depict one tower’s vast eastern facade, marred by a tiny molelike growth: a lone figure dressed in a white jacket, standing in a lectern-size box.

The contemporary art world, of course, is rife with acts of subversion followed by boasting, which is known as ”documentation.” In that context, the beauty of the balcony was that it so literally pushed the envelope. Yet since that Sunday morning in March 2000, when the balcony was allegedly installed and, 19 minutes later, dismantled, the affair has taken on the outlines of an urban myth, mutated by rumors and denials among the downtown cognoscenti.

Although the book appears to seek notoriety, the artists have gone coy. Their dealer, who witnesses say watched the event from a hotel suite, now claims it never happened. Either the balcony was an elaborate hoax meant to look real, or the inverse is true: it really happened, and the closer it comes to being found out, the more those involved would prefer for everyone to think it was a hoax.

In the spring of 2000, Gelatin and 14 other artists shared free studio space on the 91st floor, where the group’s artmaking appeared to consist of building a clubhouse out of cardboard boxes.

But Ali Janka, a member of Gelatin reached by phone in Vienna, said that the blindered view afforded by the narrow windows had inspired them to find a way to step outside. ‘‘After you have a certain idea, you can’t go back,” he said, ”because everything else seems very weak compared to it.”

Mr. Janka was happy to talk about the project, at least at first. After weeks of planning, he said, one night Gelatin — he, Florian Reither, Tobias Urban and Wolfgang Gantner — waited in the studio until dawn. At the appointed moment, the four, wearing harnesses, unscrewed the aluminum moldings that hold the window in place and used two large suction cups to remove the glass (air pressure adds about 300 pounds to the effort). As warm air streamed past, they outfitted the window with a cantilevered box, big enough for only one person at a time.

”The amazing thing that happens when you take out a window,” Mr. Janka said, ”is that the whole city comes into the building.”

Other artists in the studio have heard rumors of the balcony, but most are dubious. ‘I can tell you that it never happened,’‘ said Geoffrey Detrani, whose space was next to Gelatin’s. ‘‘To remove a window would be a pretty serious structural breach.”

But Gelatin, fearing expulsion from the country, had gone to great lengths to conceal their plot. The clubhouse afforded privacy and storage. By prior agreement, the group confiscated all film and video of the project taken by invited witnesses.

Still, how did a balcony escape the notice of one of the most security-conscious office towers in the world? An examination of the security system revealed that it was focused on the ground floor and basement, Mr. Janka said, adding, ‘‘There’s no surveillance on the facade itself.”

That is true, said Cherrie Nanninga, the director of real estate for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which until recently ran the World Trade Center. Port Authority officials, shown a copy of ”The B-Thing” by a reporter, reacted with disbelief, then outrage. Although their own investigation turned up no evidence, Ms. Nanninga said, ‘‘we have no reason to believe it didn’t happen.”

Window removal is considered so dangerous that when it is done the streets below are cordoned off, she said. ”It was really a stupid and irrational act that in my view borders on the criminal,” she said, adding that the stunt had jeopardized the studio program, whose space is donated by the Trade Center.

Removing the window may have been dangerous, but according to Walter Friedman, the owner of Dependable Glass, which performs that service for the World Trade Center, it is not that difficult. All it takes is four guys, some readily available equipment — and nerve, Mr. Friedman said.

Nerve is not something Gelatin lacks. They specialize in projects that require participants to sign a waiver.

In a piece called ”The Human Elevator,” strong men on scaffolding hoisted people to the roof of a three-story building in Los Angeles. And patrons in Munich were greased with baby oil and invited to slide naked down an esophaguslike chute formed by the bellies of a crew of overweight Germans.

Although Gelatin, which is representing Vienna in the Venice Biennale, has not shrunk from physical risk, they seem to think that merely discussing the balcony with a reporter was dangerous, perhaps because they are currently seeking permission to live on a vacant lot on Canal Street, as part of a forthcoming exhibition.

‘If you write about the balcony, maybe you can just not write about it too much,” Mr. Janka called back to say after the initial interview, the first of several calls protesting the appearance of an article, despite the fact that the artists had published the book.

To others involved in the project, it seemed reasonable that the appearance of ”The B-Thing” meant secrecy was no longer necessary. Josh Harris, the Internet entrepreneur once known for holding extravagant art parties, explained that Leo Koenig, the 24-year-old art dealer who represents Gelatin, got him involved.

The night before the B-Thing, Mr. Harris said, he rented a top-floor suite at the Millennium Hilton, across the street from the Gelatin studio, and invited people to what guests described as a night of decadence. Near dawn, he and several others took cameras and boarded a helicopter, communicating with Gelatin via cell phone.

‘We had to fly twice around the building before we could see them,’‘ said Mr. Harris, who is thanked in the book.

Afterward, Gelatin appeared at the hotel, where their success was toasted at a euphoric breakfast, according to five other witnesses, including Tanya Corrin, a video producer and writer, and David Leslie, a performance artist. ‘‘We just applauded the gutsy originality of it,” Ms. Corrin said. ”I think we all left feeling, wow, we just did something amazing, and nobody knows.”

Mr. Koenig now says the balcony never happened and, at any rate, he didn’t see it. The book, which costs $35 and was printed in a run of 1,200 copies, is meant to provoke questions about its veracity, he said.

At the suggestion that the project might have been faked, Mr. Harris seemed almost offended. He produced March 2000 credit card bills bearing charges of $2,167.44 from the Millennium Hilton and $1,625 from Helicopter Flight Service.

At about the same time that Mr. Harris was digging up proof, Gelatin was removing almost every trace of it from their Web site.

Moukhtar Kocache, the director of the studio program, insisted that the photos of the balcony were obviously faked. But digital manipulation experts disagreed. George Dash, the co-owner of Nucleus Imaging on East 30th Street, and a colleague, John Grasso, used magnifying loupes to examine a copy of ”The B-Thing.” Neither could detect inconsistencies. ”The angles are all too perfect,” Mr. Grasso said. ”It looks real to me. Absolutely. I’ve been doing this for 22 years.”

The balcony may be an art prank in the lineage of Yves Klein, who in 1960 disseminated a picture of himself leaping blithely out a window, an image revealed years later to be the product of deftly spliced negatives. But in its audacity, it seems more akin to tricksters who tested the limits of the World Trade Center in the 1970’s, including Philippe Petit, who walked a high wire strung between the towers.

‘This building needs things like that to happen, because otherwise it would die inside,” said Mr. Janka, who was under the impression that Mr. Petit had been deported for his action.

Although the Port Authority has not yet decided what, if any, action it will take against Gelatin, Mr. Janka might be relieved to learn that Mr. Petit, who still lives in New York, was simply required to give the city a free performance. He obliged by walking a tightrope to the top of the Belvedere Castle.

Photos: Members of Gelatin in 1998, when their exhibition at the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center included a 25-foot walk-up tower of discarded furniture parts. (P.S. 1); Photographs from ”The B-Thing,” a book produced by Gelatin, show someone on a temporary balcony on the World Trade Center, top; a drawing of the cantilevered balcony, above; and a view from inside the 91st-floor studio from which the balcony was hung, left. Unless the whole episode is a hoax, which some of those involved would prefer that people believe. So they say.

Source: News Spike: 9/11: Jumpers Inc.

The end of capitalism has begun | Books | The Guardian.


Haunting chalkboard drawings, frozen in time for 100 years, discovered in Oklahoma school – The Washington Post.


Teachers and students scribbled the lessons — multiplication tables, pilgrim history, how to be clean —  nearly 100 years ago. And they haven’t been touched since.


This week, contractors removing old chalkboards at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City made a startling discovery: Underneath them rested another set of chalkboards, untouched since 1917.


“The penmanship blows me away, because you don’t see a lot of that anymore,” Emerson High School Principal Sherry Kishore told the Oklahoman. “Some of the handwriting in some of these rooms is beautiful.”


[World War I soldier’s room untouched for almost 100 years]



The chalkboards being removed to make way for new whiteboards are in four classrooms, according to the Oklahoma City Public School District.


A spokeswoman said the district is working with the city to “preserve the ‘chalk’ work of the teachers that has been captured in time.”


[WWI graffiti discovered deep underground. ‘All these guys wanted to be remembered.’]


A wheel that apparently was used to teach multiplication tables appears on one board. “I have never seen that technique in my life,” Kishore told the Oklahoman.



The boards carry not just teachers’ work, but also that of students, and every room has a lesson on pilgrims, according to the district.

“Their names are here; I don’t know whether they were students in charge that day that got to do the special chores if they were the ones that had a little extra to do because they were acting up,” Kishore said. “But it’s all kinds of different feelings when you look at this.



Flood Stories from Around the World

Flood Stories from Around the World


by Mark Isaak.


Copyright © 1996-2002


[Last Revision: September 2, 2002]


Mirrored from





The stories below are flood stories from the world’s folklore. I have included stories here if (1) they are stories; (2) they are folklore, not historical accounts or fiction by a known author; and (3) they involve a flood. In most borderline cases, I included the story here anyway. For example, one story (Hopi) tells of a flood which was avoided and never occurred.


My method for collecting these stories is simply to collect every flood story I find. I have omitted a few extremely fragmentary accounts, such as sources that say “These people have a legend of a flood in which most people were killed” and little or nothing more. The stories are summarized both to save space and to avoid copyright infringements, but I have attempted to preserve all the motifs and all the names that were given in the cited account. However, where the story gives intricate account of events before and/or after the flood (such as in the Zhuang story of Bubo vs. the Thunder God), some of the details peripheral to the flood itself may have been summarized out of existence. In a few cases, two or more overlapping and non-contradictory fragments from the same culture were combined into one summary. Complete references are given at the end; consult them for more details.


Within each continent or region, stories are grouped by language family. See Language Grouping for Flood Stories for elaboration of the language groups which, as best I can determine, the stories belong to.


I am sure there are many more flood stories which could be included here. As I find them, I will add them. I welcome feedback, especially new flood stories, from others.


Index by Region





Zeus sent a flood to destroy the men of the Bronze Age. Prometheus advised his son Deucalion to build a chest. All other men perished except for a few who escaped to high mountains. The mountains in Thessaly were parted, and all the world beyond the Isthmus and Peloponnese was overwhelmed. Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha (daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora), after floating in the chest for nine days and nights, landed on Parnassus. When the rains ceased, he sacrificed to Zeus, the God of Escape. At the bidding of Zeus, he threw stones over his head; they became men, and the stones which Pyrrha threw became women. That is why people are called laoi, from laas, “a stone.” [Apollodorus, 1.7.2]

The first race of people was completely destroyed because they were exceedingly wicked. The fountains of the deep opened, the rain fell in torrents, and the rivers and seas rose to cover the earth, killing all of them. Deucalion survived due to his prudence and piety and linked the first and second race of men. Onto a great ark he loaded his wives and children and all animals. The animals came to him, and by God’s help, remained friendly for the duration of the flood. The flood waters escaped down a chasm opened in Hierapolis. [Frazer, pp. 153-154]

An older version of the story told by Hellanicus has Deucalion’s ark landing on Mount Othrys in Thessaly. Another account has him landing on a peak, probably Phouka, in Argolis, later called Nemea. [Gaster, p. 85]

The Megarians told that Megarus, son of Zeus, escaped Deucalion’s flood by swimming to the top of Mount Gerania, guided by the cries of cranes. [Gaster, p. 85-86]

An earlier flood was reported to have occurred in the time of Ogyges, founder and king of Thebes. The flood covered the whole world and was so devastating that the country remained without kings until the reign of Cecrops. [Gaster, p. 87]

Nannacus, king of Phrygia, lived before the time of Deucalion and foresaw that he and all people would perish in a coming flood. He and the Phrygians lamented bitterly, hence the old proverb about “weeping like (or for) Nannacus.” After the deluge had destroyed all humanity, Zeus commanded Prometheus and Athena to fashion mud images, and Zeus summoned winds to breathe life into them. The place where they were made is called Iconium after these images. [Frazer, p. 155]

“Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years” since Athens and Atlantis were preeminent. Destruction by fire and other catastrophes was also common. In these floods, water rose from below, destroying city dwellers but not mountain people. The floods, especially the third great flood before Deucalion, washed away most of Athens’ fertile soil. [Plato, “Timaeus” 22, “Critias” 111-112]

Dardanus, first king of Arcadia, was driven from his land by a great flood which submerged the lowlands, rendering them unfit for cultivation. The people retreated to the mountains, but they soon decided that the land left was not enough to support them all. Some stayed with Dimas, son of Dardanus, as their king; Dardanus led the rest to the island of Samothrace. [Frazer, p. 163]

The sea rose when the barriers dividing the Black Sea from the Mediterranean burst, releasing waters from the Black Sea in a great torrent that washed over part of the coast of Asia and the lowlands of Samothrace. The survivors on Samothrace retreated to the mountains and prayed for deliverance. On being saved, they set up monuments to the event and built alters on which to continue sacrifices through the ages. Fishermen still occasionally draw up parts of stone columns in their nets, signs of cities drowned in the sea. [Frazer, pp. 167-168]

Jupiter, angered at the evil ways of humanity, resolved to destroy it. He was about to set the earth to burning, but considered that that might set heaven itself afire, so he decided to flood the earth instead. With Neptune’s help, he caused storm and earthquake to flood everything but the summit of Parnassus, where Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha came by boat and found refuge. Recognizing their piety, Jupiter let them live and withdrew the flood. Deucalion and Pyrrha, at the advice of an oracle, repopulated the world by throwing “your mother’s bones” (stones) behind them; each stone became a person. [Ovid, book 1]

Jupiter and Mercury, traveling incognito in Phrygia, begged for food and shelter, but found all doors closed to them until they received hospitality from Philemon and Baucis. The gods revealed their identity, led the couple up the mountains, and showed them the whole valley flooded, destroying all homes but the couple’s, which was transformed into a marble temple. Given a wish, the couple asked to be priest and priestess of the temple, and to die together. In their extreme old age, they changed into an oak and lime tree. [Ovid, book 8]

One of the kings of Alba (named Romulus, Remulus, or Amulius Silvius), set himself up as a god equal to or superior to Jupiter. He made machines to mimic thunder and lightning, and he ordered his soldiers to drown out real thunder by beating on their shields. For his impiety, he and his house were destroyed by a thunderbolt in a fierce storm. The Alban lake rose and drowned his palace. You may still see the ruins when the lake is clear and calm. [Frazer 1993, p. 149]

Oden, Vili, and Ve fought and slew the great ice giant Ymir, and icy water from his wounds drowned most of the Rime Giants. The giant Bergelmir escaped, with his wife and children, on a boat made from a hollowed tree trunk. From them rose the race of frost ogres. Ymir’s body became the world we live on. His blood became the oceans. [Sturluson, p. 35]

A louse and a flea were brewing beer in an eggshell. The louse fell in and burnt herself. This made the flea weep, which made the door creak, which made the broom sweep, which made the cart run, which made the ash-heap burn, which made the tree shake itself, which made the girl break her water-pitcher, which made the spring begin to flow. And in the spring’s water everything was drowned. [Grimm 30]

Heaven and Earth were great giants, and Heaven lay upon the Earth so that their children were crowded between them, and the children and their mother were unhappy in the darkness. The boldest of the sons led his brothers in cutting up Heaven into many pieces. From his skull they made the firmament. His spilling blood caused a great flood which killed all humans except a single pair, who were saved in a ship made by a beneficent Titan. The waters settled in hollows to become the oceans. The son who led in the mutilation of Heaven was a Titan and became their king, but the Titans and gods hated each other, and the king titan was driven from his throne by his son, who was born a god. That Titan at last went to the land of the departed. The Titan who built the ship, whom some consider to be the same as the king Titan, went there also. [Sproul, pp. 172-173]

The lake of Llion burst, flooding all lands. Dwyfan and Dwyfach escaped in a mastless ship with pairs of every sort of living creature. They landed in Prydain (Britain) and repopulated the world. [Gaster, pp. 92-93]

From his heavenly window, the supreme god Pramzimas saw nothing but war and injustice among mankind. He sent two giants, Wandu and Wejas (water and wind), to destroy earth. After twenty days and nights, little was left. Pramzimas looked to see the progress. He happened to be eating nuts at the time, and he threw down the shells. One happened to land on the peak of the tallest mountain, where some people and animals had sought refuge. Everybody climbed in and survived the flood floating in the nutshell. God’s wrath abated, he ordered the wind and water to abate. The people dispersed, except for one elderly couple who stayed where they landed. To comfort them, God sent the rainbow and advised them to jump over the bones of the earth nine times. They did so, and up sprang nine other couples, from which the nine Lithuanian tribes descended. [Gaster, p. 93]

Transylvanian Gypsy:
Men once lived forever and knew no troubles. The earth brought forth fine fruits, flesh grew on trees, and milk and wine flowed in many rivers. One day, and old man came to the country and asked for a night’s lodging, which a couple gave him in their cottage. When he departed the next day, he said he would return in nine days. He gave his host a small fish in a vessel and said he would reward the host if he did not eat the fish but returned it then. The wife thought the fish must be exceptionally good to eat, but the husband said he had promised the old man to keep it and made the woman swear not to eat it. After two days of thinking about it, though, the wife yielded to temptation and threw the fish on the hot coals. Immediately, she was struck dead by lightning, and it began to rain. The rivers started overflowing the country. On the ninth day, the old man returned and told his host that all living things would be drowned, but since he had kept his oath, he would be saved. The old man told the host to take a wife, gather his kinfolk, and build a boat on which to save them, animals, and seeds of trees and herbs. The man did all this. It rained a year, and the waters covered everything. After a year, the waters sank, and the people and animals disembarked. They now had to labor to gain a living, and sickness and death came also. They multiplied slowly so that many thousands of years passed before people were again as numerous as they were before the flood. [Frazer, pp. 177-178]

Iskender-Iulcarni (Alexander the Great), in the course of his conquests, demanded tribute from Katife, Queen of Smyrna. She refused insultingly and threatened to drown the king if he persisted. Enraged at her insolence, the conqueror determined to punish the queen by drowning her in a great flood. He employed Moslem and infidel workmen to make a strait of the Bosphorus, paying the infidel workmen one-fifth as much as the Moslems got. When the canal was nearly completed, he reversed the pay arrangements, giving the Moslems only one-fifth as much as the infidels. The Moslems quit in disgust and left the infidels to finish the canal. The Black Sea swept away the last dike and drowned the workmen. The flood spread over Queen Katife’s country (drowning her) and several cities in Africa. The whole world would have been engulfed, but Iskender-Iulcarni was prevailed upon to open the Strait of Gibraltar, letting the Mediterranean escape into the ocean. Evidence of the flood can still be seen in the form of drowned cities on the coast of Africa and ship moorings high above the coast of the Black Sea. [Gaster, pp. 91-92]


Near East


The gods had decided to destroy mankind. The god Enlil warned the priest-king Ziusudra (“Long of Life”) of the coming flood by speaking to a wall while Ziusudra listened at the side. He was instructed to build a great ship and carry beasts and birds upon it. Violent winds came, and a flood of rain covered the earth for seven days and nights. Then Ziusudra opened a window in the large boat, allowing sunlight to enter, and he prostrated himself before the sun-god Utu. After landing, he sacrificed a sheep and an ox and bowed before Anu and Enlil. For protecting the animals and the seed of mankind, he was granted eternal life and taken to the country of Dilmun, where the sun rises. [Hammerly-Dupuy, p. 56; Heidel, pp. 102-106]

People have become rebellious. Atum said he will destroy all he made and return the earth to the Primordial Water which was its original state. Atum will remain, in the form of a serpent, with Osiris. [Faulkner, plate 30] (Unfortunately the version of the papyrus with the flood story is damaged and unclear. See also Budge, p. ccii.)

Three times (every 1200 years), the gods were distressed by the disturbance from human overpopulation. The gods dealt with the problem first by plague, then by famine. Both times, the god Enki advised men to bribe the god causing the problem. The third time, Enlil advised the gods to destroy all humans with a flood, but Enki had Atrahasis build an ark and so escape. Also on the boat were cattle, wild animals and birds, and Atrahasis’ family. When the storm came, Atrahasis sealed the door with bitumen and cut the boat’s rope. The storm god Adad raged, turning the day black. After the seven-day flood, the gods regretted their action. Atrahasis made an offering to them, at which the gods gathered like flies, and Enki established barren women and stillbirth to avoid the problem in the future. [Dalley, pp. 23-35]

The gods, led by Enlil, agreed to cleanse the earth of an overpopulated humanity, but Utnapishtim was warned by the god Ea in a dream. He and some craftsmen built a large boat (one acre in area, seven decks) in a week. He then loaded it with his family, the craftsmen, and “the seed of all living creatures.” The waters of the abyss rose up, and it stormed for six days. Even the gods were frightened by the flood’s fury. Upon seeing all the people killed, the gods repented and wept. The waters covered everything but the top of the mountain Nisur, where the boat landed. Seven days later, Utnapishtim released a dove, but it returned finding nowhere else to land. He next returned a sparrow, which also returned, and then a raven, which did not return. Thus he knew the waters had receded enough for the people to emerge. Utnapishtim made a sacrifice to the gods. He and his wife were given immortality and lived at the end of the earth. [Sandars, chpt. 5]

Sharur destroyed Asag, demon of sickness and disease, by flooding his abode. In the process, “The primeval waters of Kur rose to the surface, and as a result of their violence no fresh waters could reach the fields and gardens.” [Kramer, p. 105]

The god Chronos in a vision warned Xisuthrus, the tenth king of Babylon, of a flood coming on the fifteenth day of the month of Daesius. The god ordered him to write a history and bury it in Sippara, and told him to build and provision a vessel (5 stadia by 2 stadia) for himself, his friends and relations, and all kinds of animals. Xisuthrus asked where he should sail, and Chronos answered, “to the gods, but first pray for all good things to men.” Xisuthrus built a ship five furlongs by two furlongs and loaded it as ordered. After the flood had come and abated somewhat, he sent out some birds, which returned. Later, he tried again, and the birds returned with mud on their feet. On the third trial, the birds didn’t return. He saw that land had appeared above the waters, so he parted some seams of his ship, saw the shore, and drove his ship aground in the Corcyraean mountains in Armenia. He disembarked with his wife, daughter, and pilot, and offered sacrifices to the gods. Those four were translated to live with the gods. The others at first were grieved when they could not find the four, but they heard Xisuthrus’ voice in the air telling them to be pious and to seek his writings at Sippara. Part of the ship remains to this day, and some people make charms from its bitumen. [Frazer, pp. 108-110; G. Smith, pp. 42-43]

According to accounts attributed to Berosus, the antediluvians were giants who became impious and depraved, except one among them that reverenced the gods and was wise and prudent. His name was Noa, and he dwelt in Syria with his three sons Sem, Japet, Chem, and their wives Tidea, Pandora, Noela, and Noegla. From the stars, he foresaw destruction, and he began building an ark. 78 years after he began building, the oceans, inland seas, and rivers burst forth from beneath, attended by many days of violent rain. The waters overflowed all the mountains, and the human race was drowned except Noa and his family who survived on his ship. The ship came to rest at last on the top of the Gendyae or Mountain. Parts of it still remain, which men take bitumen from to make charms against evil. [H. Miller, pp. 291-292]

God, upset at mankind’s wickedness, resolved to destroy it, but Noah was righteous and found favor with Him. God told Noah to build an ark, 450 x 75 x 45 feet, with three decks. Noah did so, and took aboard his family (8 people in all) and pairs of all kinds of animals (7 of the clean ones). For 40 days and nights, floodwaters came from the heavens and from the deeps, until the highest mountains were covered. The waters flooded the earth for 150 days; then God sent a wind and the waters receded, and the ark came to rest in Ararat. After 40 days, Noah sent out a raven, which kept flying until the waters had dried up. He next sent out a dove, which returned without finding a perch. A week later he set out the dove again, and it returned with an olive leaf. The next week, the dove didn’t return. After a year and 10 days from the start of the flood, everyone and everything emerged from the ark. Noah sacrificed some clean animals and birds to God, and God, pleased with this, promised never again to destroy all living creatures with a flood, giving the rainbow as a sign of this covenant. Animals became wild and became suitable food, and Noah and his family were told to repopulate the earth. Noah planted a vineyard and one day got drunk. His son Ham saw him lying naked in his tent and told his brothers Shem and Japheth, who came and covered Noah with their faces turned. When Noah awoke, he cursed Ham and his descendants and blessed his other sons. [Genesis 6-9]

Men lived at ease before the flood; a single harvest provided for forty years, children were born after only a few days instead of nine months and could walk and talk immediately, and people could command the sun and moon. This indolence led men astray, especially to the sins of wantonness and rapacity. God determined to destroy the sinners, but in mercy he instructed Noah to warn them of the threat of a flood and to preach to them to mend their ways. Noah did this for 120 years. God gave mankind a final week of grace during which the sun reversed course, but the wicked men did not repent; they only mocked Noah for building the ark. Noah learned how to make the ark from a book, given to Adam by the angel Raziel, which contained all knowledge. This book was made of sapphires, and Noah put it in a golden casket and, during the flood, used it to tell day from night, for the sun and moon did not shine at that time. The flood was caused by male waters from the sky meeting the female waters from the ground. God made holes in the sky for the waters to issue from by removing two stars from the Pleiades. He later closed the hole by borrowing two stars from the Bear. That is why the Bear always runs after the Pleiades. The animals came to the ark in such numbers that Noah could not take them all; he had them sit by the door of the ark, and he took in the animals which lay down at the door. 365 species of reptiles and 32 species of bird were taken. Since seven pairs of each kind of clean animal were taken, the clean animals outnumbered the unclean after the flood. One creatures, the reem was so big it had to be tethered outside the ark and follow behind. The giant Og, king of Bashan, was also too big and escaped the flood sitting atop the ark. In addition to Noah, his wife Naamah, and their sons and sons’ wives, Falsehood and Misfortune also took refuge on the ark. Falsehood was initially turned away when he presented himself without a mate, so he induced Misfortune to join him and returned. When the flood began, the sinners gathered around it and rushed the door, but the wild beasts aboard the ark guarded the door and set upon them. Those which escaped the beasts drowned in the flood. The ark, and the animals in it, were tossed around on the waters for a year, but Noah’s greatest difficulty was feeding all the animals, for he had to work day and night to feed both the diurnal and nocturnal animals. When Noah once tarried in feeding the lion, the lion gave him a blow which made him lame for the rest of his life and prevented him from serving as a priest. On the tenth day of the month of Tammuz, Noah sent forth a raven, but the raven found a corpse to devour and did not return. A week later Noah sent out a dove, and on its third flight it returned with an olive leaf plucked from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, for the Holy Land had not suffered from the flood. Noah wept at the devastation when he left the ark, and Shem offered a thank-offering; Noah could not officiate due to his encounter with the lion. [Ginzberg, pp. 319-335; see also Frazer, pp. 143-145]

Aprocryphal scripture tells that Adam directed that his body, together with gold, incense, and myrrh, should be taken aboard the Ark and, after the flood, should be laid in the middle of the earth. God would come from thence and save mankind. [Platt, p. 66, 80 (2 Adam 8:9-18, 21:7-11)]

A woman “clothed with the sun” gave birth to a man child who was taken up by God. The woman then lived in the wilderness, where the Devil-dragon, cast down to earth, persecuted her. At one time he cast a flood of water from his mouth trying to wash her away, but the earth helped the woman and swallowed the flood. [Revelation 12]

Allah sent Noah to warn the people to serve none but Allah, but most of them would not listen. They challenged Noah to make good his threats and mocked him when, under Allah’s inspiration, he built a ship. Allah told Noah not to speak to Him on behalf of wrongdoers; they would be drowned. In time, water gushed from underground and fell from the sky. Noah loaded onto his ship pairs of all kinds, his household, and those few who believed. One of Noah’s sons didn’t believe and said he would seek safety in the mountains. He was among the drowned. The ship sailed amid great waves. Allah commanded the earth to swallow the water and the sky to clear, and the ship came to rest on Al-Judi. Noah complained to Allah for taking his son. Allah admonished that the son was an evildoer and not of Noah’s household, and Noah prayed for forgiveness. Allah told Noah to go with blessings on him and on some nations that will arise from those with him. [Koran 11:25-48]

In early times, the earth was full of malign creatures fashioned by the evil Ahriman. The angel Tistar (the star Sirius) descended three times, in the form of man, horse, and bull respectively, causing ten days and nights of rain each time. Each rain drop became as big as a bowl, and the water rose the height of a man over the whole earth. The first flood drowned the creatures, but the dead noxious creatures went into holes in the earth. Before returning to cause the second flood, Tistar, in the form of a white horse, battled the demon Apaosha, who took the form of a black horse. Ormuzd blasted the demon with lightning, making the demon give a cry which can still be heard in thunderstorms, and Tistar prevailed and caused rivers to flow. The poison washed from the land by the second flood made the seas salty. The waters were driven to the ends of the earth by a great wind and became the sea Vourukasha (“Wide-Gulfed”). [Carnoy, p. 270; Vitaliano, pp. 161-162; H. Miller, p. 288]

Yima, under divine superintendence, reigned over the world for 900 years. As there was no disease or death, the population increased so that it was necessary to enlarge the earth after 300 years; Yima accomplished this with the help of a gold ring and gold-inlaid dagger he had received from Ahura Mazda, the Creator. Enlargement of the earth was necessary again after 600 years. When the population became too great after 900 years, Ahura Mazda warned Yima that destruction was coming in the form of winter, frost, and subsequent melting of the snow. He instructed Yima to build a vara, a large square enclosure, in which to keep specimens of small and large cattle, human beings, dogs, birds, red flaming fires, plants and foodstuffs, two of every kind. The men and cattle he brought in were to be the finest on earth. Within the enclosure, men passed the happiest of lives, with each year seeming like a day. [Frazer, pp. 180-182; Dresden, p. 344]




As a girl was grinding flour, a goat came to lick it. She first drove it away, but when it came back, she allowed it to lick as much as it could. In return for the kindness, the goat told her there will be a flood that day and advised her and her brother to run elsewhere immediately. They escaped with a few belongings and looked back to see water covering their village. After the flood, they lived on their own for many years, unable to find mates. The goat reappeared and said they could marry themselves, but they would have to put a hoe-handle and a clay pot with a broken bottom on their roof to signify that they are relatives. [Kahler-Meyer, pp. 251-252]

Masai (East Africa):
Tumbainot, a righteous man, had a wife named Naipande and three sons, Oshomo, Bartimaro, and Barmao. When his brother Lengerni died, Tumbainot, according to custom, married the widow Nahaba-logunja, who bore him three more sons, but they argued about her refusal to give him a drink of milk in the evening, and she set up her own homestead. The world was heavily populated in those days, but the people were sinful and not mindful of God. However, they refrained from murder, until at last a man named Nambija hit another named Suage on the head. At this, God resolved to destroy mankind, except Tumbainot found grace in His eyes. God commanded Tumbainot to build an ark of wood and enter it with his two wives, six sons and their wives, and some of animals of every sort. When they were all aboard and provisioned, God caused a great long rain which caused a flood, and all other men and beasts drowned. The ark drifted for a long time, and provisions began to run low. The rain finally stopped, and Tumbainot let loose a dove to ascertain the state of the flood. The dove returned tired, so Tumbainot knew it had found no place to rest. Several days later, he loosed a vulture, but first he attached an arrow to one of its tail feathers so that, if the bird landed, the arrow would hook on something and be lost. The vulture returned that evening without the arrow, so Tumbainot reasoned that it must have landed on carrion, and that the flood was receding. When the water ran away, the ark grounded on the steppe, and its occupants disembarked. Tumbainot saw four rainbows, one in each quarter of the sky, signifying that God’s wrath was over. [Frazer, pp. 330-331]

Komililo Nandi:
Ilet, the spirit of lightning, came to live, in human form, in a cave high on the mountain named Tinderet. When he did so, it rained incessantly and killed most of the hunters living in the forest below. Some hunters, searching for the cause of the rain, found him and wounded him with poison arrows. Ilet fled and died in a neighboring country. When he died, the rain stopped. [Kelsen, p. 137]

Kwaya (Lake Victoria):
The ocean was once enclosed in a small pot kept by a man and his wife under the roof of their hut to fill their larger pots. The man told his daughter-in-law never to touch it because it contained their sacred ancestors. But she grew curious and touched it. It shattered, and the resulting flood drowned everything. [Kahler-Meyer, pp. 253-254]

Southwest Tanzania (Rukwa Region):
The rivers began flooding. God told two men to go into a ship, taking with them all sorts of seed and animals. The flood rose, covering the mountains. Later, to check whether the waters had dried up, the man sent out a dove, and it came back to the ship. He waited and sent out a hawk, which did not return because the waters had dried. The men then disembarked with the animals and seeds. [Gaster, pp. 120-121]

Chameleon heard a strange noise, like water running, in a tree, but at that time there was no water in the world. He cut open the trunk, and water came out in a great flood that spread all over the earth. The first human couple emerged with the water. [Parrinder, pp. 46-47]

Ababua (northern Congo):
An old woman hoarded water and killed men who sought it. The hero Mba succeeded in killing the woman. Upon her death, the water flowed in such quantities that it flooded everything. Mba was washed away and landed in the top of a tree. [Kelsen, p. 136]

Kikuyu (Kenya):
A beautiful but mysterious woman agreed to marry a man on the condition that he never ask about her family. He agreed, and they lived happily together until it was time for their oldest son’s circumcision, and the man asked his wife why her family couldn’t attend the ceremony. With that, the wife bounced into the air and made a hole seven miles deep when she landed. She called upon her ancestors, who came as spirits from Mt. Kenya. The spirits raised a thunder and hailstorm as they came. They brought food, goats, cattle, and beer with them and, while the people took shelter in caves, flooded the countryside with beer, turning it into a lake. When the spirits left, they took the couple and their children with them into Mt. Kenya. [Abrahams, pp. 336-338]

Bakongo (west Zaire):
An old lady, weary and covered with sores, arrived in a town called Sonanzenzi and sought hospitality, which was denied her at all homes but the last she came to. When she was well and ready to depart, she told her friends to pack up and leave with her, as the place was accursed and would be destroyed by Nzambi. The night after they had left, heavy rains came and turned the valley into a lake, drowning all the inhabitants of the town. The sticks of the houses can still be seen deep in the lake. [Feldmann, p. 50; Kelsen, p. 137]

Bachokwe? (southern Zaire):
A chieftainess named Moena Monenga sought food and shelter in a village. She was refused, and when she reproached the villagers for their selfishness, they said, in effect, “What can you do about it”? So she began a slow incantation, and on the last long note, the whole village sank into the ground, and water flowed into the depression, forming what is now Lake Dilolo. When the village’s chieftain returned from the hunt and saw what had happened to his family, he drowned himself in the lake. [Vitaliano, pp. 164-165; Kelsen, p. 136]

Lower Congo:
The sun once met the moon and threw mud at it, making it dimmer. There was a flood when this happened. Men put their milk stick behind them and were turned into monkeys. The present race of men is a recent creation. [Fauconnet, p. 481; Kelsen, p. 136]

Several animals wooed Ngolle Kakesse, granddaughter of God, but only Zebra was accepted. But Zebra broke his promise not to allow her to work. From her stretched-out legs ran water which flooded the land, and Ngolle herself drowned. [Kelsen, p. 135]

Bena-Lulua (Congo River, southeast Zaire):
The old water woman only gave water to him who sucks her sores. One man did so, and water flowed and drowned almost everybody. He continued his disgusting task, and the water stopped flowing. [Kelsen, p. 136]

Yoruba (southwest Nigeria):
A god, Ifa, tired of living on earth and went to dwell in the firmament with Obatala. Without his assistance, mankind couldn’t interpret the desires of the gods, and one god, Olokun, in a fit of rage, destroyed nearly everybody in a great flood. [Kelsen, p. 135]

Efik-Ibibio (Nigeria):
The sun and moon are man and wife, and their best friend was flood, whom they often visited. They often invited flood to visit them, but he demurred, saying their house was too small. Sun and moon built a much larger house, and flood could no longer refuse their invitation. He arrived and asked, “Shall I come in?” and was invited in. When flood was knee-deep in the house, he asked if he should continue coming and was again invited to do so. The flood brought many relatives, including fish and sea beasts. Soon he rose to the ceiling of the house, and the sun and moon went onto the roof. The flood kept rising, submerging the house entirely, and the sun and moon made a new home in the sky. [Eliot, pp. 47-48]

Ekoi (Nigeria):
The first people Etim ‘Ne (Old Person) and his wife Ejaw came to earth from the sky. At first, there was no water on earth, so Etim ‘Ne asked the god Obassi Osaw for water, and he was given a calabash with seven clear stones. When Etim ‘Ne put a stone in a small hole in the ground, water welled out and became a broad lake. Later, seven sons and seven daughters were born to the couple. After the sons and daughters married and had children of their own, Etim ‘Ne gave each household a river or lake of its own. He took away the rivers of three sons who were poor hunters and didn’t share their meat, but he restored them when the sons begged him to. When the grandchildren had grown and established new homes, Etim ‘Ne sent for all the children and told them each to take seven stones from the streams of their parents, and to plant them at intervals to create new streams. All did so except one son who collected a basketful and emptied all his stones in one place. Waters came, covered his farm, and threatened to cover the whole earth. Everyone ran to Etim ‘Ne, fleeing the flood. Etim ‘Ne prayed to Obassi, who stopped the flood but let a lake remain covering the farm of the bad son. Etim ‘Ne told the others the names of the rivers and streams which remained and told them to remember him as the bringer of water to the world. Two days later he died. [Courlander, pp. 267-269]

Mandingo (Ivory Coast):
A charitable man gave away everything he had to the animals. His family deserted him, but when he gave his last meal to the (unrecognized) god Ouende, Ouende rewarded him with three handfuls of flour which renewed itself and produced even greater riches. Then Ouende advised him to leave the area, and sent six months of rain to destroy his selfish neighbors. The descendants of the rich man became the present human race. [Kelsen, pp. 135-136]




After seven years of drought, the Great Woman said to the Great Man that rains had come elsewhere; how should they save themselves. The Great Man counseled the other giants to make boats from cut poplars, anchor them with ropes of willow roots 500 fathoms long, and provide them with seven days of food and with pots of melted butter to grease the ropes. Those who did not make all the preparations perished when the waters came. After seven days, the waters sank. But all plants and animals had perished, even the fish. The survivors, on the brink of starvation, prayed to the great god Numi-târom, who recreated living things. [Gaster, pp. 93-94]

Samoyed (north Siberia):
Seven people were saved in a boat from a flood. A terrible draught followed the flood, but the people were saved by digging a deep hole in which water formed. However, all but one young man and woman died of hunger. These two saved themselves by eating the mice which came out of the ground. The human race is descended from this couple. [Holmberg, pp. 367-368]

Yenisey-Ostyak (north central Siberia):
Flood waters rose for seven days. Some people and animals were saved by climbing on floating logs and rafters. A strong north wind blew for seven days and scattered the people, which is why there are now different peoples speaking different languages. [Holmberg, p. 367]

Kamchadale (northeast Siberia):
A flood covered the whole land in the early days of the world. A few people saved themselves on rafts made from bound-together tree trunks. They carried their property and provisions and used stones tied to straps as anchors to prevent being swept out to sea. They were left stranded on mountains when the waters receded. [Holmberg, p. 368; Gaster, p. 100]

Altaic (central Asia):
Tengys (Sea) was once lord over the earth. Nama, a good man, lived during his rule with three sons, Sozun-uul, Sar-uul, and Balyks. Ülgen commanded Nama to build an ark (kerep), but Nama’s sight was failing, so he left the building to his sons. The ark was built on a mountain, and from it were hung eight 80-fathom cables with which to gauge water depth. Nama entered the ark with his family and the various animals and birds which had been driven there by the rising waters. Seven days later, the cables gave way from the earth, showing that the flood had risen 80 fathoms. Seven days later, Nama told his eldest son to open the window and look around, and the son saw only the summits of mountains. His father ordered him to look again later, and he saw only water and sky. At last the ark stopped in a group of eight mountains. On successive days, Nama released a raven, a crow, and a rook, none of which returned. On the fourth day, he sent out a dove, which returned with a birch twig and told why the other birds hadn’t returned; they had found carcasses of a deer, dog, and horse respectively, and had stayed to feed on them. In anger, Nama cursed them to behave thus to the end of the world. When Nama became very old, his wife exhorted him to kill all the men and animals he had saved so that they, transferred to the other world, would be under his power. Nama didn’t know what to do. Sozun-uul, who didn’t dare to oppose his mother openly, told his father a story about seeing a blue-black cow devouring a human so only the legs were visible. Nama understood the fable and cleft his wife in two with his sword. Finally, Nama went to heaven, taking with him Sozun-uul and changing him into a constellation of five stars. [Holmberg, pp. 364-365]

Tuvinian (Soyot) (north of Mongolia):
The giant frog (or turtle) which supported the earth moved, which caused the cosmic ocean to begin flooding the earth. An old man who had guessed something like this would happen built an iron-reinforced raft, boarded it with his family, and was saved. When the waters receded, the raft was left on a high wooded mountain, where, it is said, it remains today. After the flood, Kezer-Tshingis-Kaira-Khan created everything around us. Among other things, he taught people how to make strong liquor. [Holmberg, p. 366]

Hailibu, a kind and generous hunter, saved a white snake from a crane which attacked it. Next day, he met the same snake with a retinue of other snakes. The snake told him that she was the Dragon King’s daughter, and the Dragon King wished to reward him. She advised Hailibu to ask for the precious stone that the Dragon King keeps in his mouth. With that stone, she told him, he could understand the language of animals, but he would turn to stone if he ever divulged its secret to anyone else. Hailibu went to the Dragon King, turned down his many other treasures, and was given the stone. Years later, Hailibu heard some birds saying that the next day the mountains would erupt and flood the land. He went back home to warn his neighbors, but they didn’t believe him. To convince them, he told them how he had learned of the coming flood and told them the full story of the precious stone. When he finished his story, he turned to stone. The villagers, seeing this happen, fled. It rained all the next night, and the mountains erupted, belching forth a great flood of water. When the people returned, they found the stone which Hailibu had turned into and placed it at the top of the mountain. For generations, they have offered sacrifices to the stone in honor of Hailibu’s sacrifice. [Elder & Wong, pp. 75-77]

Buryat (eastern Siberia):
The god Burkhan advised a man to build a great ship, and the man worked on it in the forest for many long days, keeping his intention secret from his wife by telling her he was chopping wood. The devil, Shitkur, told the wife that her husband was building a boat and that it would be ready soon. He further told her to refuse to board and, when her husband strikes her in anger, to say, “Why do you strike me, Shitkur?” Because the woman followed this advise, the devil was able to accompany her when she boarded the boat. With the help of Burkhan, the man gathered specimens of all animals except Argalan-Zan, the Prince of animals (some say it was a mammoth), which considered itself too large to drown. The flood destroyed all animals left on earth, including the Prince of animals, whose bones can still be found. Once on the boat, the devil changed himself into a mouse and began gnawing holes in the hull, until Burkhan created a cat to catch it. [Holmberg, pp. 361-362]

Sagaiye (eastern Siberia):
God told Noj to build a ship. The devil tempted his wife to find out what he was building in the forest. When the devil found out, he destroyed by night what Noj built by day, so the boat was not completed when the flood came. God was forced to send down an iron vessel in which Noj, his wife and family, and all kinds of animals were saved. [Holmberg, p. 362]

To find out why Noah was building an ark, the devil told Noah’s wife to prepare a strong drink. Noah, drunk from this drink, told the secret God entrusted him with. The devil hindered Noah’s work, and when the ship was finished, sneaked into it in the company of the wife, who had tempted her husband into saying the devil’s name. Once in the ark, he assumed the form of a mouse and gnawed holes in the bottom of the ark. [Holmberg, p. 363]

Manu, the first human, found a small fish in his washwater. The fish begged protection from the larger fishes, in return for which it would save Manu. Manu kept the fish safe, transferring it to larger and larger reservoirs as it grew, eventually taking it to the ocean. The fish warned Manu of a coming deluge and told him to build a ship. When the flood rose, the fish came, and Manu tied the craft to its horn. The fish led him to a northern mountain and told Manu to tie the ship’s rope to a tree to prevent it from drifting. Manu, alone of all creatures, survived. He made offerings of clarified butter, sour milk, whey, and curds. From these, a woman arose, calling herself Manu’s daughter. Whatever blessings he invoked through her were granted him. Through her, he generated this race. [Gaster, pp. 94-95; Kelsen, p. 128; Brinton, pp. 227-228]

The great sage Manu, son of Vivasvat, practiced austere fervor. He stood on one leg with upraised arm, looking down unblinkingly, for 10,000 years. While so engaged on the banks of the Chirini, a fish came to him and asked to be saved from larger fish. Manu took the fish to a jar and, as the fish grew, from thence to a large pond, then to the river Ganga, then to the ocean. Though large, the fish was pleasant and easy to carry. Upon being released into the ocean, the fish told Manu that soon all terrestrial objects would be dissolved in the time of the purification. It told him to build a strong ship with a cable attached and to embark with the seven sages (rishis) and certain seeds, and to then watch for the fish, since the waters could not be crossed without it. Manu embarked as enjoined and thought on the fish. The fish, knowing his desire, came, and Manu fastened the ship’s cable to its horn. The fish dragged the ship through roiling waters for many years, at last bringing it to the highest peak of Himavat, which is still known as Naubandhana (“the Binding of the Ship”). The fish then revealed itself as Parjapati Brahma and said Manu shall create all living things and all things moving and fixed. Manu performed a great act of austere fervor to clear his uncertainty and then began calling things into existence. [Frazer, pp. 185-187]

The heroic king Manu, son of the Sun, practiced austere fervor in Malaya and attained transcendent union with the Deity. After a million years, Brahma bestowed on Manu a boon and asked him to choose it. Manu asked for the power to preserve all existing things upon the dissolution of the universe. Later, while offering oblations in his hermitage, a carp fell in his hands, which Manu preserved. The fish grew and cried to Manu to preserve it, and Manu moved it to progressively larger vessels, eventually moving it to the river Ganga and then to the ocean. When it filled the ocean, Manu recognized it as the god Janardana, or Brahma. It told Manu that the end of the yuga was approaching, and soon all would be covered with water. He was to preserve all creatures and plants aboard a ship which had been prepared. It said that a hundred years of drought and famine would begin this day, which would be followed by fires from the sun and from underground that would consume the earth and the ether, destroying this world, the gods, and the planets. Seven clouds from the steam of the fire will inundate the earth, and the three worlds will be reduced to one ocean. Manu’s ship alone will remain, fastened by a rope to the great fish’s horn. Having announced all this, the great being vanished. The deluge occurred as stated; Janardana appeared in the form of a horned fish, and the serpent Ananta came in the form of a rope. Manu, by contemplation, drew all creatures towards him and stowed them in the ship and, after making obeisance to Janardana, attached the ship to the fish’s horn with the serpent-rope. [Frazer, pp. 188-190]

At the end of the past kalpa, the demon Hayagriva stole the sacred books from Brahma, and the whole human race became corrupt except the seven Nishis, and especially Satyavrata, the prince of a maritime region. One day when he was bathing in a river, he was visited by a fish which craved protection and which he transferred to successively larger vessels as it grew. At last Satyavrata recognized it as the god Vishnu, “The Lord of the Universe.” Vishnu told him that in seven days all the corrupt creatures will be destroyed by a deluge, but Satyavrata would be saved in a large vessel. He was told to take aboard the miraculous vessel all kinds of medicinal herbs, food esculant grains, the seven Nishis and their wives, and pairs of brute animals. After seven days, the oceans began to overflow the coasts and constant rain began flooding the earth. A large vessel floated in on the rising waters, and Satyavrata and the Nishis entered with their wives and cargo. During the deluge, Vishnu preserved the ark by again taking the form of a giant fish and tying the ark to himself with a huge sea serpent. When the waters subsided, he slew the demon who had stolen the holy books and communicated their contents to Satyavrata. [H. Miller, pp. 289-290; Howey, pp. 389-390; Frazer, pp. 191-193]

One windy day, the sea flooded the port city of Dwaravati. All its occupants perished except Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, and his brother Balarama, who were walking in the forests of Raivataka Hill. Krishna left his brother alone. Sesha, the serpent who supports the world, withdrew his energy from Balarama; in a jet of light, Balarama’s spirit entered the sea, and his body fell over. Krishna decided that tomorrow he would destroy the world for all its evils, and he went to sleep. Jara the hunter passed by, mistook Krishna’s foot for the face of a stag, and shot it. The wound to Krishna’s foot was slight, but Jara found Krishna dead. He had saffron robes, four arms, and a jewel on his breast. The waters still rose and soon lapped at Jara’s feet. Jara felt ashamed but helpless; he left deciding never to speak of the incident. [Buck, pp. 408-409]

Bhil (central India):
Out of gratitude for the dhobi feeding it, a fish told a dhobi (a pious man) that a great deluge was coming. The man prepared a large box in which he embarked with his sister and a cock. After the flood, a messenger of Rama sent to find the state of affairs discovered the box by the cock’s crowing. Rama had the box brought to him and questioned the man. Facing north, east, and west, the man swore that the woman was his sister; facing south, the man said she was his wife. Told that the fish gave the warning, Rama had the fish’s tongue removed, and fish have been tongueless since. Rama ordered the man to repopulate the world, so he married his sister, and they had seven daughters and seven sons. The firstborn received a horse as a gift from Rama, but, being unable to ride, he instead went into the forest to cut wood, and so his descendants have been woodcutters to this day. [Gaster, pp. 95-96]

Kamar (Raipur District, Central India):
A boy and girl were born to the first man and woman. God sent a deluge to destroy a jackal which had angered him. The man and woman heard it coming, so they shut their children in a hollow piece of wood with provisions to last until the flood subsides. The deluge came, and everything on earth was drowned. After twelve years, God created two birds and sent them to see if the jackal had been drowned. They saw nothing but a floating log and, landing on it, heard the children inside, who were saying to each other that they had only three days of provisions left. The birds told God, who caused the flood to subside, took the children from the log, and heard their story. In due time they were married. God gave each of their children the name of a different caste, and all people are descended from them. [Gaster, p. 96]

Assam (northeastern India):
A flood once covered the whole world and drowned everyone except for one couple, who climbed up a tree on the highest peak of the Leng hill. In the morning, they discovered that they had been changed into a tiger and tigress. Seeing the sad state of the world, Pathian, the creator, sent a man and a woman from a cave on the hill. But as they emerged from the cave, they were terrified by the sight of the tigers. They prayed to the Creator for strength and killed the beasts. After that, they lived happily and repopulated the world. [Gaster, p. 97]

Tamil (southern India):
Half of the land mass Kumari Kandam, which was south of India, sank in a great flood, destroying the first Tamil Sangam (literary academy). The people moved to the other half and established the second Tamil Sangam there, but the rest of Kumari too sank beneath the sea. The lone survivor was a Tamil prince named Thirumaaran, who managed to rescue some Tamil literary classics and swim with them to present-day Tamil Nadu. [Sundar Narayan, personal communication, citing Appadurai; see also Adigal, p. 70 (11:20-21)]

Lepcha (Sikkim):
A couple escaped a great flood on the top of a mountain called Tendong, near Darjeeling. [Gaster, p. 96]

Tibet was almost totally inundated, until the god Gya took compassion on the survivors, drew off the waters through Bengal, and sent teachers to civilize the people, who until then had been little better than monkeys. Those people repopulated the land. [Gaster, p. 97]

Singpho (Assam):
Mankind was once destroyed because they had neglected the proper sacrifices as the slaughter of buffaloes and pigs. Two men, Khun litang and Chu liyang, survived with their wives and, dwelling on Singrabhum hill, became humanity’s ancestors. [Gaster, p. 97]

Lushai (Assam):
The king of the water demons fell in love with the woman Ngai-ti (Loved One). She rejected him and ran away. He pursued and surrounded the whole human race with water on the hill Phun-lu-buk, said to be in the far northeast. Threatended by waters which continued to rise, the people threw Ngai-ti into the flood, which then receded. The receding water carved great valleys; until then, the earth had been level. [Gaster, p. 97]

Lisu (northwest Yunnan, China, and neighboring areas):
After death came into the world as a result of a macaque’s curse, sky and earth longed for human souls and bones. That is how the flood began. An orphaned brother and sister lived in squalor in a village. A pair of golden birds flew down to them one day, warned them that a huge wave would flood the earth, and told them to take shelter in a gourd and not to come out until they heard the birds again. The two children warned their neighbors, but the people didn’t believe them. The children sawed off the top of a gourd and went inside. For ninety-nine days, there was no wind or rain, and the earth became parched. Then torrents of rain fell, and the resulting flood washed everything away. The brother and sister occasionally could hear the gourd bump against the bottom of heaven. After long waiting, they heard the birds calling, left the gourd, and found they had landed atop a mountain, and the flood had receded. But now there were nine suns and seven moons in the sky, and they scorched the earth during the day. The two golden birds returned with a golden hammer and silver tongs and instructed the children how to use them to get the dragon king’s bow and arrows. Brother and sister went to the dragon pond and struck the reef-home of the dragon king with the hammer. This raised such a racket that the dragon king sent his servants (various fish) to investigate. The children grabbed the fish with the tongs and threw them on the bank. At last, the dragon king himself came to investigate and had to give his bow and arrows when he was likewise caught. With these, brother and sister shot down all but the brightest sun and moon. Brother and sister then went in search of other people, exploring north and south respectively. They found nobody else, and the golden birds appeared again and urged them to marry. They refused, but the birds told them it was the will of heaven. After divinations in the form of several improbable events (tortoise shells landing a certain way, a broken millstone came together, and the brother shooting an arrow through a needle’s eye–all happening three times), they consented. They had six sons and six daughters which traveled different directions and became the ancestors of different races. [L. Miller, pp. 78-84]

Lolo (southwestern China):
In primeval times, men were wicked. The patriarch Tse-gu-dzih sent a messenger down to earth, asking for some flesh and blood from a mortal. Only one man, Du-mu, complied. In wrath, Tse-gu-dzih locked the rain-gates, and the waters mounted to the sky. Du-mu was saved in a log hollowed out of a Pieris tree, together with his four sons and otters, wild ducks, and lampreys. The civilized peoples who can write are descended from the sons; the ignorant races are descendants of wooden figures whom Du-mu constructed after the deluge. [Gaster, pp. 99-100]

Jino (southern Yunnan, China, near Mekong R.):
From the time of creation, people’s lives were happy and peaceful, but one year a great flood came. The parents of Mahei and Maniu, twin brother and sister, felled a big tree, hollowed it out, and covered both ends with cowhide. They attached brass bells to the outside, and inside they put grain and seed, the two children, and a knife and cake of beeswax. They instructed the children not to come out until the flood had gone down. The flood came, and the children floated for an undeterminable period. Mahei got impatient and cut a small hole with the knife. He saw muddy waves surging and dead bodies everywhere, and he closed the hole with wax. Later, Maniu cut a hole and saw nothing but water; she likewise filled the hole. Finally, they heard the bells ringing, indicating they had touched ground, and they left the drum. They were the only survivors. When they got old, they realized that there would be no people left if they died. Mahei suggested marriage, but his sister was ashamed to marry her brother. Mahei suggested she consult the magic tree. Maniu went there, but Mahei took a shortcut and hid behind the tree. Disguising his voice, he answered Maniu that she should marry her brother. They did so, but by then they were too old to have children. The sole gourd seed they had carried in the wooden drum had grown profusely, and although most of the fruits dried and rotted, one stayed ripe. They had hung it in their shed. One day, they heard faint voices coming from the gourd. They heated their fire tongs red hot to burn a hole in the gourd, but each time they tried, a voice said “Don’t burn me!” Finally, one voice, calling herself Grandma Apierer, said to burn her or none could get out. They burnt a hole in the navel on the gourd’s bottom. First out was Apo, ancestor of the Konge people; his skin was darkened by the soot around the hole. The next out, in order, were Han, Dai, and last of all Jino (which literally means “last squeeze”); they became ancestors of their people. Since then, rice offerings have been made to Apierer, who gave her life so that the Jino might live. [L. Miller, pp. 68-73]

Karen (Burma):
Two brothers survived a world-wide deluge on a raft. The waters rose until they reached to heaven. A mango tree grew from the celestial vault, and the younger brother climbed up to eat its fruit. But the flood suddenly subsided, stranding him there. (The story breaks off here.) [Frazer, p. 208]

Chingpaw (Upper Burma):
When the deluge came, Pawpaw Nan-chaung and his sister Chang-hko saved themselves in a large boat. They took with them nine cocks and nine needles. When the storm and rain had passed, they each day threw out one cock and one needle to see whether the waters were falling. On the ninth day, they finally heard the cock crow and the needle strike bottom. They left their boat, wandered about, and came to a cave home of two nats or elves. The elves bade them stay and make themselves useful, which they did. Soon the sister gave birth, and the old elfin woman minded the baby while its parents were away at work. The old woman, who was a witch, disliked the infant’s squalling, and one day took it to a place where nine roads met, cut it to pieces, and scattered its blood and body about. She carried some of the tidbits back to the cave, made it into a curry, and tricked the mother into eating it. When the mother learned this, she fled to the crossroads and cried to the Great Spirit to return her child and avenge its death. The Great Spirit told her he couldn’t restore her baby, but he would make her mother of all nations of men. Then, from each road, people of different nations sprang up from the fragments of the murdered babe. [Gaster, pp. 97-98]

The Supreme Sovereign ordered the water god Gong Gong to create a flood as punishment and warning for human misbehavior. Gong Gong extended the flood for 22 years, and people had to live in high mountain caves and in trees, fighting with wild animals for scarce resources. Unable to persuade the Supreme Sovereign to stop the flood, and told by an owl and a turkey about _Xirang_ or Growing Soil, the supernatural hero Gun stole Growing Soil from heaven to dam the waters. Before Gun was finished, however, the Supreme Sovereign sent the fire god Zhu Rong to execute him for his theft. The Growing Soil was taken back to heaven, and the floods continued. However, Gun’s body didn’t decay, and when it was cut apart three years later, his son Yu emerged in the form of a horned dragon. Gun’s body also transformed into a dragon at that time and thenceforth lived quietly in the deeps. The Supreme Sovereign was fearful of Yu’s power, so he cooperated and gave Yu the Growing Soil and the use of the dragon Ying. Yu led other gods to drive away Gong Gong, distributed the Growing Soil to remove most of the flood, and led the people to fashion rivers from Ying’s tracks and thus channel the remaining floodwaters to the sea. [Walls, pp. 94-100]

The goddess Nu Kua fought and defeated the chief of a neighboring tribe, driving him up a mountain. The chief, chagrined at being defeated by a woman, beat his head against the Heavenly Bamboo with the aim of wreaking vengeance on his enemies and killing himself. He knocked it down, tearing a hole in the sky. Floods poured out, inundating the world and killing everyone but Nu Kua and her army; her divinity made her and her followers safe from it. Nu Kua patched the hole with a plaster made from stones of five different colors, and the floods ceased. [Werner, p. 225; Vitaliano, p. 163]

A son was borne to a fairy and a laurel tree; the fairy returned to heaven when the boy was seven years old. One day, rains came and lasted for many months, flooding the earth with a raging sea. The laurel, in danger of falling, told his son to ride him when it came uprooted by the waves. The boy did so, floating on the tree for many days. One day a crowd of ants floated by and cried out to be saved. After asking the tree for permission, the boy gave them refuge on the branches of the laurel. Later, a group of mosquitoes flew by and also asked to be saved. Again, the boy asked the tree for permission, was granted it, and gave the mosquitoes rest. Then another boy floated by and asked to be saved. This time the tree refused permission when its son asked. The son asked twice more, and after the third time the tree said, “Do what you like,” and the son rescued the other boy. At last the tree came to rest on the summit of a mountain. The insects expressed their gratitude and left. The two boys, being very hungry, went and found a house where an old woman lived with her own daughter and a foster-daughter. As everyone else in the world had perished and the subsiding waters allowed farming again, the woman decided to marry her daughters to the boys, her own going to the cleverer boy. The second boy maliciously told the woman that the other boy could quickly gather millet grains scattered on sand. The woman tested this claim, and the first boy despaired of ever succeeding, when the ants came to his aid, filling the grain bag in a few minutes. The other boy had watched, and he told the woman that the task hadn’t been done by the first boy himself, so the woman still couldn’t decide which daughter to marry to which boy. She decided to let the boys decide by chance, going to one room or another in total darkness. A mosquito came and told the Son of the Tree which room the old woman’s daughter was in, so those two were married, and the second boy married the foster-daughter. The human race is descended from those two couples. [Zong, pp. 16-18]

Young Gim’s father was killed by robbers, and Gim set out to track them and get revenge. On the way, he met another bereaved boy hunting the same robbers. They became sworn brothers, but they were separated when a storm upset their ferry as they were crossing a river. Gim was rescued by another boy who had been orphaned by the same robbers. They too swore to be brothers but were separated when their ferry sank in a storm. Gim was rescued and hidden by an old woman; he was on the island of the robbers but was helpless from his injuries. One day a mysterious man came by and asked Gim to go with him. Gim lived with the man in the mountains studying magic until he was sixteen, whereupon the man told him to go and rescue the king from the robbers, and that he would meet Gim again in three years exactly. Gim set out, finding a magic horse, arms, and armor along the way, and arrived at the king’s castle when it was on the point of surrender. In the enemy camp, he found a black face belching fire at the castle, a genii studying astrology, a rat whose swinging tail produced a flood which threatened the castle, and a giant who hurled flames at the King’s camp. Gim fought them with his magic but was overwhelmed by their numbers. He fled with the king to an island, but the rat tried to submerge it with an even greater flood from its tail. A butterfly led Gim to a cavern in a distant mountain, where he met the first boy he had encountered. They went back to fight together, but the other boy was killed and the island submerged, and Gim and the King retreated to a second island. Gim was led by a crow to another cavern in the mountains where he met his other friend. They returned to fight, but again the friend was killed, the island submerged, and Gim and the King had to retreat. When a third island was threatened with the flood, they took refuge on a ship. Gim’s mentor then came (three years having elapsed) and with his magic called down thunderbolts which destroyed all of the enemy. Gim went to the enemy island, found his mother, and married the sister of his second friend. [Zong, pp. 62-66]

