Reddit user A_KULT_KILLAH asked: 'Native Americans of Reddit, what are your or your tribes ghost stories, legends, or supernatural occurrences?'
People the world over develop their own specific folklore, heavily influenced by the natural world around them and their own culture.
The North American continent was no different.
Reddit user A_KULT_KILLAH wanted to know about the myths and legends of the Indigenous peoples of North America.
"Native Americans of Reddit, what are your or your tribes ghost stories, legends, or supernatural occurrences?"
Here are some of the interesting legends and superstitions of North America's First Nations and Indigenous tribes.
Brice Cooper on Unsplash
"Uktena. It's a legend about a horned snake in Tsalagi [Cherokee] legend. Uktena is said to be very large and round like a tree trunk, with horns on his head."
"The only way to wound him is to shoot at a singular spot on his forehead that emits bright light. It's similar to a diamond. If you defeat Uktena, you become a miracle worker—a great warrior."
"Yet, once you see the light on his forehead, you run toward it instead of trying to escape."
"Even to see Uktena sleeping is death. Not to the hunter, but to his family."
Dog Tails or Why They Sniff Each Other
gotdaflow on Unsplash
"Lenni Lenape story about why dogs sniff each other's butts."
"When the humans slept, dogs would get together and party, but not before taking their tails off. They'd dance the entire night, put their tails back on and return home."
"But one time a wolf found them and all the dogs had to scramble away to their homes for safety, but a lot of them grabbed the wrong tail."
"They never danced again at night because they were afraid of the wolf, so they were stuck with weird mismatched tails for the rest of their lives."
"This is the reason that dogs sniff each other's butts; to see if the other dog has their tail."
Haida Raven Brings Light to the Earth
Cristina Glebova on Unsplash
"In the beginning there was no light in the world, because an old magician kept it hidden in a box inside his house. Raven, who was always hungry, didn't like the darkness because it was difficult to find food."
"One day he was looking for food near the old magician's house. He heard a voice saying, 'I have a box, and inside this box is another box, and inside this there is another box, and inside the smallest box is all the light in the world'."
"Raven decided to steal the light."
"Raven waited until the old man's daughter went down to the river to collect water. Just as she was dipping her basket into the river, he changed himself into a hemlock needle."
"The needle floated into her basket. When the girl drank some water, she swallowed Raven too."
"Inside the girl's belly Raven took the form of a human baby. He grew and grew, and in time she gave birth to a funny looking child with black eyes and a big nose."
"The old man loved his grandson so much that he gave in to the child's every wish. Raven became spoilt and greedy. He was bored with all his toys, and wanted to play with the box that held the light."
"Finally the grandfather opened the box and tossed the glowing ball of light to Raven."
"As soon as Raven caught the light, he immediately changed into his bird form. Holding the light in his beak, he flew up the chimney hole into the dark world."
"The magician was angry. He wanted to get the light back into his box."
"He flew after Raven."
"The light was heavy in Raven's beak, and he was getting tired. The magician was coming closer."
"Raven broke off some pieces of the light and threw them into the sky. They became the stars."
"The magician was still coming closer, so Raven broke off another piece of the light and threw it into the sky. It became the moon."
"Finally Raven became so tired that he tossed the last and biggest piece of the light into the sky. It became the sun; and that is how daylight came to the world."
Oliver Roos on Unsplash
"Dené from northern British Columbia here, my mom used to always tell me stories of the Nehgunni [Nakani], or bushmen/wild-men when I was young."
"They were people who lived in the forest and took away people who wandered too far out, specifically children."
"I always figured these stories were created by my people to serve two purposes, first to teach young children to not wander far off, and second to give explanations to kidnappings or missing people."
See-at-cohgreen trees near lake under blue sky during daytimePhoto by Jasper Gronewold on Unsplash
"See-at-coh (don't know the translation in English) is a Cowlitz legend. Lived at this lake and it was his spot."