The River Dedong flooded the countryside. An old man in Pyongyang, rowing about in a boat, found and rescued a deer, a snake, and a boy from the waters. He carried them to shore and released them, but the boy had lost his parents in the flood and so became the man’s adopted son. One day the deer came and led the man to a buried treasure of gold and silver, and the man became rich. The foster-son became reckless with the money, and he and his father argued. The boy accused the man of theft, and the man was imprisoned. The snake came to him in his cell and bit his arm, which then swelled painfully. But then the snake returned with a small bottle. The man applied the medicine to his arm, which cured it at once. In the morning, he heard that the magistrate’s wife was dying of a snakebite, so he sent word that he could cure her. This he did with the snake’s ointment. He was released, and the foster-son was arrested and punished. [Zong, pp. 94-95]

A foundling infant grew up incredibly fast and soon showed signs of fantastic strength. He earned the name “Iron-shoes” from the footwear he needed. He set out on a journey and met with and joined three other extraordinary men–“Nose-wind”, who had extraordinarily powerful breath; “Long-rake”, who crumbled mountains with his rake, and “Waterfall”, who made rivers by pissing. They went to an old woman’s home and were invited to spend the night, but the woman locked them in, and the men realized that she and her four sons were tigers in disguise. The tigers tried to kill them by roasting the room, but Nose-wind kept it cool by his blowing. The next day, the woman challenged them to a contest of gathering pine trees while her sons stacked them. When it became clear that the four brothers ripped up the trees faster than the tigers could stack them, the woman set fire to the logs. Waterfall, though, made water which not only put out the fire, but created a flood that nearly drowned the tigers. Nose-wind blew on the water and froze it. Iron-shoes skated out and kicked the heads off the tigers, and Long-rake broke up the ice and threw it far and wide, eliminating any trace of the flood. [Zong, pp. 162-166]

Munda (north-central India):
Sing Bonga created man from the dust of the ground, but they soon grew wicked and lazy, would not wash, and spent all their time dancing and singing. Sing Bonga regretted creating them and resolved to destroy them by flood. He sent a stream of fire-water (Sengle-Daa) from heaven, and all people died save a brother and sister who had hidden beneath a tiril tree (hence tiril wood is black and charred today). God thought better of his deed and created the snake Lurbing to stop the fiery rain. This snake held up the showers by puffing up its soul into the shape of a rainbow. Now Mundas associate the rainbow with Lurbing destroying the rain. [Frazer, p. 196]

Santal (Bengal):
When Pilchu Haram and Pilchu Budhi, the first man and woman, reached adolescence, fire-rain fell for seven days. They took refuge in a stone cave and emerged unharmed when the flood was over. Jaher-era asked them where they had been, and they replied that they had been under a rock. [Frazer, p. 197]

When social distinctions were assigned to the various tribes, the Marndis were overlooked. Ambir Singh and Bir Singh, two members of that tribe from Mount Here, were incensed at this slight, and they prayed for fire from heaven to destroy the other tribes. Fire fell and devastated the country, destroying half the population. The home of Ambir Singh and Bir Singh was stone, so they escaped unhurt. Kisku Raj heard what had happened and was told that Ambir Singh and Bir Singh were responsible. He ordered them to explain themselves, and they told of their being overlooked in the distribution of distinctions. Kisku Raj told them not to act thus, and they would receive an office. They stopped the fire-rain, and the Marndi were appointed stewards over the property of kings and nobles and over all rice. [Frazer, pp. 197-198]

While people were at Khojkaman, their misdeeds became so great that the creator Thakur Jiu sent a fire-rain to punish them. Only two people escaped, in a cave on Mount Haradata. [Frazer, p. 198]

Ho (southwestern Bengal):
The first people became incestuous and unheedful of God or their betters. Sirma Thakoor, or Sing Bonga, the creator, destroyed them, some say by water and others say by fire. He spared sixteen people. [Gaster, p. 96]

Bahnar (Cochin China):
A kite once quarrelled with the crab and pecked a hole in its skull (which can still be seen today). In revenge, the crab caused the sea and rivers to swell until the waters reached the sky. The only survivors were a brother and sister who took a pair of all kinds of animals with them in a huge chest. They floated for seven days and nights. Then the brother heard a cock crowing outside, sent by the spirits to signal that the flood had abated. All disembarked, birds first, then the animals, then the two people. The brother and sister did not know how they would live, for they had eaten all the rice that was stored in the chest. However, a black ant brought two grains of rice. The brother planted them, and the plain was covered with a rice crop the next morning. [Gaster, p. 98]

Kammu (northern Thailand):
A brother and sister tried to dig out a bamboo rat, but it told them it was digging to escape a coming flood and instructed them to seal themselves inside a drum to save themselves. They did so. Some richer people took refuge on rafts, but the rafts overturned when the waters receded, and those people died. The brother and sister made a hole, saw water, sealed the drum again, and waited longer. The second time they made a hole, they saw dry land and emerged. (In another version, they took along a needle and knew the flood was over when no water leaked in the hole they poked.) They looked far and wide for mates, but they were the only survivors. A malcoha cuckoo sang to them, “brother and sister should embrace one another.” They slept together. After seven years, the child was born as a gourd. They put it behind their house and went about their work. Later, hearing noises from the gourd, they burnt a hole in its shell, and people of the different races came out, first Rumeet, then Kammu, Thai, Westerner, and Chinese. The Rumeet are darker because they rubbed off charcoal around the hole. At first, none of those people could speak. They sat down in a row on a tree trunk, it broke, and they all cried out, and with that they were able to speak. Later, the different people all learned different ways of writing. [Lindell et. al., pp. 268-278]

Andaman Islands (Bay of Bengal):
Some time after their creation, men grew disobedient. In anger, Puluga, the Creator, sent a flood which covered the whole land, except perhaps Saddle Peak where Puluga himself resided. Of all creatures, the only survivors were two men and two women who had the fortune to be in a canoe when the flood came. The waters sank and they landed, but they found themselves in a sad plight. Puluga recreated birds and animals for their use, but the world was still damp and without fire. The ghost of one of the peoples’ friends took the form of a kingfisher and tried to steal a brand from Puluga’s fire, but he accidentally dropped it on the Creator. Incensed, Puluga hurled the brand at the bird, but it missed and landed where the four flood survivors were seated. After the people had warmed themselves and had leisure to reflect, they began to murmur against the Creator and even plotted to murder him. However, the Creator warned them away from such rash action, explained that men had brought the flood on themselves by their disobedience, and that another such offense would likewise be met with punishment. That was the last time the Creator spoke with men face to face. [Gaster, pp. 104-105]

Zhuang (China):
Thunder God demanded half of Bubo’s crops, but Bubo tricked him into taking the tops of taro and the roots of rice. Thunder God retaliated by withdrawing rain from the earth. Bubo led his people to open the copper sluice gate of the heavenly river a crack, but Thunder God closed it tight and lifted heaven higher so the people couldn’t come again. Bubo went to the Dragon King to demand water of him. Dragon King refused, but he was forced to release his stream when Bubo held him tight and the people plucked out almost all his beard. By the third year, this stream dried up. Bubo climbed the sun-moon tree on Mount Bachi to heaven to fight Thunder God. Qigao, one of the thunder soldiers, told Bubo that Thunder God was determined to kill people with drought and pointed out his location. Bubo caught him and made him promise to send rain in three days, but Thunder God went back on his promise. Qigao brought world that Thunder God was grinding his axe. Bubo put a slippery surface on his roof and instructed his wife and children to stand ready with clubs and a net. Thunder God came in a rainstorm and tried to land on Bubo’s house but slipped off and was captured. Bubo imprisoned Thunder God in a granary, warning his family not to give him an ax or any water, but his children, Fuyi and his sister, were enticed to give him some indigo ink, and the moisture gave Thunder God the strength to escape. The children were angry that he had tricked them, but Thunder God promised that he would repay them by saving them from the flood that he would bring in a few days. He gave them one of his teeth and told them to plant it. They did so, and it grew into a vine with a giant gourd fruit. Fuyi and his sister scooped out the pith and entered it. Thunder God breached the dike holding back the river of heaven, and Dragon King, in revenge against Bubo’s plucking his beard, released his lake water, too. The water rose over the mountains as high as heaven’s ceiling. Bubo, though, rode the waves floating on an inverted umbrella. He made for the gate of heaven and attacked Thunder God, chopping off his feet. (Thunder God later replaced them with chicken feet.) Thunder God, with the help of Dragon King, rapidly made the water subside so Bubo could not reach him. Bubo and his umbrella dropped from the sky and were smashed. Bubo’s heart was thrown onto the ceiling of heaven and remains there as the planet Venus. Fuyi and his sister landed safely in the soft gourd. They wandered the earth but found nobody else. They came across a turtle which said the two of them should marry. Fuyi and his sister said, “How can a brother and sister marry?” and said if the turtle can come back to life after they beat it death, they would marry. They beat it to death, whereupon it laughed and crawled away. A bamboo also told them to marry; they cut it down, and it came back to life and laughed as they left. Venus spoke to them, told them to build fires on two different mountains, and if the smoke columns joined, they could marry. They did so, the smoke columns came together, Venus laughed, and the brother and sister married. They gave birth to a fleshball. Not knowing what to do with it, they minced it up and scattered the pieces, and the pieces became men and women. Qigao became a worm, which Thunder God attacks when he comes to the surface. [L. Miller, pp. 137-150]

Sui (southern Guizhou, China, along Long and Duliu rivers):
Grandpa Xiang and his wife Ya lived at the food of Sun mountain, barely getting by. One day, there was a beautiful rainbow after a downpour, and Xiang followed it as he picked bamboo shoots. He saw an eagle clutch a tiny red snake. In pity for the snake, Xiang yelled and threw his basket at the eagle, which dropped the snake and flew away. Xiang saw the snake disappear in a flash of light, and a column of smoke drifted up the mountain. That night he dreamed that a golden dragon thanked him for saving the life of the dragon’s daughter and told him to visit. Grandma Ya had the same dream, so they set out, with their grandchildren, across three mountain passes and up a long slope, as the dream had directed. A beautiful girl came and told them that she had gone out earlier, entranced by the rainbow, and Xiang had rescued her. She led them to an idyllic pond and invited them to settle there. They did, and they grew younger and stronger from eating the fish of the pool. After a year, Xiang went back to his village and invited the people to live up on Sun Mountain with him. They did so and lived happily for some time. But an evil man wasted fish, polluted the pond, and finally poisoned all the fish. One dying fish told Xiang to make it a corn-flour body, feed it for 81 days on dew, and make a wooden house for himself. He did so, and all the people except the evil man made wooden houses. After 81 days, a fierce gale came, while the sky darkened and lightning flashed. The fish shook itself and turned into a girl and then into the red snake, which flew off to join the golden dragon Xiang had seen in his dreams. It told him to take his things into his wooden house and stay there. Pelting rain then fell from the sky, and soon there was a vast flood. The evil man was helpless in his stone house, but the wooden houses of the others floated. The golden dragon shook his body, and the upper half of Sun Mountain erupted into the sky. The body of the evil man was buried by the falling stones. The others floated peacefully down the mountain and carved a giant stone fish where they settled. This statue and the lower part of Sun Mountain can be seen near the town of Shuilong. [L. Miller, pp. 107-112]

Shan (Burma):
Long ago, the middle world, of many worlds beneath the sky, had no race of kings (the Shan). Animals emerged from bamboos which cracked open and went to live in deep forests. Hpi-pok and Hpi-mot came from heaven to Möng-hi on the Cambodia river and became the ancestors of the Shan. But a time came when they offered no sacrifices to their gods. Ling-lawn, the storm god, sent large cranes to devour the people, but there were too many people to eat all of them. He sent lions, but they could not eat all of the people either. He send snakes, but the people attacked and killed them. A great drought came for the first four months of the new year, and many people died of thirst and famine. But the storm-god had not finished his battle. Sitting in his palace beneath a beautiful umbrella, he called his counsellors. Kaw-hpa, Hseng-kio, old Lao-hki, Tai-long, Bak-long, the smooth-talker Ya-hseng-hpa, and others came and bowed down to worship. Speaking in the language of men (Shan), they decided to destroy the human race. They sent for Hkang-hkak, god of streams and ponds, of alligators and water animals, and bade him descend with the clouds and report to the distinguished sage Lip-long. Lip-long had seen ill omens while auguring with chicken bones and knew a calamity was coming, so he was not surprised to hear the water-god tell him that Ling-lawn, the storm god, would soon flood the earth and destroy everything on it. Hkang-hkak told the sage to build a strong raft and take a cow on it, but not to warn anyone else, not even his wife or children. Lip-long sorrowfully bent to his task while even his family mocked his seemingly futile work. Fearing the gods, he heeded the order not to warn anyone. A few days after he finished the raft, the flood came, rushing violently. Only Lip-long and the cow survived on the waters. He grieved to see the bodies of his family. Thus the race of Shans perished. Their spirits went to the mansions of heaven, were refreshed by a meal of cold crab, and found the spirit land a festive and charming place. Meanwhile, the stench of corpses filled the earth. Ling-lawn sent serpents to devour them, but there were too many to eat. In anger he wanted to destroy the snakes, but they escaped into a cave. He sent 999,000 tigers, but they couldn’t eat all the corpses, either. More angry now, he hurled thunderbolts at the tigers, but they too escaped into caves. Then he sent Hsen-htam and Hpa-hpai, the gods of fire, who descended on their horses to one of only three elevations of land. They sent a great conflagration of fire over the entire earth. When he saw the fire coming, Lip-long killed the cow with a stick, cut it open with his sword, and crawled in its belly. There he found a gourd seed. The fire swept over the cow, and Lip-long came out. He asked Hkang-hkak what to do, and the water god told him to plant the gourd seed on a level plot of ground. He did so. One gourd vine grew up a mountain and was scorched by the sun. One vine ran downward and rotted and died from soaking in the water from the flood. A third vine twined around bushes and trees. Ling-lawn sent his gardener to care for it, and it bore great fruit. Then Ling-lawn sent Sao-pang, god of the clear sky, to prepare the earth for humans. Sao-pang dried what remained of the flood with waves of heat. Ling-lawn broke open a gourd with a thunderbolt, and people emerged from it to till the land. Another bolt broke open a gourd. The Shans therein asked god what to do, and he told them to go and rule many lands. Other gourds were broken open to release all kinds of animals, rivers, and plants. [Frazer, pp. 199-203]

In another version of this legend, the survivors were the most righteous seven men and seven women, who crawled into the dry shell of a giant gourd and survived the flood floating in it. They emerged to replenish the drowned earth. [Frazer, pp. 203-204]

Tsuwo (Formosa interior):
When the Tsuwo ancestors were dispersed, a great flood came, and everyone was forced to flee to the top of Mount Niitaka-yama. In their haste, none had brought fire with them, and the people suffered cold. Someone saw a sparkle on the top of a neighboring mountain and asked who would go to bring fire back. A goat volunteered, swam to the other mountain, and brought back a burning cord between its horns, but it tired from the swim, and it drooped its head and extinguished the fire before it made it back to land. The people next sent out a taoron (?), which succeeded in the quest; the people gathered around the animal and patted it, which is why it has such shiny skin and small body today. The people were unsure how to lower the water. A wild pig offered to swim off and break a bank lower in the river, and it asked the people to care for its children if it drowned. The people agreed, the pig swam off, and soon the flood water sank. The people decided to make a new river, with the help of the animals, to prevent another great flood. A snake guided the people and hollowed out the bed of the stream. Thousands of birds paved the channel with pebbles. Other animals worked to fashion the river banks and valleys. Only the eagle didn’t help, and in punishment, it is not allowed to drink from the river. The goddess Hipararasa came from the south and formed plains by crushing the mountains. At the central ranges, though, an angry bear protecting its homeland confronted her and bit and wounded her child, so the goddess desisted. The land hardened, so the mountains still stand today. The survivors from Mount Niitaka-yama, in groups, wandered their various ways. The idea of headhunting originated while they lived on that mountain. [Frazer, pp. 229-232]

Bunun (Formosa interior):
A heavy rain fell for many days, and a giant snake lay across the river, blocking it so that the whole land flooded. Many people drowned, and the few survivors fled to the highest mountain, but they still feared as the waters kept rising. A crab appeared and cut through the body of the snake, and the flood subsided. [Frazer, p. 232]

A giant crab caught and tried to eat a large snake, but the snake managed to escape into the ocean. Immediately a great flood covered the world. The ancestors of the Bunun escaped to Mount Usabeya (Niitaka-yama) and Mount Shinkan, where they lived by hunting until the waters receded. They returned to find their fields washed away, but a stalk of millet remained. They planted its seeds and subsisted on its produce. Before the flood, the land had been quite flat; many mountains and valleys were formed by it. [Frazer, pp. 232-233]

Ami (eastern Taiwan):
The god Kakumodan Sappatorroku and the goddess Budaihabu descended to a place called Taurayan with the boy Sura, the girl Nakao, a pig and a chicken. One day, two other gods, Kabitt and Aka, while hunting nearby, saw the pig and chicken and coveted them. They asked Kakumodan for them, but as they had nothing to trade, they were refused. This angered them, and they plotted to kill Kakumodan. They called upon the four sea gods, Mahahan, Mariyaru, Marimokoshi, and Kosomatora, who consented to help. They told Kabitt and Aka that in five days, when the moon was full, the sea will make a booming sound, and they should escape to a mountain where there are stars. On the fifth day, the two gods fled to a mountain, and when they reached the summit, the sea began booming and rising. Kakumodan’s house was flooded, but he and his wife escaped by climbing a ladder to the sky. In their haste, though, they forgot the children, and upon reaching safety, they futilely called for them. Sura and Nakao, however, had climbed into a wooden mortar and had floated to safety to the Ragasan mountain. The brother and sister, now alone in the world, feared to offend the ancestral gods, but of necessity they became man and wife. To mitigate the wrath of the gods, they contacted each other as little as possible and interposed a mat between them in their bed. They had three sons and two daughters. During Nakao’s first pregnancy, the first grain of millet was found in her ear, and in time the two learned the proper ritual for cultivating that grain. [Frazer, pp. 226-227]

In an earthquake, mountains tumbled down, the earth gaped, and hot subterranean waters gushed out and flooded the whole earth. Two sisters and a brother escaped in a wooden mortar and floated south to Rarauran. They landed and climbed Mount Kaburugan to view the countryside; then the sisters searched south and the brother searched west for good land. Finding none, they returned and ascended to the mountain’s summit again. But the older sister tired half way up, and when the other two returned for her, they found she had turned into a rock. The brother and sister wanted to return to their homeland, but the mortar was rotten and no longer sea-worthy. Wandering away on foot, they saw smoke in the distance and, fearing another eruption and flood, hastened away. But the sister collapsed in exhaustion, and they had to remain. Catastrophe ceased to threaten, and they decided to settle there. They were uncertain whether it would be proper for them to marry, so they asked the sun as it rose the next morning. The sun answered immediately that they may marry. A few months later, the wife conceived, but she delivered only two abortions. They threw these in the river. One went straight down and became the ancestor of fish, and the other swam across and gave rise to crabs. Next morning, the brother asked the moon why their offspring should be fish and crabs. The moon answered that marriage between brother and sister is strictly prohibited, but as they can find no other mates, they must place a mat between them in their marriage bed. They heeded this advice, and the wife soon gave birth to a stone. They were again distraught and were about to throw the stone in the river, but the moon told them they must care for it nevertheless. Later, they settled in a rich land called Arapanai, and in time the brother died. Pitying the woman’s loneliness, the moon told her that she would soon have companions. Just five days later, the stone swelled up and four children came from it, some shod and some barefoot. Those with shoes were probably the ancestors of the Chinese. [Frazer, pp. 227-229]

A brother and sister escaped a great deluge in a wooden mortar. They landed on a high mountain, married, had children, and founded the village of Popkok in a hollow of the hills, where they thought themselves safe from another deluge. [Gaster, p. 104]

Benua-Jakun (Malay Peninsula):
The ground we stand on is merely a skin covering an abyss of water. Long ago, Pirman, the deity, broke up this skin, flooding and destroying the world. However, Pirman had created a man and woman and placed them in a completely closed ship of pulai wood. When at last this ship came to rest, the couple nibbled their way out through its side, and they saw land stretching to the horizon in all directions. The sun had not yet been created, so it was dark; when it grew light, they saw seven small rhododendron shrubs and seven clumps of sambau grass. The couple bemoaned their lack of children, but in time the woman conceived in the calves of her legs, a male child coming from the right calf and a female from the left. That is why offspring from the same womb may not marry. All mankind are descended from that first pair. [Gaster, p. 99]

Kelantan (Malay Peninsula):
One day a feast was made for a circumcision, during which all manner of beasts were pitted to fight one another. The last fight was between dogs and cats. During this fight, a great flood came down from the mountains, drowning everyone except two or three menials who had been sent to the hills to gather firewood. Then the sun, moon, and stars were extinguished. When light returned, there was no land, and all the abodes of men had been overwhelmed. [Gaster, p. 99]

Ifugao (Philippines):
A great drought dried up all the rivers. The old men suggested digging in a river bed to find the soul of the river. After three days of digging, a great spring gushed forth rapidly enough to kill many of the diggers. While the Ifugaos celebrated the waters, a storm came, the river kept rising, and the elders advised people to run for the mountains, as the river gods were angry. Only two people made it to safety, a brother and sister, Wigan and Bugan, on the separate mountains Amuyao and Kalawitan. Both had enough food on the summits, but only Bugan had fire. After six months, the waters receded, creating the rugged terrain that exists today. Wigan traveled to his sister on Mt. Kalawitan, and they settled in the valley. The sister later found herself with child and ran away in shame, following the course of the river. The god Maknongan, appearing as an old man, assured her that her shame had no foundation, since she and her brother would repopulate the world. [Demetrio, p. 262; Dixon, pp. 179-180]

Only a brother and sister named Wigam and Bugan survived a primeval flood, on Mount Amuyas. [Gaster, p. 104]

Kiangan Ifugao:
Wigan’s first son Kabigat went from Hudog (the Sky World) to Earth World to hunt with his dogs, but the earth was then entirely flat, causing no echoes by which he could hear his dogs barking. He mused a while, went to the Sky World, and came back with a large cloth with which he closed the exit of the rivers to the sea. He returned to Hudog and told Bongabong what he had done. Bongabong had Cloud and Fog go to the house of Baiyuhibi, and Baiyuhibi brought together his sons and bade them rain for three days, stopping finally when Bongabong commanded. Wigan told Kabigat to remove the stopper. When he did so, the waters which covered the earth formed mountains and valleys as they rushed out. Bongabong called on Mumba’an to dry the earth. [Dixon, pp. 178-179]

Atá (Philippines):
Water covered the whole earth, and all the Atás drowned except two men and a woman who were carried far to sea. They would have perished, but a great eagle offered to carry them on its back to their homes. One man refused, but the other two people accepted and returned to Mapula. [Gaster, pp. 103-104]

Mandaya (Philippines):
A great flood once drowned all the world’s inhabitants except one pregnant woman. She prayed that her child would be a boy, and it was. When he, Uacatan, grew up, he wed his mother, and all Mandayas are descended from them. [Frazer, p. 225]

Tinguian (Luzon, Philippines):
When the god Kaboniyan sent a flood to cover the earth, fire hid itself deep inside bamboo, stone, and iron. Men later learned how to retrieve it from these places. [Cole, p. 189; Eliot, pp. 223-224]

Batak (Sumatra):
The earth once rested on the three horns of the giant snake Naga Padoha, who grew tired of its burden and shook it off into the sea. The god Batara Guru, to recover it from the abyss, sent his daughter Puti-orla-bulan (who had requested the mission). She came down on a white owl and accompanied by a dog, but they found no place to rest. Batara Guru let Mount Bakarra fall from heaven for her abode; from it, the rest of the habitable earth gradually arose. Puti-orla-bulan had three sons and three daughters from whom the human race is descended. Later, the earth was replaced onto the head of the snake, and there has been a constant struggle between the snake, wanting to be free of its burden, and the deity. Batara Guru sent his son Layang-layang-mandi (“Diving Swallow”) to bind Naga Padoha’s hands and feet, but the serpent still struggles and causes earthquakes, and it will again throw the earth into the sea when it breaks its fetters. When this happens, men will either be transported to heaven or cast into a flaming cauldron; the sun will approach close to our world, and its flame will join with the cauldron’s fire to consume the material universe. [Frazer, pp. 217-218; Kelsen, p. 133]

Debata, the Creator, sent a flood to destroy every living thing when the earth grew old and dirty. The last pair of humans took refuge on the highest mountain, and the flood had already reached their knees, when Debata repented his decision to destroy mankind. He tied a clod of earth to a thread and lowered it. The last pair stepped onto it and were saved. As the couple and their descendants multiplied, the clod increased in size, becoming the earth we inhabit today. [Gaster, p. 100]

Nias (an island west of Sumatra):
The mountains quarrelled over which of them was the highest. In vexation, their great ancestor Baluga Luomewona caused the oceans to rise by throwing into a sea a comb which became a giant crab which stopped up the ocean’s outlet sluices. The water rose to cover all but the tops of two or three mountains. The people who had escaped to these mountains with their cattle survived. [Kelsen, p. 133, Gaster, p. 100; Dixon, pp. 181-182]

Engano (another island west of Sumatra):
The tide rose so high it overflowed the island. All drowned except one woman, who survived through the fortunate chance that her hair got caught in a thorny tree as she drifted along on the tide. When the flood sank, she came down from the tree and found herself alone. Hungry, she searched for food and finding none inland, went to the beach hoping to catch a fish. She found a fish, but it hid in one of the corpses left by the flood. She picked up stone and hit the corpse, but the fish escaped and headed inland. She followed, but soon met a living man. The man told her that he had to returned to life as a consequence of somebody knocking on his dead body. The woman told him her story, and they returned to the beach and restored the population by knocking on the drowned people. [Gaster, pp. 100-101]

Dusun (British North Borneo):
Some men of Kampong Tudu, looking for wood for a fence, came upon what seemed to be a great tree trunk lying on the ground. They began to cut it, but blood came from the cuts, and, following it to one end, they found it was a giant snake. They staked it to the ground, killed it, and skinned it. They went home, feasted on its flesh, and made a great drum from the skin, but the drum produced no sound. In the middle of the night, the drum began sounding “Duk Duk Kagu” on its own. Then a great hurricane came and swept away all the houses, with the people in them. Some were carried out to sea; others settled in various places and gave rise to present villages. [Dixon, p. 181]

Dyak (Borneo):
Some women gathered bamboo shoots, sat on a log, and began paring them. But they noticed the trunk exuded drops of blood with each cut of their knives. Some men came by and saw that the trunk was actually a giant, torporous boa constrictor. They killed it, cut it up, and took it home to eat. While they were frying the pieces, strange noises came from the frying pan and a torrential rain began. The rain continued until only the highest hill remained above water. Only a woman, dog, rat, and a few small creature survived. The woman noticed that the dog had found shelter from the rain under a creeper warmed by the rubbing between the creeper and a tree in the wind. She took the hint, rubbed the creeper against a piece of wood, and produced fire for the first time. The woman took the fire-drill for her mate and gave birth to a son called Simpang-impang. He was only half a man, with only one arm, one leg, etc. Some time later, the Spirit of the Wind carried off some rice which Simpang-impang had spread out to dry. Simpang-impang demanded compensation. The Spirit of the Wind refused but was vanquished in a series of contests and restored Simpang-impang’s missing parts. [Gaster, pp. 101-102]

When the flood came, a man named Trow made a boat from a large wooden mortar previously used for pounding rice. He took with him his wife, a dog, pig, cat, fowl, and other animals, and rode out the flood. Afterwards, to repeople the earth, Trow fashioned additional wives out of a log, stone, and anything else handy. Soon he had a large family which became the ancestors of the various Dyak tribes. [Gaster, p. 102]

Once, when much of a ripe harvest was found despoiled, a watch was kept, and a great serpent was seen to lower itself from the sky and feed on the rice. People rushed up and cut off its head, and one of the men fed on some of the flesh the following morning. No sooner had he done so, however, when a terrible storm arose, causing a flood which killed all but the few who escaped to the highest hills. [Dixon, pp. 180-181]

Ot-Danom (Dutch Borneo):
A great deluge once drowned many people. A few people survived by escaping in boats to the one mountain peak remaining above water. They dwelt there for three months until the flood subsided. [Gaster, p. 102]

Toradja (central Celebes):
A flood once covered everything but the summit of Mount Wawom Pebato (seashells on the hills are evidence). Only a pregnant woman and a pregnant mouse escaped in a pig’s trough, paddling with a pot-ladle. After the waters had descended, the woman saw a sheaf of rice hanging from an uprooted tree which drifted ashore where she was standing. The mouse got it down for her, but demanded in recompense that mice should thereafter have the right to eat part of the harvest. The woman gave birth to a son, took him for her husband, and by him had a son and daughter who became mankind’s ancestors. [Gaster, p. 102]

Alfoor (Celam, between Celebes and New Guinea):
As a great worldwide flood receded, the mountain Noesake emerged with its sides clothed with trees whose leaves were shaped like female genitalia. Only three people survived on the top of the mountain. The sea-eagle brought tidings of other mountains emerging from the waters, and the people went thither. By means of the remarkable leaves, they repopulated the world. [Gaster, p. 103]

Rotti (southwest of Timor):
In former times, the sea flooded the earth and destroyed all plants and animals; only the peak of Lakimola remained above water. A man, with his wife and children, took refuge there, but the tide kept slowly rising for some months. They prayed to the sea to return to its old bed. The sea answered, “I will do so, if you give me an animal whose hairs I cannot count.” A pig, goat, dog, and hen failed this test, but when the man threw in a cat, the sea sank abashedly. An osprey appeared and sprinkled some dry earth on the waters, and the family descended to a new home. The Lord commanded that the osprey bring all kinds of seed to the man for him to cultivate. After harvests on Rotti, people still set up a sheaf of rice as an offering to Mount Lakimola. [Gaster, p. 103]

Nage (Flores):
Dooy, the forefather of the Nages, was saved from a great flood in a ship. His grave occupies the center of the public square at Boa Wai, their capital, and is the center of their harvest festival. [Gaster, p. 103]




Arnhem Land (northern Northern Territory):
In one version of the myth of the Wawalik sisters, the sisters, with their two infant children, camped by the Mirrirmina waterhole. Some of the older sister’s menstrual blood fell into the well. The rainbow serpent Yurlunggur smelled the blood and crawled out of his well. He spit some well water into the sky and hissed to call for rain. The rains came, and the well water started to rise. The women hurriedly built a house and went inside, but Yurlunggur caused them to sleep. He swallowed them and their sons. Then he stood very straight and tall, reaching as high as a cloud, and the flood waters came as high as he did. When he fell, the waters receded and there was dry ground. [Buchler, pp. 134-135]

Two orphaned children were left in the care of a man called Wirili-up, who shirked the responsibility. The children, always hungry, cried so much that a ngaljod (rainbow serpent) rose from his waterhole and flooded the countryside. Wirili-up fled, but the children drowned. [Mountford, p. 74]

Maung (Goulburn Islands, Arnhem Land):
People dividing fish always gave the man Crow the poor quality ones. Crow cut down a big paperbark tree, which fell across a creek. Crow sat on the tree crying out, “Waag. . . Waag!” As he did, the creek grew wider and wider, dividing the island into two islands. Crow turned into a bird and flew over the people. The splash from the tree caused the water to rise, and the people, who were all on the bank of the creek, all drowned. On hearing what happened, Blanket Lizard swam towards South Goulburn Island in search of his wife, but halfway across he drowned and turned into a reef. [Berndt & Berndt, p. 40]

Gunwinggu (northern Arnhem Land):
The woman Gulbin traveled from the south, looking for a place to put herself as djang. At length, she killed a snake, began cooking it, and slept while it cooked. But the snake was the daughter of She who lives underground. That snake made water rise, threatening to drown the woman, and at last the Snake came up and ate her. Later the Snake vomited her bones, which became like rock. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 84-85]

Two girls traveled, making places. With fires, they attracted two men to marry them. But one day the four of them killed the daughter of Ngalyod, the Rainbow Snake. The mother came looking for her child, and they saw storm and rushing water coming. They tried to escape by climbing rocks, but the water rose and drowned them. The Snake ate them, carried their bones for a long time, and vomited them out in the same place, named Malbaid. They became like rocks. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 279-280]

The first people were living in what is now the middle of the sea. In ignorance, some of them knocked a maar rock, a dangerous Dreaming rock. After they went home, rain fell for a long time, and fresh water came running in search of them. In panic, the people swam around trying to get to dry land. There was no place they could go except for the rock Aragaladi, but Aragaladi was not a real rock; Snake had made it rise up for them. Snake came looking for the people, urinating salt water. A man came from the mainland in a canoe, but he drowned in the middle of the sea. Snake came and swallowed the people and later vomited their bones. She made the place deep with sea water. Those first people became rocks. Nobody goes to Aragaladi now. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 88-89]

An orphan boy was crying because the people in the community were preoccupied with a circumcision ritual and didn’t feed him well. When his brother returned from hunting and saw how thin he was, he told the people, “I’m very sorry for my little brother. I’ll finish all of you!” He took Rainbow eggs and broke them, and water “jumped out” and spread. The man took his brother up a hill, where he became a rock. He went further up and became a rock himself, along with his baskets. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 93-94]

Some people came from north and danced the nyalaidj ceremony. While they danced, one girl climbed a pandanus palm and was calling out, and an orphan boy was crying. The people kept dancing. The crying and calling upset the place, and water came up from underneath. The people cried in fear, but they couldn’t run away because the ground became soft, and the water covered them. Ngalyod the Rainbow Serpent ate them, first the people who were calling out and the orphan who was crying. The name of the place is Gaalbaraya; it is still a taboo place. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 96-97]

All the honeycombs that a man cut out were no good. He went on and cut and ate a palm tree. He heard bees talking, saying “Gu-gu” [“water”]. He ran back to others and told them that he had unknowingly done wrong to a djang palm tree. They tried to burn the tree, but water came up from it. One girl ran up a hill calling out; the others climbed a manbaderi tree. The tree fell, and those in it drowned. The girl became a rock. The place is named Gudju-mandi; nobody goes there now. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 100-101]

Two were traveling during the Dreamtime. One fell sick, and the Wuraal bird came up. The other heard it and said, “Maybe we’re making ourselves wrong, coming into Dreaming.” That night, the bird repeatedly struck the dying one with its claws, killing him. Water came up where it struck him. The other tried to outrun the rising water, but he fell in a hole, and all three went underwater and came into Dreaming. [Berndt & Berndt, p. 194]

Gumaidj (Arnhem Land):
When a storm came up, two sisters who were gathering shellfish swore at Namarangini, the spirit man who sang up the rain. He heard, grabbed the younger sister, and tried unsuccessfully to copulate with her while the older sister beat him with a branch. He took her to the hut at his camp, made a fire, and tried again, but he discovered there was a cycad nut grinding stone in her vagina. He removed it with her stick for beating cycad nuts, and then he copulated with her easily. When they had finished, she made herself into a fly and returned to her husband. Her husband discovered the stone was missing, and he killed her by pushing a heated stick through her vagina into her stomach. The next morning, the other sister discovered that she was dead and knew that her husband had killed her. The Fly and Sandfly women cried for their sister and beat her husband, driving him away. He died and turned into a certain milkwood tree. When the women cried, rain fell heavily and continued falling for several weeks. They made bark rafts. A rush of water from inland washed them out to sea, to Elcho and other islands. At sea, you can still hear them crying. Women lost their grinding stones from their vagina when the flood washed them out to sea. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 287-289]

Manger (Arnhem Land):
Crow got into an argument with two other men because he accidentally let green ants contaminate their fish. They took back their fish, and Crow took back the goose eggs he had brought. They fought. Crow defeated them and left saying they’d fight again. Crow went to his mother’s tribe. When the other two men appeared, the tribe put on a ceremony rather than quarrelling more. When everyone else had fallen asleep, Crow climbed a tree and chopped off a branch, which fell and killed the two men. Then he poured out a bag of honey which came down so heavily it flooded the area. All the people turned into birds. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 185-187]

Fitzroy River area, Western Australian:
During the Dreamtime flood, woramba, the Ark Gumana carrying Noah, Aborigines, and animals, drifted south and came to rest in the flood plain of Djilinbadu (about 70 km south of Noonkanbah Station, just south of the Barbwire Range and east of the Worral Range), where it can still be seen today. The white man’s claim that it landed in the Middle East was a lie to keep Aborigines in subservience. [Kolig, pp. 242-245]

Grumuduk, a medicine man who lived in the hills, had the power to bring rain and to make plants and animals plentiful. A plains tribe kidnapped him, wanting his power, but Grumuduk escaped and decreed that wherever he walked in the country of his enemies, salt water would rise in his footsteps. [Flood, p. 179]

Mount Elliot (coastal Queensland):
A great flood drowned most of the people. A few escaped to the top of the tall mountain Bibbiringda, which is inland of the northern bay of Cape Cleveland. [Frazer, p. 236]

Western Australia:
Long ago, two races, one white and one black, lived on opposite shores of a great river. At first they were on friendly terms, intermarrying, feasting together, etc. But the whites were more powerful and had better spears and boomerangs, so they came to feel superior and broke off relations. Some time later, it rained for several months. The river overflowed and forced the blacks to retreat into the hinterland. When the rains stopped and the waters receded, the blacks returned, to find that their neighbors had vanished under a wide sea. [Vitaliano, p. 166]

Andingari (Southern Australia):
Gabidji, Little Wallaby, traveled east carrying a full waterbag. Djunbunbin, Thunder or Storm man, followed him, angry because Gabidji had water. At Dagula, Djunbunbin’s thunder chant grew stronger, and a deluge of rain swept away Gabidji’s hut and some other Dreaming men who were with him. Their bones were found by later miners. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 42-43]

Yaul was thirsty, but his brother Marlgaru refused to let him have any water from his own full kangaroo-skin waterbag. While Marlgaru was out hunting, Yaul sought and found the bag. He jabbed it with a club, tearing it. Water poured out, drowning both brothers and forming the sea. It was spreading inland, too, but Bird Women came from the east and restrained the waters with a barrier of roots of the ngalda kurrajong tree. This is why ngalda roots contain fresh water. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 44-45]

Djinta-djinta (Willy Wagtail) built a strong hut and weathered a heavy rain for many days, but at last a heavy deluge swept him and his hut into a waterhole, where he remains. [Berndt & Berndt, p. 188]

Wiranggu (South Australia):
Djunban, a rain-maker, was hunting kangaroo rat with his magic boomerang, but he hit his “sister” Mandjia instead and wounded her leg. She hid the boomerang in the sand so he couldn’t find it. The people were on the move, so he carried Mandjia. Later, he gave her to a woman to carry so he could search for his boomerang, and eventually he found it. Some time later he taught his people how to make rain. The next day they all traveled further. Mandjia died from her injury and metamorphosed into a rock. After traveling the next day, Djunban performed the rain-making ceremony again, but he was grieving his sister and not concentrating on his task, and the rain came too heavily. He tried to warn his people, but the flood came and washed away all the people and their possessions, forming a hill of silt. Gold and bones found in that hill came from those people. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 297-300]

Narrinyeri (South Australia):
A man’s two wives ran away from him. He pursued them to Encounter Bay, saw them at a distance, and angrily cried out for the waters to rise and drown them. A terrible flood washed over the hills and killed the two women. The waters rose so high that a man named Nepelle, who lived at Rauwoke, had to drag his canoe to the top of the hill now called Point Macleay. The dense part of the Milky Way shows his canoe floating in the sky. [Frazer, p. 236]

Bunjil, the creator, was angry with people because of the evil they did, so he caused the ocean to flood by urinating into it. All people were destroyed except those whom Bunjil loved and fixed as stars in the sky, and a man and a woman who climbed a tall tree on a mountain, and from whom the present human race is descended. [Gaster, p. 114]

A man fishing in a lake caught a young bunyip, a fearsome water monster. His companions begged him to let it go lest he anger the water monsters by killing it, but he refused to listen and began carrying it away. The bunyip’s mother, in a rage, caused the waters of the lake to follow the man who had taken her young. The waters rose higher and higher, covering all the country. The people fled to a high hill, but the flood rose, and when it touched their feet, they turned into black swans. [Dixon, p. 280]

Lake Tyres (Victoria):
A giant frog once swallowed all the water, and no one else could get anything to drink. After many other animals failed, eel, with his remarkable contortions, made the frog laugh, releasing the water. Many were drowned in the flood. The whole of mankind would have perished if the pelican had not picked up survivors in his canoe. [Roheim, p. 156; Gaster, p. 114]

Kurnai (Gippsland, Victoria):
Long ago, a great flood covered the country. All drowned except a man and two or three women who took refuge on a mud island near Port Albert. Pelican came by in his canoe and went to help them. He fell in love with one of the women. He ferried the others to the mainland, but left her for last. Afraid of being alone with him, the woman dressed a log in her opossum rug so it looked like her, left it by the fire, and swam to the mainland. The pelican returned and flew into a passion when the log dressed as a woman wouldn’t answer him. He kicked it, which only hurt his foot and made him angrier. He began to paint himself white so that he might fight the woman’s husband. Another pelican came up when he was halfway through with these preparations, but not knowing what to make of the strange half black and half white creature, pecked him and killed him. That is why pelicans are now black and white. [Dixon, pp. 279-280; Gaster, pp. 113-114]

southeast Australian:
The animals, birds, and reptiles became overpopulated and held a conference to determine what to do. The kangaroo, eagle-hawk, and goanna were the chiefs of the three respective groups, and their advisors were koala, crow, and tiger-snake. They met on Blue Mountain. Tiger-snake spoke first and proposed that the animals and birds, who could travel more readily, should relocate to another country. Kangaroo rose to introduce platypus, whose family far outnumbered any others, but the meeting was then adjourned for the day. On the second day, while the conference proceeded with crow taunting koala for his inability to find a solution, the frilled lizards decided to act on their own. They possessed the knowledge of rain-making, and they spread the word to all of their family to perform the rain ceremony during the week before the new moon. Thus would they destroy the over-numerous platypus family. They did their ceremonies repeatedly, and a great storm came, flooding the land. The frilled lizards had made shelters on mountains, and some animals managed to make their way there, but nearly all life was destroyed in the great flood. When the flood ended and the sun shone again, the kangaroo called animals together to discover how the platypus family had fared. But they could not find a single living platypus. Three years later, the cormorant told emu that he had seen a platypus beak impression along a river, but never saw a platypus. Because of the flood, the platypuses had decided that the animals, birds, and reptiles were their enemies and only moved about at night. The animals organized a search party, and carpet-snake eventually found a platypus home and reported its location back to the others. Kangaroo summoned all the tribes together, even the insect tribe. Fringed lizard was ejected for doing mischief; he has turned ugly because of the hate he dwells upon. The animals and birds found they were both related to the platypus family; even the reptiles found some relationship; and everyone agreed that the platypuses were an old race. Carpet-snake went to the platypus home and invited them to the assembly. They came and were met with great respect. Kangaroo offered platypus his choice of the daughter of any of them. Platypus learned that emu had changed its totem so that the platypus and emu families could marry. This made platypus decide it didn’t want to be part of any of their families. Emu got angry, and kangaroo suggested the platypuses leave silently that night, which they did. They met bandicoot along the way, who invited the platypuses to live with them. The platypuses married the bandicoot daughters and lived happily. Water-rats got jealous and fought them but were defeated. Platypuses have tried to be seperate from the animal and bird tribes ever since, but not entirely successfully. [W. R. Smith, pp. 151-168]

Maori (New Zealand):
Long ago, there were a great many different tribes, and they quarrelled and made war on each other. The worship of Tane, the creator, was being neglected and his doctrines denied. Two prophets, Para-whenua-mea and Tupu-nui-a-uta, taught the true doctrine about the separation of heaven and earth, but others just mocked them, and they became angry. So they built a large raft at the source of the Tohinga River, built a house on it, and provisioned it with fern-root, sweet potatoes, and dogs. Then they prayed for abundant rain to convince men of the power of Tane. Two men named Tiu and Reti, a woman named Wai-puna-hau, and other women also boarded the raft. Tiu was the priest on the raft, and he recited the prayers and incantations for rain. It rained hard for four or five days, until Tiu prayed for the rain to stop. But though the rain stopped, the waters still rose and bore the raft down the Tohinga river and onto the sea. In the eighth month, the waters began to thin; Tiu knew this by the signs of his staff. At last they landed at Hawaiki. The earth had been much changed by the flood, and the people on the raft were the only survivors. They worshipped Tane, Rangi (Heaven), Rehua, and all the gods, each at a separate alter. After making fire by friction, they made thanks-offerings of seaweed for their rescue. Today, only the chief priest may go to those holy spots. [Gaster, pp. 110-112; Kelsen, p. 133]

Two brothers-in-law of the hero Tawhaki attacked him and left him for dead. He recovered, and retired with his own warriors and their families to a high mountain, where he built a fortified village. Then he called to the gods, his ancestors, for revenge. The floods of heaven descended and killed everyone on earth. This event was called “The overwhelming of the Mataaho.” [Gaster, p. 112]

In another version of the story, Tawhaki, a man, put on a garment of lightning and was worshipped as a god. Once, in a fit of anger, he stamped on the floor of heaven, breaking it and releasing the celestial waters which flooded the earth. [Gaster, p. 112]

In another version, the flood was caused by the copious weeping of Tawhaki’s mother. [Gaster, p. 112]


Pacific Islands


Kabadi (New Guinea):
Lohero and his brother were angry with their neighbors, so they put a human bone into a small stream. Soon a great flood came forth, and the people had to retreat to the highest peaks until the sea receded. Some people descended, and others made their homes on the ridges. [Gaster, p. 105; Kelsen, pp. 130-131]

Valman (northern New Guinea):
The wife of a very good man saw a very big fish. She called her husband, but he couldn’t see it until he hid behind a banana tree and peeked through its leaves. When he finally saw it, he was horribly afraid and forbade his wife, son, and two daughters to catch and eat the fish. But other people caught the fish and, heedless of the man’s warning, ate it. When the good man saw that, he hastily drove a pair of all kinds of animals into trees and climbed into a coconut tree with his family. As soon as the wicked men ate the fish, water violently burst from the ground and drowned everyone on it. As soon as the water reached the treetops, it sank rapidly, and the good man and his family came down and laid out new plantations. [Gaster, p. 105]

Mamberao River (Irian Jaya):
A rising river caused a flood which overwhelmed Mount Vanessa. Only a man and his wife, a pig, a cassowary, a kangaroo, and a pigeon escaped. These became the ancestors of humans and other species. The bones of the drowned animals can still be found on Mount Vanessa. [Gaster, pp. 105-106]

Samo-Kubo (western Papua New Guinea):
People made the lizards angry first by making a lot of noise and then by teasing them. Finally, the people incurred the wrath of the Lizard Man, who caused it to rain for days, and the water rose. People climbed to the highest mountain, but still the rain came and the water rose higher. People were drowning. Two brothers built a small raft and climbed aboard. Others tried to climb on with them, but the raft held only two. The two brothers floated off, and only they survived the flood. [LaHaye & Morris, p. 231]

Papua New Guinea:
A flood covered the whole world except for the summit of Mount Tauga. When the waves threatened to cover even that, the rockface cracked and the diamond-studded head of Radaulo, king of snakes, emerged. His fiery tongue licked out to taste the waves, and the water, hissing, retreated. Radaulo slowly uncoiled and pursued the water all the way back to the ocean bed. [Eliot, p. 224]

Palau Islands (Micronesia):
The stars are the shining eyes of the gods. A man once went into the sky and stole one of the eyes. (The Pelew Islanders’ money is made from it.) The gods were angry at this and came to earth to punish the theft. They disguised themselves as ordinary men and went door-to-door begging for food and lodging. Only one old woman received them kindly. They told her to make a bamboo raft ready and, on the night of the next full moon, to lie down on it and sleep. This she did. A great storm came; the sea rose, flooded the islands, and destroyed everyone else. The woman, fast asleep, drifted until her hair caught on a tree on the top of Mount Armlimui. The gods came looking for her again after the flood ebbed, but they found her dead. So one of the women-folk from heaven entered the body and restored it to life. The gods begat five children by the old woman and then returned to heaven, as did the goddess who restored her to life. The present inhabitants of the islands are descendants of those five children. [Gaster, pp. 112-113; Dixon, p. 257]

Before humans, one of the Kaliths (deities) named Athndokl visited an unfriendly village and was killed by its inhabitants. Seven friendly gods, who went searching for him, were met with unkindness except from the woman Milathk, who told them of the death. They resolved vengeance by flooding the village, and suggested Milathk save herself by preparing a raft tied to a tree by a rope. The flood came and covered the village at the next full moon. Milathk perished in the flood, but was recalled to life by the oldest Obakad god. He wanted to make her immortal but was stopped by another god, Tariit. Milathk became the mother of mankind. [Kelsen, p. 132]

western Carolines:
A man and his wife, who was of supernatural origin, could not satisfy the hunger of her father, named Insatiable, who was also of supernatural origin. He had grown so that he filled the entire council-house and had eaten all the coconuts on the island. The husband, Kitimil, saw one day that a mouse had been eating in his sugar-cane field. His wife, Magigi, told him that it must have been her father who had turned himself into a mouse. Kitimil thought this was impossible, though, so he set a trap which that night caught and killed the mouse. Magigi was terrified that he had killed her father, and told him to bring the mouse. Kitimil did so, and when he looked and saw that the council-house was empty, he believed his wife. The next morning, Magigi told Kitimil to take the mouse’s blood and four of its teeth and bury the body. When he had done so, she said that a great flood will come and kill all the people of Yap, so they must climb the highest mountain and build a seven-story pile-dwelling there. They took some leaves and oil and the blood and teeth of the mouse and built the structure on the mountaintop. On the seventh day, a great storm came, and the sea covered all of Yap. As the water rose, Kitimil and Magigi climbed to higher stories of their house. The deluge still rose when they reached the top, so Magigi put some oil on a leaf and laid it on the water, and immediately the storm ceased and the water started abating. When the land was dry again, they found that one other man had survived by lashing himself to an outrigger anchored to a large stone. Magigi bore seven children, who scattered across the land. [Dixon, pp. 256-257]

New Hebrides:
Naareau the Elder created the earth, but the sky and the earth clove together with darkeness between them, for there was no separation. Naareau the Younger, walking on the overside of the sky, decided to go between, and with a spell, created a slight cleft; he tapped on the sky three times, and on the third tap it opened. He heard breathing within, created the First Creature, a bat, by rubbing his fingers together, and told it to look around. The Bat reported finding a Company of Fools and Deaf Mutes. At Naareau’s direction, the Bat landed on their foreheads and told Naareau their names. Naareau crawled in the cleft and, with the Bat as his guide, went to the people. Naareau told them to push up, and the sky was lifted a little, but they could lift it only so high since the sky was rooted to the land. Naareau sent Naabawe, one of the people, to summon Riiki, the conger eel. Riiki was sleeping and bit Naabawe when he was called. Naareau made a slip-noose and took two of Octopus’s ten legs for bait (which is why octopuses have only eight legs today). With these, Naareau caught Riiki and told it to push up on the sky against the land. While Riiki pushed, Great Ray, Turtle, and Octopus tore at the roots of the sky while Naareau sang. The Company of Fools and Deaf Mutes stood by laughing. The roots of the sky were torn loose. The sky was pushed high and the land sank. But the sky had no sides, so Naareau sang and pulled down its sides so it was shaped like a bowl. The Company of Fools and Deaf Mutes were left swimming in the sea; they became the sea creatures. [von Franz, pp. 151-154, 170]

Tilik and Tarai, who lived near a sacred spring where they were making the land, discovered by the taste of their cabbage that their mother had been urinating in their food. They exchanged the food and ate hers. In anger, she rolled away the stone which had confined the sea, and the sea poured out in a great flood. This was the origin of the sea. [Roheim, p. 152]

The legendary hero Qat made a great canoe out of one of the largest trees in a dense forest at the center of the island of Gaua. While he worked on it, his brothers jeered at him for building a canoe so far from the sea. When the canoe was finished, he gathered into his canoe his family and some of all the living creatures, down to the smallest ant, and he fastened a cover over it. A great deluge of rain came; the hollow in the center of the island filled with water which broke through the hills where a great waterfall still descends. The water carried the canoe out to sea and out of sight. The natives say Qat took the best of everything with him and look forward to his return. [Gaster, p. 107]

Lifou (one of the Loyalty Islands):
The natives laughed at the old man Nol for making a canoe far inland, but he declared that he would need no help getting it to the sea; the sea would come to it. When he had finished, rain fell in torrents, flooding the island and drowning everybody. Nol’s canoe was lifted by the water. It struck a rock that was still out of water and split the rock two. (These two rocks can still be seen.) The waters then rushed back into the sea, leaving Lifou dry. [Gaster, p. 107]

The great god Ndengei had a favorite bird, called Turukawa, which would wake him every morning. His two grandsons killed the bird and buried it to hide the crime. Ndengei sent his messenger Utu to find the bird. The first search proved fruitless, but a second search exposed the grandsons’ guilt. Rather than apologizing, they fled to the mountains and took refuge with some carpenters, who built a strong stockade to keep Ndengei at bay. In their fortress, the rebels withstood Ndengei’s armies for three months, but then Ndengei caused the earth to be flooded with rain. The rebels sat securely as the surrounding lands were submerged, until the waters reached their walls. They prayed to another god for direction, and they were brought canoes (or taught how to make them) by Rokoro, the god of carpenters, and his foreman Rokola. (By other accounts, they were instructed to make floats out of the shaddock fruit, or they floated in bowls.) They floated around picking up other survivors. The receding tide left a total of eight survivors on the island of Mbengha. Two tribes were destroyed completely–one consisting entirely of women and the other with tails like dogs. The natives of Mbengha claim to rank highest of all the Fijians. [Kelsen, p. 131; Gaster, p. 106]

In a battle between Fire and Water (offspring of the primeval octopus), everything was overwhelmed by a ‘boundless sea’, and the god Tangaloa had the task of re-creating the world. [Poignant, p. 30]

The only survivor of a deluge was a man or a lizard named Pili, who, by marriage with the stormy petrel, begat offspring to repopulate the land. [Frazer, p. 249]

Nanumanga (Tuvalu, South Pacific):
A deluge was dispelled by a sea serpent who, as a woman, married the earth as a man. By him, she gave birth to the present race of mortals. [Frazer, p. 250]

Mangaia (Cook Islands):
The rain god Aokeu (“Red Circle” for the red clay he washes around the island), who was lowly born of the drippings from stalactites, disputed with the ocean god Ake to see which was more powerful. Ake summoned help from the wind god Raka and his twin children Tikokura, who is seen in the line of curling billows which break over reefs, and Tane-ere-tue, who manifests in storm waves. They attacked the coast, reaching the height of the Makatea, a raised barrier reef plateau surrounding the island, hundreds of feet high. Proof of their deeds may be seen in seashells embedded in high rocks. Meanwhile, Aokeu caused five days and nights of rain, washing the red clay and small stones into the ocean and carving deep valleys. Rangi, the people’s first chief, had been forewarned and led his people to Rangimotia, the central peak. Soon water covered everything except a long narrow strip of soil, and the tide continued rising. Rangi waded through water up to his chin to reach the temple of the supreme god Rongo, and appealed to him. Rongo looked at the war of the waters and cried “Enough!” The sea subsided and the rain stopped, leaving the island with its present landscape. Aokeu was judged the victor, because the sea had been stopped by the rocky heights, but but the rains flowed far into the ocean, carrying red clay to mark their progress. [Frazer, pp. 246-248; Vitaliano, p. 168]

Rakaanga (Cook Islands):
A chief named Taoiau, angered at his people for not bringing him the sacred turtle, roused all the sea gods on whose good will the islands depend. One, who sleeps at the bottom of the sea, was roused to anger by the king’s prayer and stood straight up. A hurricane burst forth, and the sea swept over the island of Rakaanga. A few inhabitants survived by taking refuge on a mound. [Frazer, p. 249]

Raiatea (Leeward Group, French Polynesia):
Shortly after the peopling of the world, a fisherman carelessly let his hooks get entangled in the hair of the sea god Ruahatu, who was reposing among the coral, and disturbed the god’s rest when wrenching them out. The angry god surfaced, upbraided the fisherman, and threatened to destroy the land in revenge. The fisherman prostrated himself and apologized profusely. Moved by his penitence, Ruahatu told him to go with his wife and child to Toamarama, a small low island (not more than two feet above sea level) in a lagoon on the east side of Raiatea. This he did, taking also some domesticated animals. As the sun set, the ocean waters began to rise and continued rising all night. The other inhabitants fled to the mountains, but at last even these were covered, and everyone on Raiatea perished. When the waters receded, the fisherman and his family returned to the mainland and became progenitors of its present inhabitants. [Gaster, pp. 109-110; Roheim, p. 157]

Tahiti was destroyed by the sea. Even the trees and stones were carried away by the wind. But two people were saved. The wife took up her young chicken, her young dog, and her kitten, and the husband took up his young pig. The husband said they should escape to Mount Orofena, but the wife said (correctly) that the flood would reach even there, and they should go to Mount Pita-hiti instead, which they did. They watched ten nights till the sea ebbed. The land, though, remained without produce, and the fish in the rock crevices were putrid. When the wind died away, stones and trees began to fall from the heavens, where the winds had carried them. To escape this new danger, the couple dug a hole, lined it with grass, and covered it over with stones and earth. They crept inside and listened to the terrible crash of the falling stones. By and by, the falling stones stopped, but to be safe they waited another night before coming out. The land they found was desolated. The woman brought forth two children, a son and a daughter, but grieved about the lack of food. Again the mother brought forth, but still there was no food. Then in three days all the trees bore fruit. All people are descended from that couple. [Gaster, pp. 108-109]

The Supreme God was angry and dragged the earth through the sea. By a happy chance, the island of Tahiti broke off and was preserved. [H. Miller, p. 287]

Lalohona, a woman from the depths of the sea, was enticed ashore by Konikonia with a series of images. She warned him that her parents, Kahinalii and Hinakaalualumoana, would cause the ocean to flood the land so that her brothers, the pao’o fish, may search for her. At her suggestion, they fled to the mountains and built their home in the tops of the tallest trees. After ten days, Kahinalii sent the ocean; it rose and overwhelmed the land. The people fled to the mountains, and the flood covered the mountains; they climbed the trees, and the flood rose above the trees and drowned them all. But the waters began to subside just as they reached the door of Konikonia’s house. When the waters retreated, he and his people returned to their land. This flood is called kai-a-ka-hina-lii. [Barrère, p. 23]

All the land was once overflowed by the sea, except for the peak of Mauna Kea, where two humans survived. The event is called kai a Kahinarii (sea of Kahinarii). There was no ship involved. [Gaster, p. 110; Barrère, p. 22]

In the earliest times in Hawaii, there was no sea, nor even fresh water. Pele came to Hawaii because she was displeased over her husband having been enticed from her. Her parents gave her the sea so she could bring her canoes. At Kanaloa she poured the sea from her head. It rose until it covered the high ground, leaving only a few mountains not entirely submerged. She later caused it to recede to what we see today. This sea was named after the mother of Pele, Kahinalii, because the sea belonged to her; Pele simply brought it. [Barrère, pp. 23-24]

The people had turned to evil, so Kane punished their sin with a flood. Nu’u and his company were saved by entering into the Great-Canoe, a large canoe roofed over like a house, which had been given them by Kane. The canoe contained a number of things, and Nu’u ruled over the whole like a chief. After the flood, these people repopulated the islands. The waters came up as a wicked brother-in-law of Nu’u was indulging himself in pleasure. He ran to enter the ark, but his calls were unheard by those inside. He prayed to the god Lono in the name of his sister but did not escape. He became angry at the first pair of people who had brought this trouble by bringing evil into the world, and he prayed to Lono that the whole earth be destroyed and that the first pair of people be brought back to life to witness the trouble they caused. [Barrère, pp. 19-21]

Nuu was of the thirteenth generation from the first man. The gods commanded Nuu to build an ark and carry on it his wife, three sons, and males and females of all breathing things. Waters came and covered the earth. They subsided to leave the ark on a mountain overlooking a beautiful valley. The gods entered the ark and told Nuu to go forth with all the life it carried. In gratitude for his deliverance, Nuu offered a sacrifice of pig, coconuts, and awa to the moon, which he thought was the god Kane. Kane descended on a rainbow to reproach Nuu for his mistake but left the rainbow as a perpetual sign of his forgiveness. [Kalakaua, p. 37; Barrère, pp. 21-22]

A high chief had two boys killed for playing with his drums. Their father Kamalo sought the help of the shark god Kauhuhu to get revenge. Kauhuhu told the man to build a special fence around his place and to collect 400 black pigs, 400 red fish, and 400 white chickens. Months later, Kauhuhu came in the form of a cloud. He caused a great storm which washed everyone on the hillside, except Kamalo and his people, into the harbor, where sharks devoured them. [Westervelt, pp. 110-116]


North America


An unusually high tide caused a global flood. Shellfish and such things in the mountains are evidence of it. [Gaster, p. 120]

Eskimo (Orowignarak, Alaska):
A great inundation, together with an earthquake, swept the land so rapidly that only a few people escaped in their skin canoes to the tops of the highest mountains. [Frazer, p. 327]

Norton Sound Eskimo:
In the first days, the water from the sea came up and flooded all the earth except for a very high mountain in the middle. A few animals escaped to this mountain, and a few people survived in a boat, subsisting on fish. The people landed on the mountain as the water subsided and followed the retreating water to the coast. The animals also descended. [Gaster, p. 120]

Central Eskimo:
The ocean rose suddenly and continued rising until it covered even the tops of mountains. Ice drifted on the water, and when the flood subsided, ice was stranded to form ice-caps on the tops of mountains. The shells and bones of many shellfish, fish, seals, and whales were also left high above sea level, where they may be found today. Many people drowned, but many others were saved in their boats. [Frazer, pp. 327-328]

Tchiglit Eskimo (Point Barrow to Cape Bathurst):
A great flood broke over the land. Driven by the wind, it submerged people’s dwellings. The people formed a raft by tying several boats together and pitched a tent against the icy blast. They huddled together for warmth as uprooted trees drifted past. Finally, a magician named An-odjium (“Son of the Owl”) threw his bow in the water and commanded the wind to be calm. Then he threw in his earrings, causing the flood to subside. [Frazer, p. 327]

Herschel Island Eskimo:
Noah invited all animals to save themselves aboard his ark, but the mammoths thought there would not be much of a flood and that their legs were long enough to deal with it, so they stayed outside and became extinct. The other animals believed Noah and were saved. [Frazer, pp. 328-329]

Netsilik Eskimo:
A flood killed all animals and humans except for two Shaman, who survived in a boat. They copulated, and their offspring included the world’s first women. [Balikci]

The giant Inugpasugssuk waded into the ocean to hunt seals. His penis stuck up out of the water so far away that he thought it was a seal putting its head up, and he struck it by mistake. He fell backwards in pain, and that raised a wave that flooded the whole district of Arviligjuaq. [Norman, p. 233]

The world once overturned. Some people were turned into fiery spirits; all the rest drowned but one. Afterwards, the survivor smote the ground with his stick, a woman sprung out, and the two of them repopulated the world. Proof of the flood is found in the form of sea fossils on high mountains. [Gaster, p. 120]

Tlingit (southern Alaska coast):
Yehl, the Raven, created man, caused the plants to grow, and set the sun, moon, and stars in their places. Yehl’s wicked uncle had a young wife whom he was very fond and jealous of. He did not want any of his nephews to inherit his widow when he died, as Tlingit law dictates should happen, so he murdered each of Yehl’s ten older brothers by drowning them or, according to some, by stretching them on a board and beheading them. When Yehl grew to manhood, his uncle tried to do the same to him. But Yehl’s mother had conceived him by swallowing a round pebble she had found at low tide, and with another stone she had rendered him invulnerable. When the uncle tried to behead Yehl, his knife had no effect. In a rage, the uncle called for a flood, and a flood came and covered all the mountains. Yehl assumed his wings, which he could do at will, and soared into the sky. He remained hanging by his beak from the sky for ten days, while the water rose so high it lapped his wings. When the water fell, Yehl let go, dropped like an arrow onto a soft bank of seaweed, and was rescued by an otter who brought him to land. [Frazer, pp. 316-317]

Raven had put a woman under the world to govern the tides. Once he wished to see the undersea world, and he caused the woman to raise the waters so that he might do so while remaining dry. He directed her to raise the ocean slowly so that people might have time to provision their canoes. As the waters rose, bears and other animals were driven to the mountaintops, and many of them swam out to the people’s canoes. Some people had taken dogs into their canoes, and the dogs kept the bears off. Some people landed on the tops of mountains, building dikes around them to keep out the water. Uprooted trees, devil-fish, and other strange creatures washed past. When the waters ebbed, the survivors followed the tide down the mountain, but the trees were all gone, and the people, having no firewood, perished of cold. When Raven returned, he saw fish lying high on the land, and he commanded them to turn to stone. When he saw people coming down the mountain, he turned them to stone also. When all mankind had been destroyed, he created them anew out of leaves. That is why so many people die during the autumn. [Frazer, pp. 317-318]

People were saved from a universal deluge in a giant ark. The ark struck a rock and split in two. The Tlingits were in one half of the ark, and all other people were in the other half. This explains why there is a diversity of languages. [Gaster, p. 119]

Hareskin (Alaska):
Kunyan (“Wise Man”), foreseeing the possibility of a flood, built a great raft, joining the logs with ropes made from roots. He told other people, but they laughed at him and said they’d climb trees in the event of a flood. Then came a great flood, with water gushing from all sides, rising higher than the trees and drowning all people but the Wise Man and his family on his raft. As he floated, he gathered pairs of all animals and birds he met with. The earth disappeared under the waters, and for a long time no one thought to look for it. Then the musk-rat dived into the water looking for the bottom, but he couldn’t find it. He dived a second time and smelled the earth but didn’t reach it. Next beaver dived. He reappeared unconscious but holding a little mud. The Wise Man placed the mud on the water and breathed on it, making it grow. He continued breathing on it, making it larger and larger. He put a fox on the island, but it ran around the island in just a day. Six times the fox ran around the island; by the seventh time, the land was as large as it was before the flood, and the animals disembarked, followed by Wise Man with his wife (who was also his sister) and son. They repeopled the land. But the flood waters were still too high, and to lower them, the bittern swallowed them all. Now there was too little water. Plover, pretending sympathy at the bittern’s swollen stomach, passed his hand over it, but suddenly scratched it. The waters flowed out into the rivers and lakes. [Gaster, pp. 117-118]

Tinneh (Alaska and south):
The deluge was caused by a heavy snowfall one September. One man foresaw the flood and warned his fellows, but in vain; the flood covered their intended mountain escape. The one man survived in a canoe he had built, and he rescued animals from the waters as he sailed about. In time, he sent the beaver, otter, muskrat, and arctic duck to dive into the water in search of earth, but only the duck succeeded, bringing some slime on its claws. The man spread the slime on the water and breathed on it to make it grow. For six days he embarked animals upon the new island; then the land was large enough for he himself to go ashore. [Gaster, p. 118]

A rich youth and his four nephews sailed far across the sea to seek the hand of a fair damsel who lived there. But she would not have him, so he prepared to leave. He and his nephews were prepared to shove off from shore, and many of the villagers had come to see them off. One woman with an infant in her arms said, “If they want a little girl, why not take this one of mine?” The rich young man heard her, extended his paddle and told her to put the infant on it, and placed the infant next to him in the canoe. The girl whom he had asked to marry came down to get water, but she began sinking in the mud. As she cried for help, the young man said it was her own fault, and she soon sank out of sight. The girl’s mother saw this, and to avenge her death brought some tame brown bears to the water’s edge and, holding their tails, told them to raise a strong wind, hoping in this way to drown the rich youth. The bears began furiously digging, raising great waves. The young man’s nephews drowned, as did all inhabitants of the village except the infant’s mother and her husband. The young man, though, had a magical white stone which, when he threw it ahead of him, clove a smooth path through the billows. Then he threw a harpoon at the crest of a wave. When it hit, the wave became a mountain, and the harpoon rebounded and stuck in the sky, where medicine-men can see it today. Land had been formed again, and the youth found himself in a spruce forest. Turning to the infant, he found that she had become a radiant woman. He married her and repopulated the drowned earth. The couple from his wife’s village became the ancestors of the people overseas. [Frazer, pp. 313-314]

Loucheux (Dindjie) (a Tinneh tribe, Alaska):
A man called the Mariner (Etroetchokren) was the first person to build a canoe. One day, he rocked it side to side, causing waves which flooded the earth and floundering the canoe. He scrambled into a giant hollow straw that floated past, caulked up the ends, and floated safely until the flood dried. He landed on a high mountain, called the Place of the Old Man today, near Fort MacPherson in the Rockies. The Mariner straddled a rapid stretch of the Yukon River and, dipping with his hands, drew out dead bodies of men as they floated past, but he found none living. The only living thing he saw was a raven high on a rock, gorged with food and fast asleep. The Mariner climbed to the raven, grabbed it, and stuck it in his sack. The raven begged not to be cast down, saying the man would find no other surviving men without the raven’s help. The man dropped the bag anyway, and the bird was dashed to pieces. But though the man searched far and wide, he could find nothing else living except a loach and a pike sunning themselves on the mud. He went back to the raven, reassembled its bones, and blew on them to restore the flesh and return the raven to life. They returned to the beach, and the raven told the man to bore a hole in the belly of the pike, while it did the same to the loach. A crowd of men emerged from the hole in the pike, and women came out of the loach. [Frazer, pp. 315-316]

Dogrib and Slave (Tinneh tribes, northern Canada):
A Dogrib and Slave Indian tale is the same as the Cree tale of Wissaketchak, except the old man is named Tchapewi, and he sends all kinds of amphibious animals diving for earth before muskrat succeeds. [Frazer, p. 310]

Kaska (northern inland British Columbia):
A great flood came; people survived it on rafts and canoes. Darkness and high winds came, which scattered the vessels. When the flood subsided, people landed at the nearest land and lived where they had landed. Thus they were scattered all over the world, and when they met again long afterwards, they were different tribes and spoke different languages. [Gaster, p. 119]

Thompson Indians (British Columbia):
A flood once covered all but the summits of some of the highest mountains. Its cause isn’t certain, but it may have been made the the three brothers Qoaqlqal, who travelled the country transforming things until they themselves were transformed into stones. Three men escaped in a canoe and drifted to the Nzukeski Mountains, where they and their canoe were afterwards turned to stone; you may see them there today. Coyote survived by turning himself into a piece of wood and floating. When the flood subsided, leaving him in the Thompson River area, he resumed his normal shape. He took trees to be his wives, and from them the Indians are descended. The flood left lakes in the hollows of the mountains, streams flowing from them, and fish in them; none of these existed before the flood. [Frazer, p. 322]

Sarcee (Alberta):
The world was flooded, and one man and one woman survived on a raft on which they collected all kinds of animals and birds. The man sent a beaver (or, some say, a muskrat) diving to the bottom, and it brought up a little mud. The man shaped this to form a new world. It was at first so small that a little bird could walk around it, but it grew and grew. [Frazer, pp. 314-315]

A man and his wife went up the hills to hunt marmots. There, they saw that the water was still rising. They enclosed their children, along with supplies, in hollow trees. The water rose further, and all other people drowned. The children went to sleep, and when they awoke, one of the boys opened a hole, and they came out, the waters having had receded. [Roheim, pp. 159-160]

Haida (Queen Charlotte Is., British Columbia):
A strange woman wearing an unusual fur cape came to a village. One of the boys playing in the area pulled at her garment and saw her backbone, which had protuberances like a plant that grows along the seashore. The children jeered at this. The parents told the children not to laugh, and the woman sat by the water’s edge at low tide. As the tide rose and touched her feet, she moved up a little and sat down again. The tide kept rising, following the woman. The villagers soon became alarmed at its unprecedented height, and having no canoes, they prepared rafts and provisioned them with fish and water. At last the tide covered the whole island. The people saved themselves on the rafts. The various rafts landed in different places, which is how the tribes became dispersed. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 472-473]

Long ago there was a flood which killed all creatures except a single raven. This raven, Ne-kil-stlas, was a person who could don and doff his feathers at will; he had been born of a woman who had had no husband. When the flood had gone down, he looked about but found no mate, so he became very lonely. He married a cockle (Cardium nuttalli) from the beach, and he constantly brooded and wished for a companion. In time, he heard a faint cry, such as from a newborn child, from the shell. The cry gradually grew louder, and at last a small female child appeared. She grew larger and larger and finally married the raven. From them all the Indians were produced. [Frazer, p. 319]

Tsimshian (British Columbia):
The flood was sent by the god Laxha, who had become annoyed by the noise of boys at play. [Gaster, p. 119]

All people except for a few were destroyed by a flood, which was sent by heaven to punish man’s ill behavior. Later, people were devastated by fire. The earth had no mountains or trees before the flood. Leqa created them after the deluge. [Frazer, p. 319]

Long ago the waters swelled. A few people escaped to the tops of high mountains, but more were saved in their canoes. They were scattered and, when the waters went down, they landed and settled in various spots. Thus Indians are spread all over the country, but their common songs and customs show that they are one people. [Frazer, p. 320]

Kwakiutl (north Vancouver Island):
Very long ago, a flood covered everything but three mountains, one near Bella-Bella, one northeast of there, and a hill called Ko-Kwus on Don Island which rose with the flood to stay above the water. Nearly all people floated on logs and trees in different directions. Some people had small canoes with anchors and managed to land near their homes when the water subsided. Of the Hailtzuk only two men, a woman, and a dog survived. One of the men landed at Ka-pa, one at another village site, and the woman and dog at Bella-Bella. The Bella-Bella Indians descended from the marriage of the woman and dog. There was no fresh water when the flood subsided. The raven showed people where they could dig for a little water and how chewing on cedar brought water into their mouths. This sustained them until a great rain came which filled the lakes and rivers. It is still understood, though, that without cedars there would be no water. [Frazer, p. 321]

Kootenay (southeast British Columbia):
A small gray bird, despite the prohibition of her husband (a chicken hawk, Accipiter cooperi), bathed in a certain lake after picking berries in the hot sun. There she was seized and raped by a giant in the lake. The bird’s husband shot the monster, who in revenge swallowed up all the water to keep others from having it. The woman pulled out the arrow, and the water rushed forth in a torrent. The husband and wife escaped to a mountain until the flood receded. (In variant versions, the woman was seized by a giant fish or water animal. The husband killed it, and its blood caused the flood. The husband escaped up a tree.) [Kelsen, pp. 147-148; Frazer, p. 323]

Squamish (British Columbia):
When the Squamish saw the great flood coming, they held a council and decided to make a giant canoe. The men worked day and night to make this canoe, the biggest ever, and the women made a long rope of oiled cedar fibers with which they tied the canoe to a giant rock. They put every baby into the canoe, with food and water. They selected the bravest young man and the mother of the youngest baby to go as their guardians. No one cried as the waters rose and drowned everyone else. After several days, the man saw a speck far to the south. By the next day, he could see that it was a mountain top, Mount Baker. He cut the rope and paddled to it, and made a new home there. The outline of the canoe can still be seen halfway up the slope of Mount Baker. [Clark, pp. 42-43]

Bella Coola (British Columbia):
Masmasalanich, who created man, fastened the earth to the sun to keep the earth from sinking and to keep the sun at the proper distance. One day he stretched the rope, so the earth sank and the water ran over it, eventually covering even the tops of the mountains. A fierce storm broke out at the same time. Many people who had taken to boats were drowned in the storm, and others were driven far away. At last Masmasalanich shortened the rope, the earth rose again from the water, and mankind spread over it. Diversity of language arose from their being scattered; there was but one speech before the flood. [Frazer, p. 320]

Lillooet (Green River, British Columbia):
A great rain came, making the rivers and lakes overflow the country. A man named Ntcinemkin took refuge with his family in his very large canoe. The others fled to the mountains, but the flood rose to cover them, too. The people begged Ntcinemkin to save at least their children. He didn’t have room enough to hold all of them, so he took one child from each family, alternating males and females. The flood covered all land except the peak of Split Mountain (Ncikato) on the west side of Lower Lillooet Lake. When the waters dropped, the canoe grounded on Smimelc Mountain. Each stage of the water’s dropping is marked by a terrace on the side of the mountain, which can be seen today. [Frazer, pp. 321-322]

Makah (Cape Flattery, Washington):
The ocean rose high enough to cut off the cape. Then it withdrew, reaching its low ebb four days later, leaving Neah Bay high and dry. Then it rose again to cover all but the mountain tops. The rising waters were very warm. People with canoes loaded their belongings and were borne far to the north. Many died when their canoes were caught in trees. The sea returned to normal after four more days, and the people found themselves far to the north, where their descendants still live. [Vitaliano, pp. 171-172]

Klallam (northwest Washington):
People escaped the great flood in canoes tied by ropes to the summit of a tall mountain. The top of the mountain broke off in the flood, leaving two peaks visible in a ridge in the Olympics. The canoes floated away and came to rest, after the flood, in the region where Seattle is now. Their descendants became the natives of that area. [Clark, pp. 44-45]

Skokomish (Washington):
The Great Spirit, angry with the wickedness of people and animals, decided to rid the earth of all but the good animals, one good man, and his family. At the Great Spirit’s direction, the man shot an arrow into a cloud, then another arrow into that arrow, and so on, making a rope of arrows from the cloud to the ground. The good animals and people climbed up. Bad animals and snakes started to climb up, but the man broke off the rope. Then the Great Spirit caused many days of rain, flooding up to the snow line of Takhoma (Mount Ranier). After all the bad people and animals were drowned, the Great Spirit stopped the rain, the waters slowly dropped, and the good people and animals climbed down. To this day there are no snakes on Takhoma. [Clark, pp. 31-32]

Once a big flood came. People made ropes of twisted cedar limbs and used them to fasten their canoes to mountains. The flood covered the Olympic Mountains. Some of the ropes broke, and the canoes drifted to the country of the Flatheads. That is why the Skokomish and the Flatheads speak the same language. [Clark, p. 44]

Skagit (Washington):
The Creator made the earth and gave four names for it — for the sun, waters, soil and forests. He said only a few people, with special preparation for the knowledge, should know all four names, or the world would change too suddenly. After a while, everyone learned the four names. When people started talking to the trees the change came in the form of a flood. When the people saw the flood coming, they made a giant canoe and filled it with five people and a male and female of all plants and animals. Water covered everything but the summit of Kobah and Takobah (Mts. Baker and Ranier). The canoe landed on the prairie. Doquebuth, the new Creator, was born of a couple from the canoe. He was told to go to a lake (Lake Campbell) and swim and fast to get his spirit powers, but he delayed. Finally he did so after his family deserted him. The Old Creator came to him in dreams. First he told Doquebuth to wave his blanket over the water and the forest and name the four names of the earth; this created food for everyone. Next, at the direction of the Old Creator, he gathered the bones of the people who lived before the flood, waved the blanket over them and named the four names, and made people again. These people couldn’t talk, so he similarly made brains for them from the soil. Then they spoke many different languages, and Doquebuth blew them back to the places they lived before the flood. Someday, another flood will come and change the world again. [Clark, pp. 139-141]

Quillayute (Washington):
Thunderbird was once so angry that he sent the ocean over the land. When it reached the village of the Quillayute, they got into their canoes. The water rose for four days, covering the mountains. The boats were scattered by the wind and waves. Then the water receded for four days, and people settled in many areas. [Clark, p. 45]

Nisqually (Washington):
The people became so numerous that they ate all the fish and game and started to eat each other. They were so wicked that Dokibatl, the Changer, flooded the earth. All living things were destroyed except one woman and one dog, which survived atop Tacobud (Mt. Ranier). From them the next race of people were born. They walked on four legs and lived like animals. To make matters worse, a huge and powerful bear came from the south. It had the power to paralyze with its gaze whatever it wanted to eat, and it threatened to eat all the people. The Changer sent a Spirit Man from the east to teach them civilization. He showed them how to make and use bows, canoes, clothing, fire, etc., and taught them about the spirits and the potlatch custom. He killed the bear with seven arrows, and he put all the ills of the world in a large building, but years later a curious daughter peeked in the building and let them out. [Clark, pp. 136-138]

Twana (Puget Sound, Washington):
The people were wicked, and to punish them, a flood came which covered all the land except one mountain. The people escaped in their canoes to the highest peak in their country, which they call “Fastener.” With long ropes, they tied their canoes to the tallest tree on the peak, but the water rose over it. Some of the canoes broke their moorings and drifted west; those people formed a tribe to the west which speaks a language like that of the Twanas. Because those people drifted away, the present Twana tribe is small. [Frazer, p. 324]

Blue-jay advised a maiden to marry a panther, who was a hunter and chief of his town. She went to his town but married Beaver by mistake. When Beaver returned from fishing, he told her to gather the trout he had caught, but she discovered they were not trout but willow branches. Disgusted, she ran away from him and finally married the panther. Beaver wept for five days, flooding the land with his tears. The animals escaped to their canoes. When the flood nearly reached the sky, they thought to fetch up some earth. They told Blue-jay to dive, but his dive was so shallow that his tail remained above water. Mink tried next, and then otter, but they could not reach the bottom. When muskrat’s turn came, he told the people to tie the canoes together and lay planks across them. Muskrat threw off his blanket, sang his song five times, and dove. He was down a long time, but at last flags came up to the surface. Summer came, the water sank, and the canoes grounded. As the animals jumped out of the canoes, they broke off their tails against the gunwale. But otter, mink, muskrat, and panther reattached their tails, so they have long tails today. [Frazer, pp. 325-326; Kelsen, p. 148]

Cascade Mountains:
A flood overflowed the land. An old man and his family, on a boat or raft, were blown by the wind to a certain mountain. He stayed there and sent a crow to search for land, but it returned without finding any. Later, it brought back a leaf from a certain grove, and the old man knew the water was abating. [Frazer, pp. 324-325]

Spokana, Nez Perce, Cayuse (eastern Washington):
These tribes also have traditions of a flood in which one man and his wife survived on a raft. Each tells of a different mountain where the raft landed. [Gaster, pp. 119-120]

Yakima (Washington):
In early times, many people had gone to war with other tribes; even medicine men had killed people. But there were still some good people. One of the good men heard from the Land Above that a big water was coming. He told the other good people, and they decided they would make a dugout boat from the largest cedar they could find. Soon after the canoe was finished, the flood came, filling the valleys and covering the mountains. The bad people were drowned; the good people were saved in the boat. We don’t know how long the flood stayed. The canoe came down where it was built and can still be seen on the east side of Toppenish Ridge. The earth will be destroyed by another flood if people do wrong a second time. [Clark, p. 45]

Warm Springs (Oregon):
Twice, a great flood came. Afraid that another might come, the people made a giant canoe from a big cedar. When they saw a third flood coming, they put the bravest young men and fairest young women in the canoe, with plenty of food. Then the flood, bigger and deeper than the earlier ones, swallowed the land. It rained for many days and nights, but when the clouds finally parted for the third time, the people saw land (Mount Jefferson) and paddled to it. When the water receded, they made their home at the base of the mountain. The canoe was turned to stone and can be seen on Mount Jefferson today. [Clark. pp. 14-15]

Joshua (southern Oregon):
In the beginning, there was no land, and Xowalaci (The Giver) and his companion lived in a sweat house on the water. One day, white land appeared and expanded on the waters. Xowalaci made it solid by blowing tobacco smoke on it. He made more solid land by dropping five mud cakes into the ocean and telling them to expand when they hit the bottom. When he stepped on the new land, it became solid. He looked on the sand of the new land and saw a man’s tracks, seemingly coming from the north and leading into the water to the south. This worried him, and he told the water to overflow the land he had created from the mud and to recede again. But he found more tracks again, coming from the west, so he caused a second flood. He repeated the process five times with no different results. Finally he gave up and said, “This is going to make trouble in the future!” and there has been trouble in the world since then. Then Xowalaci tried to make people. He formed figures from grass and mud, ordered a house to appear, and gave the figures to his companion to put in the house. Dogs arose from this creation attempt. He tried again using white sand, but those figures gave rise to snakes. He attributed these failures to the footprints. The world became inhabited by dogs and snakes. He crushed the ten biggest snakes in baskets of mixed fresh and salt water and threw them in the ocean. Two bad snakes got away to give rise to today’s snake-like animals. Xowalaci ordered those two to encircle the world and hold it together. He also crushed five bad dogs and threw them in a ditch. They gave rise to water monsters. Soon after, his companion smoked for three days and created a house from which a woman emerged. Xowalaci told his companion to be her husband. Xowalaci straightened out the world, made more animals, and went up into the sky, saying as he went that the companion, his wife, and their sixteen children would speak different languages and become progenitors of the different tribes. [Sproul, pp. 232-236; von Franz, p. 174]

Smith River (northern California coast):
A great rain came which lasted a long time, and waters covered the land. The people retreated to high land, but they were all swept away and drowned except for one pair who found safety on the highest peak. They lived on fish, which they cooked by placing them under their arms. They had no fire, and, as everything was wet, they could not get any. The waters sank, and all present Indians descended from that couple. When the Indians died, their spirits took the forms of various animals and insects, so the earth was repopulated by animals also. The Indians, still lacking fire, looked to the moon, whose fire shone brightly. The Spider Indians and Snake Indians hatched a plan. The Spider Indians went to the moon in a gossamer balloon, but they kept the balloon fastened to the earth by a long rope. The Indians on the moon were suspicious of the newcomers, but the Spider Indians assured them that they had only come to gamble. As they played games around the fire, a Snake Indian climbed up the rope, darted through the fire, and escaped down the rope again before the Moon Indians could react. When he reached the earth, he had to travel over rocks, sticks, and trees, and everything he touched has henceforth contained fire. The Spider Indians were long kept prisoners on the moon. When they were finally released and returned to earth, ungrateful men killed them, fearing vengeance from the Moon Indians. [Frazer, pp. 289-290]

Wintu (north central California):
People came into existence and dwelt a long, long time. Then one of them dreamed of a whirlwind, and the others said he had dreamed something bad. After that it blew, and the wind increased. The world was going bad. At noon they all went into an earth lodge. It blew terribly. Trees fell down westward. The one who had dreamed stayed outside and told the others it was raining, the water was coming, the earth will be destroyed. All the other houses were blown away. He came into the earth lodge and leaned against the pole. At last the pole came loose too. The one who dreamed was the last destroyed of all the people. The world was destroyed and water alone was left. After some time, Olelbes (He-Who-Is-Above) looked down all around and finally saw something barely visible in the north in the middle of the water. It swam around a little. It was lamprey eel, the first to come into existence, and it lay on the bedrock. On the rocks lay a little mud. No one knows how long the waters sat there. At last it receded to the south, turning into numerous creeks. A little earth came into being, and it turned into all kinds of trees. [Margolin 1981, pp. 128-129]

Maidu (central California):
As the Indians of old lived tranquilly in the Sacramento Valley, a mighty rushing of waters came suddenly, so that the whole valley became like an ocean. Many Indians were overtaken by the waters, and the frogs and the salmon overtook and ate many others. Only two escaped to the hills, but the Great Man made them fruitful, so the world was soon repopulated with many tribes. One man was a chief of great renown over all the nations. He went to a knoll overlooking the waters that covered the fertile plains of his ancestors. For nine sleeps he lay there without food, meditating on how that water had come there. At the end of nine sleeps, he was changed so that no arrow could harm him. He commanded the Great Man to let the waters flow from the plains. The Great Man opened the side of a mountain, and the waters flowed away to the ocean. [Frazer, pp. 290-291]

Northern Miwok (central California):
Water covered the world except for the top of the highest mountain. People escaped to there, but they were starving. The water went down, leaving the ground a soft mud. The people rolled down rocks to see if the mud was hard enough to support them. When the rocks stayed on top of the mud, the people went down. But the mud was not hard enough, and the people sank out of sight. Ravens came and stood at the holes where the people had gone down, one Raven at each hole. When the ground hardened, the ravens turned into people. That is why the Miwok are so dark. [Merriam, p. 101]

Tuleyome Miwok (near Clear Lake, California):
Wekwek, the Falcon, visited Wennok Lake, a region new to him, and found many ducks and geese. His grandfather Olle, Coyote-man, taught him how to make and use a sling. Wekwek went back to the area, killed hundreds of birds, gathered them, and brought them back to Olle. The next day, Wekwek saw Sahte, Weasel-man, coming and going and was curious about him. Wekwek followed Sahte north to Clear Lake and found his home while Sahte was out. He found several sacks of shell-bead money there and took it all back with him. When Sahte returned, he wanted to find out who stole his money. He set fire to one end of a stick and pointed it in different directions. When it pointed south towards the thief, the flame leaped from the stick and spread southward. Wekwek was concerned when he saw that the country to the north was on fire, and he told Olle. Olle knew the reason for the fire, but he said only, “The people up there are burning tules.” When the fire came close so that Wekwek thought they would soon burn, he confessed to Olle that he had stolen the money and hidden it in the creek. Olle then took a sack from his roundhouse and beat it against an oak tree, creating fog. He beat another sack against the tree, causing more fog, and then rain. He said the rain would last for ten days and nights. The rain covered all the land except the top of Mount Konokti. Wekwek flew around in the rain and eventually found that refuge. On the tenth day, the rain stopped, and the water started going down. After about a week, the land was bare again. At that time, there were no real people in the world. Olle took the feathers of the geese that Wekwek had killed at Wennok lake. They traveled over the country, and whenever they found a good site, Olle laid two feathers side by side. The next morning, each pair of feathers had turned into a man and a woman. Later, Wekwek commented to Olle that the people had no fire, and Olle sent Wekewillah, the Shrew-mice brothers, to steal fire from Kahkahte, the Crow, who had it at his roundhouse. They succeeded, and Olle put the fire in the buckeye tree. [Merriam, pp. 138-151]

Olamentko Miwok (Bodega Bay, California):
Oye, Coyote-man, and Wekwek, Falcon-man, quarreled. Oye took all the people with him across the ocean and made rain to cover the world with water. Wekwek flew and flew but could find no place to rest. The water covered everything. Finally he fell in the water. He was floating nearly dead when his wing caught on a stick. The stick was from the roundhouse of Peleet the Grebe, who investigated and found Wekwek. He pulled Wekwek into his roundhouse and saved him. Oye let the water down and brought the people back. [Merriam, p. 157]

Ohlone (San Francisco to Monterey, California):
A fight between the great forces of Good and Evil was followed by an immense flood. It wiped out all traces of the previous world and covered all the earth except two islands. Coyote, the only living thing in the world, stood on one of the islands (Mount Diablo or Pico Blanco). One day, he saw a feather floating on the water. It turned into Eagle as it reached the island. Later, they were joined by Hummingbird. This trio created a new race of people. Eagle told Coyote how to find a wife but did not tell him how to make children. Coyote told the girl to louse him and to swallow the woodtick she found. She became pregnant from this. Afraid, she ran away to the ocean and turned into a sand flea. Coyote found another wife and with her went out over the world, founding five tribes with five different languages. [Margolin 1978, pp. 134-135]

Kato (Mendocino County, California):
The previous world had a sky of sandstone rock. Two gods, Thunder and Nagaicho, saw that it was old. They stretched it, propped up its four corners, created flowers, clouds and other pleasant things. They created a man out of earth, putting in grass for the stomach and heart, clay for liver and kidneys, pulverized red stone mixed with water for blood. They split one of his legs to make a woman. Then they made the sun and moon. But the creation didn’t last. It rained day and night as people slept. The sky fell. Humans and animals were all washed away by a flood which covered everything. There was only water, no wind, rain, frost, clouds, or sun. It was very dark. Then this earth, with its long horns, traveled underground from the north; Nagaicho rode on its head. Where the earth dragon turned its head upwards, mountain ridges and islands formed. It lay down in the south; Naigaicho covered it with clay and plants to create the mountains. People appeared who had animal names. Later, when the indians came, those people turned into animals. Naigaicho traveled over the earth making sea foods, creeks, trees, ocean waves, and generally making it comfortable for people. When he got to his home in the north, he and his dog stayed there. [Gifford & Block, pp. 79-82; Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 107-109]

Shasta (northern California interior):
Coyote encountered an evil water spirit who said, “There is no wood” and caused water to rise until it covered Coyote. After the water receded, Coyote shot the water spirit with a bow and ran away, but the water followed him. He ran to the top of Mount Shasta; the water followed but didn’t quite reach the top. Coyote made a fire, and all the other animal people swam to it and found refuge there. After the water receded, they came down, made new homes, and became the ancestors of all the animal people today. [Clark, p. 12]

Pomo (north central California):
Coyote dreamed that water would soon cover the world, but nobody believed him. It rained, and the water started rising. The people climbed trees because there were no mountains to escape to. Coyote and a number of people escaped on a log. With the help of Mole, Coyote created mountains; then he created people for the new world. [Roheim, p. 153]

One day, the Thunder People found trout in their spring. At first, the people were afraid of them, but driven by hunger, the people ate them, except for three children who were warned by their grandmother not to eat them. The next morning, all but those three children had been transformed into deer. The children went to a very high mountain. Rain came and flooded all but the mountaintop. The children asked an old man what he could do; he said he didn’t know, but he dug all night while the children slept. In the morning, he woke the children. The flood was gone, and the world was beautiful. [Roheim, pp. 153-154]

Everyone but Gopher was killed in a flood. He climbed to the top of Mt. Kanaktai, and just as the water was about to wash him off, it receded. He had no fire, so he dug into the mountain until he found fire inside, thus bringing fire again to the world. [Roheim, p. 154]

Coyote lived with two little boys whom he had got by deceit from one of the Wood-duck sisters. Everybody abused the boys, so Coyote decided to set the world on fire. He dug a tunnel at the east end of the world, filled it with fir bark, and lit it. With his two children in a sack, he called for rescue from the sky. Spider descended and took Coyote back up through the gates of the sky. When they came back, everything was roasted. Coyote drank too much water and got sick. Kusku the medicine man jumped on his belly, and water flowed out and covered the land. [Roheim, p. 154]

Salinan (California):
The old woman of the sea, jealous of Eagle’s power, came with her basket in which she carried the sea. She continually poured out water until it covered the land, almost to the top of Santa Lucia Peak where the animals gathered. Eagle borrowed Puma’s whiskers, made a lariat from them, and lassoed the basket. The sea stopped rising, and the old woman died. Eagle told Dove to fetch up some mud, and he made the world from it. Eagle shaped the first people, a woman and two men, from elder-wood. After sweating in a sweat-house, he blew on them and gave them life. Then they had a great fiesta. [Sproul, p. 236]

Yuma (western Arizona, southern California):
Komashtam’ho caused a great rain and started to flood out the large dangerous animals, but he was persuaded that people needed some of the animals for food. He evaporated the waters with a great fire, turning the land to desert in the process. [Erdoes & Ortiz, p. 81]

Havasupai (lower Colorado River):
Two brothers fueded, and Hokomata angrily sent a deluge which destroyed the world. Before it came, though, Tochopa sealed his daughter Pukeheh in a hollow log. She emerged when the flood subsided. She bore a son, fathered by the sun, and a daughter, fathered by a waterfall; these two repopulated the world. Havasupai women are called “Daughters of the Water”. [Alexander, 1916, p. 180]

Ashochimi (California):
A great flood covered the earth and drowned every living creature except the coyote. He collected tail-feathers of owls, hawks, eagles, and buzzards and traveled with them all over the earth. Wherever a wigwam had stood before the flood, he planted a feather. The feathers sprouted and flourished, turning into men and women. Thus coyote repopulated the world. [Frazer, p. 290]

Yurok (north California coast):
The sky fell and hit the water, causing high breakers that flooded all the land. That is why one can find shells and redwood logs on the highest ridges. Two women and two men jumped into a boat when they saw the water coming, and they were the only people saved. Sky-Owner gave them a song, and many days later the water fell when they sang it. Sky-Owner sent a rainbow to tell them the water would never cover the world again. [Bell, p. 68]

Blackfoot (Alberta and Montana):
The Sun, the Moon, and their two children “Old Man” and “Apistotoki God” began creating the world. They were given sand, stone, water, and the hide of a fisher with which to complete the creation. A flood came, and they could save only those four things. Later, they created an old man, a dog, a man, and a woman. After a second flood, only those four were left on earth, and they created the rest of the world. [von Franz, p. 163]

Cree (Canada):
A man survived the deluge in his canoe. He sent forth a raven, but it did not return, and in punishment it was changed from white to black. He next sent out a wood pigeon; it returned with mud in its claws, by which the man inferred that the earth had dried, so he landed. [Frazer, p. 297]

Wissaketchak was an old magician. A certain sea monster hated him and, when the old man was paddling his canoe, the monster lashed the sea with its tail, causing waves that flooded the land. Wissaketchak, though, built a great raft and gathered on it pairs of all animals and birds. The sea monster continued its exertions, and the water continued to rise, until even the highest mountain was covered. Wissaketchak sent a duck to dive for earth, but the duck could not reach the bottom and drowned. He then sent the muskrat, which, after a long time, returned with its throat full of slime. Wissaketchak moulded this slime into a disk and floated it on the water; it resembled a nest such as muskrats make on ice. The disk swelled, and Wissaketchak made it grow more by blowing on it. As it grew and hardened, he sent the animals onto it. It became the land we now inhabit. [Frazer, pp. 309-310]

Timagami Ojibway (Canada):
Nenebuc, son of the Sun and a mortal woman, saw some lions in a great lake. He waited for them to come to shore to sun themselves, disguising himself by wrapping around himself some birch bark from a rotten stump. When the lions came, they were curious about the new stump and sent a snake to check it out. The snake coiled around it and tried to upset it, but Nenebuc stood firm. When the lions themselves approached, Nenebuc wounded the wife of the chief lion with an arrow shot. She was badly hurt but escaped to the cave where she lived. (The cave may still be seen in a bluff west of Smoothwater Lake.) Nenebuc donned the skin of a toad, disguised himself as a medicine-woman, and was admitted to the lioness. He thrust the arrow deeper, killing her. At once, water poured out of the cave, and the lake began to rise. Nenebuc built a raft, which was ready no sooner than the flood reached him. As the raft floated on the flood, Nenebuc took on animals that were swimming in the waters. After a time, Nenebuc tied a willow-root rope to the beaver’s tail and bade him dive to find earth below the water, but the beaver returned without finding a bottom. Seven days later, Nenebuc let the muskrat try. The muskrat stayed down a long time and came up dead, but it held a little earth in its claws. Nenebuc dried the grains from which he remade the land, but not entirely, which is why there are swampy areas today. [Frazer, pp. 307-308]

Chippewa (Ojibway) (Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin):
The medicine man Wis-kay-tchach recognized all animals as his relations, and he considered some wolves to be his brother and two nephews. To stave off starvation one hard winter, they went hunting and came across the track of a moose. Wis-kay-tchach and the old wolf stopped to smoke while the two young wolves hunted the moose, but they didn’t return, so the older two went after them. They found that the young wolves had eaten all of the moose. Wis made a fire, and when he had done so, the moose was restored again, already cut up. The young wolves divided the spoils into four, but one of them retained the tongue and upper lip. Wis grumbled, and the young wolves gave the delicacies to him. They made marrow fat, but soon this was also eaten, and they began to hunger again. They separated, with Wis and one young wolf hunting together. The wolf killed some deer, brought them home in his stomach, disgorged them on his arrival, and told his uncle that he could catch no more. Wis spent the night setting enchantments. In the morning, he told his nephew to go hunting, but warned him to throw a stick over every valley and hollow place before jumping over, or some evil would befall him. The wolf, following a deer, forgot this warning, jumped a hollow, and fell into a river where he was killed and devoured by water lynxes. Wis followed when his nephew didn’t return. When he came upon the river, he guessed what had happened, and this was confirmed when a kingfisher told him it saw the wolf skin serving as a door mat of the water lynxes. The bird also told him that the water lynxes often come ashore, and Wis must turn himself into a stump close by to get his revenge. In gratitude, Wis began to put a ruff around the bird’s neck, but the bird flew off before Wis could finish, which is why kingfishers have only part of a ruff at the back of their head. Wis returned to his camp to prepare; among other things, he provided a large canoe and in it embarked all animals that could not swim. He returned to the area of the lynxes before daybreak, transformed himself into a stump, and waited. The black one crawled out of the water, then the gray one. Then the white one, who had killed the wolf, emerged, but it grew suspicious on seeing the stump. It sent frogs and snakes to try to pull it down, but Wis kept himself upright. The lynx, suspicions lulled, went to sleep. Wis returned to normal shape and, though warned to shoot the lynx’s shadow, forgot and shot its body. He shot a second arrow at the shadow, wounding the animal, but the lynx escaped into the river, which then overflowed and flooded the whole country. Wis escaped in his canoe and began rescuing the animals which could swim only a short time. Wis then tied a string around the leg of a loon and told it to dive for some earth, assuring it that he could restore it to life if it drowned. When the line ceased to play out, Wis hauled up the drowned loon, which, when restored to life, said that it had found no bottom. Wis next send an otter, then a beaver on the same errand, with similar results. Finally he send a rat fastened to a stone, and the rat, when hauled up, had a little earth in its paws. He dried the earth and blew on it to expand it. He sent a wolf to explore it, but the wolf soon returned, saying it was too small. He blew on it a long time, then sent a crow to explore. The crow didn’t return, so Wis decided the land was big enough and disembarked with all the animals. [Frazer, pp. 297-301; Roheim, p. 157, Kelsen, p. 147]

Nenebojo went hunting every day while his brother stayed home. One day, he returned to find his brother missing. His searching brought him to the shore of a lake, where he saw a kingfisher looking into the water. The bird would not tell Nenebojo what it saw until Nenebojo painted its feathers; then it said it saw Nenebojo’s brother, whose skin the water-spirits were using as a door flap. It also told where the water-spirits sun themselves. Nenebojo went there and, using his rod, assumed the shape of a rotten stump for a disguise. When the lions came out of the water, they were suspicious of the new stump until one broke off a piece and saw it was rotten. When they had gone to sleep, Nenebojo struck them on their heads with his rod. As he did so, the lake’s water rose. He fled; a woodpecker directed him to a tall pine tree on a mountain. Nenebojo climbed the tree and began building a raft, which he finished just as the waters reached his neck. He put pairs of all kinds of animals on the raft and floated about. After a while, he sent otter to dive for some earth, but the otter returned without any. Next, beaver was sent, but in vain. Next he sent muskrat, who returned with a little sand in its claws and mouth. He dried the grains and blew them into the water with the horn he had used to summon the animals. They formed an island, which Nenebojo enlarged. He sent a raven to determine its size, but it didn’t return. He next sent a hawk, which reported back that the raven had been eating dead bodies on the shore, so Nenebojo cursed the raven never to have anything to eat but what it steals. After another interval, Nenebojo sent a caribou to explore the size. It said that the island was still too small, so Nenebojo grew it once more and finished. [Frazer, pp. 305-306]

Menaboshu regarded all animals as his kin. Once, when times were bad, he asked the wolves for some food. The food was so good that he asked to hunt with them, which they allowed. After ten days of hunting, they reached a crossroads; the wolves determined to go one way, and Menaboshu went another, taking with him a little wolf whom he loved dearly as a brother. They then hunted sometimes together and sometimes alone. Menaboshu warned the wolf to stay away from a certain lake, knowing that his worst enemy the serpent-king lived there. But this warning just made the wolf curious, and three days later he ventured out on the ice of the lake. The ice broke under him, and he was drowned. Menaboshu waited five days for the wolf’s return; then he began wailing, knowing that the serpent-king had got him. Menaboshu could not get the serpent-king in the winter, so he came to the lake in the spring. He set up loud lamentations when he saw the footprints of his lost brother there. This attracted the attention of the serpent-king, and when Menaboshu saw it stick up its head, he immediately turned himself into a tree stump. The serpent-king and other serpents saw nothing unusual but the new tree stump. Suspicious of it, the serpent-king sent one large snake to it. This snake squeezed hard enough to crack Menaboshu’s bones, but he bore the pain stoically. The snakes then went to sleep on the beach. Menaboshu emerged from his disguise, grabbed his bow and arrows, and shot dead the serpent-king and three of its sons. The other snakes escaped into the water, making much noise and lashing with their tails. Some snakes scattered the contents of their medicine bags; the waters began to swell, and torrents of rain fell from the newly gathered clouds. In short time, the whole earth was flooded. Menaboshu fled, hopping from mountain to mountain, but the waves followed him. He climbed to the top boughs of a fir tree on the top of one tall mountain, and the waters stopped rising just as they reached his mouth. Menaboshu stayed there five days and nights. Finally, he saw a loon swim by, and he asked it do dive for some earth. The loon did so repeatedly, but without success. Then Menaboshu saw the body of a drowned muskrat. He breathed on it to restore it to life and asked it to dive. The muskrat dived and, though it came up dead, it had a few grains of earth. Menaboshu dried these and blew them over the water. Where they landed, they grew into islands, and these grew together, with Menaboshu’s guidance, into continents. Menaboshu then wandered around breathing on the corpses of animals to bring them back to life and otherwise restoring nature and land to its former beauty. [Frazer, pp. 301-304]

Wenebojo travelled awhile with five wolves. The oldest wolf became distrustful of Wenebojo and decided they should leave him, but one wolf, who liked Wenebojo, stayed with him and hunted food for him, and Wenebojo considered him his nephew. One night, this wolf didn’t return from hunting. Wenebojo followed his tracks the next day and saw that he had fallen into a river. The manidog, or spirits under the water, caused the wolf’s death because there wouldn’t be any wild animals left if Wenebojo had his own way. Wenebojo went to the bank of a lake where the manidog sometimes come out to sun themselves; he turned himself into a stump and waited four days. At last, the manidog came out to bask. A big snake was suspicious that the stump was Wenebojo, so he went and squeezed it four times, harder and harder each time, but Wenebojo withstood it, and the snake said it wasn’t Wenebojo. When all the manidog were asleep, Wenebojo shot the two kings, wounding them. All the manidog rushed back into the water. Wenebojo followed the stream and came across a kingfisher, which said it was waiting for Wenebojo’s nephew’s guts to float by. Wenebojo had a string of beads that had belonged to his nephew, and he offered them to the bird with the secret intent of strangling it, but his hand slipped and the bird escaped with the beads, which is why the kingfisher’s head is bushy and it has a necklace of white spots. Wenebojo went on and met an old lady carrying basswood bark. He told her he wasn’t Wenebojo, and the old lady told him that they were laying out basswood to detect Wenebojo, and that she was doctoring the wounded kings. Wenebojo learned her song and her route; then he killed her, skinned her, and put on her skin. He had to shave off his calf muscles to make it fit. With this disguise, he got entrance into the king’s house. He saw his nephew’s skin hanging there, which made him angry. Two snakes on either side of the door watched him suspiciously, but he told them his medicine wouldn’t work with them watching. He went to the kings and pushed his arrows deeper, killing them. He ran out, breaking through basswood strings in his escape. The manidog saw the basswood moving and sent water there. Wenebojo heard the water coming and ran for a hill. Soon the water came to the top of the hill, and he climbed a tall pine tree there. The water kept coming, and he told the pine tree to stretch itself to double its length. It did that four times but could not stretch more. The water stopped rising just short of Wenebojo’s mouth. Wenebojo had to defecate, and the feces floated around his mouth. Wenebojo saw an otter and asked it to dive for some earth. The otter tried, but it drowned. Wenebojo blew on it, and it came back to life and told him that it hadn’t seen anything. A beaver got farther but also failed. Next, the muskrat tried. It also floated up drowned, but Wenebojo found a grain of earth in each of its paws and in its mouth. He restored the muskrat to life, dried the grains in the sun, and threw them on the water, forming a small island. The three animals and Wenebojo went on the island, and Wenebojo took handfuls of dirt from the island and threw them around, making it bigger. Other animals came from the water to the island, too. Wenebojo asked a caribou to run around the island to test its size. The caribou soon returned and reported that the land wasn’t big enough yet. Wenebojo threw more dirt far and wide and sent the caribou off again, but the caribou never came back. It got tired and stayed in the north. For a long time, Wenebojo travelled, having forgotten about his anger. But one day he happened to remember, and he sat crying. He threatened to pull up the four layers below the earth and pull down the four layers of the sky to get at the manidog there. The first manido from below the earth and the Great Spirit manido from the sky believed he would do that, and they invited him to meet with them, but he wouldn’t come until they sent a white otter (seal?) as a messenger. Wenebojo didn’t have any parents, so they created parents for him. The manido from the bottom formed a clay figure, shook his rattle and talked, and the figure came to life. It was an Indian woman. The Great Spirit put the last rib from the woman into a clay figure and likewise created a man. The manidog also told Wenebojo about the Medicine Dance. The people were meant to live forever, but Wenebojo’s brother Nekajiwegizik hadn’t been invited. He was the first person to die, and he decreed that everyone who lived on earth would have to follow his road to the other world. [Barnouw, pp. 33-45]

For a time, Wenebojo travelled with a pack of wolves which he considered his nephews. When they parted, one of the wolves stayed with him and hunted for him. Wenebojo had a dream that the manidog, evil underwater spirits who were jealous of him, would kill his nephew, so he told his nephew not to cross any streams. But the wolf tried to jump a stream while hunting and was captured and killed. Wenebojo knew what happened. He followed a river to a lake and found a kingfisher in a tree looking into the water, waiting for some of Wenebojo’s nephew’s guts to float by. Wenebojo offered it a string of beads if it would tell him what it knew. The bird described how the manidog sun themselves. Wenebojo intended to wring the bird’s neck as he put on the beads, but the bird slipped away. That is why the kingfisher has ruffled feathers around its neck. Wenebojo prepared two arrows by rubbing them on the lips of women having their first menses. Then he turned himself to a stump by the lake and waited for the manidog to sun themselves. When they emerged, the king was suspicious of the stump and had a snake squeeze it and a bear claw it, but Wenebojo withstood these attacks. Wenebojo wished the manidog would go to sleep, and when they slept, he shot and wounded the king and the next to the king; then he ran away as the water was rising behind him. Woodchuck saved him by digging a shelter, which they stayed in two days until the water receded. Later, Wenebojo encountered an old woman carrying basswood bark. He assured her that he was not Wenebojo, and she told him that the bark would be used to detect Wenebojo when he touched it, that she was treating the wounded manidog, and that only she had eaten his nephew. With that, he killed her, put on her clothes, and wished himself to look like her. He went to the wigwam of the wounded manidog and killed them. As he ran away, he heard a roar of water behind him. He ran to a bluff; a pine tree there told Wenebojo to climb it, and the tree stretched higher, saving Wenebojo from the flood with his nose barely above water. Wenebojo asked loon to dive down to get some dirt, but the loon died in the attempt. Otter and beaver failed similarly. Muskrat, however, was able to get a few grains of dirt before he passed out. Wenebojo used this dirt to recreate land. He told a big bird to fly around it; the land would grow as it did so. When the bird returned in four days, he sent an eagle out to grow the land larger. Wenebojo cut up the body of the king manido and made a lake of fat from it. The animals that ate or touched it acquired fat in their bodies. [Barnouw, pp. 63-69]

The evil serpent Meshekenabek carried off Manobozho’s cousin into a deep lake. Manobozho caused the sun to shine fiercely on the lake to drive out Meshekenabek and his companions. When they emerged, Manobozho shot an arrow into the serpent’s heart. The serpent, in his dying rage, stirred up the waters of the lake and spread waves over the land. Fleeing, Manobozho warned the Indians also to retreat to a mountain top. The waters still rose, though, and Manobozho made a raft for them to take refuge on. However, Manobozho couldn’t disperse the flood without some earth to use as a nucleus. Muskrat finally succeeded in diving for some dirt, and Manobozho used it to make the waters recede. [Howey, pp. 291-293]

In the beginning of time, in September, there was a great snow. A mouse nibbled a hole in the leather bag which contained the sun’s heat, and the heat escaped and melted all the snow in an instant. The waters rose to cover even the highest mountains. One old man had foreseen the flood and warned everybody, but the others had thought to escape to the hills; they drowned in the flood. The old man had prepared a canoe and survived, rescuing animals he came across. After a while he sent, in turn, the beaver, otter, muskrat, and duck to find land. Only the duck returned, with some mud in its bill. The old man cast the mud on the water and blew on it, making solid land. [Vitaliano, p. 170]

A deluge covered the whole earth. A lone man named Nanaboujou escaped by floating on a piece of bark. [Frazer, p. 308]

Menomini (Wisconsin-Michigan border):
Manabush wanted to punish the evil manidoes, the Ana maqkiu who had killed his brother Wolf. He invented the ball game and asked the Thunderers to play against the Ana maqkiu, who appeared from the ground as bears. After the first day of play, Manabush made himself into a pine tree near where the manidoes played. When they returned the next morning, the manidoes were suspicious of the tree, so the sent for Grizzly Bear to claw it and Serpent to strangle and bite it. Manabush withstood these attacks, allaying their suspicion. When the ball play took everyone else far away, Manabush shot and wounded the two Bear chiefs with arrows and then ran away. The underground Ana maqkiu soon came back, saw the wounded Bear chiefs, and called for a flood from the earth. Badger hid Manabush in the earth, so the Ana maqkiu gave up the search just as the water was starting to fill Badger’s burrow. The underground people took their chiefs to a wigwam and sent for an old woman to heal them. Manabush followed, took the old woman’s skin and disguised himself in it. He entered the wigwam, killed the two chiefs, and took the bear skins. The Ana maqkiu at once pursued; water poured out of the earth in many places. Manabush climbed a great pine tree on the highest mountain. When the waters still rose to threaten him, he commanded the tree to grow. This he did four times, but the waters still rose. He called to Kisha Manido for help, who commanded the waters to stop. Seeing water everywhere, Manabush called to Otter to dive down and bring up some earth. Otter tried but drowned before reaching bottom. Mink failed similarly. Then Manabush called on Muskrat, who also returned drowned but had some mud in his paw. Manabush blew on Muskrat to return him to life. Then he took the earth, rubbed it between his hands, and threw it on the water, thus creating a new earth. Manabush told Muskrat that his tribe would always be numerous. He gave the skin of the Gray Bear chief to Badger and kept the skin of the White Bear chief. [Judson, p. 21-25]

Cheyenne (Minnesota):
The Great Spirit created three kinds of men: red men, white men with hairy heads, and hairy men with hair all over their body. The hairy men went to the barren south and eventually dwindled in numbers and disappeared. The red men went south after the Great Spirit taught them culture. They went north again when the Great Medicine told them the south would be flooded. In the north, they found that the white men had gone and they could no longer talk to the animals, though they could still control them. Later, they went south again, but another flood came and scattered them, and they never came together again. They traveled in small bands to the north, but they found it barren, so they returned south and lived the best they could. One particularly hard winter had earthquakes, volcanoes, and floods which destroyed all the trees. The people spent the long winter in caves and were almost famished the following spring. The Great Medicine, in pity, gave them corn and buffalo. Since then, there have been no more famines or floods. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 112-113]

Yellowstone (Wyoming):
People came who hunted for sport, burned and cleared forests, and didn’t think of the animals as their brothers. The Great Spirit was sad and let the people’s smoke from their fires lie in the valleys. The people coughed and choked but continued their evil ways. The Great Spirit sent rains to extinguish the fires and destroy the people. The people moved to the hills as the waters rose. Spotted Bear, the medicine man, said they would be safe as long as they had buffalo, but there were no buffalo around. The young men went hunting for buffalo, revising their treatment of nature as they went. The waters rose, and people climbed to the mountains. Finally, two men came back with the hide of a white bull buffalo which had tried to climb to the mountains but had drowned in the floodwaters, though a cow and young buffalo survived. Spotted Bear announced that, since the people were no longer destroying the world, that buffalo would save those who were left. With help from other medicine men, he scraped and stretched the hide, stretching it over the whole village. Each day the wet hide stretched farther, until it covered all of Yellowstone Valley. Rain no longer fell in the valley, and people and animals moved back there. The hide began to sag, but Spotted Bear raised the west end to catch the West Wind, which made the skin a dome over the valley. The Great Spirit, seeing that people were living at peace with the earth, stopped the rain. The sun shone on the hide, shrinking it until all that was left was a rainbow arch. [Edmonds & Clark, pp. 17-19]

Montagnais (northern Gulf of St. Lawrence):
Messou was hunting with his dogs, when his dogs got caught in a large lake. He couldn’t find them until a bird told him that it had seen the lost dogs in the lake. Messou entered the lake to rescue them, but the lake overflowed, covered the land, and destroyed the world. Messou sent first a raven and then an otter to find a piece of earth, but neither could find any. He next sent down a muskrat, which dived and returned with just a tiny amount of land, but enough for Messou to form the land we are on. Messou fired arrows into the trunks of trees, and the arrows turned into branches. He took revenge on those who had detained his dogs. He married the muskrat and by it peopled the world. [Brinton, p. 225]

Being angry with giants, God commanded a man to build a large canoe. The man did so, and when he embarked, the water rose till no land was visible anywhere. Weary of seeing nothing but water, the man threw an otter into it. The otter dived and brought up a little mud, which the man breathed on and caused to expand. He placed the earth on the water and prevented it from sinking. After awhile, he placed reindeer on the new island, but they completed a circuit of the island quickly, so he concluded it wasn’t yet large enough. He continued to blow on it and grow it so the mountains, lakes, and rivers were formed; then he disembarked. [Gaster, p. 117]

Micmac and Penobscot (eastern Maritime Canada):
Kuloscap (Glooscap) defeated the cruel Ice Giant magicians at various contests. Then he stomped on the ground, and foaming water rushed down from the mountains. He sang a song which changed how everyone looks, and the Ice Giants became large fish and were washed to sea. Those fish carry markings like the wampum collars of the magicians. [Norman, p. 115; Leland, p. 126]

Algonquin (upper Ottowa River):
Long ago, when men had become evil, the Strong Serpent Maskanako came. He was the foe of people, and they became embroiled, hating and fighting each other. The small men (Mattapewi) fought with Nihanlowit, keeper of the dead. The Strong Serpent resolved to destroy all men, and the Black Serpent brought the snake-water rushing, spreading everywhere, destroying everything. Then the waters ran off, and the great evil went away by the path of the cave. [Kelsen, pp. 146-147]

Lenape (=Delaware) (Delaware to New York):
A deluge covered the whole earth. A few people survived on the back of a turtle which was so old its shell was mossy. A loon flew by, and the people begged it to dive and bring up some land. The bird dived but could not reach the bottom. Then he flew far away, came back with some earth in his bill, and led the turtle back to some dry land. There the people settled and repopulated the country. Those saved by the turtle became the Turtle Clan. [Frazer, p. 295; Bierhorst, 1995, pp. 30, 43]

After the Great Spirit created the earth, he flooded it. He sent various animals diving for earth. At last the muskrat succeeded. He put the earth on the turtles back, and it increased in size. [Bierhorst, 1995, p. 44]

Cherokee (Great Lakes area; eastern Tennessee):
Day after day, a dog stood at the river bank and howled piteously. Rebuked by his master, the dog said a flood was coming, and he must build and provision a boat. Furthermore, the dog said, he must throw him, the dog, into the water. For a sign that he spoke the truth, the dog showed the back of his neck, which was raw and bare with flesh and bone showing. The man followed directions, and he and his family survived; from them, the present population is descended. [Gaster, pp. 116-117]

Mandan (North Dakota):
The earth is a large tortoise. Once a tribe, digging for badgers, dug deep into the earth and cut through the shell of Tortoise. Tortoise began to sink, and water rose through the knife cut. The water covered all the ground and drowned all the people except one man, Nu-mohk-muck-a-nah, who escaped in a large canoe to a mountain in the west. Today, a plank structure called the “big canoe” stands in the central plaza of a Mandan village. The Mandans celebrate the subsidence of the flood every year with a ceremony called Mee-nee-ro-ka-ha-sha, held when willow leaves are fully grown because the twig that the turtle-dove brought home had such leaves. In the ceremony, a man representing the survivor collects edged tools from each household; these are later thrown into a deep pool. If this sacrifice is not made, the man says, another flood will come and destroy everyone. [Judson, p. 20; Frazer, pp. 292-294]

In the world before this one, the people didn’t know how to behave or how to act human, and the creating power was displeased. He placed three dry buffalo chips under a sacred pipe rack and saved a fourth for lighting the pipe. He sang three songs to bring rain, which caused the rivers to overflow; then he sang a fourth song and stamped on the earth. The earth split open, and water flowed from the cracks and covered everything. The Creating Power floated on the sacred pipe and his huge pipe bag. All people and animals were destroyed except Kangi, the crow. It was very tired and three times asked the Creating Power to make a place for it to rest. The Creating Power opened his pipe bag, which contained all manner of animals and birds, and selected four known for their diving abilities. He sang a song and commanded the loon to dive and bring up mud, but the loon failed. Likewise, the water was too deep for otter and beaver. But the turtle succeeded in bringing up a little mud. The Creating Power took the mud and, singing, spread it out on the water. After the fourth song, there was enough land for himself and the crow. He waved two long eagle feathers over the ground, and it spread until it replaced the water. He named it the Turtle Continent. The Creating Power thought, “Land without water is not good,” and wept for the earth and the creatures he would put upon it. His tears became oceans, streams, and lakes. He scattered the animals across the land; they came to life when he stamped on the ground. He created four colors of people from red, white, black, and yellow earth. He created the rainbow as a sign that there would be no more great flood, but warned that he had destroyed the first world by fire because it was bad, and the second world by flood, and he would destroy this world too if people make it bad and ugly. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 496-499]

Unktehi, a water monster, fought the people and caused a great flood. The people retreated to a hill, but the water swept over them, killing them all. The blood gelled and turned to pipestone. (Pipes made from that rock are sacred today.) Unktehi was also turned to stone; her bones are in the Badlands now, forming a long ridge. A giant eagle, Wanblee Galeshka, swept down, saved one girl from the flood, carrying her to a tree on the highest pinnacle, the only place not covered by water. He made her his wife. She bore twins, a boy and a girl, which are the ancestors of the Sioux. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 93-95]

Unktehi puffed up her body to make the Missouri overflow, and the little water monsters, her children, did the same with other streams and lakes. This caused a great flood which covered the country. Only a few people escaped to the highest mountain, and the waves threatened to kill them. The thunderbirds liked people, so they fought the water monsters for several years. In time, it became clear that the thunderbirds were losing when they fought close, so they retreated to the sky and, all together, sent their lightning bolts. This burned the forests, boiled the water, and turned the earth red hot, except where the people had taken refuge. Unktehi and the water monsters were defeated. Their bones can still be seen in the Badlands. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 220-222]

Choctaw (Mississippi):
A prophet was sent by the high god to warn of a coming flood, but nobody took notice. When the flood came, the prophet took to a raft. After several months, he saw a black bird. He signaled it, but it just cawed and flew away. Later, he sighted and signaled a bluish bird. The bird flapped, moaned dolorously, and guided the raft towards where the sun was breaking through. Next morning, he landed on an island with all kinds of animals. He cursed the black bird (a crow) and blessed the bluish one (a dove). [Gaster, p. 116]