"We DO NOT go there or he will kill you. Used to have nightmares about him based on what I was taught as a kid."
"Like how you could stand at the edge of the water and be looking in and he would come out of it and just grab you. No whistling at night and keep windows covered."
"But then the mountain blew up [Mt. Saint Helen] and filled in the lake so don't know if he's still around or not."
Nahual of Mexico
Joshua Wilking on Unsplash
"I live in rural Mexico. There are many, many different Indigenous peoples in what's now Mexico."
"The ones who settled here speak Nahuatl—the language of the Aztecs. This legend took place in the early 1900's."
"One of my favourite Nahuatl myths is the Nahual."
"Some people were thought to be able to turn into an animal. Most of them could only turn into one, but the most powerful Nahual could turn into different animals."
"There was a man who owned a hacienda where my town is, and he had a sort of overseer that everyone was afraid of."
"Said overseer could take a message all the way to the next state (think hundreds of miles) and bring back a sealed response in a single day."
"He also seemed to know everything everyone did, all the time. He was rumoured to be a Nahual that could turn into a coyote and an eagle."
"His quarters were heavily warded in his absence, which only added fuel to the rumor. You can only kill a Nahual if you find the human skin he sheds to transform and burn said skin."
Yamǫ́rıa & Yamǫǫ̀zha
Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
"Yamǫ́rıa & Yamǫǫ̀zha—the giant twins [of the Dené]."
"There are landmarks all around the territory I live in that is exhibited as 'proof' they were alive."
"In the middle of the Mackenzie river( biggest river in the NorthWest Territories) there is a large stone sticking out of the river which looks like the petrified guts of a beaver, there is a giant branchless, leafless tree sticking out of the top of this stone."
"It is said that Yamǫǫ̀zha had hunted a giant beaver and gutted him there in the river. He used his spear to anchor down the cuts so fish may feed on them. They are still there to this day."
"Yamǫ́rıa's body can be seen laying down, it is essentially a mountain range that looks like a giant human laying on his back, completely with face and feet. This can be seen from the peak of the hill as you enter a town called Ft. Liard, the southwestern most town in the NWT."
Walking Sam of the Pine Ridge Reservation
Boston Public Library on Unsplash
"'Walking Sam' skulks in the shadows of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and convinces people to take their own lives, especially young people."
"He's 7 feet tall, very thin and has no mouth. When he stretches out his long arms, nooses hang down with Lakota children hanging from them."
"Walking Sam finds you when you're alone and puts thoughts in your head until you feel worthless and kill yourself.
"Sometimes Walking Sam is depicted looking like Abraham Lincoln, complete with the stovepipe hat. 'Walking Sam', 'Uncle Sam', I don't know if that's where the name came from."
"But Walking Sam is an evil infected upon the people when the Oceti Sakowin were forced onto the reservations; he isn't a legend of the people before Pine Ridge Reservation existed."
"Lincoln was President when the Lakota were being forced onto reservations. Lincoln also ordered the execution of 38 Lakota men the day after Christmas in 1862. It's the largest mass execution in U.S. history."
"I always thought Walking Sam was Lincoln. They carved his face onto Ŝa´kpe Tuŋkaŋŝi (Mount Rushmore was called Six Grandfathers) in the Paha Sa´pa (Black Hills)
"My Father attended Holy Rosary boarding school at Pine Ridge in the 1940s & 1950s, but our people didn't live on the reservation. My Grandmother said evil stalked the people there."
"My Father never wanted us to ever even visit any of our cousins or his Uncles there."
Este Lopocke or Este Lubutke
Morgane Perraud on Unsplash
"Miccosukee [Seminole] tribal member here (South Florida) and for us it's the little people."
"Essentially really small people (like barbie doll sized and smaller) that live in the trees. They play jokes and stuff mainly, unless you piss them off."
"Had family members get tricks played on them that couldn't be explained."