Natchez (Lower Mississippi):
A great rain fell so abundantly that it extinguished all fires and caused a flood which drowned all but a few people who saved themselves on a high mountain. A little bird named Coüy-oüy (a cardinal) brought fire from heaven again. [Gaster, p. 116]

Chitimacha (Southern Louisiana):
Long ago, a great storm came. The people baked a great earthen pot, in which two people saved themselves. Since rattlesnakes were then the friends of man, two rattlesnakes were saved in the pot, too. The red-headed woodpecker clung to the sky, but the waters rose so high they wet and marked his tail. When the waters sank, the woodpecker was sent to find land, but he could find none. The dove was sent next and came back with a grain of sand. When this grain was placed on the water, it spread out and became dry land. [Judson, p. 19]

When the earth was first made, all was under water. The Creator sent Crawfish to bring up a little earth. The mud he brought up spread out, and dry earth appeared. [Judson, p. 5]

Caddo (Oklahoma, Arkansas):
A woman gave birth to four monsters. Though advised to kill them, she let them grow. They grew quickly and acted evilly, and before long they were too large and powerful to kill. They kept growing. One night they came together in the camp with their backs together and grew together into one creature, which grew tall enough to touch the sky. Most people took refuge at their base, where they couldn’t bend over and reach them; others were caught by the monsters’ long arms and eaten. One man who could see the future heard a voice telling him to plant a hollow reed. He did so, and it quickly grew very big. The voice directed the man and his wife to go naked into the reed, taking pairs of good animals, when they see all the birds of the world flying south. The sign came and they entered. Rain came, and waters rose to cover everything but the top of the reed and the heads of the monsters. Turtle destroyed the monsters by digging under them and uprooting them. They broke apart and fell in (and thus formed) the four cardinal directions. The waters subsided, and winds dried the earth. The people and animals emerged onto a barren earth, and the wife wondered how they would live. The man said, “Go to sleep.” Four times they slept, and each time they woke there was more growth around them. After the fourth night, they awoke in a grass hut, and there was a stalk of corn outside. The voice told them corn was to be their holy food. If they plant corn and something else comes up, then the world will end. The voice didn’t return after that. [Erdoes & Ortiz, p. 120-122]

Pawnee (Nebraska):
The first people on the earth were giants, very big and strong. They did not believe in the creator Ti-ra-wa. They thought nothing could overcome them. They grew increasingly worse. At last Ti-ra-wa grew angry and raised the water to the level of the land so that the ground became soft. The giants sank into the mud and drowned. Their bones can still be found today. Ti-ra-wa then created a man and woman, like people of today, and gave them corn. The Pawnees are descended from them. [Grinnell, pp. 355-356]

Navajo (Four Corners area):
The first world, where Navajos originated, was inhabited by Insect People of twelve types. For their sins of adultery and constant quarreling, the gods expelled them by sending a wall of water from all directions. The Insect People flew up into the second world, guided through a hole in the sky by a cliff swallow. The second world was a barren world inhabited by Swallow People. They decided to stay anyway, but after 24 days, one of the Insect People made love to the wife of the Swallow People’s chief. They were expelled to the third world; the white face of the wind told them of an opening. The third world was a barren world of Grasshopper People. Again, the Insect People were expelled for philandering after 24 days. The red face of the wind guided them to the hole to the fourth world. This world was inhabited by animals and Pueblos, with whom the Insect People coexisted peacefully. The gods made people in human form from ears of corn, different colors of corn becoming different tribes. The Insect People intermarried with them, and their descendants eventually looked fully human. In time, the men and women argued and decided to live apart. But both groups engaged in unnatural sex acts, and eventually the women were starving, so they got back together. The gods were displeased by their sins, though, and sent a wall of water upon them. The people noticed animals running and sent cicadas to investigate. They escaped the floodwaters by climbing into a fast-growing reed. Cicada dug an entrance into the fifth world, which was inhabited by grebes. The grebes said that people could have that world if they could survive plunging arrows into their heart. The cicadas met this challenge (they bear the scars on their sides still), and people live in the fifth world today. [Capinera, pp. 226-228]

Jicarilla Apache (northeastern New Mexico):
Before the Apaches emerged from the underworld, there were other people on the earth. Dios told an old man and old woman that it would rain forty days and nights. People were warned to go to the tops of four mountains (Tsisnatcin, Tsabidzilhi, Becdilhgai, and another whose identity isn’t known), and not to look at the flood or sky. The people didn’t believe the old couple. When the rains came, only a few people made it to the mountain tops and shut their eyes. Those who looked at the flood turned into a fish or frog (as did some who were caught in the flood); if they looked at the sky, they turned into a bird. The people sitting on the mountains were told, when they got hungry, to think of food, and Dios would feed them. After eighty days, Dios told the 24 people remaining to open their eyes and come down. These 24 people went into 24 mountains. Eight other people survived the flood who were able to travel by looking where they wanted to go, and they were there. These people told the Apaches about the flood before going into two mountains themselves. Dios told them to stay there until the world is destroyed. Around the year 2000, when the Apaches dwindle in number, the surface of the earth will again be destroyed, this time by fire. [Opler, pp. 111-113]

When people still lived in the underworld, the chief, after an argument with his mother-in-law, decided that men and women should live apart for awhile, so the men all moved to the other side of a river, and the chief prayed to Kogulhtsude (a water spirit) to widen the river. They lived four years like this. The women’s farms became less and less productive, and they began to go hungry. The men wanted sexual satisfaction and began some sexual perversions; the older girls, likewise affected, began to masturbate with elk horns, eagle feathers, and other things. These things impregnated them and produced the monsters that afterwards killed men. About that time, Coyote found a baby in a whirlpool in the river and took it out to raise himself. But the baby was Kogulhtsude’s child, and he sent water out to draw it back. Some people were drowned and turned into frogs and fish; the other men and women escaped together to a tall mountain. Coyote used his magic to make the mountain grow, but the waters kept rising, finally overflowing onto this world. The people suspected Coyote was causing the trouble and found the baby hidden under his coat. They threw the baby (which was almost dead from drying) into the water, and the water receded. The people went down into the underworld again. When they later emerged, the surface of the earth was covered with water from that flood. The four Holy Ones made black, blue, yellow, and glittering hoops and threw them in each compass direction, and the water receded. They commanded the four winds to dry the land further. [Opler, p. 20, 265-268]

As the waters rose, a chief led his warriors into the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. When it became clear that even the mountain peaks would be submerged, the chief told his braves that, rather than let them drown ignominiously, he would turn then to stone. They are there guarding the heights even today. [Vitaliano, p. 170]

Sussistinnako (Spider), the first being, lived in the lower world. He drew a cross and placed magic parcels at the east and west points, and his song brought forth from them two women, Utset, the mother of all Indians, and Nowutset, the mother of all other races. Spider also created rain, thunder, lightning, and rainbow, and the women made the sun, moon, and stars. Nowutset was the stronger but duller of the two women, and she lost a contest of rules. Utset slew her and cut out her heart; thus began war in the world. People lived happily in the lower world for eight years, but in the ninth, a flood came. The people ascended through a reed, with Utset leading the way. Badger and locust bored the passage through the lower world’s sky. Turkey was the last to ascend, and the foaming flood waters touched his tail and left their mark there to this day. Beetle was put in charge of the sack full of stars, but out of curiosity he made a hole in it, and the stars scattered across the heavens. Utset managed to rescue a few with which she made constellations. The hole through which the people emerged is called the Shipapo. The first people, the Sia, camped around it. They had no food, but Utset had always known the name of corn, and she created it out of bits of her heart. [Alexander, 1916, p. 203]

Acagchemem (near San Juan Capistrano, so. California):
The descendants of Captain Ouiot asked Chinigchinich for vengeance upon their chief. Chinigchinich appeared to them and told them that those of them with the power to cause rain were the once to achieve vengeance by inundating the earth and so destroying every living thing. The rains came; the sea swelled in over the earth, covering all the land except a high mountain, where a few people had gone with the person who caused the rain with songs of supplication to Chinigchinich to drown their enemies. Every other animal on earth was destroyed. If their enemies heard them, they sang other songs saying that they were not afraid because Chinigchinich will not destroy the world with another inundation. [Frazer, p. 288]

Luiseño (Southern California):
A great flood covered high mountains and drowned most people. A few saved themselves on a knoll called Mora by the Spaniards and Katuta by the Indians, staying there until the flood went down. The hill still has stones, ashes, and heaps of seashells showing where the Indians cooked their food. [Gaster, pp. 115-116]

Pima (southwest Arizona):
After the earth had become peopled, the great eagle told a seer in the Gila valley, on three occasions, to warn the people about a great flood that would soon come, but the seer ridiculed him and ignored his warnings. Scarcely had the bird gone for the third time when a tremendous clap of thunder was heard. When morning came, the earth trembled, and a great green wall of water roared down the valley and destroyed everything in it. Szeukha, son of Chiowotmahke (Earth maker), saved himself by floating on a ball of pine resin. When the water receded somewhat, he landed on a mountain above the Salt River; his cave and tools can still be seen there. Szeukha made a ladder that reached into the clouds and went to fight the great eagle, whom he thought had caused the flood. They fought long, but at last he killed the eagle. He found the bones and corpses of the people which the eagle had abducted and returned them to life. He also rescued a pregnant woman and her child. The eagle had stolen her and taken her for his wife. She became the mother of the Pima people. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 473-475; Gaster, p. 115]

The Creator, Earth Doctor, made the mountains, the waters, the plants; he made the sun and moon in their courses. Then he made all kinds of birds and creeping things, and he made clay images and commanded them to become living humans. They obeyed him, multiplied, and spread over the earth. In time, as sickness and death were still unknown, the population outran the available sustenance, and people faced ever-increasing famine. The Creator resolved to destroy the creatures he had made, so he pulled down the sky, crushing to death all living things. Then he restored the world and made humans again. The earth gave birth to one known as Siuuhû or Elder Brother. He spoke harshly to the Creator, and the Creator feared him. Elder Brother shortened people’s lives so that they didn’t multiply out of control as before. He resolved further to destroy mankind entirely with a great flood. He created a handsome youth to go among the Pimas, wed their women, and beget children, staying with each wife only until his first child was born. The first wife gave birth four months after marriage and conception, and the gestation periods became shorter with each successive wife, until the last child was born at the time of the marriage. (The people were amazed and frightened by the powers shown by Elder Brother and his agent during these years.) This last child’s screams shook the earth, and it was he who caused the flood. Meanwhile, Elder Brother had begun fashioning, out of black gum, a jar in which to save himself, and he announced his purpose to the Creator. The Creator called the people together and warned them of the nearing flood. He thrust his staff into the ground, boring a hole all the way through the earth. Some people took refuge in the hole. Other people appealed, futilely, to Elder Brother. Elder Brother did tell coyote to find a big log on which to float safely on the flood. Elder Brother closed himself in the jar, known as Black House, and the flood came. The jar bobbed on the waters until it came to rest near the mouth of the Colorado River. It may be seen there today; it is called Black Mountain. The Creator survived the flood by enclosing himself in his reed staff and floating. The coyote survived on his driftwood. Only five sorts of birds survived, including the flicker and vulture, by clinging to the sky with their beaks until a god took pity on them and let them make nests from their own down and float in them. Some people survived in the hole which the Creator had made. Others survived in a similar hole made by a powerful person called South Doctor. Others appealed to the Creator, who told them to try to find refuge on Crooked Mountain, and he directed South Doctor to help them. South Doctor led the people to the summit and, with his enchantments, four times raised the mountain and arrested the rising waters, but then his powers were exhausted. He threw his staff into the water, where it cracked loudly. He sent a dog to see how high the tide had risen, and when the dog reported that the water was very near the top, the people were transformed into stone. You may see them there today. [Frazer, pp. 283-287]

Because someone displeased the gods, a heavy rain began pouring down, and water gushed from the broken ground, swelling the rivers. For the first time, the wise Se-eh-ha (Elder Brother) did not know what to do. Some people ran up Slanting Mountain (Superstition Mountain) and prayed to the Great Spirit to stop the flood, but when the water threatened to swallow them up, they turned into rocks in fright. Se-eh-ha and his brother Juvet-Makai (Earth Medicine Man) hurriedly made canoes and rode out the flood in them. Coyote used his magic to turn himself small and crawl into his bamboo flute, in which he floated. Some birds, including the swallow, buzzard, raven, oriole, and hummingbird, clung to the sky with their bills. The flood rose high enough to drench their tails, leaving them drenched-looking for all time. The flood lasted four days, and Se-eh-ha, Juvet-Makai, and Coyote were tossed in different directions. Coyote landed on a high mountain near the Colorado River; his flute was tightly stuck in the rocks, so he left it there. He left to look for Se-eh-ha and Juvet-Makai, finding them at Slanting Mountain surveying the desolated land. Elder Brother rubbed some dust off his chest onto the ground, where it turned into ants. The ants began scattering the dirt, making it drier, and Elder Brother said that is what he wants ants to do. The three of them began making images to replace the lost people. Elder Brother scolded Earth Medicine Man for making his images so different, with one leg and one arm, and Earth Medicine Man angrily threw away his images and sank into the ground to find a place to live on the other side of the earth. Elder Brother and Coyote placed their images in a warm mud hut and waited for them to speak. Coyote’s images began laughing first; this displeased Elder Brother, so he sprinkled cold water on them and threw them to the cold north, where they became the Apaches. Coyote was angered and disappeared as Earth Medicine Man had. After four days, Elder Brother’s images began laughing and talking. They became the River People and repopulated the Gila valley. (Later, Elder Brother became greedy and evil and led Juvet-Makai’s people to conquer the River People.) [Shaw, pp. 1-14]

Papago (Arizona):
Back when the sun was closer to the earth, Coyote foresaw the coming of a flood, gnawed down a great tree, entered it, and sealed the opening. Montezuma, who was the first person created by the Great Mystery, took warning from Coyote and prepared a dugout canoe for himself atop Monte Rosa. Only they survived the flood, which covered all the land. They met again on the top of Monte Rosa, which rose above the flood waters. To ascertain how much dry land was left, the man sent Coyote to explore. Coyote reported that there was sea to the west, south, and east, but seemingly endless land to the north. The Great Spirit, with the help of Montezuma, restocked the earth with men and animals. Montezuma, with Coyote’s help, taught them and led them. Montezuma later became prideful and rebelled against the Great Mystery, thus bringing evil into the world. The Great Mystery raised the sun to its present height and, with an earthquake, destroyed the tower that Montezuma was building into the heavens, in the process changing languages so that people could no longer understand animals or other tribes. [Erdoes & Ortiz, p. 487-489; Gaster, pp. 114-115]

The people repeatedly became distant from Sotuknang, the creator. Twice he destroyed the world (by fire and by cold) and recreated it while the few people who still lived by the laws of creation took shelter underground with the ants. When people became corrupt and warlike a third time, Sotuknang guided the ones who had retained their wisdom to Spider Woman, who cut down giant reeds and sheltered the people in the hollow stems with a little water and food. Sotuknang caused a great flood with rain and waves, and the people floated in their reeds for a long time. Finally, they came to rest on a small piece of land, and Spider Woman unsealed their reeds and pulled them out by the tops of their heads. They still had as much food as they started with. They sent out birds to find more land, but to no avail. They grew a tall reed and climbed it, but they saw only water. But guided by their inner wisdom (which comes from Sotuknang through the door at the top of their head), the people traveled on, using the reeds as canoes. They went northeast, finding progressively larger islands. The last of these was large and fruitful, and people wanted to stay there, but Spider Woman urged them on. They went further northeast, paddling hard as if going uphill, until they came to the Fourth World. The shores were rocky with seemingly no place to land, but by opening the doors at the tops of their head, they found a current that took them to a sandy beach. Sotuknang appeared and told them to look back, and they saw the islands, the last remnants of the Third World, sink into the ocean. [Waters, pp. 12-20]

Spider Clan, Blue Flute Clan, Fire Clan, Snake Clan, and Sun Clan traveled together on the Hopi migrations. On their northward journey, they were blocked at the Arctic Circle by a mountain of ice and snow. This was the Back Door of the Fourth World, which Sotuknang said was closed to them. Spider Woman and the Spider Clan, however, urged them to go on, and all the clans used their powers to try to melt and bread down the mountain. They tried four times but failed. Sotuknang told Spider Woman that if they had succeeded, the melted snow and ice would have flooded the world. He punished her by letting her grow old and ugly, and Spider Clan became breeders of wickedness. [Waters, pp. 39-40]

Zuni (New Mexico):
A great flood once forced the Zunis out of their valley to take refuge on a nearby tableland. But the flood rose nearly to the top of the tableland, and the people, fearing it would drown them all, decided to offer a human sacrifice to appease the angry waters. A youth and maiden, children of two Priests of the Rain, were dressed in finery and thrown into the flood. The waters began subsiding immediately. The two young people turned to stone; they may be seen as two great pinnacles rising from the tableland. [Frazer, pp. 287-288]


Central America


Tarascan (northern Michoacan, Mexico):
When the great flood came, God built a house. Everyone tried to crowd into it; those who failed were drowned. The house floated on the waters for twenty days, striking the sky three times. When the waters receded, some of the survivors were very hungry, and although God told them not to eat anything, they started to cook tortillas inside the house. God sent down an angel to tell them not to light any fire, but the smoke was already drifting into the sky. God sent the angel again with the same message, but the people said they were hungry and continued cooking. After the message was ignored a third time, God told the angel to give those people a good kick. They became dogs and buzzards and cleaned up the earth. [Horcasitas, p. 195]

God ordered a man to build a large house and to put animals and food in it. When he had finished, it began to rain and continued raining for six months. The house floated on the flood, and all who had helped build it were saved in it. When the flood started going down, the man sent out a raven, but it stayed out to eat dead bodies. He next sent out a dove, which returned to tell what the raven was doing, and ravens have been cursed to eat carrion since. God ordered that no fires be kindled, but one man disobeyed and was turned into a dog. [Horcasitas, p. 196]

After the world was destroyed by a flood, a boy, very hungry, got out of his canoe to heat a gorda. The Eternal Father said it was not yet time for a fire to be lit and sent Saint Bartholomew to investigate who was making the smoke. Bartholomew reminded the boy of God’s orders, but the boy pleaded that he was hungry. Saint Bartholomew reported back to Heaven, and the Eternal Father said to kick the boy if he again didn’t understand. Saint Bartholomew did so, and the boy turned into a dog. [Horcasitas, pp. 195-196]

Michoacan (Mexico):
When the flood waters began to rise, a man named Tezpi entered into a great vessel, taking with him his wife and children and diverse seeds and animals. When the waters abated, the man sent out a vulture, but the bird found plenty of corpses to eat and didn’t return. Other birds also flew away and didn’t return. Finally, he sent out a hummingbird, which returned with a green bough in its beak. [Gaster, p. 122]

Yaqui (Sonoran, Northern Mexico):
On the 17th day of February, in the year 614, it rained for fourteen days all over the world. The waters rose and destroyed all living things. Yaitowi, a just and perfect man who walked with Dios, was saved, along with thirteen others and eleven women, on the hill of Parbus (today called Maatale). A few other people, seven birds, seven asses, and seven little dogs were saved on other mountains. After the flood, two angels appeared to two of the survivors, and the angel San Gabriel came, sent by Dios, telling the people to “go by the way of our Dios and Father.” When they arrived at Venedici, they heard the voice of Dios, who promised the rainbow as a sign that no other flood would destroy earth. [Giddings, pp. 106-108]

Tarahumara (Northern Mexico):
People were once fighting among themselves, and Father God (Tata Dios) sent much rain, drowning everyone. After the flood, God sent three men and three women to repopulate the earth. They planted three kinds of corn which still grow in the country. [Gaster, p. 124]

When all the world was flooded, a little boy and girl climbed the mountain Lavachi (“Gourd”) south of Panalachic. They came down when the flood subsided, bringing with them three grains of corn and three beans. The rocks were so soft that their feet sank into them, leaving footprints that can still be seen today. They planted the corn, slept and dreamed, and harvested. All Tarahumares are descended from them. [Frazer, p. 281]

Huichol (western Mexico):
A man clearing fields found the trees regrown overnight. On the fifth day of this, he found that the Grandmother Nakawe, goddess of the earth, did this, because she wanted to talk to him. She told him that he was working in vain because a flood was coming in five days. Per her instructions, he built a box from the fig tree and entered it with five grains of corn and beans of each color, fire with five squash stems to feed it, and a black bitch. (In other versions, the vessel was a canoe.) She closed him in and caulked the cracks, and he floated in the flood for five years, first floating south, then north, then west, then east, then rising upward as the whole world flooded. Finally the box came to rest on a mountain near Santa Cantarina, where it can still be seen. The world was still under water, but parrots and macaws pulled up mountains and created valleys to drain the water, and the land dried. The old woman, who had sat upon the box with a macaw during the flood, turned to wind and disappeared. The man lived with the bitch in a cave. Every evening he would return home from work in the fields to find meals prepared. He spied one day and found that the bitch took off her skin and became a woman to do the work. He threw her skin into the fire. She whined like a dog, but he bathed her in nixtamal water, and she remained a woman. They repopulated the earth. [Gaster, pp. 122-123; Horcasitas, pp. 203-205]

Cora (east of the Huichols):
As in the Huichol myth, a woodman was warned of a coming flood by a woman. He was bidden to take the woodpecker, sandpiper, and parrot with him, as well as the bitch. He embarked at midnight as the flood began. When the flood subsided, he waited five days and sent out the sandpiper, which came back and cried, “Ee-wee-wee”, indicating the earth was too wet to walk upon. He waited five more days and sent out the woodpecker, which found the trees too soft and returned saying “Chu-ee, chu-ee!” He waited five days more and sent out the sandpiper, who reported back that the ground was hard, and the man ventured out. He lived with the bitch who, as above, transformed into a human wife. [Gaster, p. 124]

Survivors of the flood escaped in a canoe. God sent the vulture out to see if the earth was dry enough, but the vulture didn’t return because it was devouring the drowned corpses. God cursed the vulture and made it black, leaving its wingtips white to remind people of its former color. Next, God sent the ringdove, who reported that the land was dry but the rivers were in spate. So God commanded the animals to drink the rivers dry. All came and drank except the weeping dove, which today still goes to drink at nightfall because she is ashamed to be seen drinking by day. [Gaster, p. 124]

Tepecano (southeast of Huichols):
A man cleared trees every morning and found them regrown overnight. He spied and found an old man had been doing this. The old man told him not to work anymore because a flood was coming, and instead to build an ark and take on it pairs of all animals, corn, and water. The flood came, and the ark wandered over the waters for forty days. When the waters went down, the man returned to work. He soon noticed that food had been prepared for him when he returned from work. He spied and found his black bitch had been turning into the housekeeper. He burned her skin and soothed her by sprinkling nixtamal water on her. They lived together and had 24 children. One day the man took half of them to visit God, who gave them clothes; the others remained naked. That’s why there are rich and poor people. [Horcasitas, p. 205]

Tepehua (eastern Mexico):
A man was surprised to find his fields overgrown after clearing them the previous day. He spied and found a monkey was responsible. The monkey told him that God didn’t want him to work because a flood was coming, and it gave him instructions for building a coffinlike craft. The man built the box and got into it, and when the flood came, the monkey rode atop it. When the flood subsided, the man got out and built a fire to cook some fish he found. But the Almighty, irritated with him for building the fire, appeared and turned him into a monkey. [Horcasitas, p. 198]

Toltec (Mexico):
One of the Tezcatlipocas (sons of the original dual god) transformed himself into the Sun and created the first humans to show up his brothers. The other gods, angry at his audacity, had Quetzalcoatl destroy the sun and the earth, which he did with a flood. The people became fish. This ended the first age. The second, third, and fourth Suns ended, respectively, with the crumbling of the heavens, a rain of fire, and devastating winds. [Leon-Portilla, p. 450]

Nahua (central Mexico):
People in three previous ages were destroyed by being devoured by jaguars, swept away by the wind and turned into monkeys, and transformed into birds in a rain of fire. The sun of 4 Water lasted 676 years; then the heavens came down in one day, and the people were inundated and transformed into fish. In the next age, Titlacahuan (Tezcatlipoca) told a man known as Nata (“Our Father”) and his consort Nene to hollow out an aheuhuetl (cypress?) log and enter it during the vigil of Toçoztli, when the heavens would come crashing down. He sealed them in with a single ear of corn apiece to eat. When they had finished eating all the kernels, they heard the water declining. They exited the log, found a fish, and made a fire to cook it. The gods Citlallinicue and Citlallatonac complained that someone was smoking up the heavens. Tezcatlipoca descended, struck off the people’s heads, and reattached them over their buttocks; they became dogs. [Markman, pp. 132-133; Frazer, pp. 274-275]

The deluge overwhelmed mankind. Only a man named Coxcox (some call him Teocipactli) and a woman named Xochiquetzal survived in a small bark. They landed on a mountain called Colhuacan and had many children. These children were all born dumb until a dove from a lofty tree gave them languages, but different languages so that they couldn’t understand each other. [Gaster, p. 121; Horcasitas, p. 191; Vitaliano, p. 176]

Tlaxcalan (central Mexico):
Men who survived the deluge were turned into monkeys, but they slowly recovered speech and reason. [Gaster, p. 121]

Tlapanac (south central Mexico):
A buzzard told a man working in the fields not to work anymore and caused all the trees that had been cut to rise again. The buzzard told the man to make a box for himself and take along in it a dog and a chicken. The man survived the flood in this box. When the waters lowered, the chicken turned into a buzzard, and the man lived with the dog. The man found that someone prepared tortillas for him while he was away at work. One day he returned home and saw the bitch remove her skin and grind corn. He then burned her skin. She complained, but she remained a woman, and the two of them repopulated the world. [Horcasitas, p. 206]

Mixtec (northern Oaxaca, Mexico):
The earth was once well populated, when mankind committed a magical fault for which they were punished by a great deluge. The Mixtec people descended from the few survivors. [Horcasitas, p. 192]

The god and goddess Puma-Snake and Jaguar-Snake raised a cliff above the abyss. Here they lived many centuries and raised two boys who had the power to transform themselves into eagles and serpents. The brothers established farming and sacrifice and penance; at their prayers, light appeared and water separated from earth. The earth was peopled, but a flood destroyed them, and Creator-of-All-Things restored the world. [Alexander, 1920, p. 87]

Zapotec (Oaxaca, southern Mexico):
The Angel Gabriel warned Noéh that a flood was coming because of mankind’s sins. Noéh warned other people, but they didn’t believe him. He built an ark and took pairs of all animals. The waters came; the Archangel Saint Michael blew his trumpet. When the waters receded, Noéh sent out a buzzard to see if the world was dry, but it stayed out to eat dead animals. The crow was then sent; it returned to say that the world was drying. Then the turtledove and parroquet went and reported back that the world was dry, and Noéh and the animals left the ark. The buzzard became ugly because of his actions, and the trip of a person unmindful of his mission is called a “buzzard’s trip.” Petela, a great Zapotec chieftain of Ocelotepeque, was descended from the survivors of the flood. [Horcasitas, p. 192,213]

In another version, the buzzard stayed to eat the dead and was condemned to be a scavenger. A heron was sent next, fulfilled its mission, and was allowed to eat fish as a reward. A raven was sent, and its obedience was rewarded by permitting it to eat fruit and corn. A dove then went and reported that the earth was almost dry, and it was granted freedom. [Horcasitas, p. 212]

The earth was dark and cold. The only inhabitants were giants, and God was angry with them for their idolatry. Some giants, feeling that a flood was coming, carved underground houses for themselves out of great slabs of rock. Some thus escaped destruction and may still be found hidden in certain caverns. Other giants hid in the forests and became monkeys. [Horcasitas, p. 199]

Trique (Oaxaca, southern Mexico):
Nexquiriac sent down a great flood to punish mankind for its very wicked ways. He instructed one good man to make a large box and to preserve himself in it, along with many animals and seeds of certain plants. When the flood was almost over, Nexquiriac told the man not to come out, but to bury the box, along with himself, until the face of the earth had been burned. After that was done, the man emerged and repopulated the earth. [Horcasitas, p. 192]

Totonac (eastern Mexico):
A man, warned by God, survived the flood in a tree he had hollowed out. After the deluge, he was hungry and built a fire. God smelled the smoke and sent buzzard down to investigate, but buzzard stayed to eat the dead animals, and God condemned him to eat only rotten flesh thereafter. God told Saint Michael the Archangel to go down, and Saint Michael reversed the man’s face and hind parts and turned him into a monkey. [Horcasitas, p. 197]

A flood destroyed mankind. The children became flowers when they jumped up to where the star is. A man was sent a large dog. He went every day to clear the fields and found, on returning home, that food had been prepared for him. He resolved to discover the cook. [The story fragment ends there, but see below, and see related myth of Huichol.] [Horcasitas, p. 205]

God told a man to make an ark. After the deluge had subsided, the man sent forth a dove, which came back. Later, he sent it out again; it returned with muddy feet, and the man left the ark. He happened upon a house and decided to live there. Ants brought him corn. When he returned every day, he found food prepared for him. He watched his dog and one day found her, skinless, preparing corn. He threw her skin in the fire, and she began to weep. The couple lived together and had a baby. One day, the man told his wife to make tamales out of the “tender one,” and the wife, misunderstanding, cooked their child. When the man found out, he scolded his wife and ate the tamales anyway. [Horcasitas, pp. 205-206]

Chol (southern Mexico):
When the deluge came, some people survived by climbing into the highest trees. Ahau became angry with them and, reversing their faces and hind parts, turned them to monkeys. [Horcasitas, p. 198]

Tzeltal (Chiapas, southern Mexico):
Through a misunderstanding, a wife killed and cooked her child. She and her husband ate it and enjoyed it, and soon everyone was killing and cooking children. God became angry and sent a deluge. One intelligent man survived in a canoe. Right after the flood, he lit a fire, and God smelled the smoke. God sent the buzzard, turkey buzzard, and churn-owl to investigate, but they stayed to eat dead bodies. God condemned them always to eat dead bodies. God then sent the hawk, which reported back. The man was turned into a monkey. [Horcasitas, p. 198]

The Padre Santo warned two brothers that a flood was coming, and they, with many animals, survived in an ark. When the waters were subsiding, the younger brother fell out of the ark, landed in a tree, and turned into a monkey. [Horcasitas, p. 198]

Quiché (Guatemala):
The wooden people, an early version of humanity, were imperfect because there was nothing in their hearts and minds, and they did not remember Heart of Sky. So Heart of Sky destroyed them with a flood. He sent down a black rain of resin; animals came into their houses and attacked them; and even pots and stones crushed them. The dogs and turkeys told them, “You caused us pain, you ate us. Now we eat you.” Their other animals and implements likewise turned on them. They tried to escape onto their houses, into trees, and into caves, but the houses collapsed, the trees threw them off, and the caves slammed shut. Today’s monkeys are a sign of these people, mere manikins. This was before the sun dawned on the earth. [Tedlock, p. 83-86]

Some men tried to save themselves from the deluge by making boxes and going underground in them. God didn’t approve of this and turned them into bees. [Horcasitas, p. 199]

Maya (southern Mexico and Guatemala):
The Puzob, an industrious dwarf people, were the first inhabitants of the earth. God destroyed them with a flood because of their carelessness in their observation of custom. They heard that a terrible storm was coming, so they put some stones in a pond and sat on them, but the dwarfs were all destroyed. Jesucristo sent down four angels to investigate what was happening on earth. They removed their clothes and bathed, whereupon they became doves. Some other angels were sent down; they were turned into buzzards when they ate the dead. [Horcasitas, p. 194]

In the first period of the world lived the Saiyamkoob, “the Adjusters,” a dwarf race which built cities now in ruins. They worked in darkness, as the sun had not yet appeared. When it did, they turned to stone, and their images can be found in the ruins. Food for the workers was lowered by rope from the sky, but the rope was cut, the blood ran out of it, and the earth and sky separated. This period ended with water over the earth. The Tsolob, “the Offenders,” lived in the second period. These, too were destroyed by a flood. The Maya reigned during the third period, but their period was also ended by flood. The fourth and present age is peopled by a mixture of all previous races. [Alexander, 1920, p. 153]

After people were created, the sky fell upon the earth, and the waters followed them. The world was destroyed. The four Bacab gods managed to escape and now hold up the four corners of the sky. [Horcasitas, p. 191]

Two floods had destroyed humanity. Three people escaped a third and final flood in a canoe. [Horcasitas, p. 191]

Popoluca (Veracruz, Mexico):
Christ ordered a man to build an ark and to take in it pairs of all useful animals. The flood came and subsided. The survivors began to cook fish, which the rest of the former inhabitants of the world had been turned into. Christ sent a buzzard to investigate, but the buzzard stayed to eat fish. Then Christ sent down the hawk and hummingbird and finally came himself. He turned the people upside down, and they became monkeys. Christ repopulated the world by turning the dead fish back into people. The buzzard was condemned to eat only carrion thereafter. [Horcasitas, pp. 196-197]

God told a man to stop working, because a flood was coming. The man was told to build a canoe to save himself and his family. After the deluge came and went, the man began to cook the bodies of the dead animals. Saint Peter smelled the smoke and came to investigate. He turned the man into a buzzard and his children into monkeys. [Horcasitas, p. 197]

The world was once destroyed by a deluge. After its destruction, the gods created all things afresh. [Gaster, p. 121]

One man, with his wife and children, escaped the flood in a canoe. Mankind are descended from them. [Gaster, p. 121]

Carib (Antilles):
The Master of Spirits, angered at the people for not giving the offerings due him, caused a heavy rain to fall for several days, drowning the people. Only a few survived, escaping by canoe to an isolated mountain. This flood separated the Carib’s islands from the mainland and caused their present terrain. [Frazer, p. 281]


South America


Acawai (Orinoco):
Makunaima created the birds and animals and put his son, Sigu, in charge of them. Makunaima created a great tree from which all food plants grew. Agouti discovered it first but kept it secret, but Sigu sent Rat to follow him, and the secret was out. Sigu decided it would be best to chop down the tree and plant the seeds and cuttings so that the food would be widespread. This they did, but Iwarrika, the monkey, didn’t help, so Sigu sent him to fetch water with an open-work basket. When the tree was felled, the animals discovered the hollow stump was filled with water containing all kinds of fresh-water fish. But the water began overflowing and threatened to flood the land, so Sigu wove a magic basket and covered the trunk with it. When Iwarrika returned, he saw the basket and, thinking the best fruits were under it, lifted it to look. A torrent of water flooded out and covered the countryside. Sigu led the birds and climbing animals to tall cocorite trees on the highest hill. He led the other animals to a cave and covered its entrance with wax, first giving them a long thorn with which to pierce the wax to determine when the water went down. Many days of darkness and storm followed. The red howler monkey cried in anguish so much at the cold and hunger that his throat swelled and remains so to this day. Sigu stayed with the birds in the cocorite tree, occasionally dropping seeds. He heard that it took longer and longer for them to hit water as the water dropped, and eventually they thudded on the ground. At that moment, the sky grew lighter. The trumpeter bird was in such a hurry to descend that he flopped into an ant’s nest, and the insects gnawed his legs to the bone, giving his present appearance. Sigu rubbed two pieces of wood together to make fire, but the bush-turkey mistook the first spark for a firefly, gobbled it up, and burnt his throat, explaining why turkeys have red wattles today. The alligator was generally unpopular and was accused of having stolen the spark. To try to retrieve the spark, Sigu tore out the animal’s tongue, so alligators today have no tongue to speak of. The plants which had been planted sprang to life, but the fish were not distributed evenly. Monkeys are as curious as ever but are now afraid of water. [Frazer, pp. 253-265; Gifford, pp. 113-114]

Arekuna (Guyana):
Shortly after people arrived on earth, all crops grew on a single tree. The culture hero Makunaima and his four brothers cut down the tree, and water immediately poured from the stump, and with it came fish. One of the brothers made a basket to stop the water, but Makunaima wanted a few more fish for the rivers. When he lifted the basket just a little, water came out full force, flooding the earth. Some people survived in canoes or by climbing tall palms until the water subsided. (In some versions of this myth, the water from the stump merely forms rivers.) [Bierhorst, 1988, pp. 79-80]

Makiritare (Venezuela):
The Star people listened to Jaguar and killed and ate a woman. Kuamachi wanted to punish them, but they were too many and too powerful. He went to Wlaha, their chief, and invited them to help in picking dewaka fruit. They were suspicious, but Kuamachi left some fruit with them, and they liked the taste so much they decided to go help pick fruit. Kuamachi and his grandfather Mahanama led them to the trees. The star people climbed the trees and started eating fruit; they weren’t afraid of only two people. Kuamachi dropped one fruit; water came out of it, spread, and caused a flood, covering everything but the trees. Kuamachi thought “canoe,” and a canoe appeared. He and Mahanama stayed in the canoe. Mahanama threw the baskets he was weaving into the water, and they turned into anacondas, crocodiles, caimans, and other deadly animals. Kuamachi set a termite nest on fire, filling the forest with smoke. He and his grandfather got bows and arrows they had hidden in a cave. When they got back and the smoke cleared, the Star people were begging for mercy. The two shot them. The people fell down into the water below and were attacked by the dangerous animals. Kuamachi and his grandfather ran out of arrows before shooting Wlaha, the leader of the Star people. He had turned himself into seven people and caught seven arrows. The surviving wounded Star people climbed back into the trees. Wlaha shot the arrows into heaven, and with the help of Ahishama, who changed into the troupial, and Kütto, who became a frog, he formed a ladder which he and the surviving Star people climbed up and became stars. Ahishama became Mars; Wlaha became the Pleiades; Mönettä, the scorpion, became the Big Dipper; and Ihette, One Leg, became Orion’s belt. Kuamachi also decided to climb up. He had Kahshe, the piranha, cut the vine behind him so that the demon Ioroko couldn’t climb up with his basket of poison. Kuamachi brought Akuaniye, the Peace Plant, with him, which he offered to Wlaha, and they stopped fighting. Kuamachi became the Evening Star. Before this, the night sky had been empty and black. [de Civrieux, pp. 109-116]

Macusi (British Guyana):
The good spirit Makunaima (“He who works in the night”) created the heaven and earth. When he had created plants and trees, he came down from his heavenly mansion, climbed a tree, and chipped off bark with a large stone axe. The chips turned into animals of all kinds when they fell into the river at the base of the tree. Next, Makunaima created man, and after the man had fallen asleep, he awoke to find a woman beside him. Later the evil spirit got more power on earth, so Makunaima sent a great flood. Only one man survived in a canoe. He sent a rat to see whether the flood had abated, and the rat returned with a cob of maize. When the flood had subsided, the man threw stones behind him, which became other people. [Frazer, pp. 255-256]

Muysca (Colombia):
In olden times before the moon existed, the Muyscas lived as savages. A bearded old man with the names Botschika, Nemquetheba, and Zuhe came and taught them agriculture, crafts, religion, and government. His wife, with the names Huythaca, Chia, and Yubecayguya, was beautiful but malicious. To destroy the good works of her husband, she magically caused the river Funza (Rio Bogota) to flood the whole Cundinamarca plateau. Only a few people escaped to the mountain tops. Botschika banished her from earth and changed her into the moon. Then he opened a pass, and the water poured down in the Tequendama waterfall, leaving Lake Guatavita. The country dried and was cultivated by the survivors. [Kelsen, p. 140; Vitaliano, pp. 173-175]

Offended by people’s wickedness, Chibchachun, the tutelary god, sent the torrents of Sopo and Tibito down from the hills, flooding the plain. This made cultivation impossible and threatened to submerge the people, who had fled to the mountains. The people appealed to the culture-hero Bocicha. Appearing as a rainbow, he struck the mountain with his staff and provided an outlet for the waters, creating the waterfall of Tequendama. Chibchachun was driven under the ground and made to hold it up (replacing the lignum-vitae trees which had held it before). His restlessness causes earthquakes. The rainbow, Chuchaviva, was thence honored as a god, but Chibchachum, in revenge, proclaimed that many would die when it appears. [Alexander, 1920, p. 203; Gaster, p. 131; Frazer, p. 267]

Yaruro (southern Venezuela):
The first people neglected Kuma the creator, so she made it rain until only one sand dune and one tree stayed above water. People escaped into the tree, but there were only leaves and rotten fruit to eat, and when people sat with their bottoms towards the water, a big fish would come by and bite them. A few of these people survived as humans, but Kuma turned the ones that ate leaves and rotten fruit into howler monkeys. [Brusca & Wilson, p. “M”]

Yanomamö (southern Venezuela):
The daughter of Rahaririyoma went to a river to fetch water. Omauwä (one of the first beings) and his brother Yoawä found her and copulated with her; then Omauwä changed the girl’s vagina into a mouth with teeth. Howashiriwä, another of the first beings, then saw her and seduced her, but her vagina bit off his penis. Then the son of Omauwä became very thirsty. Omauwä and Yoawä dug a hole for water, but they dug so deep that water gushed forth and covered the jungle. Many drowned. Some of the first beings survived by cutting down trees and floating on them. This was such a strange thing to do that they became foreigners and floated away, and their language gradually became unintelligible. The Yanomamö survived by climbing mountains, namely Maiyo, Howashiwä, and Homahewä. Raharariyoma painted red dots all over her body and plunged into the lake, causing it to recede. Omauwä then caused her to be changed into a rahara, a dangerous snake-like monster that lives in large rivers. Omauwä went downstream and became an enemy of the Yanomamö, sending them hiccups and sickness. [Chagnon, pp. 46-47]

Tamanaque (Orinoco):
In the time of the great flood, “the Age of Water,” the sea broke against the Encamarada mountain chain, and people were forced into canoes. One man and one woman were saved on the high mountain called Tamanacu, on the banks of the Asiveru. After the flood, as they descended the mountain grieving the destruction of mankind, they heard a voice telling them to throw the fruits of the Mauritia palm over their heads behind them. People sprung from the kernels of these fruits, men from those thrown by the man, and women from those thrown by the woman. (This tradition occurs also in neighboring tribes.) [Gaster, p. 127; H. Miller, p. 285]

Arawak (Guyana):
Since its creation, the world has been destroyed twice, once by fire and once by flood, by the great god Aiomun Kondi because of the wickedness of mankind. The pious and wise chief Marerewana was informed of the coming of the flood and saved himself and his family in a large canoe. He tied the canoe to a tree with a long cable of bushrope to prevent drifting too far from his old home. [Gaster, p. 126]

Pamary, Abedery, and Kataushy (Purus R., Brazil):
Once upon a time, people heard a rumbling above and below the ground; the sun and moon turned red, blue, and yellow; and wild beasts mingled fearlessly with man. A month later, they saw darkness ascending from the earth to the sky, accompanied by a roar and by thunder and heavy rain. Everything was in dreadful confusion. Some people lost themselves. Some died without knowing why. The water rose to cover the earth, and people took refuge in the highest trees. There they perished from cold and hunger, for it continued to be dark and rainy. Only Uassu and his wife survived. When they came down after the flood, they could not find even a sign of a single corpse. They had many children. Today, the Pamarys build their houses on the river, so that when the water rises, they may rise with it. [Gaster, pp. 125-126]

Ipurina (Upper Amazon):
Birds flew all over the world collecting things that decayed and threw them in a great kettle of water that boiled in sun. (The hard parukuba wood they left alone.) The storks waited around the kettle and snatched up things when they appeared on the surface of the boiling water. When the water was getting low, Mayuruberu, the chief of storks and creator of all birds, threw a round stone in the kettle. This upset the kettle, and its hot liquid poured over the world and burned up almost everything, including even water. Mankind survived, but all plants were destroyed except the cassia. The sloth, an ancestor of the Ipurina, climbed the cassia tree to fetch fruits, as there was nothing else to eat. At that time, the sun and moon were hidden. The first kernel that the sloth threw down fell on hard ground, and the sun appeared again, but it was very small. The second kernel he threw fell in water, and the sun grew larger. As the third kernel fell in deeper water, the sun grew more, and so on until the sun reached its present size. Then the sloth asked Mayuruberu for seeds of crops. Mayuruberu appeared with many new plants, and the Ipurina began tilling their fields. Mayuruberu ate anyone who would not work. The kettle still stands in the sun, but it is empty. [Frazer, pp. 259-260; Kelsen, p. 139]

Jivaro (eastern Ecuador):
Two boys found that the game they had hunted for a feast kept disappearing while they were gone. One stayed in camp and discovered a large snake was responsible. They built a fire to drive the snake out of the hollow in a tree, where it lived. The snake fell in the fire, and one of the brothers ate some of its roasted flesh. He became very thirsty, drank all the water in camp, and went to the lake. He was transformed first into a frog, then a lizard, and finally into a snake, which grew rapidly. His brother was frightened and tried to pull him out, but the lake began to overflow. The snake told his brother that the lake would continue to grow and all the people would perish unless they made their escape. The snake told him to take a calabash and flee to a palm tree on the highest mountain. The brother told his people what was happening, but they didn’t believe him. He fled to the top of a palm tree on the top of a mountain and returned many days later when the waters had subsided. Vultures were eating the dead people in the valley. He went to the lake and carried away his brother in a calabash. [Kelsen, pp. 140-141; see also Roheim, p. 156]

A great cloud fell from heaven, turned to rain, and killed all the inhabitants of earth. Only a man and his two sons were saved. One of the sons was cursed by his father; the Jivaros are descended from him. [Gaster, p. 126]

According to some Jivaro, the flood was survived by a man and woman, who took refuge in a cave on a high mountain along with samples of all the various animal species. [Gaster, p. 126]

Two brothers survived the flood in a mountain which rose higher and higher with the flood waters. They went looking for food after the flood, and when they returned, found food set out for them. To find its source, one of the brothers hid himself and saw two parrots with the faces of women enter their hut and prepare the food. He jumped out, seized one of the birds, and married it. From this union came three boys and three girls from whom the Jivaros are descended. [Gaster, p. 126]

Shuar (Andes):
A hunter heard whistling at a riverbank, and suspecting it was something from the spirit world, went home and used tobacco smoke to induce a dream. In it, he was told by the daughter of the water spirit Tsunki to return to the river. He did so, met the woman, and followed her underwater to her father’s house. The woman’s mother gave him an aphrodisiac, and he became her husband. When he returned to his home on earth, she took the form of a snake. She became pregnant, and the man had to go out hunting. While he was out, his two earthly wives discovered the snake and tormented her, and she returned to her father. Tsunki, in a rage, flooded the earth, drowning everyone but the hunter and one of his daughters, who escaped to a mountaintop. These two repopulated the world. [Bierhorst, 1988, p. 218]

Murato (a branch of the Jivaros):
A Murato was fishing in a lagoon of the Pastaza River when a small crocodile swallowed his bait. The fisherman killed it. The mother of crocodiles was angered and lashed the water with her tail, which flooded the area and drowned all people except one man, who climbed a palm tree. It was dark as night, so he dropped a palm fruit from time to time. When he heard it thud on ground rather than splash, he knew the flood had subsided. He climbed down, built a house, and began tilling a field. Being alone, he cut off a piece of his flesh and planted it; from this grew a woman, whom he married. [Frazer, pp. 261-262]

Cañari (Quito, Ecuador):
Two brother escaped a great flood on top of the tall mountain Huaca-yñan. As the water rose, the mountain also rose. When the water lowered and their provisions were consumed, the brother descended, built a small house, and ate herbs and roots, living a miserable existence of hunger and toil. One day, they returned home to find food and chicha drink prepared. After ten days of this, to find out who their benefactor was, the elder brother hid and presently saw two macaws, dressed like Cañaris, enter the house and begin to prepare food they had brought with them. The man saw that they were beautiful and had faces of women, and he came out of hiding. But the birds became angry and left when they saw him, leaving no food. The younger brother came home and heard the story, and both were angry. The next day, the younger brother decided to hide. After three days, the macaws returned. The two men waited until the birds had finished cooking and then shut the door. The birds were angry, and the larger one escaped as the brothers held the small one. The brothers took the macaw as a wife; by her they had six sons and daughters, from whom the Cañari are descended. Macaws and the hill Huaca-yñan are venerated by the Indians today. [Frazer, pp. 268-269]

Guanca and Chiquito (Peru):
Long ago, before there were any Incas, the country was populous, but the ocean broke out of its bounds, the land was covered, and the people perished. Some say that a few people survived in the caves of the highest mountains. Others say that only six people survived on a float. [Frazer, pp. 271-272]

Ancasmarca (near Cuzco, Peru):
A month before the flood came, the sheep showed much sadness, watching the stars at night and not eating. Their shepherd asked what bothered them, and they told him that the conjunction of stars foretold the destruction of the world by water. The shepherd and his six children gathered all the food and sheep they could and took them to the top of the very tall mountain Ancasmarca. As the flood water rose, the mountain rose higher, so its top was never submerged, and the mountain later sank with the water. The six children repopulated the province after the flood. [Frazer, pp. 270-271]

Canelos Quechua:
Quilla, the moon, had sex with his bird sister, Jilucu. From this union came the stars, as people. Quilla always came unseen at night. One night Jilucu smeared genipa juice on his face, telling him it would make him feel fresh. By morning the juice turned dark, and Jilucu saw that her lover was the moon. The stars also knew from the moon’s spotted face that they were descended from an incestuous relationship. They all cried, and their crying produced rain, earthquake, and flood. Volcanoes erupted, new hills formed, rivers swelled; the earth people were swept eastward by a great river into the sea. From this river came the sun, who began his regular course and brought an orderly axis to the world. The moon and stars lost much of their power because of the incestuous relationship, making night lose most of its light. The people were separated from one another and had to work their way westward, having many adventures along the way. [Whitten, pp. 51-52]

The world wanted to come to an end. A llama buck, knowing that the ocean would soon overflow, was depressed. When its human owner complained that it wouldn’t eat, the llama told him that the flood would occur in five days and suggested they go to Villca Coto mountain with five days’ food. The man left in a hurry, carrying both the llama and the supplies. They arrived at the mountain to find the peak already filled with all kinds of animals. The flood came as soon as they arrived and lasted five days, then it dried to the ocean’s normal position. The fox’s tail was soaked, which turned it black. Afterwards, the man began to multiply once more. [Salomon & Urioste, pp. 51-52]

Paria Caca, a god born from five falcon eggs, heard about a man called Tamta Namca who called himself a god and had himself worshipped, and about other people’s sins. He went into a rage, rose up as rain, and washed them all away to the ocean, together with their homes and llamas. At that time a tree called the Pullao formed an arch between the Llantapa and Vichoca mountains; in it lived monkeys, toucans, and other birds. These too were swept to sea. [Salomon & Urioste, pp. 59-60]

Paria Caca went to the village Huauqui Usa, which was celebrating a festival. He sat at the end of the banquet like a stranger. No one offered him a drink while he sat there, until at the end of the day a woman finally did so. Paria Caca told the woman that these people had made him mad, told her that in five days something terrible would happen to the village, and warned her to take her family away and not to tell anyone else, or he might kill her, too. Five days later, the woman and her family left. The other villagers continued drinking without a care. Paria Caca climbed Matao Coto, a mountain which overlooks the village, and rising up as red and yellow hail, caused a torrential rainstorm. It washed all the villagers to the ocean and shaped the slopes and valleys of the area. [Salomon & Urioste, pp. 61-62] He similarly exterminated another village where no one offered him a drink. [Salomon & Urioste, p. 127]

The Inca summoned people from every village to help defeat their enemies. Paria Caca sent his child Maca Uisa. When nobody else at the meeting offered to help, Maca Uisa said he would defeat the enemies completely. Strong litter bearers carried him to the battle front, and as soon as he got there, he started raining on them, gently at first, then pouring rain. He washed away their villages in a mudslide and killed their strong men with lightning bolts. Only a few common people were spared. [Salomon & Urioste, p. 115]

Inca (Peru):
Pictorial records of ancient Incan rulers show that a flood rose above the highest mountains. All created things perished, except for a man and woman who floated in a box. When the flood subsided, the floating box was driven by the wind to Tiahuanacu, about 200 miles from Cuzco, where the Creator told them to dwell. The Creator molded new people from clay at Tiahuanacu. On each figure, the Creator painted dress and hair style, and he gave each nation distinctive language, songs, and seeds to plant. When he had brought them to life, he ordered them into the earth to travel underground and emerge from caves, springs, tree trunks, etc. in their various homes. He then created the sun, moon, and stars. [Bierhorst, 1988, pp. 200,202; Gaster, p. 127; Frazer, p. 271]

The creator god Viracocha made the earth and sky, and he created stone giants to live in it. After a while the giants became lazy and quarrelsome, and Viracocha decided to destroy them. Some he turned back to stone, and these stone statues still exist at Tiahuanaco and Pucara. He destroyed the rest with a great flood. When the flood subsided, it left the lakes Titicaca and Poopo, and it left seashells on the Altiplano at elevations of 3660 m. Viracocha saved two stone giants from the flood and with their help created people his own size. He reached down into Lake Titicaca and drew out the Sun and Moon to provide light so he could admire his new creation. In those days, the Moon was even brighter than the Sun, but the Sun grew jealous and threw ashes onto the Moon’s face. [Gifford, p. 54]

A large, rich city once existed on the Altiplano. One day, a group of ragged Indians came and warned the proud inhabitants that the city would be destroyed by earthquake, flood, and fire. Most inhabitants just scoffed and eventually had the ragged people flogged and thrown out. Some of the city’s priests, though, heeded the warning and went to live as hermits in a temple on a hill. Some time later, a red cloud appeared on the horizon. Soon it had grown and covered the area, and its red glow eerily lit the night. Suddenly, with a flash and a rumble, an earthquake destroyed many of the city’s buildings, and a red rain poured down. Other earthquakes and more rain followed, and a flood soon covered the ruined city; this water is Lake Titicaca today. None of the city’s inhabitants survived save the priests. The descendants of the prophets became the Callawayas, wise men of the valleys. [Gifford, pp. 55-56]

Colla (high Andes):
Some adventurous Indians, looking for a reputed land of abundance, travelled to the Amazonian jungle. To make a clearing, they set the forest alight. The gods of the mountains were angry at the smoke dirtying their snow. Khuno, the snow god, decided to kill them with a flood, but the mountain god Illimani suggested instead that they be driven to great hardship. Khuno sent a flood that spared their lives but destroyed everything they had managed to build and grow. The people were almost hopeless, but one was attracted to a brilliant green plant, coca. He chewed its leaves and forgot his discomforts, and the others followed his example. When they all felt strong again, they returned to Tiahuanaco, taking coca with them. [Gifford, p. 76]

Chiriguano (southeast Bolivia):
The evil supernatural being Aguara-Tunpa declared war against the god Tunpaete, Creator of the Chiriguanos. He set fire to the prairies in autumn, destroying all the plants and land animals. The people, who had not then begun farming, nearly died of hunger, but they retreated to the banks of rivers and survived on fish. Seeing people still surviving, Aguara-Tunpa caused a torrential rain. Acting on a hint given them by Tunpaete, the Chiriguanos placed two sibling babies, a boy and a girl, on a large mate leaf and set it afloat on the water. The flood rose, covering the earth and killing the rest of the Chiriguanos, but the two babies survived and eventually landed on solid ground when the flood sank. There, they found fish to eat, but they had no way to cook it. Fortunately, before the flood, a frog had taken some hot coals in his mouth, and it kept them alight during the flood by blowing on them. He gave the fire to the children, and they were able to roast their fish. In time, they grew up, and the Chiriguanos are descended from them. [Gaster, pp. 127-128]

Chorote (Eastern Paraguay):
The bottle tree (Chorisia insignis) once contained all the water and all the fish. The tree had a locked door. Fox stole the key and thoughtlessly opened the door wide. The waters rushed out, flooding the world and bringing all kinds of fish. Fox drowned. [Bierhorst, 1988, p. 123]

In a former time when there were a great many people, the earth sank. Then water began to seep out. It kept rising until it became a flood. Some boys were saved, plucked from the water by a white bird; all other people drowned. [Bierhorst, 1988, p. 142]

Eastern Brazil (Rio de Janiero region):
Two twin sons of a great wizard, one good and the other evil, were always arguing. One day the angered good brother stamped so hard that the earth opened and water gushed out, shooting as high as the clouds. The water covered the whole world. The good brother and his wife climbed a pindona tree, and the evil brother and his wife climbed a geniper tree until the waters receded. (In another account, they survived in canoes.) From these couples descended the Tupinambas and Tominus, two tribes which don’t get along well. [Vitaliano, p. 175; Gaster, pp. 124-125]

Eastern Brazil (Cape Frio region):
A medicine man named Sommay had two sons, Tamendonare and Ariconte. Tamendonare tilled the ground and was a good husband and father. Ariconte was interested only in war. One day he returned from battle with the arm of a slain foe and accused his brother of cowardice. Tamendonare sarcastically asked why he didn’t bring the whole carcass. Ariconte threw the arm at his brother’s door, and at that moment, their village was transported to the sky, leaving the two brothers on earth. Tamendonare stamped on the ground so hard that a fountain of water sprang forth into the sky; the water continued until the whole world was covered. The brothers fled to the highest mountains and climbed trees. Tamendonare climbed a pindona tree, helping one of his wives up with him, and Ariconte climbed a geniper tree with his wife. All other people drowned. Ariconte’s wife dropped fruit and heard from the splash when the water was still too high for them to climb down. Two different peoples, who are perpetually feuding, are descended from these two couples. The Tupinambo exalt themselves over the Tominu by claiming descent from Tamendonare. [Frazer, pp. 254-255]

The great god Tupi warned a medicine man named Tamanduare of a coming great flood that would cover the earth, and he told Tamanduare to seek refuge on a lofty peak with a palm tree at its top. Tamanduare and his family went there immediately, and when they arrived, it began to rain. It continued to rain until the whole earth was flooded. The water covered even the summit of the mountain, and Tamanduare and his family climbed into the palm tree and live there, eating its fruit, until the water subsided. Then they descended and repopulated the devastated world. [Frazer, pp. 255-256]

Caraya (Araguaia River, central Brazil):
The Carayas, hunting pigs, drove them into their dens and began pulling them out and killing them. In doing so, they also came upon a deer, a tapir, a white deer, and finally the feet of a man. They fetched a magician, who drew the man from the earth. This man was Anatiua; he had a thin body but fat paunch. He sang that he wanted tobacco, but the Carayas didn’t understand him and offered him all kinds of flowers and fruits until Anatiua pointed at a man smoking. Then they gave him tobacco. He smoked it until he fell senseless. They took him back to their village, where he awoke and began to dance and sing. But his behavior and unintelligible speech so alarmed the Carayas that they packed up and left. This angered Anatiua, and he turned himself into a giant piranha and followed them, carrying many calabashes full of water. The Carayas didn’t heed his calls to stop, so he smashed his calabashes one at a time, making the water rise until only the mountains at the mouth of the Tapirape River were exposed. The Carayas took refuge on the two peaks of those mountains. Anatiua called on the fish to drag the people into the water. The jahu, pintado, and pacu failed, but the bicudo managed to scale the mountain from behind and pull the people from the summit; a lagoon still marks where they fell. Only a few people survived, who descended when the flood had gone. [Frazer, pp. 257-258]

Coroado (south Brazil):
A flood once covered the whole earth except for the top of the coastal range Serra do Mar. Members of the three tribes Coroados, Cayurucres, and Cames, swam for the mountains holding lighted torches between their teeth. The Cayurucres and Cames wearied and drowned, and their souls went to dwell in the heart of the mountain. The Coroados made it and stayed there, some on the ground and some in the branches of trees. Several days passed without food and without the water lowering. Then some saracuras, a species of waterfowl, flew to them with baskets of earth. The birds began throwing the earth into the water, and the water sank. The people urged the birds to hurry, so the birds called the ducks to help them. When the flood subsided, the Coroados descended, except for the ones which had climbed into trees, who became monkeys. The souls of the Cayurucres and Cames burrowed their way out of the mountain and kindled a fire. From the ashes of the fire, one of the Cayurucres molded jaguars, tapirs, ant-bears, bees, and many other animals; he made them live and told them what they should eat. But one of the Cames similarly made pumas, poisonous snakes, and wasps to fight the other animals. [Gaster, p. 125]

Araucania (coastal Chile):
Two great serpents made the sea rise to determine which of them had the more powerful magic. The flood came after a strong earthquake and volcanic eruption. The people took refuge on a mountain called Thegtheg (“thundering” or “sparkling”) which floated close to the sun. Afterwards, whenever the Araucanians felt an earthquake, they would flee to the hills carrying bowls to protect their heads from the sun’s heat. [Vitaliano, p. 173; Frazer, p. 262]

Toba (Northern Argentina):
Rainbow does not like menstruating women to enter the water, or even to drink from it. One day a young woman broke this taboo because her mother and sisters didn’t leave her any drinking water when they left for the day. Driven by thirst, she went to the lagoon. When she had returned, Rainbow, full of anger, caused a strong wind, accompanied by whirlwinds and heavy rain. All were drowned in the ensuing flood. [Bierhorst, 1988, pp. 142-143]

Selk’nam (southern tip of Argentina):
At one time, people didn’t die; instead, they just slept awhile and woke up refreshed. After many lives, some got tired of being human and turned into rocks, clouds, animals, and such. A flood came which covered the world. People floundered around in the cold water. Some climbed onto ice floes and joined the penguins, playing and eating fish as the penguins did. In time, they turned into large penguins. When the water went down, some people went back to living as humans, but others stayed emperor penguins. [Brusca & Wilson, p. “E”]

Yamana (Tierra del Fuego):
Léxuwakipa, the rusty brown spectacled ibis, felt offended by the people, so she let it snow so much that ice came to cover the entire earth. This happened at the time of Yáiaasága, when men seized power from the women. When the ice melted, it rapidly flooded all the earth. People hurried to their canoes, but many didn’t make it, and more perished when they couldn’t find sheltered places. Some people reached the five mountaintops which stayed above the flood. These mountains were Usláka, Wémarwaia, Auwáratuléra, Welalánux, and Piatuléra. The water stayed at its high mark for two days and then rapidly lowered. Signs of the floodwaters still show up on those mountains. The few families which survived rebuilt their huts on the shore. Men have ruled women since then. [Wilbert, pp. 27-28]

The moon-woman Hánuxa caused the flood because she was full of hatred against the people, especially the men, who had taken over the women’s secret kina ceremony and made it their own. A few people survived on five mountaintops. [Wilbert, p. 29]

The sun sank into the sea, causing its waters to rise tumultuously and to cover all the earth except the summit of a single mountain. A few people survived there. [Gaster, p. 128]


Revision History


9/2/2002: Added Ababua fragment. 8/21/2002: New Ohlone myth. 6/2/2002: Chippewa myth from Barnouw expanded and another added. 2/16/2002: New Roman myth from Frazer’s Golden Bough. 1/16/2002: “Northern California Coast” identified as Kato and revised from Gifford & Block reference. 11/15/2001: New Tamil myth. 10/6/2001: New Hindu flood from Mahabharata. 8/30/2001: Reordered by language group; from Grinnell: new Pawnee myth; from Shaw: new Pima myth; removed duplicate Lenape myth. 7/6/2001: From Frazer: new Masai, Tchiglit, Orowignarak, Central Eskimo, Herschel Island Eskimo, Tlingit, Loucheux, Haida, Bella Coola, Kwakiutl, Lillooet, Thompson, Tsimshian, Smith River, Ashochimi, Maidu, Acagchemem, Twana, Cascade, Sarcee, Dogrib, Ottawa, Chippewa, Timagami Ojibway, Delaware, Cree, Pima, Zuni, Carib, Tarahumara, Cape Frio, Caraya, Murato, Canari, Macusi, Ancasmarca, Guanca; revised Kootenay, Kathlamet, Mandan, Montagnais, Chippewa, Muysca, Acawai, Ipurina, Araucania, Inca. 5/27/2001: From Frazer: new Greek, Arcadian, Samothrace, Gypsy, Hebrew, Hindu, Munda, Santal, Tsuwo, Bunun, Shan, Karen, Mandaya, Ami, Narrinyeri, Samoa, Nanumanga, Rakaanga; revised Chaldean, Zoroastrian, Bhil, Batak, Mangaia. 5/19/2001: Slightly revised Tinguian myth based on Cole reference. 5/16/2001: From The Mythology of All Races: new Altaic, Tuvinian, Yenisey-Ostyak, Russian, Buryat, Sagaiye, Samoyed, Kiangan Ifugao, Dusun, Dyak, Victoria, western Carolines, Havasupai, Sia, Mixtec, Maya; modified Persian, Muysca. 5/3/2001: Give Koran story more fully. 4/29/2001: Acawai, Colla, and 3 Inca myths and Gifford reference; slight amendment to Scandinavian myth. 3/31/2001: Sabo-Kubo myth and LaHaye/Morris reference. 1/1/2001: Added revision history. Added Merriam reference and 3 Miwok myths from it; Bell reference and Yurok myth. 11/4/2000: H. Miller reference and Chaldean, Tahiti myths from there; revised a Hindu myth. ~2/20/2000: Extensive revision: added introduction and several new myths; revised most other myths.





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Gifford, Douglas. Warriors, Gods & Spirits from Central & South American Mythology, William Collins, Glasgow, 1983.



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Flood Stories from Around the World.

(Bloomberg) — Shoppers thronged grocery stores across Caracas today as deepening shortages led the government to put Venezuela’s food distribution under military protection.

Long lines, some stretching for blocks, formed outside grocery stores in the South American country’s capital as residents search for scarce basic items such as detergent and chicken.

“I’ve visited six stores already today looking for detergent — I can’t find it anywhere,” said Lisbeth Elsa, a 27-year-old janitor, waiting in line outside a supermarket in eastern Caracas. “We’re wearing our dirty clothes again because we can’t find it. At this point I’ll buy whatever I can find.”

A dearth of foreign currency exacerbated by collapsing oil prices has led to shortages of imports from toilet paper to car batteries, and helped push annual inflation to 64 percent in November. The lines will persist as long as price controls remain in place, Luis Vicente Leon, director of Caracas-based polling firm Datanalisis, said today in a telephone interview.

Government officials met with representatives from supermarket chains today to guarantee supplies, state news agency AVN reported. Interior Minister Carmen Melendez said yesterday that security forces would be sent to food stores and distribution centers to protect shoppers.

‘Into Desperation’

“Don’t fall into desperation — we have the capacity and products for everyone, with calmness and patience. The stores are full,” she said on state television.

President Nicolas Maduro last week vowed to implement an economic “counter-offensive” to steer the country out of recession, including an overhaul of the foreign exchange system. He has yet to provide details. While the main government-controlled exchange sets a rate of 6.3 bolivars per U.S. dollar, the black market rate is as much as 187 per dollar.

Inside a Plan Suarez grocery store yesterday in eastern Caracas, shelves were mostly bare. Customers struggled and fought for items at times, with many trying to skip lines. The most sought-after products included detergent, with customers waiting in line for two to three hours to buy a maximum of two bags. A security guard asked that photos of empty shelves not be taken.

Police inside a Luvebras supermarket in eastern Caracas intervened to help staff distribute toilet paper and other products.

‘Looming Fear’

“You can’t find anything, I’ve spent 15 days looking for diapers,” Jean Paul Mate, a meat vendor, said outside the Luvebras store. “You have to take off work to look for products. I go to at least five stores a day.”

Venezuelan online news outlet VIVOplay posted a video of government food security regulator Carlos Osorio being interrupted by throngs of shoppers searching for products as he broadcast on state television from a Bicentenario government-run supermarket in central Caracas.

“What we’re seeing is worse than usual, it’s not only a seasonal problem,” Datanalisis’s Leon said. “Companies are not sure how they will restock their inventories or find merchandise, with a looming fear of a devaluation.”

The price for Venezuela’s oil, which accounts for more than 95 percent of the country’s exports, has plunged by more than half from last year’s peak in June to $47 a barrel this month.

“This is the worst it has ever been — I’ve seen lines thousands of people long,” Greisly Jarpe, a 42-year-old data analyst, said as she waited for dish soap in eastern Caracas. “People are so desperate they’re sleeping in the lines.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Rosati in Caracas at; Noris Soto in Caracas at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at; Philip Sanders at Nathan Crooks, Randall Woods


Venezuelans Throng Grocery Stores Under Military Protection – Bloomberg Business.

​A sign of life beyond death?

We spend our lives reaching out to the people we love. But could it be that some people can make contact — even after they’re gone? Here’s Tracy Smith:

In a way, this story is like almost the view from across the Golden Gate: intriguing, even beautiful, but sometimes hard to see through all the fog.

Janis Heaphy Durham was not the kind of person who believed in after-death communication. She used to think of death as an ending — but she never will again.

In 1999 Janis and Max Besler were a California power couple: she was publisher of the Sacramento Bee, a paper that won two Pulitzer Prizes on her watch; he was a political consultant, stepfather to her son, Tanner, and the love of her life.

“He was compassionate and empathetic and my lover and my best friend,” she said.

And she was at his side when doctors told him he had terminal cancer in late 2003.

“The most painful part was just watching him suffer” — and feeling helpless, she said.

In May 2004, a few days shy of his 56th birthday, Max Besler died, and that, Janis says, is when things started getting weird: Lights in her Sacramento home would flicker; clocks would stop at the moment Max died.

But then, on the anniversary date of his death, Janis was stunned by something she saw as she stood in her bathroom washing her hands.

“I looked up at the mirror and I saw a handprint,” she told Smith. “A perfectly-formed, powdery handprint. Large, on the mirror. It was the right hand.”

Janis Heaphy Durham was not the kind of person who believed in after-death communication, until her husband died – then, the handprint appeared on her mirror.
Janis Heaphy Durham

Her first thought was that maybe Tanner did it as a joke. But his teenage hands were much too small.

“That hand looked so consistent, so similar to Max’s,” she said. “So I did have the wherewithal to photograph it.

“I wish I had done more. I wish I would have thought to take a sample. But I just didn’t even think of it. I thought, ‘I do need to photograph it, however.'”

Before long, the hardcore skeptic was a true believer.

Janis Heaphy Durham shows photographs of the phenomena to correspondent Tracy Smith.
CBS News

Smith said, “I have faith in things that I can’t see, but you know there are millions of people out there that are going to say, ‘Come on!'”

“Exactly,” said Durham. “And I was one of them, so I really understand it.”

In time, Janis moved on; she remarried in 2008. But things kept happening: A footprint appeared on a chair at their vacation home; carpets would move themselves across her floor

And on the second anniversary of Max’s death, more powdery images on the mirror.

On the third, another handprint.

Durham said there is no doubt in her mind that they were signs from Max.

Of course, there’s plenty of doubt to go around. Paranormal investigator Joe Nickell, Of Buffalo, N.Y., has a different view: “Let’s just say that somehow he’s doing this. Why wouldn’t he do it before her very eyes? Why not just write with his finger, ‘I’m okay. Love you. Miss you’?

“Is there a possibility that this could be her deceased husband, Max, talking to Janis?” asked Smith.

“I don’t think so,” he replied.

Nickell says a lab test of any of the handprints could have settled the matter: “She didn’t do that. And then the next year she didn’t again. And the next year after that, again she didn’t. One has to decide that at some point I don’t think she wanted to test it.”

Because? “Well, I think she was afraid of the answer.”

Smith said, “You know, despite everything you were saying, people will still believe this.”

“I have good news and bad news,” said Nickell. “The bad news is there are no ghosts. The good news is nobody will believe me.”


Grand Central Publishing

Janis did some digging of her own, talking to scientists and other experts who, she says, convinced her it was Max. She’s put it all in a new book, “The Hand on the Mirror” (Grand Central Publishing).

If Max was behind this, he’s moved on; there haven’t been any new handprints for a while.

But Janis says she’s be grateful it happened at all.

Smith asked, “What do you think Max was trying to tell you?”

“I think Max was trying to tell me that there’s more to life than the physical form, the physical reality we live in,” Durham replied. “I’m not saying that these experiences made me feel less sad about the fact that Max lost his life at 56. But it makes me able to live with it better.”

And she still misses him. “I do, I do. Yes.



​A sign of life beyond death? – CBS News.

UFO detector

Frankly, I’ve never mentioned Bickel’s UFO detector on these pages because I thought this was one of those things best left unsaid. Living in the wilderness with all those cats caused many people to judge the old miner as a few gold flakes short of an ounce, and I didn’t want to add to that myth.Aslin, however, explained the UFO detector in serious detail, and even drew a schematic. He showed that a sowing needle suspended from thin copper wire would naturally orient itself to magnetic north. A buzzer connected to an open circuit and battery would sound if the needle moved off north, hit a nail and closed the circuit. The assumption was, I suppose, that UFOs or Aslin’s cosmic vibrations could move the needle.Aslin told of one night when he and John Bullock visited Bickel for a Yahtzee game. Mark would often set off the detector as a joke, so when the buzzer sounded everyone looked to him as the culprit. Across the room, Mark raised his hands in protest. The three men went outside and beheld an awesome sight. In the eastern sky hovering over the nearest hill was an enormous dark object.”It was shaped more or less like an inflated life raft,” Aslin recalled. “The sky was crystal clear and it was a brilliant, star-studded night.” Aslin pointed out that desert living had made them accustomed to ambient stillness, but the silence they encountered that night was like being deaf.”Then the shape moved over the cabin slowly,” he said. Everything became unearthly hushed. “You couldn’t hear animals, insects or even the wind. It became frighteningly quiet in a desert known for silence.” The object moved on slowly and disappeared in the west. The men went back inside to finish the Yahtzee game.

via Mojo Mark.

A former high class call girl is suing an ex-boyfriend after he said she was not a prostitute.

Dr Brooke Magnanti who achieved fame as blogger “Belle de Jour,” writing about her experiences as a $500 an hour call girl is taking the legal action in Scotland, reports the Independent.

It may be the first time in legal history a woman has sued for not being called a prostitute.

It is thought the case is against an ex, Owen Morris.

He began a legal action against her in 2013, claiming he did not believe that she was a prostitute when they were together in a relationship.

She in turn has counter sued, claiming her reputation would be damaged by doubt being cast over whether she was a prostitute.

Her blog spawned two best-selling books and a British TV series, “Secret Diary of a Call Girl.”

Magnenti is now a forensic scientist and writer.

She started writing her call girl blog in 2003, funding her life as a doctorate student by working in the sex trade.

American-born, but now a British citizen, Magnanti’s identity was revealed in 2009.

Former call girl sues ex for saying she wasn’t a prostitute – NY Daily News.

FATAL heroin overdoses in America have almost tripled in three years. More than 8,250 people a year now die from heroin. At the same time, roughly double that number are dying from prescription opioid painkillers, which are molecularly similar. Heroin has become the fallback dope when an addict can’t afford, or find, pills. Total overdose deaths, most often from pills and heroin, now surpass traffic fatalities.

If these deaths are the measure, we are arguably in the middle of our worst drug plague ever, apart from cigarettes and alcohol.

And yet this is also our quietest drug plague. Strikingly little public violence accompanies it. This has muted public outrage. Meanwhile, the victims — mostly white, well-off and often young — are mourned in silence, because their parents are loath to talk publicly about how a cheerleader daughter hooked for dope, or their once-star athlete son overdosed in a fast-food restaurant bathroom.

The problem “is worse than it’s ever been, and young people are dying,” an addiction doctor in Columbus, Ohio — one of our many new heroin hot spots — wrote me last month. “This past Friday I saw 23 patients, all heroin addicts recently diagnosed.”

So we are at a strange new place. We enjoy blissfully low crime rates, yet every year the drug-overdose toll grows. People from the most privileged groups in one of the wealthiest countries in the world have been getting hooked and dying in almost epidemic numbers from substances meant to numb pain. Street crime is no longer the clearest barometer of our drug problem; corpses are.

Most of our heroin now comes not from Asia, but from Latin America, particularly Mexico, where poppies grow well in the mountains along the Pacific Coast. Mexican traffickers have focused on a rudimentary, less-processed form of heroin that can be smoked or injected. It is called black tar, which accurately describes its appearance. Cheaper to produce and ship than the stuff of decades past from Asia, heroin has fallen in price, and so more people have become addicted.

The most important traffickers in this story hail from Xalisco, a county of 49,000 people near the Pacific Coast. They have devised a system for selling heroin across the United States that resembles pizza delivery.

Dealers circulate a number around town. An addict calls, and an operator directs him to an intersection or a parking lot. The operator dispatches a driver, who tools around town, his mouth full of tiny balloons of heroin, with a bottle of water nearby to swig them down with if cops stop him. (“It’s amazing how many balloons you can learn to carry in your mouth,” said one dealer, who told me he could fit more than 30.)


Credit Jesse Draxler

The driver meets the addict, spits out the required balloons, takes the money and that’s that. It happens every day — from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., because these guys keep business hours.

The Xalisco Boys, as one cop I know has nicknamed them, are far from our only heroin traffickers. But they may be our most prolific. As relentless as Amway salesmen, they embody our new drug-plague paradigm.


Xalisco dealers are low profile — the anti-Scarface. Back home they are bakers, butchers and farm workers, part of a vast labor pool in Xalisco and surrounding towns, who hire on as heroin drivers for $300 to $500 a week. The drug trade offers them a shot at their own business, or simply a chance to make some money to show off back home — kings until the cash goes. Meanwhile, in the United States, they drive old cars with their cheeks packed like chipmunks’, and dress like the day workers in front of your Home Depot.

The heroin delivery system appeals to them mainly because there is no cartel kingpin, no jefe máximo. It is meritocratic — so unlike Mexico. They are “people acting as individuals who are doing it on their own: micro-entrepreneurs,” said one phone operator for a crew who I interviewed while he was in prison. They are “looking for places where there’s no people, no competition,” he said. “Anyone can be boss of a network.” Thus the system distills what appeals to immigrants generally about America: It is a way to translate wits and hard work into real economic gain.

The money, meanwhile, helps paper over the Mexican small-town animus against drugs, and the guilt many feel at watching their product reduce kids just like them to quivering slaves.

They are decidedly nonviolent — terrified, in fact, of battles for street corners with armed gangs. They don’t carry guns. They also have rules against selling to African-Americans because, as one dealer put it, “they’ll steal from you, and beat you.”

The Boys started out on the fringes of the drug world in West Coast cities. In the late 1990s, they moved east in search of virgin territory. They avoided New York City, the country’s traditional center of heroin, because the market was already run by entrenched gangs. The city still has enormous supplies of dope coming through it, mostly imported now by traffickers from the Mexican state of Sinaloa, and by Dominicans who buy it from Colombians. But New York is no longer the country’s sole heroin hub. They also skipped cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore, where black gangs control distribution.

The Xalisco Boys migrated instead to prosperous midsize cities. These cities were predominantly white, but had large Mexican populations where the Boys could blend in. They were the first to open these markets to cheap, potent black-tar heroin in a sustained way. The map of their outposts amounts to a tour through our new heroin hubs: Nashville, Columbus and Charlotte, as well as Salt Lake City, Portland and Denver.

THEY arrived in the Midwest just as a revolution in American medicine was underway, and an epidemic of pain-pill abuse was spreading over that region.

In the ’90s, some doctors came to believe that opioid painkillers were virtually nonaddictive when used for pain, and they prescribed them freely — not just for terminal cancer patients, but for chronic pain sufferers, too. Many patients were in pain. But instead of pursuing more complicated pain solutions, which might include eating better, exercising more and, thus, feeling better, too many saw doctors as car mechanics endowed with powers to fix everything quickly.


Too often, opioid painkillers were prescribed to excess; after I had my appendix removed a few years back, I received 60 Vicodin, when four might have been enough.

A result has been a rising sea level of prescription painkillers that continues today, of opioids such as Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin. Sales of these drugs quadrupled between 1999 and 2010. Addiction followed. And this has given new life to heroin, which had been declining in popularity since the early 1980s.


In places like Columbus, the Xalisco Boys stumbled onto multitudes of new addicts, many of whom were already hooked on opioid pills that doctors had prescribed. Their heroin was cheaper than the pills, yet provided a similar high. And their delivery system made heroin conveniently available to suburban white kids who possessed the trinity of American prosperity, essential to the Xalisco system: their own cellphones (to call the dealer), cars (in which to meet the dealer) and private bedrooms (in which to shoot up and hide the dope).

Prescription pain pills have created a new home for heroin in rural and suburban Middle America. Thanks to them, the Xalisco Boys built what the justice department called the first coast-to-coast distribution networks, which also included Hawaii and, for a time, Alaska.

They have kept their edge by betting not on guns but on marketing. Just as pharmaceutical companies promoted prescription pills to doctors as the solution to demanding chronic-pain patients, the Xalisco Boys promoted their system as the safe and reliable delivery of balloons containing heroin of standardized weight and potency. The everyday solution for white suburban addicts afraid of rummaging around Skid Row for dope. Only a phone call away; operators standing by.

Today, they are our quietest traffickers. And our most aggressive. Other heroin dealers wait for customers to come to them. The Xalisco Boys drive after new ones. They hang out at methadone clinics offering patients free samples. They offer price breaks and occasionally make customer survey calls: Was the dope good? Was the driver polite? Any customers showing signs of quitting get a visit from a driver plying them with free hits.

They are the only network of Mexican traffickers I know of that manufactures its own product, exports it wholesale into the United States and then retails it on the street in tenth-of-a-gram doses, thus controlling product quality, price and customer service.

The police try to combat them, but they are like the Internet of dope — a crew can shut down as quickly as a website. One strategy is to arrest drivers, confiscate their cars and apartments. That raises the business costs of the crew owners back in Xalisco, who continue to oversee drug production and recruit new drivers from Mexico. Arresting these owners would be more effective, but we’d have to depend on Mexican law enforcement — which is hobbled by corruption, and stretched thin by far more violent drug networks — for that.

What we can do is improve our rehabilitation options for those trapped in addiction. Some argue that we should also legalize heroin. But we already have a legal opioid for addiction maintenance. Methadone, when administered properly, is cheap, safe, crime- and needle-free and, unlike heroin, requires one daily dose, thus allowing addicts to live relatively normal lives. Of course, methadone can also keep an addict tethered to dependence. Besides, both of these responses address only the symptoms of the epidemic.


The tale of the Xalisco Boys, indeed the spread of heroin across America, really gets back to prescriptions for pills to kill our pain.

Traveling the country to write a book chronicling this story, I was struck by how much agony we create in pursuit of numbed pain. It also occurred to me how un-American this is. America’s greatest idea is self-reliance. That we can take charge of our lives and not have them determined for us. This idea inspires immigrants who come here. It is, in essence, what the Xalisco Boys are about, despite their diabolical behavior. But opiate addiction is the opposite of that American idea. Opiate addicts relinquish free will, enslaved to the pursuit of painlessness.

Some places have gained ground on the epidemic. Portsmouth, Ohio, was among the first to see a generation addicted, and pill mills — pain clinics where doctors prescribed pills for cash and without a proper diagnosis — were virtually invented there. Portsmouth, like a junkie who has hit rock bottom, has found within it a spirit of self-reliance that has helped kindle a culture of recovery. The town shuttered the pill mills. Narcotics Anonymous meetings are now everywhere; recovering addicts are studying to be counselors. And after years of watching jobs go abroad, in 2009 townspeople stepped in to save one of Portsmouth’s last factories — a shoelace manufacturer, which now exports shoelaces to China, Mexico and Taiwan.

Like Portsmouth, we need to take accountability for our own wellness. There is a time and a place for pain pills, of course. But we need to question the drugs marketed to us, depend less on pills as solutions and stop demanding that doctors magically fix us.

It will then matter less what new product a drug company — or the drug underworld — devises.

Sam Quinones is the author of “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.”

Serving All Your Heroin Needs –

Because the Holocaust is force fed by state law enacted at the demands of the special interest group that will benefit the most from it.

Uniformly, social studies textbooks fail to allow the Irish to speak for themselves, to narrate their own horror.

These timid slivers of knowledge not only deprive students of rich lessons in Irish-American history, they exemplify much of what is wrong with today’s curricular reliance on corporate-produced textbooks.

First, does anyone really think that students will remember anything from the books’ dull and lifeless paragraphs? Today’s textbooks contain no stories of actual people. We meet no one, learn nothing of anyone’s life, encounter no injustice, no resistance. This is a curriculum bound for boredom. As someone who spent almost 30 years teaching high school social studies, I can testify that students will be unlikely to seek to learn more about events so emptied of drama, emotion, and humanity.

Nor do these texts raise any critical questions for students to consider. For example, it’s important for students to learn that the crop failure in Ireland affected only the potato—during the worst famine years, other food production was robust. Michael Pollan notes in The Botany of Desire, “Ireland’s was surely the biggest experiment in monoculture ever attempted and surely the most convincing proof of its folly.” But if only this one variety of potato, the Lumper, failed, and other crops thrived, why did people starve?

Thomas Gallagher points out in Paddy’s Lament, that during the first winter of famine, 1846-47, as perhaps 400,000 Irish peasants starved, landlords exported 17 million pounds sterling worth of grain, cattle, pigs, flour, eggs, and poultry—food that could have prevented those deaths. Throughout the famine, as Gallagher notes, there was an abundance of food produced in Ireland, yet the landlords exported it to markets abroad.

The school curriculum could and should ask students to reflect on the contradiction of starvation amidst plenty, on the ethics of food exports amidst famine. And it should ask why these patterns persist into our own time.

More than a century and a half after the “Great Famine,” we live with similar, perhaps even more glaring contradictions. Raj Patel opens his book, Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World’s Food System: “Today, when we produce more food than ever before, more than one in ten people on Earth are hungry. The hunger of 800 million happens at the same time as another historical first: that they are outnumbered by the one billion people on this planet who are overweight.”

Patel’s book sets out to account for “the rot at the core of the modern food system.” This is a curricular journey that our students should also be on — reflecting on patterns of poverty, power, and inequality that stretch from 19th century Ireland to 21st century Africa, India, Appalachia, and Oakland; that explore what happens when food and land are regarded purely as commodities in a global system of profit.

via Why the real story of the Irish Famine is not taught in U.S. schools –

▶ Professor Daniele Ganser (Switzerland) – 10 Years After 9/11 The Official Account Does Not Add Up – YouTube.

▶ Pilots for 9-11 Truth – World Trade Center Attack – YouTube.

▶ Experts Speak Out Best 911 Documentary Ever – YouTube.

Forbidden Bookshelf | Feed Your Need To Read.

How Growers Gamed California’s Drought

Consuming 80 percent of California’s developed water but accounting for only 2 percent of the state’s GDP, agriculture thrives while everyone else is parched.
“I’ve been smiling all the way to the bank,” said pistachio farmer John Dean at a conference hosted this month by Paramount Farms, the mega-operation owned by Stewart Resnick, a Beverly Hills billionaire known for his sprawling agricultural holdings, controversial water dealings, and millions of dollars in campaign contributions to high-powered California politicians including Governor Jerry Brown, former governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gray Davis, and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

The record drought now entering its fourth year in California has alarmed the public, left a number of rural communities without drinking water, and triggered calls for mandatory rationing. There’s no relief in sight: The winter rainy season, which was a bust again this year, officially ends on April 15. Nevertheless, some large-scale farmers are enjoying extraordinary profits despite the drought, thanks in part to infusions of what experts call dangerously under-priced water.

Resnick, whose legendary marketing flair included hiring Stephen Colbert to star in a 2014 Super Bowl commercial, told the conference that pistachios generated an average net return of $3,519 per acre in 2014, based on a record wholesale price of $3.53 a pound. Almonds, an even “thirstier” crop, averaged $1,431 per acre. Andy Anzaldo, a vice president for Resnick’s company, Wonderful Pistachios, celebrated by showing the assembled growers a clip from the movie Jerry Maguire in which Tom Cruise shouts, “Show me the money,” reported the Western Farm Press, a trade publication. At the end of the day, conference attendees filed out to the sounds of Louis Armstrong singing, “It’s a Wonderful World.”

Agriculture is the heart of California’s worsening water crisis, and the stakes extend far beyond the state’s borders. Not only is California the world’s eighth largest economy, it is an agricultural superpower. It produces roughly half of all the fruits, nuts, and vegetables consumed in the United States—and more than 90 percent of the almonds, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli and other specialty crops—while exporting vast amounts to China and other overseas customers.

But agriculture consumes a staggering 80 percent of California’s developed water, even as it accounts for only 2 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. Most crops and livestock are produced in the Central Valley, which is, geologically speaking, a desert. The soil is very fertile but crops there can thrive only if massive amounts of irrigation water are applied.

Current pricing structures enrich a handful of interests, but they are ushering the state as a whole toward a parched and perilous future.

Although no secret, agriculture’s 80 percent share of state water use is rarely mentioned in media discussions of California’s drought. Instead, news coverage concentrates on the drought’s implications for people in cities and suburbs, which is where most journalists and their audiences live. Thus recent headlines warned that state regulators have ordered restaurants to serve water only if customers explicitly request it and directed homeowners to water lawns no more than twice a week. The San Jose Mercury News pointed out that these restrictions carry no enforcement mechanisms, but what makes them a sideshow is simple math: During a historic drought, surely the sector that’s responsible for 80 percent of water consumption—agriculture—should be the main focus of public attention and policy.

The other great unmentionable of California’s water crisis is that water is still priced more cheaply than it should be, which encourages over-consumption. “Water in California is still relatively inexpensive,” Heather Cooley, director of the water program at the world-renowned Pacific Institute in Oakland, told The Daily Beast.

One reason is that much of the state’s water is provided by federal and state agencies at prices that taxpayers subsidize. A second factor that encourages waste is the “use it or lose it” feature in California’s arcane system of water rights. Under current rules, if a property owner does not use all the water to which he is legally entitled, he relinquishes his future rights to the unused water, which may then get allocated to the next farmer in line.

Lawmakers have begun, gingerly, to reform the water system, but experts say that much remains to be done. For years, California was the only state in the arid West that set no limits on how much groundwater a property owner could extract from a private well. Thus nearly everyone and their neighbors in the Central Valley have been drilling deeper and deeper wells in recent years, seeking to offset reductions in state and federal water deliveries. This agricultural version of an arms race not only favors big corporate enterprises over smaller farmers, it threatens to collapse the aquifers whose groundwater is keeping California alive during this drought and will be needed to endure future droughts. (Groundwater supplies about 40 percent of the state’s water in years of normal precipitation but closer to 60 percent in dry years.)

Last fall, the legislature passed and Governor Brown signed a bill to regulate groundwater extraction. But the political touchiness of the issue—agricultural interests lobbied hard against it—resulted in a leisurely implementation timetable. Although communities must complete plans for sustainable water management by 2020, not until 2040 must sustainability actually be achieved. The Central Valley could be a dust bowl by then under current trends.

There are practical solutions to California’s drought, but the lack of realistic water prices and other incentives has slowed their adoption. A shift to more efficient irrigation methods could reduce agricultural water use by 22 percent, an amount equivalent to all the surface water Central Valley farmers lacked because of drought last year, according to an analysis that Cooley of the Pacific Institute co-authored with Robert Wilkinson, a professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, and Kate Poole, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The Brown administration has endorsed better water efficiency—and put a small amount of money where its mouth is. Conservation is the No. 1 priority in the governor’s Water Action Plan, and the drought measures he advanced in 2014 included $10 million to help farmers implement more efficient water management. An additional $10 million was allocated as part of the $1.1 billion drought spending plan Brown and bipartisan legislators unveiled last week. Already more than 50 percent of California’s farmers use drip or micro irrigation, said Steve Lyle, the director of public affairs at the California Department of Food and Agriculture; the new monies will encourage further adoptions.

Meanwhile, underpriced water has enabled continued production of such water-intensive crops as alfalfa, much of which is exported to China. Rice, perhaps the thirstiest of major crops, saw its production area decrease by 25 percent in 2014. But pasture grass, which is used to fatten livestock, and many nut and fruit products have seen their acreage actually increase. Resnick told the Paramount Farms conference that the acreage devoted to pistachios had grown by 118 percent over the last 10 years; for almonds and walnuts the growth rates were 47 and 30 percent, respectively.

One striking aspect of California’s water emergency is how few voices in positions of authority have been willing to state the obvious. To plant increasing amounts of water-intensive crops in a desert would be questionable in the best of times. To continue doing so in the middle of a historic drought, even as scientists warn that climate change will increase the frequency and severity of future droughts, seems nothing less than reckless.

Yet even a politician as gutsy and scientifically informed as Jerry Brown tiptoes around such questions. The Daily Beast asked Brown if in this time of record drought California should begin pricing water more realistically and discouraging water-intensive crops. Responding on the governor’s behalf, spokesman Lyle simply skipped the water pricing question. On crop choices, he cited a reply Brown recently offered to a similar query: “Growing a walnut or an almond takes water, having a new house with a bunch of toilets and showers takes water. So how do we balance use efficiency with the kind of life that people want in California? … We’re all going to have to pull together.”

“California Has One Year of Water Left, Will You Ration Now?” asked the headline of a widely discussed opinion piece NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti published in the Los Angeles Times on March 16.  The headline overstated the situation somewhat, and editors soon corrected it to clarify that California has one remaining year of stored water, not one year of total water. As Famiglietti was careful to state, California’s reservoirs today contain enough water to supply a year of average consumption.

So if California endures a fourth year of drought, the only way to keep household taps and farmers’ irrigation lines flowing will be to summon to the surface still greater volumes of groundwater. But that strategy can’t work forever; worse, the longer it is pursued, the bigger the risk that it collapses aquifers, rendering them irretrievably barren. Aquifers can be replenished—if rainwater and snowmelt are allowed to sink into the ground and humans don’t keep raiding the supply—and that is the expressed goal of California’s forthcoming groundwater regulations. The process takes many decades, however, and extended relief from further droughts.

California is caught between the lessons of its history and the habits of its political economy. Droughts of 10 years duration and longer have been a recurring feature in the region for thousands of years, yet a modern capitalist economy values a given commodity only as much as the price of that commodity. Current pricing structures enrich a handful of interests, but they are ushering the state as a whole toward a parched and perilous future.

The price of water, however, is not determined by inalterable market forces; it is primarily a function of government policies and the social forces that shape them. Elected officials may dodge the question for now, but the price of water seems destined to become an unavoidable issue in California politics. “As our water supply gets more variable and scarce in the future, we’re going to have to look at how we price water so it gets used more efficiently,” said Cooley of the Pacific Institute. “In some ways we’ve come a long way in California’s water policy and practices over the past 20 years. But if you look into a future of climate change and continued [economic] development, we can and need to do much better.”

Mark Hertsgaard has reported on politics, culture and the environment from more than 20 countries and has authored six books, including HOT:  Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth, which will appear in paperback April 17.


How Growers Gamed California’s Drought – The Daily Beast.

Probiotics are important in maintaining our gut flora, but they can still cause issues just like any supplement and most issues with supplementation go unreported on the natural health blogosphere. Everyone writes about the pros of taking probiotics, but what are the cons? The cons of taking probiotics is the topic of this upcoming blog series.

Histamine is an organic compound produced by the body. Histamine is produced during immune responses and as a neurotransmitter down regulator. Histamine produced by the stomach and the intestines help to regulate their function. There are four types of histamine receptors in the body, and each receptor performs a different task.1

Most people make histamine out to be a monster. Too much histamine is the cause of my seasonal allergies. Histamine overproduction is the only cause of my anaphylactic reaction when I eat shrimp, which I am allergic. Excess histamine is the reason I have heartburn, so I take a histamine receptor two antagonist like Pepcid to relieve my digestive woes. The main problem is not directly the histamine in all of these individual issues; the real problem is why too much histamine was released or is circulating throughout the body during these health issues.2

The body needs the correct balance of histamine so that your digestive system, immune system, neurotransmitter system, and nervous system work properly.

Proper supplementation of omega 3 fatty acids,3 vitamin D3,4 vitamin B6,5 magnesium,6 and vitamin C7 can help the body maintain proper histamine balance. If you are suffering from having a histamine imbalance, you should try a histamine reduced diet to see if your issues improve.

If you are supplementing probiotics and have histamine issues, you should only supplement histamine-degrading probiotics instead of histamine-producing probiotics until the imbalance corrects itself. The intestines and stomach for proper function require histamine. It is totally unknown if these probiotics increase histamine levels in vivo in humans, I would still limit them if needed. Histamine-producing probiotics should not be used until the body can maintain proper levels of histamine.

Histamine Producing / Degrading Bacteria


Histamine Producers:8

E. coli
Klebsiella pneumoniae
Lactobacillus bulgaricus
Lactobacillus casei
Lactobacillus helveticus
Lactobacillus reuteri

Histamine Degraders:9 10 11

Bifidobacterium infantis
Bifidobacterium longum
Lactobacillus gasseri
Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Lactobacillus plantarum
Lactobacillus salivarius

  8. Preedy, Victor. Processing and Impact on Active Components in Food, Academic Press, 2014.


Why Supplementing With Probiotics May Make You Ill – Part 1: Excessive Histamine Production – Fix Your Gut.

A book worth reading and a blog worth looking into:

Magnesium is important in over 325 enzyme reactions in the body.1 It is used to regulate blood sugar in the body, and to help prevent you from developing diabetes.2 Magnesium relaxes arteries that carry blood throughout the body, which lowers blood pressure. Magnesium also chelates extra calcium in the body; this keeps the arteries from hardening due to excess calcium. Finally, magnesium supplementation can help lower stress and anxiety levels.


Let’ us take a look at the many magnesium types and their functions, but the best form I can recommend is magnesium glycinate. The body absorbs the most elemental magnesium from glycinate.3 The extra glycine, an amino acid, relaxes nerves, and relieves anxiety.


Possible Symptoms of A Magnesium Deficiency




This is a list of possible symptoms a patient might have if they have a magnesium deficiency. If a magnesium deficiency is present, you can still have a magnesium deficiency and not have any of these symptoms as well. This often occurs in patients that are younger (age helps reduce the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency,) and it can also depend on the gender (men tend to have less symptoms than women.) Most people should supplement with 400 mg of elemental magnesium (as long as their kidney function is normal) even if they do not know if they are deficient.4


·        Tingling in legs – Magnesium deficiency is the main cause of restless legs syndrome


·        Leg cramps (charlie horse)


·        Weakness


·        Asthma


·        Elevated blood pressure and/or pulse


·        Heart disease


·        Diabetes


·        Dizziness


·        Shaking


·        Irregular heartbeat (palpitations)


·        Constipation5


 Diagnostic Tests for Magnesium Deficiency




Here is a simple guide of the different tests that are used to determine if you have a magnesium deficiency or not.


Magnesium Serum Test – A magnesium serum test is the most common magnesium test performed and also the most inaccurate. Less than 1% of the body’s total magnesium is in the blood plasma and the body does whatever it takes to keep that number regular. If you score low on a plasma test then you are in dire need of magnesium and you are definitely deficient in your bones, organs, and muscles.6 This test is used to measure extracellular magnesium levels. Normal plasma magnesium levels are, 1.6 – 2.4 mEq/L.7 This test does not accurately measure the body’s total magnesium level, but is the test most often used for diagnostic testing.


Magnesium RBC Test – A magnesium RBC test is a more accurate test that quantifies the amount of magnesium stored in the red blood cells. This test measures intracellular magnesium levels. This test gives you the amount of magnesium that has been stored in your cells for the past four months.  Results of six mg / dl or higher indicate strong magnesium reserves in the body.8


Magnesium WBC Test – A magnesium WBC test is more accurate than the RBC test. Like the magnesium RBC test, the WBC test also measures intracellular magnesium levels. This test gives you the amount of magnesium that is currently in your cells, it does not show an average of magnesium in the cells over a period of time like the RBC test. This test is not available to many doctors or diagnostic labs.9


Magnesium EXA Test – A magnesium EXA test is the best test to determine magnesium deficiency. This test is performed by scraping your cheek buccal cells for a sample so that levels of magnesium stored in your cells, bones, and muscles can be determined. Like the WBC test, the EXA test is considered an intracellular magnesium test. The EXA test will account for 99% of the body’s total magnesium, and is the most accurate diagnostic test for magnesium currently.10


Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6



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  1. Magnesium: Most Overlooked Mineral For Improving Health – Part 5 – Fix Your GutDecember 30, 2014[…] Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 […]
  2. Magnesium: Most Overlooked Mineral for Improving Health – Part 4 – Fix Your GutDecember 30, 2014[…] Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 […]
  3. Magnesium: Most Overlooked Mineral for Improving Health – Part 2 – Fix Your GutSeptember 30, 2014[…] Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 […]
  4. Magnesium: Most Overlooked Mineral For Improving Health – Part 6 – Fix Your GutSeptember 30, 2014


Magnesium and Your Digestive Health


Magnesium is used in the body to help active digestive enzyme reactions in your body as well as regulate the proper transit time of your bowels.1 2 The enzyme reactions in your body help further break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Magnesium chloride can help increase stomach acid to help assimilate food better if you have digestion problems it might be the type you want to use.3 Most all other magnesium (unless chelated with an acid like citrate or malate) lower stomach acid so they should be taken before bed so problems with digestion will not occur.




Magnesium is used by your intestines as an osmotic laxative.4 This means that your large intestine uses magnesium to bring in water into the bowl so that your stool becomes softer and easier to pass. This is why magnesium supplementation is a great treatment for someone who has constipation issues.5 Magnesium is very important for the functioning of your digestive system as well as your complete health as well.


Different Forms of Magnesium


Recommended Forms of Magnesium:




Magnesium glycinate – The most bio-available form of magnesium. The extra glycine as an amino acid can help with sleep and provide a calm feeling. This form of magnesium is the least likely to cause loose stools. Taken at bedtime.6


Magnesium malate – Magnesium malate is important for people who have a lot of fatigue or suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Magnesium supplementation increases ATP, which is a molecule that provides energy to our cells. Malic Acid has also been shown to increase ATP levels. Magnesium malate should be taken during the day with meals. The extra malic acid will increase stomach acid and assimilation.7


Magnesium chloride – Magnesium chloride is one of the best forms of magnesium for people with Gerd or stomach problems. It must be taken with food because the extra chloride will definitely make more HCL in the stomach. Can also be used topically as a spray for transdermal supplementation.8


Magnesium taurate – Magnesium taurate is a lifesaver for people with heart disease. The extra taurine is an amino acid helps increase heart function. Taken at bedtime.9


Magnesium citrate – Magnesium citrate should mostly only be used for bowel irrigation, it is also one of the most well-known forms of magnesium supplementation. It causes some loose stools and its absorption is average. Magnesium citrate should be taken with meals because the extra citric acid will increase stomach acid and assimilation.10


Magnesium sulfate – Honestly only used to stop pre-eclampsia and used in bath salts as epsom salt. Has okay absorption but does leave some extra organic sulfur in the body can be absorbed by the skin. Sulfate can help heal muscle sprains better than most other forms of magnesium because of skin permeability. Taken soaking in a bath or before bed.11


Magnesium arginate – Arginine is a vasodilator amino acid that is good for increasing blood flow.12 This form of magnesium is very good for bodybuilders. Taken with meals throughout the day due to the possibility of increased energy.


Magnesium lysinate – A good source of magnesium and the amino acid lysine. Lysine is an excellent anti-viral. Taken before bed.13


Magnesium ascorbate – A good source of magnesium and vitamin C. Can cause some loose stools. Taken before bed.14


Magnesium ZMK- A great form of magnesium that uses magnesium from all of the Krebs cycle: citrate, fumarate, malate, succinate & alpha-keto-glutarate. This supplement form of magnesium ZMK is great for athletes, and is very good for recovery. A ZMK supplement should be taken before bed.


Magnesium fumerate, succinate, alpha-keto glutarate – See Magnesium ZMK, All Krebs cycle forms of magnesium.15


Magnesium gluconate – A form of magnesium that is chelated with gluconic acid, which occurs from the fermentation of glucose. Magnesium gluconate has above average absorption in the body (better than even magnesium citrate)16, rarely causes loose stools. Taken before bed.


Magnesium carbonate – This is probably the lowest form of magnesium I can recommend. Has one of lowest levels of assimilation and is a good osmotic laxative. It can also lower stomach acid levels and is used in most antacids. Taken at bedtime.17


Magnesium With Special Uses:




Magnesium orotate – This is one least known forms of magnesium, but let me tell you if you just had a surgery or exercise constantly then it will be your godsend. The extra orotate will help muscle regeneration.18 It also has been shown to support heart health greater than even magnesium taurate. Taken at bedtime.19


Magnesium L-threonate – Magnesium L-threonate may greatly increase magnesium in the brain and spinal column for increased cognitive function.20 To be honest there isn’t a lot of in vivo research to prove if this is true yet though. L-threonate is an isomer of ascorbic acid.21 (New research has shown that it increases magnesium levels about the same as magnesium sulfate, granted magnesium sulfate is injected which might make it be able to cross the blood brain barrier then oral magnesium.22) Taken at bedtime.


Magnesium 2-AEP – This is a form of magnesium that is chelated with phosphorylethanolamine which is a vital component of the structure and integrity of cell membranes. Magnesium 2-AEP has been theorized to help patients with MS, because it can help with cellular function and integrity and can help protect myelin in the brain. Taken with meals during the day.23


Magnesium peroxide – ONLY AS COLON CLEANSER. Taken before bed.


Magnesium Phos 6X – Normally I do not recommend homeopathic supplements (if they work for some people I’m glad they do, I rather recommend nutriceuticals), but for homeopathic minerals I feel they still can be beneficial because some of the trace mineral should be left in the product. I would suggest on using this in a person who is extremely sensitive to all forms of magnesium supplementation. If magnesium glycinate still causes loose stools and magnesium chloride causes allergic reactions on the skin then this is the magnesium for you to try. 24 This magnesium contains some phosphorus so I would suggest if you have kidney problems to stay away from this form. Taken before bed.25


Garbage forms of Magnesium:




Most of these forms of magnesium I consider are garbage because they either do damage in the body or are very poorly absorbed.


Magnesium yeast chelate – A “natural” form of magnesium that is very easily assimilated by the body, what sounds so wrong about that? This form of magnesium is found in most of your “natural” vitamins like New Chapter, Garden of Life, and Megafood. The main problem I have with this form of magnesium is that you have to ingest a lot of brewers yeast (which some people are sensitive to) in the whole supplement to get a tiny amount of magnesium.26 Most vitamins that use this form of magnesium have very little magnesium actually in the vitamin (less than 100 mg elemental). There are just a lot better options out there. Taken with food.


Magnesium aspartate – Absorption is notworth extra aspartic acid. Too much aspartic acid can be neurotoxic. Can you say ASPARTAME? Taken at bedtime. This includes magnesium ZMA supplements.27


Magnesium pidolate (Magnesium 5-Oxo Proline) – Absorption is DEFINITELY not worth the extra free glutamic acid. Too much free glutamic acid can be excitotoxic and neurotoxic. Can you say MSG? Taken with meals.


Magnesium hydroxide – Not greatly absorbed and most magnesium is released into the bowels. Most commercial preparations (Milk of Magnesium) have sodium hypochlorite added (bleach.) Taken at Bedtime.28


Magnesium oxide – VERY POORLY ABSORBED – Out of 400 mg only AT MOST 80 mg of elemental magnesium is absorbed by the body. Magnesium oxide is one of the worst absorbed forms of magnesium, and sadly the most common supplement form of magnesium taken. Taken at Bedtime.29


Magnesium glycerophosphate – This magnesium is chelated with phosphorus. The problem with this magnesium is that most people get too much phosphate in their diet. People with kidney problems should also definitely stay away from this supplement because it is harder for them to eliminate excess phosphates. Taken at bedtime.30


Magnesium lactate – Extra lactic acid is FUN! Should not definitely not be used for people who have kidney disease because the extra lactic acid can cause complications for the kidneys. I do not generally recommend this form at all. Taken during meals.


Magnesium: Most Overlooked Mineral for Improving Health – Part 2 – Fix Your Gut.

Urban says that long-form writing doesn’t only have to be engaging for the reader. If you’re writing something approaching 2,000 words, you better damn well be excited about the topic or else it will show—and your readers won’t be gripped enough to make it to the last sentence.

via The Secrets Of Writing Smart, Long-form Articles That Go Absolutely Viral | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

Because scientific studies are examining the role of magnesium in alleviating or circumventing many commonly occurring chronic ailments, it is important to be educated on the variations in magnesium supplements; especially magnesium orotate, the best form of the mineral supplement.

Magnesium is not easily absorbed in the body unless first attached to transporting substance. For this reason, many supplement manufacturers have “chelated” magnesium to organic and amino acids. A few of these include magnesium oxide, magnesium sulfate and magnesium carbonate. Quality depends on the amount of magnesium in the supplement and how bioavailable it is. Bioavailability refers to the amount of magnesium in the supplement that can be assimilated by the digestive system and used for cellular activity and health benefit

Magnesium is one of those supplements that is very well known for its benefits throughout the natural health community. Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical processes in the body. One of its most important functions is that it plays a key role is producing energy, this Elementmakes it vitality important for all cellular functions and processes. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm regular, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Its wide range of health benefits and biological activity make it effective in addressing a number of common diseases and conditions including fibromyalgia, chronic pain, diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and headaches. Numerous studies have demonstrated that magnesium supplementation and correction of deficiency has improved the aforementioned conditions. The problem with this essential mineral is that most people do not have sufficient levels for optimal health. A gradual depletion of nutrients from our soils has left many vegetables with lower levels of magnesium. Another factor that contributes to magnesium deficiency is that it often is depleted by various common conditions (i.e. IBS, Crohn’s disease) and medications (i.e. proton pump inhibitors, diuretics).
For a more complete discussion please see the article The Many Faces of Magnesium in the Heart Health issue of Advances.

As a supplement, magnesium is most commonly found in small amounts in multivitamins and in certain over the counter laxatives. Minerals such as magnesium or calcium are combined with another molecule to stabilize the compound. Each combination, referred to as a chelate, (such as magnesium citrate) has different absorption, bioavailability and therapeutic value. These additional molecules can really impact the medicinal value of the magnesium and some even have beneficial effects in their own right. The most common forms and their benefits are listed below.

Magnesium-L-Threonate: This form of magnesium has recently been studied to improve memory and brain function. One preliminary study in animals found that it significantly enhanced both short-term and long-term memory, boosting scores by 15% for short-term memory and 54% for long-term memory compared to magnesium citrate.8 Based on this study, it appears that magnesium-L-threonate is a highly absorbable form of magnesium that can improve brain function. While this research is promising, more is needed to confirm its benefit.

Magnesium Pidolate (or picolinate): This form of magnesium has generated interest because it is very inexpensive and can easily be made into a liquid supplement. There really have not been any substantial research trials supporting its specific health benefits. The down side of this form is that the pidolate molecule does not have any additional health benefits.

Magnesium oxide: Often used in milk of magnesia products since this form has a strong laxative effect. Even though this combination contains a large proportion of magnesium compared to the oxide molecule, it has poor bioavailability and readily causes loose stools; therefore it is considered the least optimal form to use as a supplement. Also referred to as “Magnesia”, magnesium oxide is commonly used therapeutically as a laxative and relief for acid reflux. This type of magnesium shows high levels of concentration, but poor levels of bioavailability (only 4%).

Magnesium sulfate: This form is often used as an intravenous preparation but it is not used in oral formulations. Since it does have some absorbability through the skin, . An inorganic form of magnesium with an elemental concentration of 10% and lower levels of bioavailability. Magnesium sulfate contains magnesium and sulfer and oxygen; it’s commonly referred to as Epsom Salt.

Magnesium citrate: A commonly used form that has a good bioavailability compared to oxide. It is also very rapidly absorbed in the digestive tract but it does have a stool loosening effect.1 This form is found in many supplements and remains a solid option for delivering magnesium into the body. Derived from the magnesium salt of citric acid, this form of magnesium has lower concentration, but a high level of bioavalibity (90%). Magnesium citrate is commonly used as to induce a bowel movement, but has also been studied for kidney stone prevention.

Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate

A mineral chelate form of magnesium containing an ion of magnesium oxide connected to a mixture of some other form of amino acid. This could be a lactate, a glycine, aspartate or arginate, etc. The best chelated amino acid form of magnesium is aspartate or arginate.

Magnesium Aspartate: This form has increased bioavailability compared to oxide and citrate. There were some promising clinical trials conducted in the 1960s that found a combination of magnesium and potassium aspartates had a positive effect on fatigue and they reduced muscle hyper-excitability. Physiologically this makes sense since both magnesium and aspartic acid are critical players in cellular energy production. This form is not commonly found but has been used for chronic fatigue syndrome.

Magnesium Chloride

A form of magnesium showing moderate concentrations, but higher levels of bioavalibity when compared to magnesium oxide. Magnesium chloride has many uses, most commonly to help manufacture paper, some types of cements and fireproofing agents.

Magnesium Lactate

This type of magnesium shows moderate concentrations, but higher levels of bioavalibity as compared to magnesium oxide. Magnesium lactate is a mineral supplement that is most commonly used for treating digestive issues. Magnesium lactate should be avoided by those with kidney disease or kidney-related problems.

Magnesium Carbonate

This form of magnesium has moderate levels of elemental concentration and 30% bioavalibity rates. Magnesium carbonate has a strong laxative-effect when taken in high amounts. It is also commonly known as chalk, and is used as a drying agent by pitchers, gymnasts, rock climbers and weight lifters.

Magnesium Glycinate, Malate & Taurates

Chelated forms of magnesium holding moderate to low concentrations and higher levels of bioavailability. All three types of magnesium have a variety of uses, but none are as beneficial as the previous magnesium supplements listed above.

Magnesium Glycinate: Glycine is a well-known calming amino acid. This combination has good bioavailability and does not have a laxative effect since glycine is actively transported through the intest                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 inal wall. Due to the calming and relaxing effect of both glycine and magnesium, this combination has been used successfully for chronic pain and muscle hyper tonicity.

A magnesium supplement is best taken with calcium, for this reason, I developed IntraCal, it provides the best ratio of calcium and magnesium orotate.

– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

Magnesium Malate: This less well-known combination has been studied for use in fibromyalgia. Since malate is a substrate in the cellular energy cycle, it can help improve ATP production; there is some preliminary evidence that it may reduce muscle pain and tender points in fibromyalgia patients.4

o-DR-OZ-HEALTHY-HEART-facebookMagnesium Orotate: This is another relatively unknown chelate combination containing orotic acid. This form has good bioavailability has had been studied specifically for heart health. Orotates can penetrate cell membranes, enabling the effective delivery of the magnesium ion to the innermost layers of the cellular mitochondria and nucleus. Orotates themselves increase the formation of RNA and DNA which can help heart cells repair and therefore improve function. The combination has been shown to improve heart failure, symptoms of angina and exercise performance in clinical trials.5,6 The most effective form of magnesium supplement, created through the use of the mineral salts of orotic acid. Both plants and animals use orotates to create DNA and RNA. Extensive scientific research by Dr. Hans A. Nieper, M.D. shows orotates can penetrate cell membranes, enabling the effective delivery of the magnesium ion to the innermost layers of the cellular mitochondria and nucleus. Magnesium orotate contains many properties that can help protect you and your health, while offering your cells the most readily absorbable form of magnesium on the market today.

Magnesium Taurate: Both magnesium and the amino acid taurine share the ability to improve cardiac function; each has a potentiating effect on insulin sensitivity and also a calming effect on neuromuscular excitability. The actions of both have striking similarities when it comes to cardiovascular health. They both have blood pressure reducing effects, stabilize nerve cells, improve the contraction of the heart muscle and have an anti-thrombotic effect.7 Additionally, low levels of vitamin B6 have been shown to further deplete both magnesium and taurine.

Due to its broad ranging beneficial effects, magnesium has really emerged as a quintessential health supplement with an excellent safety profile. Various forms of magnesium can be employed for specific health concerns and to increase bioavailability. Consider the research evidence and activity of each form to choose one that is most appropriate for you.

1) Coudray C, Rambeau M, Feillet-Coudray C, Gueux E, Tressol JC, Mazur A, Rayssiguier Y: Study of magnesium bioavailability from ten organic and inorganic Mg salts in Mg- depleted rats using a stable isotope approach. Magnes Res 2005;18:215–223.
2) Nagle FJ, Balke B, Ganslen RV, Davis AW. The mitigation of physical fatigue with “Spartase”. FAA Office of Aviation Medicine Reports. Rep Civ Aeromed Res Inst US. 1963 Jul;26:1-10.
3) Lamontagne C, Sewell JA, Vaillancourt R, Kuhzarani C, (2012) Rapid Resolution of Chronic Back Pain with Magnesium Glycinate in a Pediatric Patient. J Pain Relief 1:101
4) Abraham GE, Flechas JD. Management of Fibromyalgia: Rationale for the Use of Magnesium and Malic Acid. Journal of Nutritional Medicine (1992) 3, 49-59.
5) Stepura OB, Tomaeva FE, Zvereva TV. Orotic acid as a metabolic agent. Vestn Ross Akad Med Nauk. 2002; (2): 39-41.
6) Geiss KR, Stergiou N, Jester, Neuenfeld HU, Jester HG. Effects of magnesium orotate on exercise tolerance in patients with coronary heart disease. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 1998 Sep; 12 Suppl 2:153-6.
7) McCarty MF. Complementary Vascular-Protective Actions of Magnesium and Taurine: A Rationale for Magnesium Taurate. Medical Hypotheses (1996) 46. 89-100
8) Slutsky I, Abumaria N, Wu LJ, et al. Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. Neuron. 2010 Jan 28;65(2):165-77


  1. Classen HG. Magnesium orotate–experimental and clinical evidence. Rom J Intern Med. 2004;42(3):491-501. Review.
  2. Zeana C. Magnesium orotate in myocardial and neuronal protection. Rom J Intern Med. 1999 Jan-Mar;37(1):91-7. Review.
  3. Albrecht E, Kirkham KR, Liu SS, Brull R. The analgesic efficacy and safety of neuraxial magnesium sulphate: a quantitative review. Anaesthesia. 2013 Feb;68(2):190-202. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2012.07337.x. Epub 2012 Nov 1. Review.
  4. Dufault R, LeBlanc B, Schnoll R, Cornett C, Schweitzer L, Wallinga D, Hightower J, Patrick L, Lukiw WJ. Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: measured concentrations in food product sugar. Environ Health. 2009 Jan 26;8:2. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-8-2.


  1. Maria

    QUESTION: Would I be overdosing myself with Magnesium L-Threonate and after an hour took some Magnesium Glycinate? Thank you for specifying the different types of magnesium. I took Magnesium L-Threonate thinking it would calm me down as I was having mild anxiety attacks and no benefits after an hour. Decided to take Magnesium Glycinate, felt a difference of calmness!

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Maria,
      I don’t think you would be overdosing with combo. You really can’t over dose on magnesium since excess is just excreted in the digestive tract.
      Glad to hear you found relief!

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

      1. Gene

        Dr. Hrkal,
        which type of magnesium is best for depression please?

        1. Dr. Hrkal

          Hi Gene,

          There isn’t a form of magnesium studied for depression specifically even though there is evidence that low magnesium levels are most likely related to depression. See the following studies.

          I would stick to a well absorbed form of magnesium with good bowel tolerance like glycinate or malate.

          Hope that helps

          Dr Paul Hrkal

  2. Camille

    Good article. I have read studies that showed the benefits of supplementing magnesium during pregnancy but none indicated which form is best or used during pregnancy. Are you familiar with this?

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Camille,

      Thanks for reading the article. Magnesium (and calcium) are important to take during pregnancy to prevent muscle cramps and healthy bone formation. There has not been any specific form studied but citrate, malate or glycinate are well absorbed and safe for both mother and baby.

      Hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  3. Patricia Grimes

    I’m a 85 year old widow and would like to take magnesium for my leg cramps.
    I take Clopidogel Bisulfate for a heart stent and Losartan 100 mg. for blood pressure.
    Could you tell me what type of magnesium would be best for me?
    Will appreciate your reply.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hello Patricia,

      Thank you for the inquiry. Unfortunately we can’t recommend specific products for you on this forum. I would recommend you consult a qualified healthcare practitioner to make sure that your supplements are safe with the medications you are on. I can say that most forms of magnesium are useful for leg cramps. I would direct you to a form such as magnesium malate, that is easily absorbed and does not cause loose stools.

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  4. Mark

    I have restless leg which seems to be getting worse. I was told potassium would help. I have been taking nearly 2000 mg with only very slight improvement. I want to add Magnesium, which form would you recommend?

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Mark,

      Any form for magnesium would work except magnesium oxide. Magnesium citrate has a fast absorption so that is something you can take before bed. Magnesium glycinate has a calming effect and mag malate is great for muscle pain. Remember magnesium stores are built up over time so it may take a few months to see lasting benefits but usually people see an improvement quickly.

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  5. Sara

    Hi there,

    I’m just wondering what the best form of magnesium would be in order to get as many benefits as possible. Do you have to get each type of magnesium separately, or is there a way to get them all in one form of magnesium? If you do have to get them all separately, is it okay to mix them together and use all at once?

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Sara,

      Sorry for the late response. I don’t think you need to take all the forms to get the benefits of magnesium. Any of the amino acid combinations of magnesium will give you the benefits of repleting magnesium plus the effects of the amino acids. I would pick a magnesium form that best fits your goals (i.e. magnesium orotate if you have cardio vascular concern) and stick with it for a few months to build your levels. Magnesium glycinate or malate are my favorite for general health since they have a broad spectrum benefit on muscles.

      If you want feel free to mix them but a better approach would be to take each one for a period of time and rotate so you get the benefits of each. This way you amy be even able to tell which form you feel the best with. This will help guide you which form is best for you.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  6. Roger

    Hello Dr. Hrkal,

    Your article list the benefits of different forms of magnesium that have different health attributes. My question is once cellular magnesium levels have reached optimal status. Would the benefits of Orotate’s effect on RNA & DNA be achieved? As such would L-Threonate benefits to cross the BBB be achieved as well. I guess my question is are these health benefits attributed to the FORM or magnesium. Thank you in advance

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Roger,

      Great question. The benefits of ortotate or threonate would be effective right from the start of supplementation since they have an independent and distinct therapeutic benefit. That being said, the evidence suggests that it can take months to replete cellular magnesium levels depending on the intestinal absorption and previous level of deficiency. It’s also very difficult to accurately measure this. So assuming that after 3 months of rigorous supplementation you achieve optimal magnesium levels the benefit of orotate would be there throughout this time since the effects are independent. You could argue that once magnesium levels are optimal orotate would be more effective but they are not needed for it to be effective.

      The form of magnesium makes a big difference but the effects are not necessary tied together. The added benefit of “amino acid” forms of magnesium it that they are actively absorbed compare to citrate or oxide so they don’t cause loose stools are easily.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  7. Janni


    I’ve recently discovered that most magnesium supplements contain dicalcium phosphate. Is there any calcium-free form?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Justine

      Hi Janni, there are many quality magnesium supplements that don’t contain calcium diphosphate. Calcium diphosphate can be used either as a source of calcium to make a cal-mag type of product, or it can be used as a type of flow agent or bulking agent to help the product go into the capsule better. But there are lots of magnesium supplements that don’t have any type of calcium in them. None of AOR’s magnesium products contain calcium.

  8. Betty


    I want to take some bone health products like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K2 and magnesium. What type of magnesium do you recommend and how much?

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Betty,

      Thanks for the question. Any of the amino acid magnesiums (glycinate, aspartate, malate etc.) or citrate are good for bone health. Just stay away from magnesium oxide because its an inferior form that is poorly absorbed and causes loose stools.
      The recommended amount usually is 500mg.

      Hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  9. Adnan

    What is your opinion on Magnesium Oil?

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Adnan,

      Some people really advocate for the use of magnesium oil for topical application to relieve muscle pain. While there are some reports of improvement in symptoms, this way of getting magnesium has not been studied nor is a good way to address systemic deficiency. There really isn’t a good way to assess if topical application is actually getting into the body other then patient feedback. I personally stick to oral magnesium products since my clinical experience and the research supports this administration route.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  10. Jessica Ann

    I have been taking 400 mg magnesium oxide once a day for about 2 weeks and I have been feeling very dizzy. Could this be a possible side effect? I have hyperparathyroidism and am below normal levels magnesium and phosphorus but high blood calcium and pth. Thank you

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      HI Jessica,

      Its tough to tell if your symptoms are related to the mag oxide. Magnesium can lower blood pressure which can lead to symptoms such as dizziness. I would stop the supplement to see if the symptoms persist. If they do persist see you doctor.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  11. rosalind

    Which form of magnesium would be the best to use for severe constipation even though I eat fresh fruit, dark leafy greens each day and plenty of water since I stopped eating gluten. My antibodies were elevated on a blood test to 5.6ug/ml ( the normal range was <2.0 so I was told to avoid wheat,etc. I used to eat a lot of whole grains everyday with all of the above to keep myself regular. I am really afraid of becoming dependent. It is impossible to get enough whole grains without wheat.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Thanks for the question

      Magnesium citrate would be the best to promote bowel movement. Keep increasing the dose little by little each day until you get loose stools. Then reduce dose by half. The absorption is on par with the best amino acid chelate forms of magnesium but it still can offset constipation. If you are gluten sensitive then magnesium is poorly absorbed so I would recommend you continue magnesium supplementation as you get your diet in order.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

      Hope that helps

  12. rosalind

    I definitely feel better since I stopped the gluten( except for the severe constipation)

  13. Simi

    I was taking magnesium malate 850 mg each day for muscle pain.Now, I am having stomach acid problem. I have cut magnesium malate dose to less then 425 mg. For stomach acid problem, which magnesium would be the good one?
    Thank you

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Thanks for the question Simi,

      My understanding of your question is that you have reflux after taking magnesium malate (“stomach acid problem”).
      Magnesium is very well tolerated and usually doesn’t cause digestive or stomach upset when taken at the recommended doses. There is no one form that is best at minimizing the effect on stomach acid except avoiding magnesium oxide. The only thing you can do is reduce the dose (which you are trying) or change to a different form. Try AOR’s new advanced magnesium complex for a combo of the most absorbable forms.

      There are many other reasons for reflux. I would consult your healthcare practitioner if the problem persists.

      Best of luck,

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  14. Ken

    Hi: I’m a 67 year old male and have been diagnosed with atherosclerosis with a moderate calcium score in the aorta, and also occasional palpitations, nonetheless have worked out regularly for years. Was taking magnesium oxide for a year or two until discovering it’s probably the least effective of the magnesium supplements (actually it seemed to help the palpitations some). Also just upped my Vitamin D3 and added K1 and K2. Was wondering what your thoughts were for which magnesium helps heart and circulation the most…thanks!

  15. Ken

    Hi: I’m 67 and in pretty good shape, but have been diagnosed with a calcium score of about 145 three years ago, also have once-in-a-while palpitations, but worked out at the gym regularly for decades. Was taking magnesium oxide (400mg a day) for a couple years until researching that it’s probably the least effective of the magnesium supplements (actually it seemed to help the palpitations some). Also have upped Vitamin D3 to 4000iu (recent blood level of 40) and added K1 (1mg) and K2 (300mcg). After reading various opinions on various magnesium formulas, was wondering your thoughts on which is best for heart and circulation…thanks!

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Ken,

      Thanks for you comment. Magnesium Orotate and Magnesium taurine would be the best for heart health. Take a closer look at those in the above article. Magnesium itself will counter balance calcification and improve blood flow. Orotate and taurine provide additional benefits for heart cell function, nerve conduction and repair. The vitamin K is an excellent addition to offset calcification.

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  16. Tammy

    I suffer from chronic migraines and read an article stating to drink 700-1000mg of magnesium citrate/malate along with 4000mg of pyruvate in an 8 ounce glass of water. My question is do you have any experience of using this combination and would it make a difference if it was citrate or malate.
    Thank you

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Tammy,

      Magnesium will help you with vaso-relaxation and headaches. I am not familiar with pyruvate or the combo with magnesium. I like to use magnesium and curcumin for tension headaches but migraines are more complex. I would look at food allergies and other sources of inflammation in migraine cases.
      For magnesium I would use either citrate, malate or glycinate. They are best absorbed.

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  17. Tammy Philipp

    Thank you

  18. Jeanenne

    I have Essential Tremors – it mostly affects my hands. Is there a form of magnesium that might help? I’m otherwise in good health, am 79 years old, take no medications but do take supplements.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Jeanenne,

      Thanks for the question. For essential tremor there has been no studies with magnesium. Theoretically it may help with muscle spasms but I don’t think we have any evidence to say it will help with essential tremor.

      There is a lot of evidence supporting the benefit of magnesium (muscle function, bowel regularity, etc.) so you would still benefit from taking a formula like magnesium glycinate or magnesium malate.

      I hope that helps
      Paul Hrkal ND

  19. Jeanenne

    Thank you so much for your prompt reply. We have been taking two or three different forms of Magnesium (one kind at a time) but have run out and wanted a recommendation as to which form to take. I have been unable to find any supplement that lessens the effects of ETs but am planning on starting on a highly alkaline diet as that is what helped me in 2008 when I had PMR. (That and prayer)

  20. Beth

    Hello I am 39 years old, female. I have heart palpitations and chronic upper back pain. Which kind of magnesium do you recommend? the cardiologist had prescribed me magnesium oxide but if another kind will help me more than I would rather try it. Can I take two kinds at the same time the one for the heart and the one for the muscle function? What is the recommended dose?

    Thank you for your help

    1. Dr. Hrkal


      There is a lot of evidence supporting the benefit of magnesium (muscle function, heart function, bowel regularity, etc.) so you would still benefit from taking a formula like magnesium glycinate or magnesium malate that have been specifically studied for the muscle function. Magnesium orotate or taurine has been studied with heart function. I have included 2 links below to some information that will be helpful.

      I do think that whatever type of magnesium you choose (outside of mag oxide which is poorly absorbed) will be helpful for both situations.

      I hope that helps
      Paul Hrkal ND

  21. Andrea

    I have adrenal fatigue and the dreaded sleeplessness that comes along with it. Which form of magnesium would help? Thanks!

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Andrea,

      In this case you want a well absorbed magnesium to replete levels that were lost during stressful periods. Any type other than magnesium oxide is well absorbed. I would also consider magnesium glycinate for its calming effects before bed for insomnia.

      Good luck
      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  22. Linda Powers

    I have heard that magnesium does not absorb well with fluoride taken either ingested, or transdermal as in soaking in it. Could you verify this information?

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Linda,

      This is a very interesting question. There actually is fair amount of research showing that fluoride prevents the absorption magnesium in the intestines. The fluoride ion itself can inhibit the activity of magnesium in enzyme processes throughout the body. This reduces bone formation, vascular relaxation and energy production. It is safe to conclude that fluoride should be avoided and ingesting high levels may counteract the beneficial effects of magnesium. This doesn’t mean you avoid magnesium supplementation. If fact, if you drink fluoridated water you should increase your magnesium levels to offset the negative effects. This webpage has a summary and list of reference that you will find helpful.

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  23. Kathy slick

    My product of magnesium citrate does not carry a recommended correct daily dosage. Natural Fractors. Canada is the name of this fine white powder. Please be specific as I find this subject very confusing. 78years old.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Kathy,

      I don’t know the specific dosage of the magnesium you are referring to but it should say on the label. The goal is to get 100mg 2-3 times daily. Take as many caps as you need to achieve that dose. If you get loose stools then reduce the dose by half.

      I hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  24. Ooy

    I have numbness on the tip of my big toes. Have been taking Vitamin B12 for that and was diagnosed magnesium deficiency. Could you please recommend what type of magnesium i should take for the numbness. Thank you in advance.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Ho Ooy,

      While there is no type of magnesium studied specifically for nerve pain magnesium glycinate or taurine are great options for nerve issues since they have good absorption and both glycine and taurine are calming neuro-signalling molecules. Also consider other reasons why you could be having numbness in your toes. Diabetes and nerve entrapment can cause numbness in your toes.

      Good luck

      Paul Hrkal ND

  25. Michelle

    I have a 12-year-old son who has asthma, food allergies, and is also ADD. I have read that kids with these problems lack magnesium. I’m not sure which type of magnesium would be best and how much to give.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Michelle,

      Unfortunately we can’t give recommendations for patients on dosage. I would follow the label on the bottle. I can say that there is clinical research showing magnesium is useful in ADD cases and they used a citrate form. Consider a well absorbed form of magnesium like mag glycinate that also has calming effects.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  26. Anna

    It looks like I could benefit from different forms of Mg . Would it be smart take different forms of it either daily at the same time or alternate different ones each day ? I have heard from others that diff Mag forms have different applications so you can’t take them at once . Is it true ? If yes, so then what best time to take each of form during the day ? Thank you for taking time answering all our questions ! I found this site very informative ( I am a holistic health practitioner ) !

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Anna, you are right that different forms have unique benefits but the focus should still be on an absorbable form of magnesium. I suggest taking 1 type for 1-2 months and then switching to another form. There is no benefit to switching forms daily.

      Thanks for you question

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  27. Ooy

    Thank you very much for your prompt reply. I have diabetes checked and the result was ok, but have to keep close look on that. I had never heard about nerve entrapment. Will find out more about it and consult with my doctor. Thank you.

  28. Toni

    Doctor Hrkal,
    December 8, 2014

    My husband has a lot of issues from RLS to calcification of the aorta. He was told by his doctor to take magnesium. At first he was on magnesium chloride but has since switched to magnesium glycinate. I was concerned until I read your article.One question, I would like to know if he should be taking calcium, D and K2 with the magnesium in order for it to absorb properly and be of value?
    Thank you,

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Toni,

      If any cases of calcification vitamin K should be used. Studies have shown it reduces and prevents calcification of soft tissue like blood vessels.
      However, to answer your question, Vitamin D, K, or calcium are not needed for the optimal absorption of magnesium. Mag is absorbed better when taken away from food and other minerals since they compete for absorption and require stomach acid to be broken down.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  29. Lisa


    I have a 3 y/o son who is autistic. He currently takes Mag Glycinate 100mg bid. He deals with constipation regularly. Would it be too much Mag to give occ Mag Citrate?

    Thank you,

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Lisa,

      You don’t need to switch magnesium but just very gradually increase the dose of mag glycinate until your son’s stools become more loose. To directly answer your question, there is no harm occasionally adding mag citrate if you desire.

      Paul Hrkal ND

  30. fenty

    Hi Dr Hrkal,
    Can someone have sleep apnea (on CPAP machine for pretty long) consuming magnesium glycinate ? Since mg glycinate will help muscle to relax while sleep apnea person has too relax muscle around the throat that blocking the air, it seems making it worst? If it is okay which magnesium is the best? And what is the correct dose to start? Thanks so much.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Fenty,

      Magnesium’s action is not that is will relax muscle so much that it affects breathing. Its more correct to picture when there is enough magnesium the muscle functions normally, which includes proper contraction and relaxation. Mag glycinate should not adversely affect breathing or sleeping. A well absorbed form of magnesium (like glycinate) is a good form to take to restore proper levels. There is no correct dose because it varies depending on the person and health concern. I typically tell people to follow the label dosage which usually ends up being 200-300mg daily.

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  31. fenty

    Thanks Dr Hrkal,
    Pls help me with my last question; for the best sleep aid should i go for mag glycinate or mag bisglycinate?

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi fenty,

      Either one is fine. The bisglycinate is just 2 glycine molecules. Both work well for sleep.

      Dr Hrkal

  32. Heather

    You said Mag glycinate was calming, do you know why when I take it it makes me anxious? Also when I take Potassium it gives me chest tightness and pain? Thanks

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Heather,

      Some people have this “opposite” effect to magnesium. We don’t know exactly why it happens but my theory is that since magnesium increases energy production at the level of the mitochondria some people could be overstimulated by this. The same is true for its affect on the brain. Mag is needed in the formation of excitatory neurotrasmitters so you may be pushing these pathways with extra mag. I would suggest trying to support the brain pathways with a B-complex. Its might make the magnesium less excitatory if other co-factors are present.

      here is study that supports this theory

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  33. dju

    Lots of good info here. So I have a vitamin D/magnesium question. Recently increased my vitamin D3 to 10,000 units/day after latest blood test came back still low after taking 6,000 units D3/day. At the same time I stwitched from magnesium citrate to magnetic glycinate due to intestinal issues. No intestinal issues, but getting that anxiety and jittery feeling again. Wondering if the high dose if D3 is draining my magnesium or if the switch to 800 mg magnesium glycinate/day isn’t maintaining my magnesium level like magnesium citrate did. My intestinal problems seem better though.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Dju,

      Its tough to say exactly what is causing the jittery feeling again but it may be the glycinate component. Even though it is calming for most people it can have the opposite effect for a few. I would try switching to one of the other magnesiums (like malate) to see if you still feel that way. Malate is well absorbed as well. Another option is to reduce the dose of magnesium glycinate to 400mg daily. The vitamin D will not have an effect on the magnesium but it could increase your calcium levels.

      Dr Hrkal

  34. Zenie Ed

    I took mag glycinate for a few months at a low dose 3x a week. It was good but it aggravated my insomnia. What mag supplement do you recommend? I’ve got adrenal fatigue. Thanks

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Zenie Ed,

      Some people have this “opposite” effect to magnesium. We don’t know exactly why it happens but one possible explanation is magnesium is needed in the formation of excitatory neurotrasmitters so you may be pushing these pathways with extra mag. I would suggest trying to support the brain pathways with a B-complex. Its might make the magnesium less excitatory if other co-factors are present. Also another type of magnesium, like mag malate or citrate could not have the same effect on the brain.

      here is study that supports this theory

      I hope that helps,
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  35. Erin

    Hi. I recently was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism and underwent a parathyroidectomy and thyroid lobectomy (it was intrathyroidal) 6weeks ago. I am in the process of determining the damage with doctors but it appears I have had it for at least 10 years. I have suffered from back pain, kidney stones/infection, fatigue, apathy, heart palpitations, Lown Ganong Levine Syndrome, extra clotting (no DVT), and hand numbness. Since surgery, many things have improved but I am now getting muscle spasms often, palpitations have increased, and daily numbness in my arms, hands, legs and feet that lingers for up to an hour. My labs indicate low vitD and low-normal calcium, normal PTH. I am currently taking 100% RDA calcium, 4000 IU D3, 100% RDA K2. Should I request to be tested for Mg deficiency? Do my current symptoms sound like they could be improved with Mg? Is Mg deficiency associated with HPT pre or post-op? Thank you.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Erin,

      That sounds like a complex situation. Low or altered thyroid function could cause all those symptoms which I would suspect before I think of magnesium involvement. If you wanted to test for magnesium deficiency that I would request ionized magnesium but even this test is a poor marker of your true magnesium levels outside the blood stream. For this situation, I would suggest seeing a naturopathic doctor that will be able to answer of magnesium is a good idea for you to take. The good news is that magnesium is very well tolerated and has very little side effects.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  36. Lisa Lansford

    Hi, I’ve been taking 1,000 mg. of Magnesium Oxide per day (500 mg. in the morning and 500 mg. in the evening) for several months and am very happy with the laxative properties (no more constipation). After reading this very informative article, I am wanting to try Magnesium Taurate and Magnesium L-Threonate for their benefits. My question is, would these two forms of Magnesium have the same beneficial effects on my digestive system as the Magnesium Oxide? I don’t want to go back to ineffective elimination.

    Thank you for your help. Lisa

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for you question. There is no doubt that magnesium oxide has the most potent laxative properties but citrate also has this effect at similar doses. Any type of magnesium will have a stool loosening effect but oxide and citrate just have their effect at lower doses. I think you can try another form like mag taurine but just adjust the dose to maintain your stool function. Also once you build up your mag levels your stools should need less of a dose to regulate bowel movements.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  37. Huni Hinrichsen

    Do any of the magnesium types counter each other? I have been taking Magnesium Citrate for a while to reduce risk of getting blocked bowel movement but a doctor is recommending me to take Magnesium Threonate for improved nerve and brain functions. I tried switching but noticed shortly that my bowel movement dropped.

    Can I take both of them right before bedtime or would you recommend sticking to either?

    Thanks Paul!

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Huni,

      There is no known interaction between the forms of magnesium. Citrate does a better job at loosening the bowels. Threonate will also loosen stools but at a higher dose since the amino acid is absorbed more readily. In my opinion you could take both together if needed.

      Dr Paul Hrkal

      1. Huni Hinrichsen

        Thank you very much!

  38. Katerina


    Hi how are you? I have a question. A few weeks ago I purchased a product called Natural Vitality Nature Calm. It is magnesium citrate that is in a powdered form which I add to my water at night to drink. I am hypothyroid and even taking my desiccated NatureThroid I still was severely constipated. The magnesium citrate works tremendously for me. I take roughly around 325 mg to 400 mg every night. The problem is my insomnia is still there. I used to have to take prescription meds just to fall asleep. I stopped taking the prescription meds for sleeping because I don’t want to live like that and rely on a pill just to fall asleep. I drink the magnesium citrate and then a few hours later I take melatonin, but it still takes me a few hours to fall asleep. I used to have migraines almost every day, muscle spasms, and muscle twitches. After taking the magnesium citrate that has gone away. My muscles do hurt a lot though and my doctor is still running some blood test to see if this is fibromyalgia or some other autoimmune disease. I wish they made an all in one magnesium pill. I did read that magnesium glycinate is good for insomnia. Why is glycinate better for insomnia versus the citrate form? Will the glycinate also produce a laxative effect? Also, taking the citrate I cannot say that I see a huge difference in my muscle pain. My main concern is I don’t want to become constipated again changing the magnesium type. I really love the nature calm, I feel that it really works but I just can’t easily fall asleep like normal people. Can you please recommend to me what I can do and which one I should take, and how many milligrams is the safest dose for the day in which ever you recommend? Thank you very much and I look forward in hearing from you.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Katerina,

      Thanks for your questions. Its sounds like you have a number of things you are still trying to figure out. Unfortunately, I can’t make treatment or diagnosis recommendations in this post but I can answer some of your questions.
      1) Mag glycinate can be better for sleep since the amino acid glycine has an added calming effect in the brain that complements magnesium. Glycine is a calming neurotransmitter.
      2) Mag glycinate can also keep your stools regular but since its absorbed better than citrate you may need to take more to get the same effect.
      3) A common dosage for mag glycinate is 200-400mg daily in divided doses.

      Note: Mineral supplements can interact with your thyroid meds so be sure to take them at different times of the day.

      I would suggest you consult a Naturopathic doctor to help identify some root causes of the insomnia and muscle pain. There are number of effective things that can be done for fibro and lo.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  39. Joe

    Hello Dr Hrkal,

    My wife and I use mag daily and love it. We always opt for a chelate form. My wife is now 20 weeks pregnant. I have heard that Mag L-Theronate taken before bed can help with better sleep and cognition due to it’s ability to pass the blood brain barrier so quickly. Pregnany has caused some sleepless/anxious nights for my wife. I know most chelates are safe and are often recommended to help with muscle health and calcium absorption in pregnancy. Would there be any reason why Mag L-Theronate would be ill advised in pregnancy?


    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks for your question. You are correct that most chelates are safe however since Mag L-theronate is still a very new ingredient we don’t have much human safe data on it however it has been granted GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status by the FDA so I am confident in its safety for all ages. As an FYI, L-theronine is a metabolite of vitamin C which is definitely safe in pregnancy in low doses.

      Here the link

      I hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  40. Xena

    I have 3 questions

    1) I am in my mid twenties and a longterm insomniac who sleeps 3 hours a day, before going to bed I suffer from high anxiety and muscle spams and restless leg syndrome which keeps me wide awake, which one would be the best to calm me down and get to sleep and how much (how many grams) shall I use to the optimum effect.

    2) is there any difference in using the magnesium oil vs the tablets and which one is better for my situation

    3) I have heard Magnesium works best when combined, there many on the market such as magnesium/calcium and Magnesium zinc again which one would be the best in my severe insomnia/ anxiety situation

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Xena,

      Thanks for the question. I can’t give you medical advise but I can answer some of your questions.
      1) Magnesium glycinate is a very relaxing form of mag that also has the benefit of glycine which is a calming amino acid. Follow the dose on the label but try taking a higher dose short term until you get loose stools and reduce from there.
      2) Oil is a topical application that can help sore muscles but its a not a good way to build up systemic levels if you deficient. Oral forms used for more than 4 months are needed.
      3) Cal/mag is a common supplement combo but we usually have enough calcium in our diets so I prefer magnesium by itself. I agree that restless legs, insomnia and muscle pain would benefit from all the minerals since they work synergistically together so I would also suggest a high potency multi (not a one a day – a good multi is at least 3 caps daily) along with your magnesium. Extra zinc could also be a good idea.

      I would suggest you see a Naturopathic doctor to help you address some roots causes of your insomnia. Somethings food sensitivities can cause inflammation, muscle spams and even insomnia.

      I hope that helps
      Paul Hrkal ND

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Understanding Different Types of Magnesium | Dr Nibber.

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How do people get new ideas?

Presumably, the process of creativity, whatever it is, is essentially the same in all its branches and varieties, so that the evolution of a new art form, a new gadget, a new scientific principle, all involve common factors. We are most interested in the “creation” of a new scientific principle or a new application of an old one, but we can be general here.

One way of investigating the problem is to consider the great ideas of the past and see just how they were generated. Unfortunately, the method of generation is never clear even to the “generators” themselves.

But what if the same earth-shaking idea occurred to two men, simultaneously and independently? Perhaps, the common factors involved would be illuminating. Consider the theory of evolution by natural selection, independently created by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace.

There is a great deal in common there. Both traveled to far places, observing strange species of plants and animals and the manner in which they varied from place to place. Both were keenly interested in finding an explanation for this, and both failed until each happened to read Malthus’s “Essay on Population.”

Both then saw how the notion of overpopulation and weeding out (which Malthus had applied to human beings) would fit into the doctrine of evolution by natural selection (if applied to species generally).

Obviously, then, what is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected.

Undoubtedly in the first half of the 19th century, a great many naturalists had studied the manner in which species were differentiated among themselves. A great many people had read Malthus. Perhaps some both studied species and read Malthus. But what you needed was someone who studied species, read Malthus, and had the ability to make a cross-connection.

That is the crucial point that is the rare characteristic that must be found. Once the cross-connection is made, it becomes obvious. Thomas H. Huxley is supposed to have exclaimed after reading On the Origin of Species, “How stupid of me not to have thought of this.”

But why didn’t he think of it? The history of human thought would make it seem that there is difficulty in thinking of an idea even when all the facts are on the table. Making the cross-connection requires a certain daring. It must, for any cross-connection that does not require daring is performed at once by many and develops not as a “new idea,” but as a mere “corollary of an old idea.”

It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable. It seems the height of unreason to suppose the earth was round instead of flat, or that it moved instead of the sun, or that objects required a force to stop them when in motion, instead of a force to keep them moving, and so on.

A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance. Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us. A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others.

Consequently, the person who is most likely to get new ideas is a person of good background in the field of interest and one who is unconventional in his habits. (To be a crackpot is not, however, enough in itself.)

Once you have the people you want, the next question is: Do you want to bring them together so that they may discuss the problem mutually, or should you inform each of the problem and allow them to work in isolation?

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. (The famous example of Kekule working out the structure of benzene in his sleep is well-known.)

The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.

Nevertheless, a meeting of such people may be desirable for reasons other than the act of creation itself.

No two people exactly duplicate each other’s mental stores of items. One person may know A and not B, another may know B and not A, and either knowing A and B, both may get the idea—though not necessarily at once or even soon.

Furthermore, the information may not only be of individual items A and B, but even of combinations such as A-B, which in themselves are not significant. However, if one person mentions the unusual combination of A-B and another unusual combination A-C, it may well be that the combination A-B-C, which neither has thought of separately, may yield an answer.

It seems to me then that the purpose of cerebration sessions is not to think up new ideas but to educate the participants in facts and fact-combinations, in theories and vagrant thoughts.

But how to persuade creative people to do so? First and foremost, there must be ease, relaxation, and a general sense of permissiveness. The world in general disapproves of creativity, and to be creative in public is particularly bad. Even to speculate in public is rather worrisome. The individuals must, therefore, have the feeling that the others won’t object.

If a single individual present is unsympathetic to the foolishness that would be bound to go on at such a session, the others would freeze. The unsympathetic individual may be a gold mine of information, but the harm he does will more than compensate for that. It seems necessary to me, then, that all people at a session be willing to sound foolish and listen to others sound foolish.

If a single individual present has a much greater reputation than the others, or is more articulate, or has a distinctly more commanding personality, he may well take over the conference and reduce the rest to little more than passive obedience. The individual may himself be extremely useful, but he might as well be put to work solo, for he is neutralizing the rest.

The optimum number of the group would probably not be very high. I should guess that no more than five would be wanted. A larger group might have a larger total supply of information, but there would be the tension of waiting to speak, which can be very frustrating. It would probably be better to have a number of sessions at which the people attending would vary, rather than one session including them all. (This would involve a certain repetition, but even repetition is not in itself undesirable. It is not what people say at these conferences, but what they inspire in each other later on.)

For best purposes, there should be a feeling of informality. Joviality, the use of first names, joking, relaxed kidding are, I think, of the essence—not in themselves, but because they encourage a willingness to be involved in the folly of creativeness. For this purpose I think a meeting in someone’s home or over a dinner table at some restaurant is perhaps more useful than one in a conference room.

Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues.

To feel guilty because one has not earned one’s salary because one has not had a great idea is the surest way, it seems to me, of making it certain that no great idea will come in the next time either.

Yet your company is conducting this cerebration program on government money. To think of congressmen or the general public hearing about scientists fooling around, boondoggling, telling dirty jokes, perhaps, at government expense, is to break into a cold sweat. In fact, the average scientist has enough public conscience not to want to feel he is doing this even if no one finds out.

I would suggest that members at a cerebration session be given sinecure tasks to do—short reports to write, or summaries of their conclusions, or brief answers to suggested problems—and be paid for that; the payment being the fee that would ordinarily be paid for the cerebration session. The cerebration session would then be officially unpaid-for and that, too, would allow considerable relaxation.

I do not think that cerebration sessions can be left unguided. There must be someone in charge who plays a role equivalent to that of a psychoanalyst. A psychoanalyst, as I understand it, by asking the right questions (and except for that interfering as little as possible), gets the patient himself to discuss his past life in such a way as to elicit new understanding of it in his own eyes.

In the same way, a session-arbiter will have to sit there, stirring up the animals, asking the shrewd question, making the necessary comment, bringing them gently back to the point. Since the arbiter will not know which question is shrewd, which comment necessary, and what the point is, his will not be an easy job.

As for “gadgets” designed to elicit creativity, I think these should arise out of the bull sessions themselves. If thoroughly relaxed, free of responsibility, discussing something of interest, and being by nature unconventional, the participants themselves will create devices to stimulate discussion.

Published with permission of Asimov Holdings.


Published for the First Time: a 1959 Essay by Isaac Asimov on Creativity | MIT Technology Review.

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The peace symbol originated as a logo based on an “individual in despair . . . in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad.”



The symbol that would become synonymous with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) was first brought to wide public attention on the Easter weekend of 1958 during a march from London to Aldermaston in Berkshire, the site of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment. The demonstration–the first large-scale anti-nuclear march of its kind–was organized by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC), one of several smaller groups in the U.K. that would go on to form CND. Some 500 symbols were held aloft by protesters as they walked the 52 miles from Trafalgar Square, which suggests that the organizers were aware of the need for both political and visual impact. The fact that, in the form of Gerald Holtom, they already had a professional designer and graduate of the Royal College of Art on board perhaps explains why the symbol achieved immediate success, as well as the swiftness with which it was officially adopted by CND a few months after the march. Holtom was a conscientious objector (during World War II he had worked on a Norfolk farm), and also an established designer. He had created designs as diverse as fabrics based on west African patterns from the late 1930s and a range incorporating photographs of plankton for the Festival of Britain in 1951.



According to Professor Andrew Rigby, writing in Peace News in 2002, Holtom was responsible for designing the banners and placards that were to be carried on the Aldermaston march. “He was convinced that it should have a symbol associated with it that would leave in the public mind a visual image signifying nuclear disarmament,” writes Rigby, “and which would also convey the theme that it was the responsibility of each and every individual to work to remove the threat of nuclear war.”



In a sense, Holtom’s design did represent an individual in pursuit of the cause, albeit in an abstract way. The symbol showed the semaphore for the letters N (both flags held down and angled out from the body) and D (one flag pointing up, the other pointing down), standing for Nuclear Disarmament. But some years later in 1973, when Holtom wrote to Hugh Brock, editor of Peace News at the time of the formation of the DAC, the designer gave a different explanation of how he had created the symbol.


“At first he toyed with the idea of using the Christian cross as the dominant motif,” Rigby explains in his article, “but realized that ‘in Eastern eyes the Christian Cross was synonymous with crusading tyranny culminating in Belsen and Hiroshima and the manufacture and testing of the H-bomb.’ He rejected the image of the dove, as it had been appropriated by “the Stalin regime…to bless and legitimize their H-bomb manufacture.'”


Holtom in fact decided to go for a much more personal approach, as he admitted to Brock. “I was in despair. Deep despair,” he wrote. “I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad. I formalized the drawing into a line and put a circle round it. It was ridiculous at first and such a puny thing.”


In Holtom’s personal notes, reproduced by peace symbol historian Ken Kolsbun, the designer recalls then turning the design into a badge. “I made a drawing of it on a small piece of paper the size of a sixpence and pinned it on to the lapel of my jacket and forgot it,” he wrote. “In the evening I went to the post office. The girl behind the counter looked at me and said, ‘What is that badge you are wearing?’ I looked down in some surprise and saw the ND symbol pinned on my lapel. I felt rather strange and uneasy wearing a badge. ‘Oh, that is the new peace symbol,’ I said. ‘How interesting, are there many of them?’ ‘No, only one, but I expect there will be quite a lot before long.'”


In fact, the first official series of badges made by Eric Austin of the Kensington CND branch were made of white clay with the symbol formed from black paint. According to CND, these were in themselves a symbolic gesture as they were distributed “with a note explaining that in the event of a nuclear war, these fired pottery badges would be among the few human artifacts to survive the nuclear inferno.”



The symbol itself became more formalized as its usage became more widespread. The earliest pictures of Holtom’s design reproduce the submissive “individual in despair” more clearly: the symbol is constructed of lines that widen out as they meet the circle, where a head, feet and outstretched arms might be. But by the early 1960s the lines had thickened and straightened out and designers such as Ken Garland, who worked on CND material from 1962 to 1968, were able to use a bolder incarnation of the symbol in their work. Garland built on the graphic nature of the symbol to create a play of black-and-white shapes for a series of striking posters. He also used a photograph of his daughter Ruth in the design for a leaflet on which the symbol was used in place of the O in “SAY NO.”


In the U.K. the symbol has remained the logo of CND since the late 1950s, but internationally it has taken on a broader message signifying peace. For Holtom this perhaps came as a bonus since, according to Rigby, he had been frustrated with his original design, which depicted the struggle inherent in the pursuit of unilateral action. Shortly before the Aldermaston march Holtom experienced what he termed a “revolution of thought.” He realized, Rigby writes, that if he inverted the symbol “then it could be seen as representing the tree of life, the tree on which Christ had been crucified and which, for Christians like Gerald Holtom, was a symbol of hope and resurrection. Furthermore, that inverted image of a figure with arms stretched upwards and outwards also represented the semaphore signal for U–Unilateral.”



This last quirk of a symbol that had its message so neatly encapsulated in its design meant it could echo both the frustrations of the anti-nuclear campaigner in the face of political change and the sense of optimism that the task at hand would bring. This was another example of the thinking Holtom would bring to the first march to Aldermaston, which has since become an annual event. Of the lollipop signs he designed for the event, half displayed the symbol in black on white, the other half white on green. “Just as the church’s liturgical colors change over Easter,” CND explain, “so the colors were to change, ‘from Winter to Spring, from Death to Life.’ Black and white would be displayed on Good Friday and Saturday, green and white on Easter Sunday and Monday.”


From the beginning, Holtom’s aim had been to help instigate positive change, to bring about a transformation from winter to spring. Today CND continues to pursue this mission, just as the peace movement does internationally.

This was excerpted with permission from TM: The Untold Stories Behind 29 Classic Logos (Lawrence King). Buy a copy here for $27

The Untold Story Of The Peace Sign | Co.Design | business + design.

Investigative reporter Gary Webb linked the CIA to America’s introduction to crack cocaine


In a scene from the new movie Kill the Messenger, investigative reporter Gary Webb (played by Jeremy Renner) says that he doesn’t believe in conspiracy theories. He does, however, believe in real conspiracies: “If I believe it, there’s nothing ‘theory’ about it.” The true story on which the movie is based, however, makes it clear that it’s not always obvious what’s a theory and what’s the truth.


It started when Webb wrote a series of three articles for the San Jose Mercury News in 1996 dubbed “Dark Alliance.” In his report, Webb — who had won a Pulitzer in 1989 for a different story — claimed that the CIA was partly responsible for bringing crack cocaine to the United States in the 1980s.


Webb conducted a year-long investigation during which he discovered that a San Francisco-based drug ring, which had ties to a CIA-sponsored Nicaraguan contra group called the FDN, sold cocaine to a dealer in South Central Los Angeles. The millions of dollars made from those sales were later used to fund a secret war against the leftist Sandinista regime. In short, Webb accused the CIA of being complicit in getting thousands of poor African-Americans addicted to crack in order to fund rebels in Central America.


The story attracted hundreds of thousands of readers to the newspaper’s site at a time when “going viral” was still a twinkle in the Internet’s eye. It was accompanied by a heavy-handed picture of a man smoking crack under the CIA seal.


As word about the story spread through the Internet, TV and radio, politicians took up Webb’s cause. Representative Maxine Waters, a congresswoman for South Central Los Angeles — the heart of the drug wars — requested both federal and congressional inquiries into the role that the U.S. government played in bringing cocaine into her community.


But many dismissed Webb’s reporting as a conspiracy theory. “Even sources who are routinely skeptical of the official line on the contras agree that the idea that the agency was behind drug smuggling by the contras is fantasy,” journalist Eliane Shannon, who covered the war on drugs, told TIME shortly after the Mercury New ran the articles. The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times all ran their own investigations that disputed many points in Webb’s story — though all three of those pieces had their own reporting problems, according to TIME’s Jack E. White.


In 1997, the Mercury News executive editor Jerry Ceppos backed away from the story, calling it flawed in an editorial. Ceppos said that the paper “did not have proof” that top CIA officials knew about the connection between the L.A. drug trade and the contras. (However, he also noted that Webb disagreed with him on this point.)


Webb resigned from the paper shortly thereafter. The next year, he published a book titled Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras and the Crack Cocaine Explosion detailing his own reporting process and the controversy the series provoked.


A 1998, a CIA inspector general’s report denied any ties between the U.S. government and the drug dealers Webb named in his articles and book, but ultimately confirmed Webb’s thesis that the CIA had worked with contras despite drug-dealing allegations against them. Still, Webb’s reputation as an investigative journalist was tarnished.


In 2004, Webb was found dead at the age of 49 from two gunshot wounds to the head. Police ruled it a suicide.


This Is the Real Story Behind Kill The Messenger | TIME.

These romance writers ditched their publishers for ebooks — and made millions

Yahoo Finance

Bella Andre

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Photo: Romance novelist Bella Andre earns eight figures as an independent writer.

In early 2010, things weren’t going very well for San Francisco-based romance novelist Bella Andre. Brick-and-mortar bookstores were shutting down in large numbers, and after seven years, eight books and two publishers, she learned she had been axed from her latest contract.

“I was hanging on by my fingernails,” says Andre, 41, who was trying to carve out a niche in contemporary romance. Peers advised her to try a different pen name, to change genres, to write anything but love stories. With a degree in economics from Stanford University and a background in music, she wasn’t short on career options.

Then a friend suggested she look into self-publishing. At the time,’s  (AMZN) direct publishing platform, which allows just about anyone to publish and sell their books online, was beginning to gain traction among professional writers. After years of bending her stories to the will and opinions of publishers, editors and literary agents, Andre found the prospect of having complete autonomy over her material very appealing.

“As an author, I was not high up on the publishing food chain and [my ideas] were rarely ever listened to,” she says. “I took my friend’s advice and I dove right into self-publishing.”


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Source: Bella Andre

Source: Bella Andre

Her first ebook, “Love Me”, went live in the spring of 2010 for $3.99. Within a month, she had earned $20,000 — four times as much as any book contract she had ever signed. Just a few months later, her second original ebook became the first self-published title to hit Amazon’s top-25 best sellers list. She was hooked.

Today, like many independent romance authors, Andre has become a one-woman publishing house. She’s churned out more than 30 titles and sold 3.5 million books around the world, the majority in ebook format. Revenue for Oak Press LLC, the indie publishing house she created in 2011, has been in the “eight figures,” she says. In 2014, Publisher’s Weekly named it the fastest growing independent publisher in the U.S.

Andre isn’t the only one. Despite the fact that ebook sales in the U.S. have begun to level off, romance books are much more likely to be purchased in digital format. Nearly 40% of new romance books in the first quarter of 2014 were purchased as ebooks, compared to 32% bought in paperback form, according to a recent report by Nielsen. In contrast, ebooks accounted for less than one-quarter of total new book sales during the same time period.

Say what you will about romance novels (bodice-rippers, Fabio covers and all), it’s hard to deny that some of the most exciting entrepreneurs in the U.S. today aren’t hoodie-wearing app developers — they’re women writing books for women and making millions in the process.

There is very little official data on book-author earnings available, which is why suspense writer Hugh Howey created, where he analyzes and publishes data on online ebook sales. According to his findings, nearly 30% of the top 100 bestsellers on Amazon were self-published in July.   

And romance indie writers are leading the pack. As of mid-July, indie romance writers accounted for a whopping two-thirds of total romance ebook revenue on Amazon, compared to the 18% cut enjoyed by traditionally published authors.

“This makes a lot of people uncomfortable,” Howey says. “That’s a huge power that self-published authors have.”  


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In a recent analysis of debut Kindle authors, he found many more new self-published writers were earning $100,000+ annually than those who were published from the top five traditional publishers.

“[Traditional publisher books] advances are no longer high enough to support debut authors,” he wrote in the report. “And yet, at the same time, we have met and heard from hundreds of self-published authors who are not household names but are making a full-time wage from their works.”

Business is booming

As a genre, romance lends itself exceptionally well to digital publishing for a few notable reasons. Romance readers — 84% of whom are female — are a voracious bunch. Two-thirds of romance readers plow through at least two books a month, according to the RWA — twice as many as the typical American adult, Pew researchers found.

“I think ebook sales have definitely aided the romance genre,” says Erin Fry, editor and publications manager at the RWA. “And romance writers have always been at the forefront of the digital revolution. Authors can make real careers out of being self-published or combining print and digital.”

With the smash success of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, publishers have been looking at the romance genre with dollar signs in their eyes.


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Source: Barbara Freethy

Source: Barbara Freethy

E.L. James’ sexy tale of a college student’s erotic love affair with a corporate executive actually began as wildly popular “Twilight” fanfiction. When a small publisher in Australia caught on to the buzz online, it asked James to swap out the main characters and produce the story as an original ebook.

These days, Rose Fox, romance and erotica reviews editor at Publishers Weekly, says pitches for new novels written by fanfiction writers are becoming increasingly common.

Another factor driving ebook sales is that, in romance fiction, series sell. The most successful romance writers are able to churn out new material at a rapid clip to satiate their fan base. Whereas a traditionally published author may wait a year to see their book in stores after completion, the timeline is less than a month for indie authors.

“People read the next romance next series in a week and need something else right away,” Howey says. “It’s hard [for traditional publishers] to ramp up … as quickly as people can read them.”

With enough reader demand, some romance writers will pump out a new tome every few months. Andre puts out about six books per year, while Barbara Freethy, an indie romance novelist based in Northern California, published 10 in the past four years.

“Everyone goes on Netflix (NFLX) and watches all of ‘Homeland’ at once, and a lot of that is happening in romance books,” says Freethy, 55. “Ebooks are affordable, and people can read as many as they want.”

Like Andre, Freethy got her start in print before going independent in 2011. Since then, she’s sold nearly 5 million ebook versions of her self-published titles and more than tripled the revenue she made with traditional publishers. She pockets 70% of her Amazon ebook sales, versus the 25% cut she would get from a traditional publisher, which she would then have to split with her agent.

“It’s a lot more work than it was when I just wrote the books, but the reward is so much greater,” Freethy says. “I’m basically running my own multimillion-dollar business.”


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Courtney Milan

Courtney Milan

Fellow indie writer Courtney Milan, who writes historical romance fiction, went from earning what she describes as an “average household income” with a traditional publisher to bringing in close to $1 million each year by putting out two books per year on her own dime.

 “I just can’t figure out how it’s ever going to be economically feasible [to go back to a traditional publisher] and do what I do on my own in terms of income, and still protect what I’ve developed and want to continue to develop,” says Milan, 38, who lives in Denver.

Of course, not every romance novelist — or any novelist, for that matter — can expect overnight success. What Andre, Freethy, Milan and so many other successful indie writers shared when they began self-publishing was a built-in fanbase from their days in print.

“It’s not realistic for any new author to expect to be a runaway success, regardless of how you’re getting published,” says Fox. “Most new authors are new authors. It’s going to take a couple of tries to figure out what works for them.”

Risk and reward

To say it takes more work to self-publish is putting it lightly. At their core, the successful independent writers we spoke with are more like savvy CEOs with  mini-corporations to manage than carefree writers spinning love stories.

“Instead of getting paid money to sit there and write, you’re investing money,” Fox says. “Yes, there is more to be gained if the book finds success, but there’s also more risk, and that’s what it means to be a self-publisher.”

There are five major self-publishing platforms, including Amazon, Google (GOOG), Barnes & Noble (BKS), and Kobo. It takes time and effort to format a book for each company’s unique platform. And professional writers often still need the same amount of editing time as they would with a traditional publisher. Between cover artists, editors and proofreaders, it can cost anywhere from $700 to $4,000 upfront to put out an ebook, depending on how picky you are, Milan says.  It can cost even more when you try translating your books for foreign markets and producing audiobooks.

Andre employs more than a dozen contract workers in countries across the globe. They help with editing, licensing her work in foreign countries, and translating and tracking her sales. She handles marketing herself and designs all her own cover art.

“I have an economics background and I’ve always been entrepreneurial,” Andre says. “This is the perfect sweet spot for me, someone who understands how to run a business, really enjoys building a brand and marketing but also has a deep creative strain.”

Milan hired a full-time project manager last year to help with everything from audiobook quality control to managing her sales figures and schedule. When a new book is ready, she assembles a team to work on the cover design and perform several rounds of proofreading and editing.

When she needed help navigating the business, she turned to other romance writers for support.

“The true story of self-publishing [in romance] is not one individual doing well,” she says. “It’s multiple individuals working together to figure out the best way to publish digital books.”

These romance writers ditched their publishers for ebooks — and made millions – Yahoo Finance.

What’s the best way to teach teachers?

What’s the best way to teach teachers?.


HealthTap’s Video Chatting Doctors Want to End Your WebMD Meltdowns



“On the internet,” says Ron Gutman, “every headache becomes a brain tumor in four clicks or less.”

For Gutman and his colleagues in the world of health tech, this has become a running joke, a cheeky nod to just how far the human imagination can wander after a quick search of benign symptoms. But there’s more than a little truth to it. The fact is: the sheer abundance of health information online makes consulting Dr. Google an altogether flawed—and at times terrifying—first step toward getting better.

Ron Gutman.

Ron Gutman. Alex Washburn/WIRED

So, in 2010, Gutman launched HealthTap, an online service that makes it just as easy to get answers to your health questions from a real, trusted doctor. The company started as a kind of beefed-up question-and-answer site, where users can get free responses to their medical queries from thousands of peer-reviewed doctors, and it grew exponentially, serving over 100 million people with some 1.9 billion doctor answers after just a few years.Now, Gutman is taking things one step further. On Wednesday, his company announced the launch of HealthTap Prime, a new service that gives subscribers unlimited access to live videoconferences with actual doctors for $99 a month, plus $10 for every additional family member.

With Prime, HealthTap is feeding the rapidly growing demand for telemedicine services. According to the research firm IHS, revenue from companies entering this space is expected to grow to $1.9 billion in 2018, a huge leap from the $240 million the industry made in 2013. That’s driven in part by the Affordable Care Act, which champions the use of telehealth technologies in an effort to drive down Medicare and Medicaid costs and improve patient outcomes.

Revenue from telemedicine companies is expected to grow to $1.9 billion in 2018, a huge leap from the $240 million the industry made in 2013.

It’s also a reaction to the growing awareness that many patients are wasting their money on costly and unnecessary tests and doctor visits. One 2009 study by Thomson Reuters found that “unnecessary care”—including unnecessary tests meant to safeguard providers from liability—accounted for $250 billion to $325 billion in annual healthcare spending.



While telemedicine may never replace traditional in-person care, it does hold the promise of reducing such extraneous doctor visits, making care less costly and more convenient for both the patient and the provider. And as wearable devices and other at-home monitoring tools become more sophisticated, the scope of care that can be delivered virtually will only expand.Several companies are already going after a piece of this massive pie. American Well and Teladoc have begun partnering with insurance companies to offer subscribers telemedicine services as an added benefit in their coverage, and others, like Doctors on Demand, backed by television’s Dr. Phil McGraw, are targeting patients first. Because the field is so new, says Forrester analyst Peter Mueller, there’s still ample room for competition in the space. “I don’t think anyone’s got a lock on the market,” says Mueller, who focuses on health technology. “People are still playing around with models, and this is definitely an interesting one.”

More Than a Video Conferencing Tool

But for Gutman, HealthTap is the only company addressing patient needs from the moment they have a question about a symptom to the virtual consultation and, if necessary, all the way through to diagnosis and prescription. That means with Prime, HealthTap is simultaneously taking on giants like WebMD, major insurers with their own telemedicine programs, and the established healthcare system as we know it. “A lot of people who are starting to do telemedicine services take Skype, put it in a wrapper, have doctors here, patients there, put it in the app store, and they’re done,” he says. “That’s not healthcare. That’s a feature.”

In designing the app, Gutman and his team wanted to make Prime more than just a video conferencing tool. Anyone can access HealthTap’s free database of doctor answers, but only Prime subscribers can pose follow up questions, visible only to them and the community of doctors. HealthTap also creates a personalized feed for Prime users. Similar to Facebook’s News Feed, it generates doctor answers users might be interested in and doctor-approved articles that might pertain to them, based on each user’s personal health records.

HealthTap is taking on giants like WebMD, major insurers with their own telemedicine programs, and the established healthcare system as we know it.

HealthTap’s Video Chatting Doctors Want to End Your WebMD Meltdowns | Business | WIRED.

When Akihiko Takahashi was a junior in college in 1978, he was like most of the other students at his university in suburban Tokyo. He had a vague sense of wanting to accomplish something but no clue what that something should be. But that spring he met a man who would become his mentor, and this relationship set the course of his entire career.

Takeshi Matsuyama was an elementary-school teacher, but like a small number of instructors in Japan, he taught not just young children but also college students who wanted to become teachers. At the university-affiliated elementary school where Matsuyama taught, he turned his classroom into a kind of laboratory, concocting and trying out new teaching ideas. When Takahashi met him, Matsuyama was in the middle of his boldest experiment yet — revolutionizing the way students learned math by radically changing the way teachers taught it.

Instead of having students memorize and then practice endless lists of equations — which Takahashi remembered from his own days in school — Matsuyama taught his college students to encourage passionate discussions among children so they would come to uncover math’s procedures, properties and proofs for themselves. One day, for example, the young students would derive the formula for finding the area of a rectangle; the next, they would use what they learned to do the same for parallelograms. Taught this new way, math itself seemed transformed. It was not dull misery but challenging, stimulating and even fun.


Credit Photo illustration by Andrew B. Myers. Prop stylist: Randi Brookman Harris.

Takahashi quickly became a convert. He discovered that these ideas came from reformers in the United States, and he dedicated himself to learning to teach like an American. Over the next 12 years, as the Japanese educational system embraced this more vibrant approach to math, Takahashi taught first through sixth grade. Teaching, and thinking about teaching, was practically all he did. A quiet man with calm, smiling eyes, his passion for a new kind of math instruction could take his colleagues by surprise. “He looks very gentle and kind,” Kazuyuki Shirai, a fellow math teacher, told me through a translator. “But when he starts talking about math, everything changes.”

Takahashi was especially enthralled with an American group called the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, or N.C.T.M., which published manifestoes throughout the 1980s, prescribing radical changes in the teaching of math. Spending late nights at school, Takahashi read every one. Like many professionals in Japan, teachers often said they did their work in the name of their mentor. It was as if Takahashi bore two influences: Matsuyama and the American reformers.

Takahashi, who is 58, became one of his country’s leading math teachers, once attracting 1,000 observers to a public lesson. He participated in a classroom equivalent of “Iron Chef,” the popular Japanese television show. But in 1991, when he got the opportunity to take a new job in America, teaching at a school run by the Japanese Education Ministry for expats in Chicago, he did not hesitate. With his wife, a graphic designer, he left his friends, family, colleagues — everything he knew — and moved to the United States, eager to be at the center of the new math.

As soon as he arrived, he started spending his days off visiting American schools. One of the first math classes he observed gave him such a jolt that he assumed there must have been some kind of mistake. The class looked exactly like his own memories of school. “I thought, Well, that’s only this class,” Takahashi said. But the next class looked like the first, and so did the next and the one after that. The Americans might have invented the world’s best methods for teaching math to children, but it was difficult to find anyone actually using them.

It wasn’t the first time that Americans had dreamed up a better way to teach math and then failed to implement it. The same pattern played out in the 1960s, when schools gripped by a post-Sputnik inferiority complex unveiled an ambitious “new math,” only to find, a few years later, that nothing actually changed. In fact, efforts to introduce a better way of teaching math stretch back to the 1800s. The story is the same every time: a big, excited push, followed by mass confusion and then a return to conventional practices.

The trouble always starts when teachers are told to put innovative ideas into practice without much guidance on how to do it. In the hands of unprepared teachers, the reforms turn to nonsense, perplexing students more than helping them. One 1965 Peanuts cartoon depicts the young blond-haired Sally struggling to understand her new-math assignment: “Sets . . . one to one matching . . . equivalent sets . . . sets of one . . . sets of two . . . renaming two. . . .” After persisting for three valiant frames, she throws back her head and bursts into tears: “All I want to know is, how much is two and two?”

Today the frustrating descent from good intentions to tears is playing out once again, as states across the country carry out the latest wave of math reforms: the Common Core. A new set of academic standards developed to replace states’ individually designed learning goals, the Common Core math standards are like earlier math reforms, only further refined and more ambitious. Whereas previous movements found teachers haphazardly, through organizations like Takahashi’s beloved N.C.T.M. math-teacher group, the Common Core has a broader reach. A group of governors and education chiefs from 48 states initiated the writing of the standards, for both math and language arts, in 2009. The same year, the Obama administration encouraged the idea, making the adoption of rigorous “common standards” a criterion for receiving a portion of the more than $4 billion in Race to the Top grants. Forty-three states have adopted the standards.

The opportunity to change the way math is taught, as N.C.T.M. declared in its endorsement of the Common Core standards, is “unprecedented.” And yet, once again, the reforms have arrived without any good system for helping teachers learn to teach them. Responding to a recent survey by Education Week, teachers said they had typically spent fewer than four days in Common Core training, and that included training for the language-arts standards as well as the math.

Carefully taught, the assignments can help make math more concrete. Students don’t just memorize their times tables and addition facts but also understand how arithmetic works and how to apply it to real-life situations. But in practice, most teachers are unprepared and children are baffled, leaving parents furious. The comedian Louis C.K. parodied his daughters’ homework in an appearance on “The Late Show With David Letterman”: “It’s like, Bill has three goldfish. He buys two more. How many dogs live in London?”

The inadequate implementation can make math reforms seem like the most absurd form of policy change — one that creates a whole new problem to solve. Why try something we’ve failed at a half-dozen times before, only to watch it backfire? Just four years after the standards were first released, this argument has gained traction on both sides of the aisle. Since March, four Republican governors have opposed the standards. In New York, a Republican candidate is trying to establish another ballot line, called Stop Common Core, for the November gubernatorial election. On the left, meanwhile, teachers’ unions in Chicago and New York have opposed the reforms.

The fact that countries like Japan have implemented a similar approach with great success offers little consolation when the results here seem so dreadful. Americans might have written the new math, but maybe we simply aren’t suited to it. “By God,” wrote Erick Erickson, editor of the website RedState, in an anti-Common Core attack, is it such “a horrific idea that we might teach math the way math has always been taught.”

The new math of the ‘60s, the new new math of the ‘80s and today’s Common Core math all stem from the idea that the traditional way of teaching math simply does not work. As a nation, we suffer from an ailment that John Allen Paulos, a Temple University math professor and an author, calls innumeracy — the mathematical equivalent of not being able to read. On national tests, nearly two-thirds of fourth graders and eighth graders are not proficient in math. More than half of fourth graders taking the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress could not accurately read the temperature on a neatly drawn thermometer. (They did not understand that each hash mark represented two degrees rather than one, leading many students to mistake 46 degrees for 43 degrees.) On the same multiple-choice test, three-quarters of fourth graders could not translate a simple word problem about a girl who sold 15 cups of lemonade on Saturday and twice as many on Sunday into the expression “15 + (2×15).” Even in Massachusetts, one of the country’s highest-performing states, math students are more than two years behind their counterparts in Shanghai.

Continue reading the main story

The new math of the ’60s, the new, new math of the ’80s and today’s Common Core math all stem from the idea that the traditional way of teaching math simply does not work.

Adulthood does not alleviate our quantitative deficiency. A 2012 study comparing 16-to-65-year-olds in 20 countries found that Americans rank in the bottom five in numeracy. On a scale of 1 to 5, 29 percent of them scored at Level 1 or below, meaning they could do basic arithmetic but not computations requiring two or more steps. One study that examined medical prescriptions gone awry found that 17 percent of errors were caused by math mistakes on the part of doctors or pharmacists. A survey found that three-quarters of doctors inaccurately estimated the rates of death and major complications associated with common medical procedures, even in their own specialty areas.

One of the most vivid arithmetic failings displayed by Americans occurred in the early 1980s, when the A&W restaurant chain released a new hamburger to rival the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder. With a third-pound of beef, the A&W burger had more meat than the Quarter Pounder; in taste tests, customers preferred A&W’s burger. And it was less expensive. A lavish A&W television and radio marketing campaign cited these benefits. Yet instead of leaping at the great value, customers snubbed it.

Only when the company held customer focus groups did it become clear why. The Third Pounder presented the American public with a test in fractions. And we failed. Misunderstanding the value of one-third, customers believed they were being overcharged. Why, they asked the researchers, should they pay the same amount for a third of a pound of meat as they did for a quarter-pound of meat at McDonald’s. The “4” in “¼,” larger than the “3” in “⅓,” led them astray.

But our innumeracy isn’t inevitable. In the 1970s and the 1980s, cognitive scientists studied a population known as the unschooled, people with little or no formal education. Observing workers at a Baltimore dairy factory in the ‘80s, the psychologist Sylvia Scribner noted that even basic tasks required an extensive amount of math. For instance, many of the workers charged with loading quarts and gallons of milk into crates had no more than a sixth-grade education. But they were able to do math, in order to assemble their loads efficiently, that was “equivalent to shifting between different base systems of numbers.” Throughout these mental calculations, errors were “virtually nonexistent.” And yet when these workers were out sick and the dairy’s better-educated office workers filled in for them, productivity declined.

The unschooled may have been more capable of complex math than people who were specifically taught it, but in the context of school, they were stymied by math they already knew. Studies of children in Brazil, who helped support their families by roaming the streets selling roasted peanuts and coconuts, showed that the children routinely solved complex problems in their heads to calculate a bill or make change. When cognitive scientists presented the children with the very same problem, however, this time with pen and paper, they stumbled. A 12-year-old boy who accurately computed the price of four coconuts at 35 cruzeiros each was later given the problem on paper. Incorrectly using the multiplication method he was taught in school, he came up with the wrong answer. Similarly, when Scribner gave her dairy workers tests using the language of math class, their scores averaged around 64 percent. The cognitive-science research suggested a startling cause of Americans’ innumeracy: school.

Most American math classes follow the same pattern, a ritualistic series of steps so ingrained that one researcher termed it a cultural script. Some teachers call the pattern “I, We, You.” After checking homework, teachers announce the day’s topic, demonstrating a new procedure: “Today, I’m going to show you how to divide a three-digit number by a two-digit number” (I). Then they lead the class in trying out a sample problem: “Let’s try out the steps for 242 ÷ 16” (We). Finally they let students work through similar problems on their own, usually by silently making their way through a work sheet: “Keep your eyes on your own paper!” (You).

By focusing only on procedures — “Draw a division house, put ‘242’ on the inside and ‘16’ on the outside, etc.” — and not on what the procedures mean, “I, We, You” turns school math into a sort of arbitrary process wholly divorced from the real world of numbers. Students learn not math but, in the words of one math educator, answer-getting. Instead of trying to convey, say, the essence of what it means to subtract fractions, teachers tell students to draw butterflies and multiply along the diagonal wings, add the antennas and finally reduce and simplify as needed. The answer-getting strategies may serve them well for a class period of practice problems, but after a week, they forget. And students often can’t figure out how to apply the strategy for a particular problem to new problems.

How could you teach math in school that mirrors the way children learn it in the world? That was the challenge Magdalene Lampert set for herself in the 1980s, when she began teaching elementary-school math in Cambridge, Mass. She grew up in Trenton, accompanying her father on his milk deliveries around town, solving the milk-related math problems he encountered. “Like, you know: If Mrs. Jones wants three quarts of this and Mrs. Smith, who lives next door, wants eight quarts, how many cases do you have to put on the truck?” Lampert, who is 67 years old, explained to me.

She knew there must be a way to tap into what students already understood and then build on it. In her classroom, she replaced “I, We, You” with a structure you might call “You, Y’all, We.” Rather than starting each lesson by introducing the main idea to be learned that day, she assigned a single “problem of the day,” designed to let students struggle toward it — first on their own (You), then in peer groups (Y’all) and finally as a whole class (We). The result was a process that replaced answer-getting with what Lampert called sense-making. By pushing students to talk about math, she invited them to share the misunderstandings most American students keep quiet until the test. In the process, she gave them an opportunity to realize, on their own, why their answers were wrong.

Lampert, who until recently was a professor of education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, now works for the Boston Teacher Residency, a program serving Boston public schools, and the New Visions for Public Schools network in New York City, instructing educators on how to train teachers. In her book, “Teaching Problems and the Problems of Teaching,” Lampert tells the story of how one of her fifth-grade classes learned fractions. One day, a student made a “conjecture” that reflected a common misconception among children. The fraction 5 / 6, the student argued, goes on the same place on the number line as 5 / 12. For the rest of the class period, the student listened as a lineup of peers detailed all the reasons the two numbers couldn’t possibly be equivalent, even though they had the same numerator. A few days later, when Lampert gave a quiz on the topic (“Prove that 3 / 12 = 1 / 4 ,” for example), the student could confidently declare why: “Three sections of the 12 go into each fourth.”

Over the years, observers who have studied Lampert’s classroom have found that students learn an unusual amount of math. Rather than forgetting algorithms, they retain and even understand them. One boy who began fifth grade declaring math to be his worst subject ended it able to solve multiplication, long division and fraction problems, not to mention simple multivariable equations. It’s hard to look at Lampert’s results without concluding that with the help of a great teacher, even Americans can become the so-called math people we don’t think we are.

Among math reformers, Lampert’s work gained attention. Her research was cited in the same N.C.T.M. standards documents that Takahashi later pored over. She was featured in Time magazine in 1989 and was retained by the producers of “Sesame Street” to help create the show “Square One Television,” aimed at making math accessible to children. Yet as her ideas took off, she began to see a problem. In Japan, she was influencing teachers she had never met, by way of the N.C.T.M. standards. But where she lived, in America, teachers had few opportunities for learning the methods she developed.


Credit Photo illustration by Andrew B. Myers. Prop stylist: Randi Brookman Harris. Butterfly icon by Tim Boelaars.

American institutions charged with training teachers in new approaches to math have proved largely unable to do it. At most education schools, the professors with the research budgets and deanships have little interest in the science of teaching. Indeed, when Lampert attended Harvard’s Graduate School of Education in the 1970s, she could find only one listing in the entire course catalog that used the word “teaching” in its title. (Today only 19 out of 231 courses include it.) Methods courses, meanwhile, are usually taught by the lowest ranks of professors — chronically underpaid, overworked and, ultimately, ineffective.

Without the right training, most teachers do not understand math well enough to teach it the way Lampert does. “Remember,” Lampert says, “American teachers are only a subset of Americans.” As graduates of American schools, they are no more likely to display numeracy than the rest of us. “I’m just not a math person,” Lampert says her education students would say with an apologetic shrug.

Consequently, the most powerful influence on teachers is the one most beyond our control. The sociologist Dan Lortie calls the phenomenon the apprenticeship of observation. Teachers learn to teach primarily by recalling their memories of having been taught, an average of 13,000 hours of instruction over a typical childhood. The apprenticeship of observation exacerbates what the education scholar Suzanne Wilson calls education reform’s double bind. The very people who embody the problem — teachers — are also the ones charged with solving it.

Lampert witnessed the effects of the double bind in 1986, a year after California announced its intention to adopt “teaching for understanding,” a style of math instruction similar to Lampert’s. A team of researchers that included Lampert’s husband, David Cohen, traveled to California to see how the teachers were doing as they began to put the reforms into practice. But after studying three dozen classrooms over four years, they found the new teaching simply wasn’t happening. Some of the failure could be explained by active resistance. One teacher deliberately replaced a new textbook’s problem-solving pages with the old worksheets he was accustomed to using.

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Teachers primarily learn to teach by recalling their memories of having been taught, about 13,000 hours of instruction during a typical childhood — a problem since their instruction wasn’t very good.

Much more common, though, were teachers who wanted to change, and were willing to work hard to do it, but didn’t know how. Cohen observed one teacher, for example, who claimed to have incited a “revolution” in her classroom. But on closer inspection, her classroom had changed but not in the way California reformers intended it to. Instead of focusing on mathematical ideas, she inserted new activities into the traditional “I, We You” framework. The supposedly cooperative learning groups she used to replace her rows of desks, for example, seemed in practice less a tool to encourage discussion than a means to dismiss the class for lunch (this group can line up first, now that group, etc.).

And how could she have known to do anything different? Her principal praised her efforts, holding them up as an example for others. Official math-reform training did not help, either. Sometimes trainers offered patently bad information — failing to clarify, for example, that even though teachers were to elicit wrong answers from students, they still needed, eventually, to get to correct ones. Textbooks, too, barely changed, despite publishers’ claims to the contrary.

With the Common Core, teachers are once more being asked to unlearn an old approach and learn an entirely new one, essentially on their own. Training is still weak and infrequent, and principals — who are no more skilled at math than their teachers — remain unprepared to offer support. Textbooks, once again, have received only surface adjustments, despite the shiny Common Core labels that decorate their covers. “To have a vendor say their product is Common Core is close to meaningless,” says Phil Daro, an author of the math standards.

Left to their own devices, teachers are once again trying to incorporate new ideas into old scripts, often botching them in the process. One especially nonsensical result stems from the Common Core’s suggestion that students not just find answers but also “illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models.” The idea of utilizing arrays of dots makes sense in the hands of a skilled teacher, who can use them to help a student understand how multiplication actually works. For example, a teacher trying to explain multiplication might ask a student to first draw three rows of dots with two dots in each row and then imagine what the picture would look like with three or four or five dots in each row. Guiding the student through the exercise, the teacher could help her see that each march up the times table (3×2, 3×3, 3×4) just means adding another dot per row. But if a teacher doesn’t use the dots to illustrate bigger ideas, they become just another meaningless exercise. Instead of memorizing familiar steps, students now practice even stranger rituals, like drawing dots only to count them or breaking simple addition problems into complicated forms (62+26, for example, must become 60+2+20+6) without understanding why. This can make for even poorer math students. “In the hands of unprepared teachers,” Lampert says, “alternative algorithms are worse than just teaching them standard algorithms.”

No wonder parents and some mathematicians denigrate the reforms as “fuzzy math.” In the warped way untrained teachers interpret them, they are fuzzy.

When Akihiko Takahashi arrived in America, he was surprised to find how rarely teachers discussed their teaching methods. A year after he got to Chicago, he went to a one-day conference of teachers and mathematicians and was perplexed by the fact that the gathering occurred only twice a year. In Japan, meetings between math-education professors and teachers happened as a matter of course, even before the new American ideas arrived. More distressing to Takahashi was that American teachers had almost no opportunities to watch one another teach.

In Japan, teachers had always depended on jugyokenkyu, which translates literally as “lesson study,” a set of practices that Japanese teachers use to hone their craft. A teacher first plans lessons, then teaches in front of an audience of students and other teachers along with at least one university observer. Then the observers talk with the teacher about what has just taken place. Each public lesson poses a hypothesis, a new idea about how to help children learn. And each discussion offers a chance to determine whether it worked. Without jugyokenkyu, it was no wonder the American teachers’ work fell short of the model set by their best thinkers. Without jugyokenyku, Takahashi never would have learned to teach at all. Neither, certainly, would the rest of Japan’s teachers.

The best discussions were the most microscopic, minute-by-minute recollections of what had occurred, with commentary. If the students were struggling to represent their subtractions visually, why not help them by, say, arranging tile blocks in groups of 10, a teacher would suggest. Or after a geometry lesson, someone might note the inherent challenge for children in seeing angles as not just corners of a triangle but as quantities — a more difficult stretch than making the same mental step for area. By the end, the teachers had learned not just how to teach the material from that day but also about math and the shape of students’ thoughts and how to mold them.

If teachers weren’t able to observe the methods firsthand, they could find textbooks, written by the leading instructors and focusing on the idea of allowing students to work on a single problem each day. Lesson study helped the textbook writers home in on the most productive problems. For example, if you are trying to decide on the best problem to teach children to subtract a one-digit number from a two-digit number using borrowing, or regrouping, you have many choices: 11 minus 2, 18 minus 9, etc. Yet from all these options, five of the six textbook companies in Japan converged on the same exact problem, Toshiakira Fujii, a professor of math education at Tokyo Gakugei University, told me. They determined that 13 minus 9 was the best. Other problems, it turned out, were likely to lead students to discover only one solution method. With 12 minus 3, for instance, the natural approach for most students was to take away 2 and then 1 (the subtraction-subtraction method). Very few would take 3 from 10 and then add back 2 (the subtraction-addition method).

But Japanese teachers knew that students were best served by understanding both methods. They used 13 minus 9 because, faced with that particular problem, students were equally likely to employ subtraction-subtraction (take away 3 to get 10, and then subtract the remaining 6 to get 4) as they were to use subtraction-addition (break 13 into 10 and 3, and then take 9 from 10 and add the remaining 1 and 3 to get 4). A teacher leading the “We” part of the lesson, when students shared their strategies, could do so with full confidence that both methods would emerge.

By 1995, when American researchers videotaped eighth-grade classrooms in the United States and Japan, Japanese schools had overwhelmingly traded the old “I, We, You” script for “You, Y’all, We.” (American schools, meanwhile didn’t look much different than they did before the reforms.) Japanese students had changed too. Participating in class, they spoke more often than Americans and had more to say. In fact, when Takahashi came to Chicago initially, the first thing he noticed was how uncomfortably silent all the classrooms were. One teacher must have said, “Shh!” a hundred times, he said. Later, when he took American visitors on tours of Japanese schools, he had to warn them about the noise from children talking, arguing, shrieking about the best way to solve problems. The research showed that Japanese students initiated the method for solving a problem in 40 percent of the lessons; Americans initiated 9 percent of the time. Similarly, 96 percent of American students’ work fell into the category of “practice,” while Japanese students spent only 41 percent of their time practicing. Almost half of Japanese students’ time was spent doing work that the researchers termed “invent/think.” (American students spent less than 1 percent of their time on it.) Even the equipment in classrooms reflected the focus on getting students to think. Whereas American teachers all used overhead projectors, allowing them to focus students’ attention on the teacher’s rules and equations, rather than their own, in Japan, the preferred device was a blackboard, allowing students to track the evolution of everyone’s ideas.

Japanese schools are far from perfect. Though lesson study is pervasive in elementary and middle school, it is less so in high school, where the emphasis is on cramming for college entrance exams. As is true in the United States, lower-income students in Japan have recently been falling behind their peers, and people there worry about staying competitive on international tests. Yet while the United States regularly hovers in the middle of the pack or below on these tests, Japan scores at the top. And other countries now inching ahead of Japan imitate the jugyokenkyu approach. Some, like China, do this by drawing on their own native jugyokenkyu-style traditions (zuanyan jiaocai, or “studying teaching materials intensively,” Chinese teachers call it). Others, including Singapore, adopt lesson study as a deliberate matter of government policy. Finland, meanwhile, made the shift by carving out time for teachers to spend learning. There, as in Japan, teachers teach for 600 or fewer hours each school year, leaving them ample time to prepare, revise and learn. By contrast, American teachers spend nearly 1,100 hours with little feedback.

It could be tempting to dismiss Japan’s success as a cultural novelty, an unreproducible result of an affluent, homogeneous, and math-positive society. Perhaps the Japanese are simply the “math people” Americans aren’t. Yet when I visited Japan, every teacher I spoke to told me a story that sounded distinctly American. “I used to hate math,” an elementary-school teacher named Shinichiro Kurita said through a translator. “I couldn’t calculate. I was slow. I was always at the bottom of the ladder, wondering why I had to memorize these equations.” Like Takahashi, when he went to college and saw his instructors teaching differently, “it was an enlightenment.”

Learning to teach the new way himself was not easy. “I had so much trouble,” Kurita said. “I had absolutely no idea how to do it.” He listened carefully for what Japanese teachers call children’s twitters — mumbled nuggets of inchoate thoughts that teachers can mold into the fully formed concept they are trying to teach. And he worked hard on bansho, the term Japanese teachers use to describe the art of blackboard writing that helps students visualize the flow of ideas from problem to solution to broader mathematical principles. But for all his efforts, he said, “the children didn’t twitter, and I couldn’t write on the blackboard.” Yet Kurita didn’t give up — and he had resources to help him persevere. He went to study sessions with other teachers, watched as many public lessons as he could and spent time with his old professors. Eventually, as he learned more, his students started to do the same. Today Kurita is the head of the math department at Setagaya Elementary School in Tokyo, the position once held by Takahashi’s mentor, Matsuyama.

Of all the lessons Japan has to offer the United States, the most important might be the belief in patience and the possibility of change. Japan, after all, was able to shift a country full of teachers to a new approach. Telling me his story, Kurita quoted what he described as an old Japanese saying about perseverance: “Sit on a stone for three years to accomplish anything.” Admittedly, a tenacious commitment to improvement seems to be part of the Japanese national heritage, showing up among teachers, autoworkers, sushi chefs and tea-ceremony masters. Yet for his part, Akihiko Takahashi extends his optimism even to a cause that can sometimes seem hopeless — the United States. After the great disappointment of moving here in 1991, he made a decision his colleagues back in Japan thought was strange. He decided to stay and try to help American teachers embrace the innovative ideas that reformers like Magdalene Lampert pioneered.

Today Takahashi lives in Chicago and holds a full-time job in the education department at DePaul University. (He also has a special appointment at his alma mater in Japan, where he and his wife frequently visit.) When it comes to transforming teaching in America, Takahashi sees promise in individual American schools that have decided to embrace lesson study. Some do this deliberately, working with Takahashi to transform the way they teach math. Others have built versions of lesson study without using that name. Sometimes these efforts turn out to be duds. When carefully implemented, though, they show promise. In one experiment in which more than 200 American teachers took part in lesson study, student achievement rose, as did teachers’ math knowledge — two rare accomplishments.

Training teachers in a new way of thinking will take time, and American parents will need to be patient. In Japan, the transition did not happen overnight. When Takahashi began teaching in the new style, parents initially complained about the young instructor experimenting on their children. But his early explorations were confined to just a few lessons, giving him a chance to learn what he was doing and to bring the parents along too. He began sending home a monthly newsletter summarizing what the students had done in class and why. By his third year, he was sending out the newsletter every day. If they were going to support their children, and support Takahashi, the parents needed to know the new math as well. And over time, they learned.

To cure our innumeracy, we will have to accept that the traditional approach we take to teaching math — the one that can be mind-numbing, but also comfortingly familiar — does not work. We will have to come to see math not as a list of rules to be memorized but as a way of looking at the world that really makes sense.

The other shift Americans will have to make extends beyond just math. Across all school subjects, teachers receive a pale imitation of the preparation, support and tools they need. And across all subjects, the neglect shows in students’ work. In addition to misunderstanding math, American students also, on average, write weakly, read poorly, think unscientifically and grasp history only superficially. Examining nearly 3,000 teachers in six school districts, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently found that nearly two-thirds scored less than “proficient” in the areas of “intellectual challenge” and “classroom discourse.” Odds-defying individual teachers can be found in every state, but the overall picture is of a profession struggling to make the best of an impossible hand.

Most policies aimed at improving teaching conceive of the job not as a craft that needs to be taught but as a natural-born talent that teachers either decide to muster or don’t possess. Instead of acknowledging that changes like the new math are something teachers must learn over time, we mandate them as “standards” that teachers are expected to simply “adopt.” We shouldn’t be surprised, then, that their students don’t improve.

Here, too, the Japanese experience is telling. The teachers I met in Tokyo had changed not just their ideas about math; they also changed their whole conception of what it means to be a teacher. “The term ‘teaching’ came to mean something totally different to me,” a teacher named Hideto Hirayama told me through a translator. It was more sophisticated, more challenging — and more rewarding. “The moment that a child changes, the moment that he understands something, is amazing, and this transition happens right before your eyes,” he said. “It seems like my heart stops every day.”


Why Do Americans Stink at Math? –

9 Things to Know About Reviving the Recently Dead

By Greg Miller

In 1986, a two-and-a-half year-old girl named Michelle Funk fell into a stream and drowned. By the time paramedics found her, she hadn’t been breathing for more than an hour. Her heart was stopped. In other words, she was dead. Somewhat inexplicably, the paramedics continued to work on her, and so did doctors in the emergency room. Then, three hours after she died, Michelle Funk took a breath and her heart fluttered back into action.

Funk’s case inspired David Casarett to go to medical school, with plans to become an ER doctor. He wanted to bring people back to life. Casarett is now an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In his new book, Shocked: Adventures in Bringing Back the Recently Dead, he explores the history, science, and moral hazards of reviving the recently dead.


Casarett is enthusiastic about the emerging technologies that are allowing doctors to save patients who would have been a lost cause in the very recent past. But these technologies come at a cost, he writes. They may restore life, but whether it’s a life worth living is another matter.

As inspired as he was by Funk’s near-miraculous revival, Casarett has also seen heartbreaking cases in which patients were revived with heroic efforts—only to languish, unresponsive, in an ICU for weeks while their families agonize over how long to maintain life support. Those cases caused Casarett to abandon his plans to become an ER doc. He now focuses on easing the suffering of patients near the end of life as a palliative care and hospice doctor.

Here are a few things he’d like you to know about reviving the dead.

Be glad you weren’t recently deceased in the 18th century

In the 1700s, Good Samaritans in several European cities began to take a keen interest in reviving people who appeared to have drowned. Their methods seem dubious today: throwing the no-longer breathing person onto a trotting horse or dunking them in freezing water, tickling the back of the throat with a feather, blowing tobacco smoke into the rectum, or administering a good whipping.

But not all these methods are totally without scientific grounding, Casarett writes. The up and down motion of a trotting horse could move the diaphragm and chest walls in and out enough to force air in and out of the lungs and stimulate some circulation, not unlike CPR. And tobacco smoke contains nicotine, which prompts the brain to release epinephrine, which in turn increases the rate and strength of the heart’s contractions. In fact, epinephrine is a key item in modern day crash carts.

“Some of the techniques they tried back then were bizarre, but some of them actually turned out to be direct ancestors of things we use today,” Casarett said. “Mouth-to mouth resuscitation was pioneered, as far as I can tell, in Amsterdam in the late 18th century, and it’s still a mainstay of resuscitation today.”

If you want to die and live to tell about it, go somewhere cold

Casarett recounts several remarkable tales of people who defied the odds by coming back to life after an hour or more without breathing and without a pulse. A young Swedish woman, for example, survived 80 minutes trapped under the ice in a frozen stream. In all these cases, the person was somewhere cold.

That’s not a coincidence. When cells are deprived of oxygen and nutrients, they soon begin to self-destruct. Cold delays this process by reducing cells’ metabolic needs. That allows the brain and other organs to escape damage for far longer than they would have otherwise. “If this happened at room temperature, there’s virtually no chance they would have survived, at least not cognitively intact,” Casarett said.

“Today, some of the most exciting work in resuscitation medicine involves making people cold,” he said.

Otherwise, try Pittsburgh

Indeed, a clinical trial underway at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will put this idea to the test in trauma patients. Only in dire cases where massive blood loss has caused cardiac arrest, doctors will replace the patient’s blood with ice-cold saline solution in hopes of buying time to repair the wounds before cells and organs begin to break down. There’s been some ethical discussion about the trial because the patients will be unconscious and therefore unable to give informed consent (people can request a bracelet that would let doctors know they wish to opt out).

Casarett says he’s not familiar enough with the details of the trial to comment on the ethical issues, but he’s fascinated by the science behind it. In Shocked, he describes some of the experiments with dogs and pigs that laid the foundation for the trial. “This isn’t just a half-baked idea, it has a pretty strong basis in molecular biology,” he said.

“If you’re going to get in an accident anywhere in the U.S. in the next few years, I would try to have it happen in Pittsburgh,” Casarett said. “You’d have a chance of getting what may become the standard of care in the next five or ten years.”

The squirrels have secrets

Hibernation is the way animals like bears and squirrels ramp down their metabolism to survive winter. If humans could be put in a similar state of suspended animation, it might be an alternative to putting them on ice (or replacing their blood with freezing saline) to preserve the brain and other organs.

For all its advantages, cooling patients has its disadvantages too: It makes it harder to restore a normal heart rhythm and it requires a lot of equipment, making it difficult to use outside a hospital. A chemical that could do the same thing might be more effective and more widely useful, Casarett says.

In researching Shocked, he visited the labs of scientists trying to understand the biochemical changes that occur when animals like squirrels, mice, and lemurs (the only known hibernating primates) enter a hypometabolic state. It’s still early days, but Casarett says it’s not too crazy to imagine a future in which crash carts and ambulances carry a drug derived from a compound found in hibernating animals. “Imagine a drug that could do everything that buckets of ice could do, but could do it much more quickly in a single injection,” he said. “That would be the goal.”

Don’t waste your money on cryonics

The most lively chapter in Shocked recounts Casarett’s visit to a cryonics convention, where he meets people willing to pony up $200,000 to put their bodies on ice after they die, in hopes that scientists will eventually come up with a cure for whatever killed them.

“I had expected to be in a room full of freaks and geeks, and certainly some people were completely nuts, but I was surprised by the degree to which some people were really very knowledgeable,” he said.

He was impressed by scientific talks on how to cool a recently deceased body as quickly as possible and how to freeze it without the formation of ice crystals, which can tear tissue apart and throw electrolyte concentrations out of whack.

All in all, however, he left unconvinced that cryonauts will be successfully frozen and reanimated anytime soon. “I can think of a lot of other ways to spend that money,” he said.

Kiss the dummy and shock strangers

Blowing into someone’s mouth and pumping on their chest during CPR helps get a little bit of oxygen into their blood and circulate it until an ambulance arrives. It saves lives, and Casarett wants everyone to take a course and practice on Annie, the ubiquitous CPR training dummy.

Even people who don’t know CPR can save the life of someone in cardiac arrest with an automated electronic defibrillator (AED). These devices can detect an abnormal heart rhythm and issue voice commands to guide even a novice user to apply an electric shock to correct it. Together, more people trained in CPR and more AEDs in public places, constitute a strategy for what Casarett calls crowdsourced survival.

We’re not there yet, though. A colleague of his at Penn has found that AEDs are more common in rich areas of Philadelphia than in lower income neighborhoods. And California’s Supreme Court recently ruled that big box retailers like Target aren’t obligated to have an AED in their stores.

Resuscitation doesn’t work like you see on TV

The biggest difference between resuscitation as shown on TV medical dramas and reality is the likelihood of success, Casarett says. “On TV they make it look much easier and more effective than it is in real life.” He notes that one study in the 1990s actually tried to quantify this: the researchers found that 75 percent of people who received CPR in several TV medical dramas survived, compared to less than 30 percent in real life.

Another difference: Recently revived people often throw up. That’s because when you’re unconscious, your muscles relax, including the sphincter muscle at the bottom of your esophagus that normally keeps your stomach contents from coming back up. Relax that muscle in someone lying on their back while another person is pounding on their chest, and… it’s easy to understand why the recently revived often have some spitting up to do. “That’s something you usually don’t see on television,” Casarett said.

Dying isn’t as simple as it used to be

The line between alive and dead is getting blurrier thanks to advances in technology, Casarett writes. “Several emergency room physicians I talked to told me that even five years ago, when confronted with a cardiac arrest patient, you would run through the routine, do what you could, and then it would be pretty clear at some point that you’d exhausted your bag of tricks and there was nothing else you could do,” Casarett said. But now there are more and more things to try.

For example, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machines can withdraw the blood of a patient in heart failure, oxygenate it, and pump it back into the body, keeping them alive—or something like it. “That line is getting more difficult to define because of all these technologies,” Casarett said.

Coming back from the dead comes at a cost

Restoring life may be getting easier, but the quality of that life can be questionable, especially when a revived patient never regains consciousness. “It’s not a chance to say goodbye or even grieve, it just draws out the dying process,” Casarett said. And then there’s the issue no one likes to talk about, the financial costs, which can run to more than $20,000 a day.

As medical science marches forward, we can expect more incredible stories of revival, Casarett writes. But we also have to expect more hard decisions about the emotional and financial costs of these new technologies, and what kind of life—and death—they’ll provide.


9 Things to Know About Reviving the Recently Dead | Science | WIRED.

Robert David Steele, former Marine, CIA case officer, and US co-founder of the US Marine Corps intelligence activity, is a man on a mission. But it’s a mission that frightens the US intelligence establishment to its core.
With 18 years experience working across the US intelligence community, followed by 20 more years in commercial intelligence and training, Steele’s exemplary career has spanned almost all areas of both the clandestine world.

Steele started off as a Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer. After four years on active duty, he joined the CIA for about a decade before co-founding the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, where he was deputy director. Widely recognised as the leader of the Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) paradigm, Steele went on to write the handbooks on OSINT for NATO, the US Defense Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Special Operations Forces. In passing, he personally trained 7,500 officers from over 66 countries.

In 1992, despite opposition from the CIA, he obtained Marine Corps permission to organise a landmark international conference on open source intelligence – the paradigm of deriving information to support policy decisions not through secret activities, but from open public sources available to all. The conference was such a success it brought in over 620 attendees from the intelligence world.

But the CIA wasn’t happy, and ensured that Steele was prohibited from running a second conference. The clash prompted him to resign from his position as second-ranking civilian in Marine Corps intelligence, and pursue the open source paradigm elsewhere. He went on to found and head up the Open Source Solutions Network Inc. and later the non-profit Earth Intelligence Network which runs the Public Intelligence Blog.

Robert David Steele Former CIA spy and Open Source Intelligence pioneer, Robert David Steele speaking at the Inter-American Defense Board in 2013 I first came across Steele when I discovered his Amazon review of my third book, The War on Truth: 9/11, Disinformation and the Anatomy of Terrorism. A voracious reader, Steele is the number 1 Amazon reviewer for non-fiction across 98 categories. He also reviewed my latest book, A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization, but told me I’d overlooked an important early work – ‘A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility, Report of the UN High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change.’

Last month, Steele presented a startling paper at the Libtech conference in New York, sponsored by the Internet Society and Reclaim. Drawing on principles set out in his latest book, The Open-Source Everything Manifesto: Transparency, Truth and Trust, he told the audience that all the major preconditions for revolution – set out in his 1976 graduate thesis – were now present in the United States and Britain.

Steele’s book is a must-read, a powerful yet still pragmatic roadmap to a new civilisational paradigm that simultaneously offers a trenchant, unrelenting critique of the prevailing global order. His interdisciplinary ‘whole systems’ approach dramatically connects up the increasing corruption, inefficiency and unaccountability of the intelligence system and its political and financial masters with escalating inequalities and environmental crises. But he also offers a comprehensive vision of hope that activist networks like Reclaim are implementing today.

“We are at the end of a five-thousand-year-plus historical process during which human society grew in scale while it abandoned the early indigenous wisdom councils and communal decision-making,” he writes in The Open Source Everything Manifesto. “Power was centralised in the hands of increasingly specialised ‘elites’ and ‘experts’ who not only failed to achieve all they promised but used secrecy and the control of information to deceive the public into allowing them to retain power over community resources that they ultimately looted.”

Today’s capitalism, he argues, is inherently predatory and destructive:

“Over the course of the last centuries, the commons was fenced, and everything from agriculture to water was commoditised without regard to the true cost in non-renewable resources. Human beings, who had spent centuries evolving away from slavery, were re-commoditised by the Industrial Era.”

Open source everything, in this context, offers us the chance to build on what we’ve learned through industrialisation, to learn from our mistakes, and catalyse the re-opening of the commons, in the process breaking the grip of defunct power structures and enabling the possibility of prosperity for all.

“Sharing, not secrecy, is the means by which we realise such a lofty destiny as well as create infinite wealth. The wealth of networks, the wealth of knowledge, revolutionary wealth – all can create a nonzero win-win Earth that works for one hundred percent of humanity. This is the ‘utopia’ that Buckminster Fuller foresaw, now within our reach.”

The goal, he concludes, is to reject:

“… concentrated illicitly aggregated and largely phantom wealth in favor of community wealth defined by community knowledge, community sharing of information, and community definition of truth derived in transparency and authenticity, the latter being the ultimate arbiter of shared wealth.”

Despite this unabashedly radical vision, Steele is hugely respected by senior military intelligence experts across the world. As a researcher at the US Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, he has authored several monographs advocating the need for open source methods to transform the craft of intelligence. He has lectured to the US State Department and Department of Homeland Security as well as National Security Councils in various countries, and his new book has received accolades from senior intelligence officials across multiple countries including France and Turkey.

Yet he remains an outspoken critic of US intelligence practices and what he sees as their integral role in aggravating rather than ameliorating the world’s greatest threats and challenges.

This week, I had the good fortune of being able to touch base with Steele to dig deeper into his recent analysis of the future of US politics in the context of our accelerating environmental challenges. The first thing I asked him was where he sees things going over the next decade, given his holistic take.

“Properly educated people always appreciate holistic approaches to any challenge. This means that they understand both cause and effect, and intertwined complexities,” he said. “A major part of our problem in the public policy arena is the decline in intelligence with integrity among key politicians and staff at the same time that think tanks and universities and non-governmental organisations have also suffered a similar intellectual diminishment.

“My early graduate education was in the 1970’s when Limits to Growth and World Federalism were the rage. Both sought to achieve an over-view of systemic challenges, but both also suffered from the myth of top-down hubris. What was clear in the 1970s, that has been obscured by political and financial treason in the past half-century, is that everything is connected – what we do in the way of paving over wetlands, or in poisoning ground water ‘inadvertently’ because of our reliance on pesticides and fertilisers that are not subject to the integrity of the ‘Precautionary Principle,’ ultimately leads to climate catastrophes that are acts of man, not acts of god.”

He points me to his tremendous collection of reviews of books on climate change, disease, environmental degradation, peak oil, and water scarcity. “I see five major overlapping threats on the immediate horizon,” he continues. “They are all related: the collapse of complex societies, the acceleration of the Earth’s demise with changes that used to take 10,000 years now taking three or less, predatory or shock capitalism and financial crime out of the City of London and Wall Street, and political corruption at scale, to include the west supporting 42 of 44 dictators. We are close to multiple mass catastrophes.”

What about the claim that the US is on the brink of revolution? “Revolution is overthrow – the complete reversal of the status quo ante. We are at the end of centuries of what Lionel Tiger calls ‘The Manufacture of Evil,’ in which merchant banks led by the City of London have conspired with captive governments to concentrate wealth and commoditise everything including humans. What revolution means in practical terms is that balance has been lost and the status quo ante is unsustainable. There are two ‘stops’ on greed to the nth degree: the first is the carrying capacity of Earth, and the second is human sensibility. We are now at a point where both stops are activating.”

Robert Steele - preconditions for revolution Former CIA officer’s matrix on the preconditions for revolution It’s not just the US, he adds. “The preconditions of revolution exist in the UK, and most western countries. The number of active pre-conditions is quite stunning, from elite isolation to concentrated wealth to inadequate socialisation and education, to concentrated land holdings to loss of authority to repression of new technologies especially in relation to energy, to the atrophy of the public sector and spread of corruption, to media dishonesty, to mass unemployment of young men and on and on and on.”

So why isn’t it happening yet?
“Preconditions are not the same as precipitants. We are waiting for our Tunisian fruit seller. The public will endure great repression, especially when most media outlets and schools are actively aiding the repressive meme of ‘you are helpless, this is the order of things.’ When we have a scandal so powerful that it cannot be ignored by the average Briton or American, we will have a revolution that overturns the corrupt political systems in both countries, and perhaps puts many banks out of business. Vaclav Havel calls this ‘The Power of the Powerless.’ One spark, one massive fire.”

But we need more than revolution, in the sense of overthrow, to effect change, surely. How does your manifesto for ‘open source everything’ fit into this? “The west has pursued an industrialisation path that allows for the privatisation of wealth from the commons, along with the criminalisation of commons rights of the public, as well as the externalisation of all true costs. Never mind that fracking produces earthquakes and poisons aquifers – corrupt politicians at local, state or province, and national levels are all too happy to take money for looking the other way. Our entire commercial, diplomatic, and informational systems are now cancerous. When trade treaties have secret sections – or are entirely secret – one can be certain the public is being screwed and the secrecy is an attempt to avoid accountability. Secrecy enables corruption. So also does an inattentive public enable corruption.”

Is this a crisis of capitalism, then? Does capitalism need to end for us to resolve these problems? And if so, how? “Predatory capitalism is based on the privatisation of profit and the externalisation of cost. It is an extension of the fencing of the commons, of enclosures, along with the criminalisation of prior common customs and rights. What we need is a system that fully accounts for all costs. Whether we call that capitalism or not is irrelevant to me. But doing so would fundamentally transform the dynamic of present day capitalism, by making capital open source. For example, and as calculated by my colleague JZ Liszkiewicz, a white cotton T-shirt contains roughly 570 gallons of water, 11 to 29 gallons of fuel, and a number of toxins and emissions including pesticides, diesel exhaust, and heavy metals and other volatile compounds – it also generally includes child labor. Accounting for those costs and their real social, human and environmental impacts has totally different implications for how we should organise production and consumption than current predatory capitalism.”

So what exactly do you mean by open source everything? “We have over 5 billion human brains that are the one infinite resource available to us going forward. Crowd-sourcing and cognitive surplus are two terms of art for the changing power dynamic between those at the top that are ignorant and corrupt, and those across the bottom that are attentive and ethical. The open source ecology is made up of a wide range of opens – open farm technology, open source software, open hardware, open networks, open money, open small business technology, open patents – to name just a few. The key point is that they must all develop together, otherwise the existing system will isolate them into ineffectiveness. Open data is largely worthless unless you have open hardware and open software. Open government demands open cloud and open spectrum, or money will dominate feeds and speeds.”

Robert Steele Robert Steele’s vision for open source systems On 1st May, Steele sent an open letter to US vice president Joe Biden requesting him to consider establishing an Open Source Agency that would transform the operation of the intelligence community, dramatically reduce costs, increasing oversight and accountability, while increasing access to the best possible information to support holistic policy-making. To date, he has received no response.

I’m not particularly surprised. Open source everything pretty much undermines everything the national security state stands for. Why bother even asking vice president Biden to consider it? “The national security state is rooted in secrecy as a means of avoiding accountability. My first book, On Intelligence: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World – which by the way had a foreword from Senator David Boren, the immediate past chairman of the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence – made it quite clear that the national security state is an expensive, ineffective monstrosity that is simply not fit for purpose. In that sense, the national security state is it’s own worst enemy – it’s bound to fail.”

Given his standing as an intelligence expert, Steele’s criticisms of US intelligence excesses are beyond scathing – they are damning. “Most of what is produced through secret methods is not actually intelligence at all. It is simply secret information that is, most of the time, rather generic and therefore not actually very useful for making critical decisions at a government level. The National Security Agency (NSA) has not prevented any terrorist incidents. CIA cannot even get the population of Syria correct and provides no intelligence – decision-support – to most cabinet secretaries, assistant secretaries, and department heads. Indeed General Tony Zinni, when he was commander in chief of the US Central Command as it was at war, is on record as saying that he received, ‘at best,’ a meagre 4% of what he needed to know from secret sources and methods.”

So does open source mean you are calling for abolition of intelligence agencies as we know them, I ask. “I’m a former spy and I believe we still need spies and secrecy, but we need to redirect the vast majority of the funds now spent on secrecy toward savings and narrowly focused endeavors at home. For instance, utterly ruthless counterintelligence against corruption, or horrendous evils like paedophilia.

“Believe it or not, 95% of what we need for ethical evidence-based decision support cannot be obtained through the secret methods of standard intelligence practices. But it can be obtained quite openly and cheaply from academics, civil society, commerce, governments, law enforcement organisations, the media, all militaries, and non-governmental organisations. An Open Source Agency, as I’ve proposed it, would not just meet 95% of our intelligence requirements, it would do the same at all levels of government and carry over by enriching education, commerce, and research – it would create what I called in 1995 a ‘Smart Nation.’

“The whole point of Open Source Everything is to restore public agency. Open Source is the only form of information and information technology that is affordable to the majority, interoperable across all boundaries, and rapidly scalable from local to global without the curse of overhead that proprietary corporations impose.”

Robert Steele's graphic on open source systems thinking Robert Steele’s graphic on open source systems thinking It’s clear to me that when Steele talks about intelligence as ‘decision-support,’ he really does intend that we grasp “all information in all languages all the time” – that we do multidisciplinary research spanning centuries into the past as well as into the future. His most intriguing premise is that the 1% are simply not as powerful as they, and we, assume them to be. “The collective buying power of the five billion poor is four times that of the one billion rich according to the late Harvard business thinker Prof C. K. Prahalad – open source everything is about the five billion poor coming together to reclaim their collective wealth and mobilise it to transform their lives. There is zero chance of the revolution being put down. Public agency is emergent, and the ability of the public to literally put any bank or corporation out of business overnight is looming. To paraphrase Abe Lincoln, you cannot screw all of the people all of the time. We’re there. All we lack is a major precipitant – our Tunisian fruit seller. When it happens the revolution will be deep and lasting.”

The Arab spring analogy has its negatives. So far, there really isn’t much to root for. I want to know what’s to stop this revolution from turning into a violent, destructive mess. Steele is characteristically optimistic. “I have struggled with this question. What I see happening is an end to national dictat and the emergence of bottom-up clarity, diversity, integrity, and sustainability. Individual towns across the USA are now nullifying federal and state regulations – for example gag laws on animal cruelty, blanket permissions for fracking. Those such as my colleague Parag Khanna that speak to a new era of city-states are correct in my view. Top down power has failed in a most spectacular manner, and bottom-up consensus power is emergent. ‘Not in my neighborhood’ is beginning to trump ‘Because I say so.’ The one unlimited resource we have on the planet is the human brain – the current strategy of 1% capitalism is failing because it is killing the Golden Goose at multiple levels. Unfortunately, the gap between those with money and power and those who actually know what they are talking about has grown catastrophic. The rich are surrounded by sycophants and pretenders whose continued employment demands that they not question the premises. As Larry Summers lectured Elizabeth Warren, ‘insiders do not criticise insiders.'”

But how can activists actually start moving toward the open source vision now? “For starters, there are eight ‘tribes’ that among them can bring together all relevant information: academia, civil society including labor unions and religions, commerce especially small business, government especially local, law enforcement, media, military, and non-government/non-profit. At every level from local to global, across every mission area, we need to create stewardship councils integrating personalities and information from all eight tribes. We don’t need to wait around for someone else to get started. All of us who recognise the vitality of this possibility can begin creating these new grassroots structures from the bottom-up, right now.”

So how does open source everything have the potential to ‘re-engineer the Earth’? For me, this is the most important question, and Steele’s answer is inspiring. “Open Source Everything overturns top-down ‘because I say so at the point of a gun’ power. Open Source Everything makes truth rather than violence the currency of power. Open Source Everything demands that true cost economics and the indigenous concept of ‘seventh generation thinking’ – how will this affect society 200 years ahead – become central. Most of our problems today can be traced to the ascendance of unilateral militarism, virtual colonialism, and predatory capitalism, all based on force and lies and encroachment on the commons. The national security state works for the City of London and Wall Street – both are about to be toppled by a combination of Eastern alternative banking and alternative international development capabilities, and individuals who recognise that they have the power to pull their money out of the banks and not buy the consumer goods that subsidise corruption and the concentration of wealth. The opportunity to take back the commons for the benefit of humanity as a whole is open – here and now.”

For Steele, the open source revolution is inevitable, simply because the demise of the system presided over by the 1% cannot be stopped – and because the alternatives to reclaiming the commons are too dismal to contemplate. We have no choice but to step up.

“My motto, a play on the CIA motto that is disgraced every day, is ‘the truth at any cost lowers all other costs'”, he tells me. “Others wiser than I have pointed out that nature bats last. We are at the end of an era in which lies can be used to steal from the public and the commons. We are at the beginning of an era in which truth in public service can restore us all to a state of grace.”

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is an international security journalist and academic. He is the author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It, and the forthcoming science fiction thriller, ZERO POINT. ZERO POINT is set in a near future following a Fourth Iraq War. Follow Ahmed on Facebook and Twitter.

The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1% – ex CIA spy | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment |

Get some Charisma and run the world!

The Charisma Myth: Workbook and Audio Files | Olivia Fox Cabane.

PHILADELPHIA — DINNER with your children in 19th-century America often required some self-control. Berry stains in your daughter’s hair? Good for her. Raccoon bites running up your boy’s arms? Bet he had an interesting day.

As this year’s summer vacation begins, many parents contemplate how to rein in their kids. But there was a time when Americans pushed in the opposite direction, preserved in Mark Twain’s cat-swinging scamps. Parents back then encouraged kids to get some wildness out of their system, to express the republic’s revolutionary values.

American children of the 19th century had a reputation. Returning British visitors reported on American kids who showed no respect, who swore and fought, who appeared — at age 10 — “calling for liquor at the bar, or puffing a cigar in the streets,” as one wrote. There were really no children in 19th-century America, travelers often claimed, only “small stuck-up caricatures of men and women.”

This was not a “carefree” nation, too rough-hewed to teach proper manners; adults deliberately chose to express new values by raising “go-ahead” boys and girls. The result mixed democracy and mob rule, assertiveness and cruelty, sudden freedom and strict boundaries.

Visitors noted how American fathers would brag that their disobedient children were actually “young republicans,” liberated from old hierarchies. Children were still expected to be deferential to elders, but many were trained to embody their nation’s revolutionary virtues. “The theory of the equality” was present at the ballot box, according to one sympathetic Englishman, but “rampant in the nursery.”

Boys, in particular, spent their childhoods in a rowdy outdoor subculture. After age 5 or so they needed little attention from their mothers, but were not big enough to help their fathers work. So until age 10 or 12 they spent much of their time playing or fighting.

The writer William Dean Howells recalled his ordinary, violent Ohio childhood, immersed in his loose gang of pals, rarely catching a “glimpse of life much higher than the middle of a man.” Howells’s peers were “always stoning something,” whether friends, rivals or stray dogs. They left a trail of maimed animals behind them, often hurt in sloppy attempts to domesticate wild pets.

And though we envision innocents playing with a hoop and a stick, many preferred “mumbletypeg” — a game where two players competed to see who could throw a knife closer to his own foot. Stabbing yourself meant a win by default.

Left to their own devices, boys learned an assertive style that shaped their futures. The story of every 19th-century empire builder — Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt — seems to begin with a striving 10-year-old. “Boy culture” offered training for the challenges of American manhood and a reprieve before a life of labor.

But these unsupervised boys also formed gangs that harassed the mentally ill, the handicapped and racial and ethnic minorities. Boys played an outsize role in the anti-Irish pogroms in 1840s Philadelphia, the brutal New York City draft riots targeting African-Americans during the Civil War and attacks on Chinese laborers in Gilded Age California. These children did not invent the bigotry rampant in white America, but their unrestrained upbringing let them enact what their parents mostly muttered.

Their sisters followed a different path. Girls were usually assigned more of their mothers’ tasks. An 8-year-old girl would be expected to help with the wash or other physically demanding tasks, while her brother might simply be too small, too slow or too annoying to drive the plow with his father. But despite their drudgery, 19th-century American girls still found time for tree climbing, bonfire building and waterfall-jumping antics. There were few pretty pink princesses in 19th-century America: Girls were too rowdy and too republican for that.

So how did we get from “democratic sucklings” to helicopter parents? Though many point to a rise of parental worrying after the 1970s, this was an incremental change in a movement that began a hundred years earlier.

In the last quarter of the 19th century, middle-class parents launched a self-conscious project to protect children. Urban professionals began to focus on children’s vulnerabilities. Well-to-do worriers no longer needed to raise tough dairymaids or cunning newsboys; the changing economy demanded careful managers of businesses or households, and restrained company men, capable of navigating big institutions.

Demographics played a role as well: By 1900 American women had half as many children as they did in 1800, and those children were twice as likely to live through infancy as they were in 1850. Ironically, as their children faced fewer dangers, parents worried more about their protection.

Instead of seeing boys and girls as capable, clever, knockabout scamps, many reconceived children as vulnerable, weak and naïve. Reformers introduced child labor laws, divided kids by age in school and monitored their play. Jane Addams particularly worked to fit children into the new industrial order, condemning “this stupid experiment of organizing work and failing to organize play.”

There was good reason to tame the boys and girls of the 19th century, if only for stray cats’ sake. But somewhere between Jane Addams and Nancy Grace, Americans lost track of their larger goal. Earlier parents raised their kids to express values their society trumpeted.

“Precocious” 19th-century troublemakers asserted their parents’ democratic beliefs and fit into an economy that had little use for 8-year-olds but idealized striving, self-made men. Reformers designed their Boy Scouts to meet the demands of the 20th century, teaching organization and rebalancing the relationship between play and work. Both movements agreed, in their didactic ways, that playtime shaped future citizens.

Does the overprotected child articulate values we are proud of in 2014? Nothing is easier than judging other peoples’ parenting, but there is a side of contemporary American culture — fearful, litigious, controlling — that we do not brag about but that we reveal in our child rearing, and that runs contrary to our self-image as an open, optimistic nation. Maybe this is why sheltering parents come in for so much easy criticism: A visit to the playground exposes traits we would rather not recognize.

There is, however, a saving grace that parents will notice this summer. Kids are harder to guide and shape, as William Dean Howells put it, “than grown people are apt to think.” It is as true today as it was two centuries ago: “Everywhere and always the world of boys is outside of the laws that govern grown-up communities.” Somehow, they’ll manage to go their own way.

via The Wild Children of Yesteryear –

There’s so much money in American politics these days that fat-cat donors don’t just spend it on candidates and issues anymore — they also spend it attacking each other.

Hedge-fund investor Tom Steyer, a heavyweight Democratic contributor, plans to start running ads taking on billionaire Republican donors Charles and David Koch for their positions on environmental issues. Steyer is an environmentalist who has fought against the Keystone Pipeline and wants to make climate change a top issue in this year’s midterm elections. Koch Industries, the two brothers’ privately owned conglomerate, includes companies involved in the oil, paper, chemical and fertilizer industries. Like many firms in those sectors, Koch Industries lobbies for looser regulations that would lower costs and make it easier to operate.

Steyer wants to vilify the Koch Brothers, who spend at least $10 million per year on lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and many millions more on political donations to Republican candidates and political organizations. Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Brothers’ political organization, plans to spend more than $125 million this year helping Republicans get elected to Congress, according to Politico. That would be a record amount for a private group in a midterm election year. The Koch Brothers’ donations already seem to be paying off. They support Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), for instance, who just beat a Tea Party challenger in the Kentucky primary elections.

Steyer’s own campaign may not have much of an impact on voters, at least if he sticks to environmental issues. Polls consistently show jobs and the economy are the top issues voters care about, as Aaron Task and I discuss in the video above. If there’s a swing issue this year, it will be Obamacare, the highly polarizing health-reform effort. Environmental issues barely register as a concern among voters, even though President Obama favors policies that would address global warming, and occasionally stumps on the issue.

The more troubling trend may be the vast amount of money flooding into politics, leading to the reductio ad absurdum in which big donors campaign against each other as if they, rather than the candidates, represent the real levers of power. Two Supreme Court decisions since 2010 have struck down a variety of limits on political donations and allowed wealthy donors to fund an array of groups that funnel donations to candidates or run ads related to particular issues.

Each presidential and midterm election sets a new record for spending these days, with donations to third-party political groups such as “super PACs” likely to play a bigger role than ever in this year’s midterms. CRP estimates total spending by such outside groups could total more than $1 billion this year, which would be three times the tally during the 2010 midterms. Such donations are known as “dark money” because super PACs aren’t required to reveal whom the money comes from. That may draw even more money into politics, since corporate donors and others can donate without having to defend their views or actions in public.

The influence of wealthy donors on the political system is becoming so profound that two noted professors recently argued that “America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.” Economic elites, they showed in a research paper, have a “quite substantial, highly significant, independent impact on policy.” Not surprisingly, those policies favor the people who lobby for them. A typical voter, by contrast, “has little or no independent influence,” the distressing study concluded.

If there’s any good news, it’s that the flood of money has created a funding arms race that’s wearing down some of the politicians who must raise the funds, and causing “donor fatigue” among some contributors. But don’t look for Congress to reform itself. The billionaires will ensure nothing happens to undermine their influence.

Rick Newman’s latest book is Rebounders: How Winners Pivot From Setback To Success. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman.

via A new way for billionaires to influence politics | Daily Ticker – Yahoo Finance.

Woman who wrote fake Holocaust memoir must pay back $22.5M to publisher | Fox News.

A Belgium-born Massachusetts woman who admitted to fabricating a best-selling memoir about her experiences during World War II and the Holocaust has been ordered to pay back $22.5 million to her publisher.

Judge Marc Kantrowitz issued what he called “the third, and hopefully last” opinion in the case April 29. It confirmed a 2012 court ruling setting aside a pervious verdict awarding Misha Defonseca millions of dollars due to her publisher’s “highly improper representations and activities.”

The ruling appears to be the final chapter of a 17-year story that began when Defonseca’s book “Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years” was published in 1997.

In her book, Defonseca, now 76, recounted trekking through the forests of Europe after her parents were arrested by the Nazis, at one point living with wolves and fatally stabbing a Nazi soldier — all while she was between the ages of 7 and 11.

In fact, Defonseca — born Monica Ernestine Josephine De Wael — was enrolled in a Brussels school during World War II, and wasn’t even Jewish. Her parents were arrested because they were part of the anti-Nazi resistance.

Defonseca rationalized her fraud by saying that her parents’ arrest and her subsequent harsh treatment at the hands of relatives who took her in led her to “feel Jewish.”

“This story is mine. It is not actually reality, but my reality, my way of surviving,” Defonseca said in a statement given by her lawyers to The Associated Press after the truth came to light.

She was not exposed until 2008, when researchers in the U.S. and Belgium said they could not find evidence of her family in any Holocaust archives. In the intervening years, the book was translated into 18 languages and made into a French feature film “Surviving with the Wolves.”

In 1998, Defonseca and her ghostwriter, Vera Lee, won a $32.4 million judgement against Mt. Ivy Press and its founder Jane Daniel over allegedly hiding profits. Daniel, who had asked Defonseca to write the book after overhearing her telling her stories at a Massachusetts synagogue, told the Associated Press in 2008 that Defonseca claimed she did not know the names of her parents, her birthday, or where she was born, making the facts difficult to check.

Gene Sperling is a stone-cold Pop-Tart thief. “At one point, Meg [McConnell, an adviser] noticed that a strawberry Pop-Tart she had bought from one of Treasury’s vending machines had vanished. She looked over at Gene [Sperling, then a counselor to Mr. Geithner], who shrugged and admitted he had eaten it. He said he would buy Meg another in a tone suggesting he comprehended neither the enormity of his crime nor the inadvisability of messing with Meg when she was tired and hungry.”

“’When, Gene?’ she demanded. ‘When are you going to get me another?’”

We also learned that the puppets of the ultra rich hired to put a face on these crimes are just a bunch of clowns……

via What We Learned From Tim Geithner’s Book –


Timothy Geithner’s new book, “Stress Test,” runs 580 pages and covers countless moments of crisis and fear during his time as New York Fed president and Treasury secretary. Read our colleague Andrew Ross Sorkin’s magazine article on Mr. Geithner and the book for more on the broad themes it recounts. But in the meantime, here are a few smaller chunks that we found particularly revelatory.

Geithner was aware of — and worried about — the gravitas gap. Seemingly every profile written about him has noted that he has a boyish look about him (as Vogue memorably put it, “the kind of looks that can go either way: Half an inch one way he’s John F. Kennedy; half an inch the other he’s Lyle Lovett”). As it turns out, Mr. Geithner himself considered his youthful appearance to be a weakness in his potential candidacy for Treasury secretary, along with his lack of experience in more public-facing roles. “In a period of turmoil and uncertainty, the public would want to see a familiar and reassuring face in charge of the country’s finances,” he recalled telling Senator Barack Obama in 2008 in their first meeting when the role was discussed. “I had spent my career in obscurity, and I didn’t think of myself as a reassuring presence. I looked young. I had never appeared on TV.”

That first foray into the public spotlight was every bit as disastrous as it seemed. Mr. Geithner’s first major speech, in February 2009, was billed as the rollout of the Obama administration’s plan to end the financial crisis. It was a debacle on every level, and from Mr. Geithner’s account it seems he and his staff could see it coming like a slow-motion car crash. After settling on Feb. 10 to roll out the administration’s plan, the Geithner aide Meg McConnell noted, “But we don’t have a plan.” Indeed. “The run-up to my speech was horribly tense,” Mr. Geithner writes. “White House staff wanted the speech to reassure the public by emphasizing our determination to get tough on Wall Street and save taxpayer dollars. My Treasury team wanted to reassure the markets by emphasizing our determination to do whatever it took to prevent more bank failures. The results were predictably schizophrenic.”

Oh, and speaking of a lack of public speaking background? “I was supposed to do a few rehearsals to learn how to use the teleprompter, but I kept putting them off; I finally did a couple of halfhearted run-throughs that evening, repeatedly stopping to edit my text as I went along. I also had no time for prep sessions for my national TV appearances after the speech. … I did zero minutes of prep for the first TV interviews of my career.”


Timothy Geithner’s book recounts the financial crisis and his role in trying to end it. Credit Patricia Wall/The New York Times

No wonder the stock market fell 500 points that day and speculation ran rampant that Mr. Geithner would be the first Obama cabinet member to be fired.

But it may have been partly Sheila Bair’s fault. During that time, Mr. Geithner was deeply irritated by what he saw as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chairwoman Sheila Bair’s flawed proposal to deal with the crisis — and even more so by leaks he attributed to Bair’s staff. Ms. Bair, who wrote a book of her own that is sharply critical of Mr. Geithner, proposed a plan for a “bad bank” that would buy up many of the crummy assets clogging the books of major banks. When articles about the idea were published in the run-up to the February speech, “the markets loved those articles,” Mr. Geithner writes, “because the government-run bad bank sounded like a way for Wall Street to dump its garbage on Uncle Sam at generous prices.”

Mr. Geithner’s staff had a subtle way to ascertain that it was Ms. Bair’s staff that was leaking these details: “My staff got so annoyed by the drumbeat of FDIC-planted stories that at one point they gave Sheila’s aides a harmless snippet of wrong information, just to see if it would end up in the media. It quickly did.”

He blames the negative reaction to the speech in part to FDIC leaks: “As bad as my speech and my delivery were, the reaction of the markets had a lot to do with their expectations, fueled by pre-speech leaks, that we would announce a bad bank to buy troubled assets at inflated prices.”

Geithner’s relationship with Larry Summers is really complicated. Back in the 1990s, Larry Summers promoted Mr. Geithner, a young Treasury career staffer, into a series of roles that launched his career at the highest levels of economic policy. It is clear from the book that the two men have a close, intertwined, yet fraught relationship. Mr. Summers was essentially passed over for Treasury secretary at the start of the Obama administration in favor of his protégé, placed instead as the less prestigious head of the White House national economic council.

When President-elect Obama called Mr. Geithner to ask if he would serve as Treasury secretary while Mr. Summers ran the council, “I immediately said I would, even though I knew it would mean more awkwardness.” Geithner added: “Some of our former colleagues thought the idea of Larry at the NEC bordered on lunacy. It was hard to imagine a former Treasury secretary in an advisory role. And the NEC director is supposed to be an honest broker … while Larry wasn’t known for sublimating his own views.”

The subtle tension continued during the transition period before the start of the Obama presidency. “Larry’s mantra in those days was ‘discontinuity,’ the importance of distinguishing the Obama response from the pre-Obama response. … But I didn’t like Larry’s frequent derision of Hank [Paulson] and Ben [Bernanke]; I was protective of them, and of course implicated in virtually everything they had done.” His critiques, Mr. Geithner continued, “weren’t entirely wrong, but Larry hadn’t been there, and I didn’t think he had earned the right to second-guess with that degree of confidence.”

And perhaps never was their relationship more tricky than the summer of 2009, when President Obama was deciding whether to appoint Mr. Summers to be Federal Reserve chair or to reappoint Mr. Bernanke. While Mr. Geithner doesn’t convey this decision with the drama he offers in other moments in the book, it is clear it was a difficult moment for all involved.

“I told the President I thought the current arrangement was working well, and I said this didn’t seem like a great time for a change at the Fed … When it became clear the president wanted continuity, Larry was disappointed, but I think he also recognized it wasn’t an ideal time for a change. He was tired, too, and he considered leaving the administration. But the President, Rahm [Emanuel], and I all leaned on him to stay, and he relented.”

He adds later in the book: “We had our differences during the crisis, and nothing was ever easy when he was around, but he was the most talented policy thinker I knew. I felt bad that the Fed chairmanship hadn’t worked out for him.”

It seems that Mr. Summers could see the writing on the wall for his possible Fed chairmanship. “The job would open up again in 2014, but when the President, on my recommendation, nominated my excellent former Fed colleague Janet Yellen to be vice chair in April 2010, Larry mused that she was certain to be the next Fed chair, because she would be too compelling a choice to pass over — another correct prediction.”

In the White House (as in life), there is a difference between real meetings and fake meetings. This chunk should be inserted in every book about public administration, or maybe management in general: “Meetings are life in Washington. Often they’re just for show, a way to suggest motion or commitment to an issue. Sometimes their main purpose is to make people feel included. But occasionally they’re the real thing, a forum for actual policy making. I got into the habit of walking into crowded meetings in Larry’s office and joking: ‘Is this a real meeting or a fake meeting?’ In other words, are we talking about a policy that requires a decision, or just talking? When it was a real meeting, I’d usually suggest that we skip the throat-clearing and fast-forward to the end of the PowerPoint deck so we could get to the debate about options. I wore my impatience too openly.”

He tried to make his pre-crisis speeches boring. In the years before the crisis, Mr. Geithner was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, making him a key overseer of Wall Street. He saw many risks and frailties in the financial system in that role, some of which would prove prescient. But by his own telling, his efforts to draw attention to them were hardly the stuff of a public campaign.

“I did talk a lot about risks to the stability of the financial system, usually to financial audiences. … I didn’t seek media coverage, and I didn’t get any. But I did try to convey what I was learning about the strengths and weaknesses of the system, and to outline my hierarchy of concerns. In my careful, qualified, occasionally tortured way, I tried to lean against the wind.”

And, even more pointedly: “My speeches were never a model of clarity or hair-on-fire force. I was careful to express my concerns in understated, nuanced, deliberately dull language that wouldn’t move markets or depress confidence.”

▶ Evidence Of Ancient Stone Constructions 12,000 Years Old In Peru? – YouTube.

Largest Study Ever – Dead Farm Animals

This is the start of the book “The China Study” Read it.

Largest Study Ever – YouTube.

The Fat Drug : antibiotics

IF you walk into a farm-supply store today, you’re likely to find a bag of antibiotic powder that claims to boost the growth of poultry and livestock. That’s because decades of agricultural research has shown that antibiotics seem to flip a switch in young animals’ bodies, helping them pack on pounds. Manufacturers brag about the miraculous effects of feeding antibiotics to chicks and nursing calves. Dusty agricultural journals attest to the ways in which the drugs can act like a kind of superfood to produce cheap meat.

But what if that meat is us? Recently, a group of medical investigators have begun to wonder whether antibiotics might cause the same growth promotion in humans. New evidence shows that America’s obesity epidemic may be connected to our high consumption of these drugs. But before we get to those findings, it’s helpful to start at the beginning, in 1948, when the wonder drugs were new — and big was beautiful.

That year, a biochemist named Thomas H. Jukes marveled at a pinch of golden powder in a vial. It was a new antibiotic named Aureomycin, and Mr. Jukes and his colleagues at Lederle Laboratories suspected that it would become a blockbuster, lifesaving drug. But they hoped to find other ways to profit from the powder as well. At the time, Lederle scientists had been searching for a food additive for farm animals, and Mr. Jukes believed that Aureomycin could be it. After raising chicks on Aureomycin-laced food and on ordinary mash, he found that the antibiotics did boost the chicks’ growth; some of them grew to weigh twice as much as the ones in the control group.

Mr. Jukes wanted more Aureomycin, but his bosses cut him off because the drug was in such high demand to treat human illnesses. So he hit on a novel solution. He picked through the laboratory’s dump to recover the slurry left over after the manufacture of the drug. He and his colleagues used those leftovers to carry on their experiments, now on pigs, sheep and cows. All of the animals gained weight. Trash, it turned out, could be transformed into meat.

You may be wondering whether it occurred to anyone back then that the powders would have the same effect on the human body. In fact, a number of scientists believed that antibiotics could stimulate growth in children. From our contemporary perspective, here’s where the story gets really strange: All this growth was regarded as a good thing. It was an era that celebrated monster-size animals, fat babies and big men. In 1955, a crowd gathered in a hotel ballroom to watch as feed salesmen climbed onto a scale; the men were competing to see who could gain the most weight in four months, in imitation of the cattle and hogs that ate their antibiotic-laced food. Pfizer sponsored the competition.

In 1954, Alexander Fleming — the Scottish biologist who discovered penicillin — visited the University of Minnesota. His American hosts proudly informed him that by feeding antibiotics to hogs, farmers had already saved millions of dollars in slop. But Fleming seemed disturbed by the thought of applying that logic to humans. “I can’t predict that feeding penicillin to babies will do society much good,” he said. “Making people larger might do more harm than good.”

Nonetheless, experiments were then being conducted on humans. In the 1950s, a team of scientists fed a steady diet of antibiotics to schoolchildren in Guatemala for more than a year,while Charles H. Carter, a doctor in Florida, tried a similar regimen on mentally disabled kids. Could the children, like the farm animals, grow larger? Yes, they could.

Mr. Jukes summarized Dr. Carter’s research in a monograph on nutrition and antibiotics: “Carter carried out a prolonged investigation of a study of the effects of administering 75 mg of chlortetracycline” — the chemical name for Aureomycin — “twice daily to mentally defective children for periods of up to three years at the Florida Farm Colony. The children were mentally deficient spastic cases and were almost entirely helpless,” he wrote. “The average yearly gain in weight for the supplemented group was 6.5 lb while the control group averaged 1.9 lb in yearly weight gain.”

Researchers also tried this out in a study of Navy recruits. “Nutritional effects of antibiotics have been noted for some time” in farm animals, the authors of the 1954 study wrote. But “to date there have been few studies of the nutritional effects in humans, and what little evidence is available is largely concerned with young children. The present report seems of interest, therefore, because of the results obtained in a controlled observation of several hundred young American males.” The Navy men who took a dose of antibiotics every morning for seven weeks gained more weight, on average, than the control group.

MEANWHILE, in agricultural circles, word of the miracle spread fast. Jay C. Hormel described imaginative experiments in livestock production to his company’s stockholders in 1951; soon the company began its own research. Hormel scientists cut baby piglets out of their mothers’ bellies and raised them in isolation, pumping them with food and antibiotics. And yes, this did make the pigs fatter.

Farms clamored for antibiotic slurry from drug companies, which was trucked directly to them in tanks. By 1954, Eli Lilly & Company had created an antibiotic feed additive for farm animals, as “an aid to digestion.” It was so much more than that. The drug-laced feeds allowed farmers to keep their animals indoors — because in addition to becoming meatier, the animals now could subsist in filthy conditions. The stage was set for the factory farm.

And yet, scientists still could not explain the mystery of antibiotics and weight gain. Nor did they try, really. According to Luis Caetano M. Antunes, a public health researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil, the attitude was, “Who cares how it’s working?” Over the next few decades, while farms kept buying up antibiotics, the medical world largely lost interest in their fattening effects, and moved on.

In the last decade, however, scrutiny of antibiotics has increased. Overuse of the drugs has led to the rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria — salmonella in factory farms and staph infections in hospitals. Researchers have also begun to suspect that it may shed light on the obesity epidemic.

In 2002 Americans were about an inch taller and 24 pounds heavier than they were in the 1960s, and more than a third are now classified as obese. Of course, diet and lifestyle are prime culprits. But some scientists wonder whether there could be other reasons for this staggering transformation of the American body. Antibiotics might be the X factor — or one of them.

Martin J. Blaser, the director of the Human Microbiome Program and a professor of medicine and microbiology at New York University, is exploring that mystery. In 1980, he was the salmonella surveillance officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, going to farms to investigate outbreaks. He remembers marveling at the amount of antibiotic powder that farmers poured into feed. “I began to think, what is the meaning of this?” he told me.

Of course, while farm animals often eat a significant dose of antibiotics in food, the situation is different for human beings. By the time most meat reaches our table, it contains little or no antibiotics. So we receive our greatest exposure in the pills we take, rather than the food we eat. American kids are prescribed on average about one course of antibiotics every year, often for ear and chest infections. Could these intermittent high doses affect our metabolism?

To find out, Dr. Blaser and his colleagues have spent years studying the effects of antibiotics on the growth of baby mice. In one experiment, his lab raised mice on both high-calorie food and antibiotics. “As we all know, our children’s diets have gotten a lot richer in recent decades,” he writes in a book, “Missing Microbes,” due out in April. At the same time, American children often are prescribed antibiotics. What happens when chocolate doughnuts mix with penicillin?

The results of the study were dramatic, particularly in female mice: They gained about twice as much body fat as the control-group mice who ate the same food. “For the female mice, the antibiotic exposure was the switch that converted more of those extra calories in the diet to fat, while the males grew more in terms of both muscle and fat,” Dr. Blaser writes. “The observations are consistent with the idea that the modern high-calorie diet alone is insufficient to explain the obesity epidemic and that antibiotics could be contributing.”

The Blaser lab also investigates whether antibiotics may be changing the animals’ microbiome — the trillions of bacteria that live inside their guts. These bacteria seem to play a role in all sorts of immune responses, and, crucially, in digesting food, making nutrients and maintaining a healthy weight. And antibiotics can kill them off: One recent study found that taking the antibiotic ciprofloxacin decimated entire populations of certain bugs in some patients’ digestive tracts — bacteria they might have been born with.

Until recently, scientists simply had no way to identify and sort these trillions of bacteria. But thanks to a new technique called high-throughput sequencing, we can now examine bacterial populations inside people. According to Ilseung Cho, a gastroenterologist who works with the Blaser lab, researchers are learning so much about the gut bugs that it is sometimes difficult to make sense of the blizzard of revelations. “Interpreting the volume of data being generated is as much a challenge as the scientific questions we are interested in asking,” he said.

Investigators are beginning to piece together a story about how gut bacteria shapes each life, beginning at birth, when infants are anointed with populations from their mothers’ microbiomes. Babies who are born by cesarean and never make that trip through the birth canal apparently never receive some key bugs from their mothers — possibly including those that help to maintain a healthy body weight. Children born by C-section are more likely to be obese in later life.

By the time we reach adulthood, we have developed our own distinct menagerie of bacteria. In fact, it doesn’t always make sense to speak of us and them. You are the condo that your bugs helped to build and design. The bugs redecorate you every day. They turn the thermostat up and down, and bang on your pipes.

In the Blaser lab and elsewhere, scientists are racing to take a census of the bugs in the human gut and — even more difficult — to figure out what effects they have on us. What if we could identify which species minimize the risk of diabetes, or confer protection against obesity? And what if we could figure out how to protect these crucial bacteria from antibiotics, or replace them after they’re killed off?

The results could represent an entirely new pharmacopoeia, drugs beyond our wildest dreams: Think of them as “anti-antibiotics.” Instead of destroying bugs, these new medicines would implant creatures inside us, like more sophisticated probiotics.

Dr. Cho looks forward to this new era of medicine. “I could say, ‘All right, I know that you’re at risk for developing colon cancer, and I can decrease that risk by giving you this bacteria and altering your microbiome.’ That would be amazing. We could prevent certain diseases before they happened.”

Until then, it’s hard for him to know what to tell his patients. We know that antibiotics change us, but we still don’t know what to do about it. “It’s still too early to draw definitive conclusions,” Dr. Cho said. “And antibiotics remain a valuable resource that physicians use to fight infections.”

When I spoke to Mr. Antunes, the public health researcher in Brazil, he told me that his young daughter had just suffered through several bouts of ear infections. “It’s a no-brainer. You have to give her antibiotics.” And yet, he worried about how these drugs might affect her in years to come.

It has become common to chide doctors and patients for overusing antibiotics, but when the baby is wailing or you’re burning with fever, it’s hard to know what to do. While researchers work to unravel the connections between antibiotics and weight gain, they should also put their minds toward reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics. One way to do that would be to provide patients with affordable tests that give immediate feedback about what kind of infection has taken hold in their body. Such tools, like a new kind of blood test, are now in development and could help to eliminate the “just in case” prescribing of antibiotics.

In the meantime, we are faced with the legacy of these drugs — the possibility that they have affected our size and shape, and made us different people.


The Fat Drug –

David Icke’s book “…and the Truth Shall Set You Free” lists a summary

of the basic themes of the Elite’s plan following World War II:

To introduce a world authority called the United Nations (with

associated bodies like the World Health Organisation), which could

evolve into a world government with powers to control the lives of

everyone on the planet.

To continue to cause conflicts across the world and to use the fear of

the Soviet Union to massively increase spending on nuclear weapons and

‘conventional’ weapons, thus adding to the terror of nuclear war and

demands for global security. To set up an American-European defence

alliance (which was called the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

(NATO)) and a United Nations ‘peace’keeping force, which, through the

engineering of conflicts, would eventually be fused together to form the

world army.

To create three ‘free trade’ regions in Europe, the Americas, and Asia,

which would be sold to people initially as merely economic groupings.

Gradually, however, these would be evolved into a centralised political

unions, with one central bank and one currency. These would be

stepping-stones to the introduction of the same institutions on a global

scale. The European Economic Community, now the European Union, was the

first of these, but the other two are now underway also.

To advance the control of public opinion and to research and expand the

understanding of how to manipulate the human psyche, individually and

collectively. Today this agenda includes the microchipping of people and

their permanent connection to a global computer.

To create a welfare state while destroying alternatives to the economic

system and, when the desired dependency had been achieved, to dismantle

that state welfare support, so creating a vast underclass without help

or hope.

To make fantastic amounts of money in the course of realising all these

ambitions via the Elite-controlled companies and banks.

To continually add to the debt burden of people, business, and state,

thus increasing the control exerted over them.

The approach which was followed to hoodwink public thinking was

painfully predictable, but highly effective: Discredit the nation state.

This was laid out during the War by the German economist and refugee,

Hans Heymann, who produced his Plan for Permanent Peace using funds

given by… the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Now, we promised you their names: THE BANK OF ENGLAND.

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Membership Roster

The Bilderbergers

These two groups get together fix interest rates, decide the laws they want to control the proles and dictate to the hired pols. Everything you do not have including a home, paid up and peace of mind, they created for you. They want the slaves’ noses ‘just out of water and as little senior care as can be tolerated so they can send you to your grave without cost.

via the global elite, the rothschilds, the men who control the world, oligarchs, 13 families.

Rothschilds & Rockefellers –
Trillionaires Of The World
Learn your history before it repeats on you.

By New World Order

“Money is Power”, or shall we say, “The Monopoly to Create Credit Money and charge interest is Absolute Power”. (Alex James)
Amsel (Amschel) Bauer Mayer Rothschild, 1838:
“Let me issue and control a Nation’s money and I care not who makes its laws”.
Letter written from London by the Rothschilds to their New  York agents introducing their banking method into America:  “The few who can understand the system will be either so  interested in its profits, or so dependent on its favours,  that there will be no opposition from that class, while, on  the other hand, that great body of people, mentally  incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that  Capital derives from the system, will bear its burden  without complaint and, perhaps, without even suspecting  that the system is inimical to their interests.” 
Nathan Rothschild said to the Commons Secret Committee on  the question early in 1819: “In what line of business are  you? – Mostly in the foreign banking line. “Have the  goodness to state to the Committee in detail, what you  conceive would be the consequence of an obligation imposed  upon the Bank [of England, which he owned] to resume cash  payments at the expiration of a year from the present time?  – I do not think it can be done without very great distress  to this country; it would do a great deal of mischief;  we may not actually know ourselves what mischief it might  cause. “Have the goodness to explain the nature of the  mischief, and in what way it would be produced? – Money  will be so very scarce, every article in this country will  fall to such an enormous extent, that many persons will  be ruined.” 
The director of the Prussian Treasury wrote on a visit to  London that Nathan Rothschild had as early as 1817: “..,  incredible influence upon all financial affairs here in  London. It is widely stated.., that he entirely regulates  the rate of exchange in the City. His power as a banker is  enormous”. 
Austrian Prince Mettemich’s secretary wrote of the  Rothschilds, as early as 1818, that: “… they are the  richest people in Europe.” 
Referring to James Rothschild, the poet Heinrich Heine  said: “Money is the god of our times, and Rothschild is his  prophet.” 
James Rothschild built his fabulous mansion, called  Ferrilres, 19 miles north-east of Paris. Wilhelm I, on  first seeing it, exclaimed: “Kings couldn’t afford this. It  could only belong to a Rothschild!” 
Author Frederic Morton wrote that the Rothschilds had:  “conquered the World more thoroughly, more cunningly, and  much more lastingly than all the Caesars before…” 
As Napoleon pointed out: “Terrorism, War & Bankruptcy are  caused by the privatization of money, issued as a debt and  compounded by interest “- he cancelled debt and interest in  France – hence the Battle of Waterloo. 
Some writers have claimed that Nathan Rothschild “warned  that the United States would find itself involved in a most  disastrous war if the bank’s charter were not renewed.”  (do you see the similarities here? If you don’t play the  game an economic disaster will fall on you and you will be  destroyed.) 
“There is but one power in Europe and that is Rothschild.”  19th century French commentator. 
Lord Rothschild (Rockefellers and Rothschilds’ relatives)  in his book The Shadow of a Great Man quotes a letter sent  from Davidson on June 24, 1814 to Nathan Rothschild, “As  long as a house is like yours, and as long as you work  together with your brothers, not a house in the world will  be able to compete with you, to cause you harm or to take  advantage of you, for together you can undertake and  perform more than any house in the world.” The closeness of  the Rothschild brothers is seen in a letter from Soloman  (Salmon) Rothschild to his brother Nathan on Feb. 28, 1815,  “We are like the mechanism of a watch: each part is  essential.” (2) This closeness is further seen in that of  the 18 marriages made by Mayer Amschel Rothschild’s  grandchildren – 16 were contracted between first cousins. 
“Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by  means of a national bank with state capital and an  exclusive monopoly.” The Communist Manifesto. In the case  of the Bolshevik revolution, Rothschilds/ Rockefellers’  Chase Bank owned the state. In the US, the FED owners  “own” the state. 
Rothschilds’ favorite saying who along with the  Rockefellers are the major Illuminati Banking Dynasties:  “Who controls the issuance of money controls the  government!” 
Nathan Rothschild said (1777-1836): “I care not what puppet  is placed on the throne of England to rule the Empire. The  man who controls Britain’s money supply controls the  British Empire and I control the British money supply.” 
Rockefeller is reported to have said: “Competition is a  sin”. “Own nothing. Control everything”. Because he wants  to centralize control of everything and enslave us all,  i.e. the modern Nimrod or Pharaoh. 
The Rothschild were behind the colonization and occupations  of India and the Rothschild owned British Petroleum was  granted unlimited rights to all offshore Indian oil, which  is still valid till this day. 
“Give me the control of the credit of a nation, and I care  not who makes the laws.” The famous boastful statement of  Nathaniel Meyer Rothschild, speaking to a group of  international bankers, 1912: “The few who could understand  the system (cheque, money, credits) will either be so  interested in its profits, or so dependent on its favours,  that there will be no opposition from that class, while on  the other hand, the great body of people, mentally  incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that  capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens  without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that  the system is inimical to their interests.” The boastful  statement by Rothschild Bros. of London. 
These people are the top masterminds and conspired for the  creation of illegal FEDERAL RESERVE BANK in 1913: Theodore  Roosevelt, Paul Warburg – Representative Of Rothschild,  Woodrow Wilson – U.S. President Signed FED Into Act, Nelson  W. Aldrich – Representative Of Rockefeller, Benjamin Strong  – Representative Of Rockefeller, Frank A. Vanderlip –  Representative Of Rockefeller, John D. Rockefeller –  Rockefeller Himself, Henry Davison – Representative Of J.  P. Morgan, Charles Norton – Representative Of J. P. Morgan. 
In the last century, members of the British Fabian Society  dynastic banking families in the City of London financed  the Communist takeover of Russia. Trotsky in his biography  refers to some of the loans from these British financiers  going back as far as 1907. By 1917 the major subsidies and  funding for the Bolshevik Revolution were co-ordinated and  arranged by Sir George Buchanan and Lord Alfred Milner. [no  doubt using money from Cecil Rhodes’ South African gold and  diamond legacy – Ed] The Communist system in Russia was a  “British experiment” designed ultimately to become the  Fabian Socialist model for the British takeover of the  World through the UN and EU. The British plan to takeover  the World and bring in a “New World Order” began with the  teachings of John Ruskin and Cecil Rhodes at Oxford  University. Rhodes in one of his wills in 1877 left his  vast fortune to Lord Nathan Rothschild as trustee to set up  the Rhodes Scholarship Program at Oxford to indoctrinate  promising young graduates for the purpose, and also  establish a secret society [Royal Institute of  International Affairs RIIA, which branched into the Round  Table, the Bilderbergers, the CFR, the Trilateral, etc —  Ed] for leading business and banking leaders around the  World who would work for the City to bring in their  Socialist World government. 
Rothschild appointed Lord Alfred Milner to implement the  plan. 
Benjamin Freedman (Friedman) said this in 1961, Washington  (he was a millionaire insider in international Zionist  organizations, friend to 4 US presidents, and was also part  of the 117-man strong Zionist delegation at the signing of  the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 where Germany was forced  into bankruptcy to the Zionist BankLords and social chaos):  “Two years into WW1, Germany, which was then winning the  war, offered Britain and France a negotiated peace deal,  but German Zionist groups seeing the opportunity made a  deal with Britain to get the United States into the war  if Britain promised to give the Zionists Palestine.” 
In other words, they made this deal: “We will get the  United States into this war as your ally. The price you  must pay us is Palestine after you have won the war and  defeated Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey.” They made  that promise, in October of 1916. And shortly after that —  I don’t know how many here remember it — the United  States, which was almost totally pro-German because the  newspapers and mass communications media here were  controlled by the Zionist bankers who owned the major  commercial banks and the 12 Federal Reserve Banks (the  original Stockholders of the  Federal Reserve Banks in 1913 were the Rockefeller’ s, JP  Morgan, Rothschild’s, Lazard Freres, Schoellkopf,  Kuhn-Loeb, Warburgs, Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs, all  with roots in Germany’s Zionists like the British Royal  family, J.P. Morgan, Carnegie, Bush, Rumsfeld, Clintons,  the Nazis that were brought into the CIA, etc. )  and they were pro-German because they wanted to use Germany  to destroy the Czar of Russia and let the Communists  whom they funded take over. The German Zionist bankers —  Rothschilds, Rockefeller, Kuhn Loeb and the other big  banking firms in the United States refused to finance  France or England to the extent of one dollar. They stood  aside and they said: “As long as France and England are  tied up with Russia, not one cent!” They poured money into  Germany, fighting with Germany against Russia, to lick the  Czarist regime. The newspapers had been all pro-German,  where they’d been telling the people of the difficulties  that Germany was having fighting Great Britain commercially  and in other respects, then after making the deal with the  British for Palestine, all of a sudden the Germans were no  good. They were villains. They were Huns. They were  shooting Red Cross nurses. They were cutting off babies’  hands. And they were no good. The Zionists in London sent  cables to the US, to Justice Brandeis: “Go to work on  President Wilson. We’re getting from England what we want.  Now you go to work, and you go to work on President Wilson  and get the US into the war.” And that did happen. Shortly  after President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany. 
The power of the Rothschild family was evidenced on 24  Sept 2002 when a helicopter touched down on the lawn of  Waddedson Manor, their ancestral home in Buckinghamshire,  England. Out of the helicopter strode Warren Buffet, –  touted as the second richest man in the World but really  a lower ranking player- and Arnold Schwarzenegger (the  gropinator), at that time a candidate for the Governorship  of California. Also in attendance at this two day meeting  of the World’s most powerful businessmen and financiers  hosted by Jacob Rothschild were James Wolfensohn, president  of the World Bank and Nicky Oppenheimer, chairman of De  Beers. Arnold went on to secure the governorship of one of  the biggest economies on the planet a year later. That he  was initiated into the ruling class in the Rothschilds’  English country manor suggests that the centre of  gravity of the three hundred trillion dollar cartel  is in the U.K. and Europe not the U.S. 
A recent article in the London Financial Times indicates  why it is impossible to gain an accurate estimate of the  wealth of the trillionaire bankers. Discussing the sale  of Evelyn Rothschild’s stake in Rothschild Continuation  Holdings, it states: …[this] requires agreement on the  valuation of privately held assets whose value has never  been tested in a public market. Most of these assets are  held in a complex network of tax-efficient structures  around the World. 
Queen Elizabeth II’s shareholdings remain hidden behind  Bank of England Nominee accounts. The Guardian newspaper  reported in May 2002 … “the reason for the wild  variations in valuations of her private wealth can be  pinned on the secrecy over her portfolio of share  investments. This is because her subjects have no way of  knowing through a public register of interests where she,  as their head of state, chooses to invest her money. Unlike  the members of the Commons and now the Lords, the Queen  does not have to annually declare her interests and as a  result her subjects cannot question her or know about  potential conflicts of interests…” In fact, the Queen  even has an extra mechanism to ensure that her investments  remain secret – a nominee company called the Bank of  England Nominees. It has been available for decades to the  entire World’s current heads of state to allow them  anonymity when buying shares. Therefore, when a company  publishes a share register and the Bank of England Nominees  is listed, it is not possible to gauge whether the Queen,  President Bush or even Saddam Hussein is the true  shareholder. 
By this method, the trillionaire masters of the universe  remain hidden whilst Forbes magazine poses lower ranking  billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett as the  richest men in the World. Retired management consultant  Gaylon Ross Sr, author of Who’s Who of the Global Elite,  has been tipped from a private source that the combined  wealth of the Rockefeller family in 1998 was approx (US)  $11 trillion and the Rothschilds (U.S.) $100 trillion.  However something of an insider’s knowledge of the hidden  wealth of the elite is contained in the article, “Will the  Dollar and America Fall Down on August 19?..” on page 1 of  the 12th July 2001 issue of Russian newspaper Pravda. The  newspaper interviewed Tatyana Koryagina, a senior research  fellow in the Institute of Macroeconomic Researches  subordinated to the Russian Ministry of Economic  Development (Minekonom) on the subject of a recent  conference concerning the fate of the U.S. economy: 
Koryagina: The known history of civilization is merely the  visible part of the iceberg. There is a shadow economy,  shadow politics and also a shadow history, known to  conspirologists. There are [unseen] forces acting in the  World, unstoppable for [most powerful] countries and even  continents. 
Ashley Mote (EU): “Mr President, I wish to draw your  attention to the Global Security Fund, set up in the early  1990s under the auspices of Jacob Rothschild. This is a  Brussels-based fund and it is no ordinary fund: it does not  trade, it is not listed and it has a totally different  purpose. It is being used for geopolitical engineering  purposes, apparently under the guidance of the intelligence  services.” “I have previously asked about the alleged  involvement of the European Union’s own intelligence  resources in the management of slush funds in offshore  accounts, and I still await a reply. To that question I now  add another: what are the European Union’s connections to  the Global Security Fund and what relationship does it have  with European Union institutions? “Recently, Ashley Mote of  the European Union (EU) asked this volatile question in a  public EU meeting, a question never answered, as Mr. Mote,  merely by asking this question, was immediately scratched  from the White House Christmas card list and placed on its  top ten hit list. The Illuminati’s cash cow, grazing freely  on the World wide pasture of greenbacks, isn’t called  “Elsie” but instead is called the Global Security Fund, a  name actually meaning in the secret cult’s language Global  Terrorist Fund. In simple terms, it’s a gigantic illegal  trust fund, estimated by undercover overseas financial  investigators at 65 trillion dollars, set-up for  “Illuminati rainy days” and established when it is  desperately needed in a pinch for bribery, assassinations  and sponsoring World wide terrorist activities to divert  attention from their banking mafia. Although the fund is  cloaked in secrecy and made possible by the Western  civilization’ s Federal Reserve banking system,  investigators trying to pry into the Illuminati’s secret  treasure trove have uncovered some interesting facts. 

Rothschilds & Rockefellers – Trillionaires Of The World.

Updated Dec. 28, 2013 10:46 p.m. ET


‘What you’re seeing is how a civilization commits suicide,” says Camille Paglia. This self-described “notorious Amazon feminist” isn’t telling anyone to Lean In or asking Why Women Still Can’t Have It All. No, her indictment may be as surprising as it is wide-ranging: The military is out of fashion, Americans undervalue manual labor, schools neuter male students, opinion makers deny the biological differences between men and women, and sexiness is dead. And that’s just 20 minutes of our three-hour conversation.

When Ms. Paglia, now 66, burst onto the national stage in 1990 with the publishing of “Sexual Personae,” she immediately established herself as a feminist who was the scourge of the movement’s establishment, a heretic to its orthodoxy. Pick up the 700-page tome, subtitled “Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, ” and it’s easy to see why. “If civilization had been left in female hands,” she wrote, “we would still be living in grass huts.”

The fact that the acclaimed book—the first of six; her latest, “Glittering Images,” is a survey of Western art—was rejected by seven publishers and five agents before being printed by Yale University Press only added to Ms. Paglia’s sense of herself as a provocateur in a class with Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. But unlike those radio jocks, Ms. Paglia has scholarly chops: Her dissertation adviser at Yale was Harold Bloom, and she is as likely to discuss Freud, Oscar Wilde or early Native American art as to talk about Miley Cyrus.

Ms. Paglia relishes her outsider persona, having previously described herself as an egomaniac and “abrasive, strident and obnoxious.” Talking to her is like a mental CrossFit workout. One moment she’s praising pop star Rihanna (“a true artist”), then blasting ObamaCare (“a monstrosity,” though she voted for the president), global warming (“a religious dogma”), and the idea that all gay people are born gay (“the biggest canard,” yet she herself is a lesbian).

Neil Davies

But no subject gets her going more than when I ask if she really sees a connection between society’s attempts to paper over the biological distinction between men and women and the collapse of Western civilization.

She starts by pointing to the diminished status of military service. “The entire elite class now, in finance, in politics and so on, none of them have military service—hardly anyone, there are a few. But there is no prestige attached to it anymore. That is a recipe for disaster,” she says. “These people don’t think in military ways, so there’s this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we’re just nice and benevolent to everyone they’ll be nice too. They literally don’t have any sense of evil or criminality.”

The results, she says, can be seen in everything from the dysfunction in Washington (where politicians “lack practical skills of analysis and construction”) to what women wear. “So many women don’t realize how vulnerable they are by what they’re doing on the street,” she says, referring to women who wear sexy clothes.

When she has made this point in the past, Ms. Paglia—who dresses in androgynous jackets and slacks—has been told that she believes “women are at fault for their own victimization.” Nonsense, she says. “I believe that every person, male and female, needs to be in a protective mode at all times of alertness to potential danger. The world is full of potential attacks, potential disasters.” She calls it “street-smart feminism.”

Ms. Paglia argues that the softening of modern American society begins as early as kindergarten. “Primary-school education is a crock, basically. It’s oppressive to anyone with physical energy, especially guys,” she says, pointing to the most obvious example: the way many schools have cut recess. “They’re making a toxic environment for boys. Primary education does everything in its power to turn boys into neuters.”

She is not the first to make this argument, as Ms. Paglia readily notes. Fellow feminist Christina Hoff Sommers has written about the “war against boys” for more than a decade. The notion was once met with derision, but now data back it up: Almost one in five high-school-age boys has been diagnosed with ADHD, boys get worse grades than girls and are less likely to go to college.

Ms. Paglia observes this phenomenon up close with her 11-year-old son, Lucien, whom she is raising with her ex-partner, Alison Maddex, an artist and public-school teacher who lives 2 miles away. She sees the tacit elevation of “female values”—such as sensitivity, socialization and cooperation—as the main aim of teachers, rather than fostering creative energy and teaching hard geographical and historical facts.

By her lights, things only get worse in higher education. “This PC gender politics thing—the way gender is being taught in the universities—in a very anti-male way, it’s all about neutralization of maleness.” The result: Upper-middle-class men who are “intimidated” and “can’t say anything. . . . They understand the agenda.” In other words: They avoid goring certain sacred cows by “never telling the truth to women” about sex, and by keeping “raunchy” thoughts and sexual fantasies to themselves and their laptops.

Politically correct, inadequate education, along with the decline of America’s brawny industrial base, leaves many men with “no models of manhood,” she says. “Masculinity is just becoming something that is imitated from the movies. There’s nothing left. There’s no room for anything manly right now.” The only place you can hear what men really feel these days, she claims, is on sports radio. No surprise, she is an avid listener. The energy and enthusiasm “inspires me as a writer,” she says, adding: “If we had to go to war,” the callers “are the men that would save the nation.”

And men aren’t the only ones suffering from the decline of men. Women, particularly elite upper-middle-class women, have become “clones” condemned to “Pilates for the next 30 years,” Ms. Paglia says. “Our culture doesn’t allow women to know how to be womanly,” adding that online pornography is increasingly the only place where men and women in our sexless culture tap into “primal energy” in a way they can’t in real life.

A key part of the remedy, she believes, is a “revalorization” of traditional male trades—the ones that allow women’s studies professors to drive to work (roads), take the elevator to their office (construction), read in the library (electricity), and go to gender-neutral restrooms (plumbing).

Michelle Obama‘s going on: ‘Everybody must have college.’ Why? Why? What is the reason why everyone has to go to college? Especially when college is so utterly meaningless right now, it has no core curriculum” and “people end up saddled with huge debts,” says Ms. Paglia. What’s driving the push toward universal college is “social snobbery on the part of a lot of upper-middle-class families who want the sticker in the window.”

Ms. Paglia, who has been a professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia since 1984, sees her own students as examples. “I have woodworking students who, even while they’re in class, are already earning money making furniture and so on,” she says. “My career has been in art schools cause I don’t get along with normal academics.”

To hear her tell it, getting along has never been Ms. Paglia’s strong suit. As a child, she felt stifled by the expectations of girlhood in the 1950s. She fantasized about being a knight, not a princess. Discovering pioneering female figures as a teenager, most notably Amelia Earhart, transformed Ms. Paglia’s understanding of what her future might hold.

These iconoclastic women of the 1930s, like Earhart and Katharine Hepburn, remain her ideal feminist role models: independent, brave, enterprising, capable of competing with men without bashing them. But since at least the late 1960s, she says, fellow feminists in the academy stopped sharing her vision of “equal-opportunity feminism” that demands a level playing field without demanding special quotas or protections for women.

She proudly recounts her battle, while a graduate student at Yale in the late 1960s and early ’70s, with the New Haven Women’s Liberation Rock Band over the Rolling Stones: Ms. Paglia loved “Under My Thumb,” a song the others regarded as chauvinist. Then there was the time she “barely got through the dinner” with a group of women’s studies professors at Bennington College, where she had her first teaching job, who insisted that there is no hormonal difference between men and women. “I left before dessert.”

In her view, these ideological excesses bear much of the blame for the current cultural decline. She calls out activists like Gloria Steinem, Naomi Wolf and Susan Faludi for pushing a version of feminism that says gender is nothing more than a social construct, and groups like the National Organization for Women for making abortion the singular women’s issue.

By denying the role of nature in women’s lives, she argues, leading feminists created a “denatured, antiseptic” movement that “protected their bourgeois lifestyle” and falsely promised that women could “have it all.” And by impugning women who chose to forgo careers to stay at home with children, feminists turned off many who might have happily joined their ranks.

But Ms. Paglia’s criticism shouldn’t be mistaken for nostalgia for the socially prescribed roles for men and women before the 1960s. Quite the contrary. “I personally have disobeyed every single item of the gender code,” says Ms. Paglia. But men, and especially women, need to be honest about the role biology plays and clear-eyed about the choices they are making.

Sex education, she says, simply focuses on mechanics without conveying the real “facts of life,” especially for girls: “I want every 14-year-old girl . . . to be told: You better start thinking what do you want in life. If you just want a career and no children you don’t have much to worry about. If, however, you are thinking you’d like to have children some day you should start thinking about when do you want to have them. Early or late? To have them early means you are going to make a career sacrifice, but you’re going to have more energy and less risks. Both the pros and the cons should be presented.”

For all of Ms. Paglia’s barbs about the women’s movement, it seems clear that feminism—at least of the equal-opportunity variety—has triumphed in its basic goals. There is surely a lack of women in the C-Suite and Congress, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a man who would admit that he believes women are less capable. To save feminism as a political movement from irrelevance, Ms. Paglia says, the women’s movement should return to its roots. That means abandoning the “nanny state” mentality that led to politically correct speech codes and college disciplinary committees that have come to replace courts. The movement can win converts, she says, but it needs to become a big tent, one “open to stay-at-home moms” and “not just the career woman.”

More important, Ms. Paglia says, if the women’s movement wants to be taken seriously again, it should tackle serious matters, like rape in India and honor killings in the Muslim world, that are “more of an outrage than some woman going on a date on the Brown University campus.”

Ms. Weiss is an associate editorial features editor at the Journal.

The Weekend Interview With Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues –

Eight things you can do to be like the best:

Stay Busy

Just Say No

Know What You Are

Build Networks

Create Good Luck

Have Grit

Make Awesome Mistakes

Find Mentors

via 8 Things The World’s Most Successful People All Have In Common.

▶ Lloyd Pye – Everything You Know Is Wrong – YouTube.

Full text preserved here for educational benefit.

By Matt Welch,

Matt Welch is editor in chief of Reason magazine and co-author with Nick Gillespie of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong With America, now out in paperback with a new foreword.

Tony Pierce remembers vividly the exact moment in November 2000 when the state of California began trampling on his life. “There was a loud angry pounding at my door at five o’clock in the morning,” he recalls. “Very scary.”

It was a female police officer with a complaint accusing him of being the father of an 8-year-old girl in Contra Costa County, east of San Francisco. “I’m like, ‘Great! I’m definitely not the father of anybody,'” he says.

You can read thousands of pages of laws, reports, and testimonies, and not see a single reference to the importance of naming the right guy, or to the gravity of making a mistake.

There were excellent reasons to think (He was not the right guy) so. He had never met or heard of the mother of the child. He had never lived in Northern California, and at the time of conception (spring 1991) he was attending the University of California at Santa Barbara, beginning a monogamous relationship that would last for two years. What’s more, he’s a condom fanatic — only once in his life, Pierce swears, has he failed to use a rubber during intercourse, and that was “many years after.” (He’s been a friend of mine for 15 years, and I believe him.) And if the summons had included the mother’s testimony (it was supposed to, but did not), he would have seen himself described as a “tall” and “dark” black man named “Anthony Pierce.” Pierce is a hair over five feet, nine inches; he is so light-skinned that even people who know him sometimes don’t realize he’s black; and no one calls him Anthony except his mom.

No amount of evidence can move the state to review the case; the DCSS has to be sued. Unlike capital murder convictions, which are being overturned around the country because of DNA evidence, … in the words of former California legislator Rod Wright, “It ain’t your kid, you can prove it ain’t your kid, and they say, ‘So what?’

The front page of the court document gave simple but misleading instructions: “You have 30 days to respond to this lawsuit. You may respond in one of two ways: 1. File an Answer to the complaint with the Superior Court of Contra Costa County, not with the District Attorney….2. Settle the case with the District Attorney. You may call us at (925) 313-4200 to discuss your case.” Concluding incorrectly (but understandably) that he could settle the matter over the phone, Pierce called — three times that day — and tried to weave his way through a labyrinthine phone tree. Finally he found a human being, who instructed him to leave a message with a home phone number. The department called him back the next day and left a message; it took another three calls from Pierce before he reached a caseworker for the first time.

“I said, ‘What do I need to do? I’m not the father,'” he remembers. “And they were like, ‘OK, well this is what you do: You just call in every day, and then we’ll understand that you’re not it, because if you’re it, you’re not gonna call us every day.'”

Pierce did everything he was told over the next three weeks of phone tag, except for comprehending that the 30-day deadline for denying paternity in writing was etched in federal law, regardless of what he discussed with Contra Costa employees — who he says never once told him the clock was ticking. “All they were doing was delaying me from doing what I needed to do,” he says. “It’s a huge scam — huge scam….They’re just counting the days. They’re like, ‘Sucker, sucker, sucker, sucker.’…And this is the government!”


Two months later, after the phone conversations had ended and he assumed he was off the hook, Pierce received notice that a “default judgment” had been entered against him, and that he owed $9,000 in child support. He was between dot-com jobs, and his next unemployment check was 25 percent smaller; the state of California had seized and diverted $100 toward his first payment. Suddenly, he was facing several years of automatic wage garnishment, and the shame of being forced to explain to prospective employers why the government considered him a deadbeat dad. “That’s when it hit me,” he says. “I mean, it’s mostly my fault — ‘Fill out the form, dumb-ass!’…But it’s so rigged against you, it’s ridiculous.”

Needless to say, taking DCSS to court is expensive (James says he’s already run up legal bills of $4,000), and success isn’t likely. To add insult to injury, even if you win, you won’t get any of your money back.

Dad Blamed

What Pierce didn’t realize, and what nearly 10 million American men have discovered to their chagrin since the welfare reform legislation of 1996, is that when the government accuses you of fathering a child, no matter how flimsy the evidence, you are one month away from having your life wrecked. Federal law gives a man just 30 days to file a written challenge; if he doesn’t, he is presumed guilty. And once that steamroller of justice starts rolling, dozens of statutory lubricants help make it extremely difficult, and prohibitively expensive, to stop — even, in most cases, if there’s conclusive DNA proof that the man is not the child’s father.

This stacked deck against accused dads has provoked a backlash movement, triggering “paternity fraud” legislation and related legal challenges in more than a dozen states. Combined with advances in genetic technology, this conflict may end up changing the way we define parenthood. For now, the system aimed at catching “deadbeat dads” illustrates how a noble-sounding effort to help children and taxpayers can trample the rights of innocent people.

Here’s how it works: When an accused “obligor” fails, for whatever reason, to send his response on time, the court automatically issues a “default judgment” declaring him the legal father. It does not matter if he was on vacation, was confused, or (as often happens) didn’t even receive the summons, or if he simply treated the complaint’s deadlines with the same lack of urgency people routinely exhibit toward jury duty summonses — he’s now the dad. “In California, you don’t even have to have proof of service of the summons!” says Rod Wright, a recently retired Democratic state senator from Los Angeles who tried and failed to get several paternity-related reform bills, including a proof-of-service requirement, past former Gov. Gray Davis’ veto. “They only are obligated to send it to the last known address.”

In fact, a March 2003 Urban Institute study commissioned by the California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) found that “most noncustodial parents appear to be served by ‘substitute’ service, rather than personal service, which suggests that noncustodial parents may not know that they have been served.” In Los Angeles County, which is notorious for its sloppy summons service and zealous prosecution of alleged fathers it knows to be innocent, nearly 80 percent of paternity establishments come in the form of default judgments. In the state as a whole, which establishes 250,000 paternities a year while collecting $2 billion in child support, a whopping 68 percent of the 158,000 child support orders in 2000 (the last year studied) were default judgments.

Once paternity is “established,” even if the government has never communicated with the father, the county court imposes a payment rate and schedule under the statistically mistaken assumption that he makes a full-time salary at minimum wage. (State audits have found that a full 80 percent of default dads don’t make even that much.) To collect the money, the county may put a garnish order on the purported father’s paycheck or place liens on his assets. If the mother has received welfare assistance after the child was born, the man will be hit with a bill to pay back the state, plus 10 percent annual interest. “That’s what they’re trying to do, is get some reimbursement to the state,” says Carolyn Kelly, public relations officer for the Contra Costa County DCSS. “As you can imagine, [that’s] millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars.”

If the father falls 30 days behind on his payments, he will be blocked by law from receiving or renewing a driver’s license or any “authorization issued by a board that allows a person to engage in a business, occupation, or profession” — a category that includes teaching credentials, fishing licenses, and state bar memberships. If his credit rating was good, it won’t be any more. If his past-due tab exceeds $5,000, the U.S. State Department won’t issue him a passport. (An average of 60 Americans discover this each day. Meanwhile, Congress has been pushing to cut the limit to $2,500, while urging the State Department to begin revoking passports, which is allowed under the law.)

“When you tell people about the inequities of the system,” Wright says, “they’re surprised. They go, ‘This is America! You couldn’t do that!’ And I go, ‘Yes, you can.'”

Under the guidelines set forth by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, single mothers can receive welfare only on condition that the state take charge of collecting their child support, including unpaid amounts from the past. If the biological father is not paying support, he will be tracked down and hit with the bill. The admirable goal, which statistics show has partially been achieved, was to encourage more responsible sexual behavior by single women, give two-parent families an incentive to stay together, wean recipients off welfare by forcing them to work, and help them find a little extra cash they didn’t have before. At the same time, however, the law gave states an explicit mandate and direct financial incentive to name the maximum number of fathers and extract from them the maximum amount of money.

The bottom-line results have been impressive: Since 1993, according to Senate testimony last March by Marilyn Ray Smith, director of the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, child support collection nationwide jumped from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $19 billion in 2001, while paternity establishments more than doubled, from 659,000 in 1994 to 1.6 million just five years later.

But you can read thousands of pages of laws, reports, and testimonies, and not see a single reference to the importance of naming the right guy, or to the gravity of making a mistake. Since Congress first got into the child support business in 1975, the cornerstone philosophy has been to orient everything toward “the best interest of the child,” which in practice has meant ensuring that the kid receives money. Now that the states also have a financial incentive — they pocket a cut of child support payments, earn performance rewards from the federal government, and enjoy the savings from reduced welfare rolls — the cash motive is stronger than ever. California, for example, crunches the numbers every which way: total child support dollars collected per dollar of total expenditure, average amount collected per case, and so on. But nowhere does the state bother to count the number of citizens it has wrongfully named as fathers. The bias is overwhelming, and abuses are inevitable.

Paternity Test

Anyone familiar with paternity misestablishment horror stories will tell you that Tony Pierce is a fortunate man. “Oh, he got really lucky,” says Taron James, a wrongfully named father who recently founded a group called Veterans Fighting Paternity Fraud. “Mine’s going on eight years.”

First of all, even at Pierce’s current low, entry-level salary, he’s rolling in dough compared to most default dads. According to the Urban Institute study, of the 834,000 Californians owing child support in 2001, “over 60 percent of debtors have recent net [annual] incomes below $10,000. Only 1 percent have recent net incomes in excess of $50,000.” It’s safe to guess that, also unlike Pierce, most don’t have good friends who are high-powered lawyers willing to work pro bono. Like obtaining a green card, which is a hellishly complex process navigated disproportionately
by the poor, fighting a paternity complaint is nearly inconceivable without legal representation, which Wright says costs a “minimum” of $2,000. “If he can’t get the two grand together, you know what?” Wright says. “He’s shit out of luck.”

Pierce’s lawyer, Kim Thigpen, is normally an entertainment attorney, so her crash-course education in family law came as a shock. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” she says. Thigpen was able to get the default judgment set aside — not canceled — on grounds of excusable neglect and mistaken identity, thereby blocking the wage garnishment until the mother and child settled the question once and for all by checking their DNA against Pierce’s. Nearly three years and $10,000 in legal expenses later, they’re still waiting for the mother to comply. (It was far easier for Contra Costa County to declare Pierce the father from 400 miles away than to compel the local-resident mother to show up for a DNA test.) At the hearing, the county attorney admitted that Pierce looked nothing like the mother’s description, a fact that a simple Google search would have easily revealed, since Tony publishes a Web site that includes several dozen pictures of himself.

So how was Pierce fingered? How low is the legal threshold for placing men in the cross hairs of default justice? Both Contra Costa County and the California DCSS refused to discuss the specifics of this or any other case, citing privacy regulations (though Contra Costa’s Carolyn Kelly did point out that “if you don’t contact us, there’s nothing we can do”). But a look at how the process works reveals great potential for error.

Counties typically launch paternity investigations for one of two reasons: Either a parent or custodian directly asks for help in locating a biological parent, or a mother applies for welfare, which now is reported to the local child support system. If the mother was unwed, says California DCSS Assistant Director Leora Gerhenzon, “you ask about when you became pregnant, why you believe that date is correct, whether or not the father was named on the birth certificate, has the father seen the child,…does the father provide for support, has he ever lived with the child,…a Social Security number….It’s a half-hour [interview], or even an hour and a half to two hours.”

What if the only information the mother provides, I ask Gerhenzon, is that it was 10 years ago, with a white guy named Matt Welch, now between 30 and 40 years old, who maybe lives in the Los Angeles area?

“In that case, now it depends,” she says. “We run our search on him; if we come back with one Matt Welch who lives in L.A., whose birthday fits that 10-year range, and we have nobody else, we presume in general we have the person. If we come back with three Matt Welches, all of a sudden we know there’s a problem. We have to call her back in, or call her on the phone, and say ‘OK, here’s what we’ve pulled up. We need more help from you to identify which is the correct [one].'”

So a name, race, vague location, and a broad age range is sufficient to launch a process that could quickly lead to a default judgment, asset liens, and a blocked passport? “Right. Right,” Gerhenzon confirms. “If it’s clear that she’s given us enough identifying information to come up with one discrete name, we would go ahead.” Wouldn’t that make people with unusual names easier targets? “Absolutely.”

In addition to a low threshold for accusing men of paternity, the system lacks penalties for naming the wrong father. Mothers sign their declarations under penalty of perjury, Gerhenzon says, but neither she nor anyone else I talked to for this article could recall a single case where a mother was charged with a crime for naming the wrong man. In fact, until recently California hasn’t had any way to see whether a woman had named different candidates in different counties. Asked how a caseworker might respond after discovering such a disparity, Gerhenzon says, “I think in all likelihood they would confront the custodial parent with both names, and say, ‘Who is the appropriate parent?'” For both the mother and the state, the punishment for making a mistake is indirect, in the form of receiving less child support. (The state is much less successful in collecting from default dads, on average, and the wrongly named defaults surely pay the least.)

So how many default judgments catch the wrong guy? Nobody knows. Paternity reform activists point to a 2000 study by the American Association of Blood Banks that found 30 percent of the 300,000 paternity DNA tests conducted at accredited centers nationwide excluded the father. But the actual percentage of wrongfully named default dads is certainly much lower, since these samples come largely from people with doubts about paternity (as opposed to real deadbeat dads, who have considerable reason to avoid a DNA test).

Whatever the number, the state of California recognizes misidentification of fathers as a serious problem. “Some default orders are expected,” reported the Urban Institute, “but a default rate of 71 percent statewide indicates that something is terribly wrong.” In its study, which addressed the collectibility of California’s $17 billion in outstanding support, the Urban Institute’s No. 1 recommendation was to “reduce default orders.” The DCSS now has a Default Work Group, established at the behest of former Gov. Davis after he vetoed one of the reform bills, that is preparing recommendations for reducing the rate.

The bottom-line results have been impressive: Since 1993, according to Senate testimony last March by Marilyn Ray Smith, director of the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, child support collection nationwide jumped from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $19 billion in 2001, while paternity establishments more than doubled, from 659,000 in 1994 to 1.6 million just five years later.

But you can read thousands of pages of laws, reports, and testimonies, and not see a single reference to the importance of naming the right guy, or to the gravity of making a mistake. Since Congress first got into the child support business in 1975, the cornerstone philosophy has been to orient everything toward “the best interest of the child,” which in practice has meant ensuring that the kid receives money. Now that the states also have a financial incentive — they pocket a cut of child support payments, earn performance rewards from the federal government, and enjoy the savings from reduced welfare rolls — the cash motive is stronger than ever. California, for example, crunches the numbers every which way: total child support dollars collected per dollar of total expenditure, average amount collected per case, and so on. But nowhere does the state bother to count the number of citizens it has wrongfully named as fathers. The bias is overwhelming, and abuses are inevitable.

Paternity Test

Anyone familiar with paternity misestablishment horror stories will tell you that Tony Pierce is a fortunate man. “Oh, he got really lucky,” says Taron James, a wrongfully named father who recently founded a group called Veterans Fighting Paternity Fraud. “Mine’s going on eight years.”

First of all, even at Pierce’s current low, entry-level salary, he’s rolling in dough compared to most default dads. According to the Urban Institute study, of the 834,000 Californians owing child support in 2001, “over 60 percent of debtors have recent net [annual] incomes below $10,000. Only 1 percent have recent net incomes in excess of $50,000.” It’s safe to guess that, also unlike Pierce, most don’t have good friends who are high-powered lawyers willing to work pro bono. Like obtaining a green card, which is a hellishly complex process navigated disproportionately
by the poor, fighting a paternity complaint is nearly inconceivable without legal representation, which Wright says costs a “minimum” of $2,000. “If he can’t get the two grand together, you know what?” Wright says. “He’s shit out of luck.”

Pierce’s lawyer, Kim Thigpen, is normally an entertainment attorney, so her crash-course education in family law came as a shock. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” she says. Thigpen was able to get the default judgment set aside — not canceled — on grounds of excusable neglect and mistaken identity, thereby blocking the wage garnishment until the mother and child settled the question once and for all by checking their DNA against Pierce’s. Nearly three years and $10,000 in legal expenses later, they’re still waiting for the mother to comply. (It was far easier for Contra Costa County to declare Pierce the father from 400 miles away than to compel the local-resident mother to show up for a DNA test.) At the hearing, the county attorney admitted that Pierce looked nothing like the mother’s description, a fact that a simple Google search would have easily revealed, since Tony publishes a Web site that includes several dozen pictures of himself.

So how was Pierce fingered? How low is the legal threshold for placing men in the cross hairs of default justice? Both Contra Costa County and the California DCSS refused to discuss the specifics of this or any other case, citing privacy regulations (though Contra Costa’s Carolyn Kelly did point out that “if you don’t contact us, there’s nothing we can do”). But a look at how the process works reveals great potential for error.

Counties typically launch paternity investigations for one of two reasons: Either a parent or custodian directly asks for help in locating a biological parent, or a mother applies for welfare, which now is reported to the local child support system. If the mother was unwed, says California DCSS Assistant Director Leora Gerhenzon, “you ask about when you became pregnant, why you believe that date is correct, whether or not the father was named on the birth certificate, has the father seen the child,…does the father provide for support, has he ever lived with the child,…a Social Security number….It’s a half-hour [interview], or even an hour and a half to two hours.”

What if the only information the mother provides, I ask Gerhenzon, is that it was 10 years ago, with a white guy named Matt Welch, now between 30 and 40 years old, who maybe lives in the Los Angeles area?

“In that case, now it depends,” she says. “We run our search on him; if we come back with one Matt Welch who lives in L.A., whose birthday fits that 10-year range, and we have nobody else, we presume in general we have the person. If we come back with three Matt Welches, all of a sudden we know there’s a problem. We have to call her back in, or call her on the phone, and say ‘OK, here’s what we’ve pulled up. We need more help from you to identify which is the correct [one].'”

So a name, race, vague location, and a broad age range is sufficient to launch a process that could quickly lead to a default judgment, asset liens, and a blocked passport? “Right. Right,” Gerhenzon confirms. “If it’s clear that she’s given us enough identifying information to come up with one discrete name, we would go ahead.” Wouldn’t that make people with unusual names easier targets? “Absolutely.”

In addition to a low threshold for accusing men of paternity, the system lacks penalties for naming the wrong father. Mothers sign their declarations under penalty of perjury, Gerhenzon says, but neither she nor anyone else I talked to for this article could recall a single case where a mother was charged with a crime for naming the wrong man. In fact, until recently California hasn’t had any way to see whether a woman had named different candidates in different counties. Asked how a caseworker might respond after discovering such a disparity, Gerhenzon says, “I think in all likelihood they would confront the custodial parent with both names, and say, ‘Who is the appropriate parent?'” For both the mother and the state, the punishment for making a mistake is indirect, in the form of receiving less child support. (The state is much less successful in collecting from default dads, on average, and the wrongly named defaults surely pay the least.)

So how many default judgments catch the wrong guy? Nobody knows. Paternity reform activists point to a 2000 study by the American Association of Blood Banks that found 30 percent of the 300,000 paternity DNA tests conducted at accredited centers nationwide excluded the father. But the actual percentage of wrongfully named default dads is certainly much lower, since these samples come largely from people with doubts about paternity (as opposed to real deadbeat dads, who have considerable reason to avoid a DNA test).

Whatever the number, the state of California recognizes misidentification of fathers as a serious problem. “Some default orders are expected,” reported the Urban Institute, “but a default rate of 71 percent statewide indicates that something is terribly wrong.” In its study, which addressed the collectibility of California’s $17 billion in outstanding support, the Urban Institute’s No. 1 recommendation was to “reduce default orders.” The DCSS now has a Default Work Group, established at the behest of former Gov. Davis after he vetoed one of the reform bills, that is preparing recommendations for reducing the rate.


The systems for establishing paternity and providing child support are replete with legal deadlines that vary from state to state. Besides having 30 days to respond to a paternity complaint, an accused father in California has 180 days to contest a child support order and two years from birth to challenge paternity using DNA evidence (unless he has signed a voluntary declaration of paternity in the hospital under the federal government’s new Paternity Opportunity Program, in which case he has just 60 days). If, for what-ever reasons, any of these deadlines aren’t met, no amount of evidence can move the state to review the case; the DCSS has to be sued. Unlike capital murder convictions, which are being overturned around the country because of DNA evidence, family court cases typically hew to the “finality of judgment” principle to prevent disruptions in children’s lives. Or, in the words of former California legislator Rod Wright, “It ain’t your kid, you can prove it ain’t your kid, and they say, ‘So what?'”

That’s how a man like Taron James could be slapped with a support bill for thousands of dollars from Los Angeles County in 2002, and continue to be barred from using his notary public license, even after producing convincing DNA evidence and notarized testimony from the mother that her 11-year-old son, whom he’s seen exactly once and looks nothing like, is not his child and that she no longer seeks his support. James says his name was placed on the child’s birth certificate without his consent while he was on a Navy tour of duty; then the mother refused to take blood tests for eight years, and he became aware of a default order against him only when the Department of Motor Vehicles refused to issue him a driver’s license in October 1996. By that time, James had missed all the relevant deadlines, the court was unimpressed with his tale of woe, and he has since coughed up $14,000 in child support via liens and garnishments.

“I contact Child Support Services, and their whole thing is, ‘Take us to court. You don’t like what we’re doing, take us to court,'” he says. “Whether or not you’re the biological father doesn’t matter — if someone’s got your name, and you’ve…failed to participate in the court date, then you have an obligation to pay child support, period.”

Needless to say, taking DCSS to court is expensive (James says he’s already run up legal bills of $4,000), and success isn’t likely. To add insult to injury, even if you win, you won’t get any of your money back.

State bureaucrats say their hearts bleed, but rules are rules. “We are obligated by law to enforce the order,” says California DCSS’s Gerhenzon. “We have no ability not only to stop enforcement of our own, but not to proceed with doing everything we can to get child support in this case, because we have to enforce the legally established order. The recourse is to get that order set aside, or overturned.”

When judicial systems enthusiastically enforce rulings they know to be unjust, it’s a surefire formula for creating activists. After writing scores of letters to politicians and conducting endless Internet searches, James and his girlfriend, Raegan Phillips, hooked up with a national group called U.S. Citizens Against Paternity Fraud, founded by a Georgia engineer named Carnell Smith. Smith paid more than $40,000 in support over 11 years to an ex-girlfriend’s child he assumed to be his, until she requested more money in 1999. He then took a DNA test and discovered he wasn’t the father, but the court ordered him to pay $120,000 anyway. Enraged, he launched Citizens Against Paternity Fraud and began lobbying the Georgia legislature to change laws that limited the admissibility of DNA tests. In May 2002, the effort passed, so now at least some default dads in Dixie — those who have never adopted their children or officially acknowledged paternity — can overturn support orders using DNA evidence, regardless of how much time has elapsed. In March of last year, under the new law, Smith’s personal support order was finally overturned.

Similar laws have passed in Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Arkansas, and Alabama; others are working their way through statehouses in Texas, New Jersey, California, Florida, Michigan, Vermont, and elsewhere. Meanwhile, courts across the country are trying to redraw the legal lines of paternity now that genetic testing and welfare reform are colliding with 500 years of common law tradition, which has presumed that all children born in a marriage are the husband’s responsibility, whether or not he is the biological father. In May 2003, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that men who have admitted paternity, even if the mother lied to them, are not allowed to introduce DNA evidence to challenge support orders. Carnell Smith has been trying to push the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court, so far without success.

Although paternity fraud activists are beginning to gain traction, they face formidable obstacles. The Welfare Reform Act is largely a popular success. More two-parent families are staying together, more single mothers are entering the work force, and child support collections have doubled. By just about any measure, these trends are in the best interests of the affected children. In Massachusetts 18 years ago, for example, women had a miserable rate of success (around 10 percent) in suing for paternity, according to Marilyn Ray Smith, the state’s chief child support enforcer, and genetic tests were inadmissible except to disprove paternity. For single mothers and their children, the legal climate obviously has changed much for the better.

Which helps explain why so many feminist groups and politicians have dug in their heels to block paternity reform bills. Considered in zero sum terms, any change that prevents some unjustly named fathers from supporting kids they didn’t sire reduces the amount of money children and single mothers receive while increasing states’ welfare payouts. Child support advocates also worry, with some reason, that narrow-sounding legislation aimed at preventing obvious injustices may become a Trojan horse for men who change their minds about the responsibilities of fatherhood. But that’s rarely how the issue is presented. Women’s groups usually argue that fatherhood cannot be measured by DNA alone — a disingenuous stance, considering the thousands of men who pay for kids they’ve never lived with.

“What makes a father?” California state Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) said in an August 2002 interview with the Los Angeles Times, explaining why she was voting against Rod Wright’s latest reform bill. “This bill says the donation of genetic material makes a father. I don’t agree.”

Kuehl, a former family law attorney who cosponsored a law that reworked California’s child support system in 1999, has been the single biggest opponent of paternity-related reform bills in the state, to the point where activists like James and Phillips refer to her as “Sheila Cruel” and are planning demonstrations outside her office. Kuehl refused repeated requests to comment for this article. “She says it’s not her issue,” a spokeswoman told me. “She’s not interested to talk about it.”

Wright, who considers Kuehl a friend, says he tried several times to sway her with individual stories of innocent victims who’d been trampled by the current system. “Sheila said to me one day in a hearing room: ‘You know, I understand that, through the convergence of science and thousand-year-old common law, we have to work toward a kind of balance. And I side with the kids; I don’t really care about this guy.'” Wright chalks it up to the prevailing poli-tical winds. “If this was a case where women could be charged similarly,” he says, “Sheila would be all over this like a cheap suit. It’s really a case where it becomes a guy vs. a child. So it’s like, ‘Well, screw the guy.'”

Paternity activists argue that the best interests of the child should include, among other things, knowing who her real biological father is, so she can have accurate medical information. And every day the wrong man is on the hook, they point out, is a day not spent finding the real father.

The systems for establishing paternity and providing child support are replete with legal deadlines that vary from state to state. Besides having 30 days to respond to a paternity complaint, an accused father in California has 180 days to contest a child support order and two years from birth to challenge paternity using DNA evidence (unless he has signed a voluntary declaration of paternity in the hospital under the federal government’s new Paternity Opportunity Program, in which case he has just 60 days). If, for what-ever reasons, any of these deadlines aren’t met, no amount of evidence can move the state to review the case; the DCSS has to be sued. Unlike capital murder convictions, which are being overturned around the country because of DNA evidence, family court cases typically hew to the “finality of judgment” principle to prevent disruptions in children’s lives. Or, in the words of former California legislator Rod Wright, “It ain’t your kid, you can prove it ain’t your kid, and they say, ‘So what?'”

That’s how a man like Taron James could be slapped with a support bill for thousands of dollars from Los Angeles County in 2002, and continue to be barred from using his notary public license, even after producing convincing DNA evidence and notarized testimony from the mother that her 11-year-old son, whom he’s seen exactly once and looks nothing like, is not his child and that she no longer seeks his support. James says his name was placed on the child’s birth certificate without his consent while he was on a Navy tour of duty; then the mother refused to take blood tests for eight years, and he became aware of a default order against him only when the Department of Motor Vehicles refused to issue him a driver’s license in October 1996. By that time, James had missed all the relevant deadlines, the court was unimpressed with his tale of woe, and he has since coughed up $14,000 in child support via liens and garnishments.

“I contact Child Support Services, and their whole thing is, ‘Take us to court. You don’t like what we’re doing, take us to court,'” he says. “Whether or not you’re the biological father doesn’t matter — if someone’s got your name, and you’ve…failed to participate in the court date, then you have an obligation to pay child support, period.”

Needless to say, taking DCSS to court is expensive (James says he’s already run up legal bills of $4,000), and success isn’t likely. To add insult to injury, even if you win, you won’t get any of your money back.

State bureaucrats say their hearts bleed, but rules are rules. “We are obligated by law to enforce the order,” says California DCSS’s Gerhenzon. “We have no ability not only to stop enforcement of our own, but not to proceed with doing everything we can to get child support in this case, because we have to enforce the legally established order. The recourse is to get that order set aside, or overturned.”

When judicial systems enthusiastically enforce rulings they know to be unjust, it’s a surefire formula for creating activists. After writing scores of letters to politicians and conducting endless Internet searches, James and his girlfriend, Raegan Phillips, hooked up with a national group called U.S. Citizens Against Paternity Fraud, founded by a Georgia engineer named Carnell Smith. Smith paid more than $40,000 in support over 11 years to an ex-girlfriend’s child he assumed to be his, until she requested more money in 1999. He then took a DNA test and discovered he wasn’t the father, but the court ordered him to pay $120,000 anyway. Enraged, he launched Citizens Against Paternity Fraud and began lobbying the Georgia legislature to change laws that limited the admissibility of DNA tests. In May 2002, the effort passed, so now at least some default dads in Dixie — those who have never adopted their children or officially acknowledged paternity — can overturn support orders using DNA evidence, regardless of how much time has elapsed. In March of last year, under the new law, Smith’s personal support order was finally overturned.

Similar laws have passed in Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Arkansas, and Alabama; others are working their way through statehouses in Texas, New Jersey, California, Florida, Michigan, Vermont, and elsewhere. Meanwhile, courts across the country are trying to redraw the legal lines of paternity now that genetic testing and welfare reform are colliding with 500 years of common law tradition, which has presumed that all children born in a marriage are the husband’s responsibility, whether or not he is the biological father. In May 2003, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that men who have admitted paternity, even if the mother lied to them, are not allowed to introduce DNA evidence to challenge support orders. Carnell Smith has been trying to push the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court, so far without success.

Although paternity fraud activists are beginning to gain traction, they face formidable obstacles. The Welfare Reform Act is largely a popular success. More two-parent families are staying together, more single mothers are entering the work force, and child support collections have doubled. By just about any measure, these trends are in the best interests of the affected children. In Massachusetts 18 years ago, for example, women had a miserable rate of success (around 10 percent) in suing for paternity, according to Marilyn Ray Smith, the state’s chief child support enforcer, and genetic tests were inadmissible except to disprove paternity. For single mothers and their children, the legal climate obviously has changed much for the better.

Which helps explain why so many feminist groups and politicians have dug in their heels to block paternity reform bills. Considered in zero sum terms, any change that prevents some unjustly named fathers from supporting kids they didn’t sire reduces the amount of money children and single mothers receive while increasing states’ welfare payouts. Child support advocates also worry, with some reason, that narrow-sounding legislation aimed at preventing obvious injustices may become a Trojan horse for men who change their minds about the responsibilities of fatherhood. But that’s rarely how the issue is presented. Women’s groups usually argue that fatherhood cannot be measured by DNA alone — a disingenuous stance, considering the thousands of men who pay for kids they’ve never lived with.

“What makes a father?” California state Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) said in an August 2002 interview with the Los Angeles Times, explaining why she was voting against Rod Wright’s latest reform bill. “This bill says the donation of genetic material makes a father. I don’t agree.”

Kuehl, a former family law attorney who cosponsored a law that reworked California’s child support system in 1999, has been the single biggest opponent of paternity-related reform bills in the state, to the point where activists like James and Phillips refer to her as “Sheila Cruel” and are planning demonstrations outside her office. Kuehl refused repeated requests to comment for this article. “She says it’s not her issue,” a spokeswoman told me. “She’s not interested to talk about it.”

Wright, who considers Kuehl a friend, says he tried several times to sway her with individual stories of innocent victims who’d been trampled by the current system. “Sheila said to me one day in a hearing room: ‘You know, I understand that, through the convergence of science and thousand-year-old common law, we have to work toward a kind of balance. And I side with the kids; I don’t really care about this guy.'” Wright chalks it up to the prevailing poli-tical winds. “If this was a case where women could be charged similarly,” he says, “Sheila would be all over this like a cheap suit. It’s really a case where it becomes a guy vs. a child. So it’s like, ‘Well, screw the guy.'”

Paternity activists argue that the best interests of the child should include, among other things, knowing who her real biological father is, so she can have accurate medical information. And every day the wrong man is on the hook, they point out, is a day not spent finding the real father.

Every child support official I talked to was sensitive to the criticism and eager to discuss many past and future reforms aimed at reducing the number of default judgments, humanizing the system, and even (in the words of Contra Costa County’s Kelly) eliminating the word deadbeat from their vocabulary. “This is a tough area,” California DCSS’s Gerhenzon says. “When you have bad results in these situations, they are tough on everyone involved in the process: the parents, the legal parents, the child, the system. It is to everyone’s benefit not to have these cases come up.”

But as long as state and federal laws remain as they are — with low evidentiary thresholds for issuing paternity complaints, no proof of service required, the presumption of guilt in default cases, a series of short legal deadlines beyond which paternity becomes extremely difficult to challenge, and financial incentive for the government to keep naming dads and extracting money — these cases will continue to come up. “I can see how so many men could be totally screwed right now,” Pierce says. “You know, I was educated, I had a good job, I’d never been involved with the cops before, I had nothing to fear, nothing to run from. But still, I got tied into it….I can see where this stuff could create many victims.”

Victims like Taron James, who lost at least two jobs while putting his life on hold for eight years so he could fight a judgment that should have never been made. “I’m a veteran — I fought for and defended my country,” James says, sitting in a Torrance, California, park down the street from his great aunt’s crowded house, where he lives with his girlfriend and splits his time looking for work and driving to Sacramento to lobby legislators. “To be treated like this is ridiculous….Right now, I’m fully disgusted with California and the United States for allowing this to go on after I put my hind end on the line.”

Note: The print edition of this article incorrectly stated Raegan Phillips’ name and one detail about Taron James.




Injustice by Default –