"And then we have our fair share of stories that circulate our reservation like a tribal member being taken by the little people."
"All on the reservation in the Everglades (like 40 mins west of Miami)."
Chris Chow on Unsplash
"I know the Haudenosaunee [Iroquois Confederacy] rules."
"1. If you hear someone you know calling your name, but you also know they are not supposed to be there, DON'T respond. Especially if they are out of sight and insisting you come to them."
"2. Always play group games in counter-clockwise order, otherwise your playing with the dead."
"3. Also don't eat in the dark, this is considered inviting the dead to eat with you. If you can extend your hand all the way out and still see it clearly then your fine."
"4. Don't play card games past midnight. If you do, and someone knocks at the door, don't answer it."
"5. Try not to drop your cards, if you do then don't bend down to pick them up, or you will see hooves under the table. That's bad."
"6. Say thank you after meals, even if you're the one that made it. Even better if you say it in native tongue."
"7. If someone finishes their meal and says thank you, you say 'you're welcome', even if you didn't give it to them. Even better in native tongue."
"8. After someone dies, you should gather family as quickly as possible to have feasts for 10 days. The first dinner is large, then every meal after that is a smaller feast meant for portions of the family to come at different times to help.
"The last feast on the 10th day is the closing dinner, which is the largest, with the entire family expected to show up and help. For every meal of these 10 days, put out a plate of the deceased's favorite foods first."
"Contrary to rule 6, you do not say thank you at any time during these 10 days. This is because it is believed that it takes the dead 10 days to relive their lives before they pass on, so this is your last chance to eat with them."
"Saying 'Thank you' during this time will make them stop before they're done because you're saying you're done. This will have bad consequences."
"9. Don't try to contact spirits, especially with board games. This is not a tribe custom, it's more of an unspoken common sense among the Rez people."
"10. If a bird flies into your house, someone's going to die."
"11. Pregnant woman should not hold any child that isn't theirs."
"12. It's accepted that if you actually try to curse someone, literally going through all of the steps with the intention of harm, not accidentally wishing them bad luck, then your family will also be cursed horribly."
"13. If you play with fire you'll wet the bed."
To learn more general information about Indigenous mythology of the United States, visit the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian website.
For Canada, visit the First Nations in Canada website.
For information about specific tribes, visit their tribal government website for recommended resources.
Reddit user Seraphicly329 asked: 'Non-Americans what American foods do you find unusual or odd?'
When American tourists travel abroad, they often find themselves startled if not downright perplexed by several international cuisines.
If haggis doesn't sound disgusting enough, they find themselves even more shocked by how awful it tastes.
What these very same tourists might not take into account, is that visitors from abroad are often equally baffled by several iconic American dishes.
And no, we're not just talking about the gargantuan portions.
Redditor Seraphicly329 was curious to hear all the American cuisines foreigners can't quite wrap their minds, let alone their tongues, around, leading them to ask:
"Non-Americans what American foods do you find unusual or odd?"
Can they Not Taste How The Root Beer Compliments The Ice Cream?
"Used to host a lot of non-American when they came here from Europe or Asia."
"Root beer floats baffles them every time!"
"Tastes just like their toothpaste and can’t understand how we enjoy it."- WhiskeyTangoFoxy
"My friend from the Mediterranean said 'You Americans put cheese on everything'."
"'Cheese on eggs, cheese on meat, cheese on pasta, cheese on salad, cheese on BREAD, on FISH!!'"
"And you know, she's right."
"Love me a tuna melt."- WildAsTheyCome
Sweet And Salty
"I moved to the states years ago and the first time I saw chicken and waffles I was confused by this combo."-SmittenKitten0303Chicken And Waffles Syrup GIF by F*CK, THAT'S DELICIOUSGiphy
What Is So Offensive?!?!
"I had a Swedish friend who told me he wasn’t even willing to try mac and cheese because it sounded gross lol."- offbrandbarbie
"Kraft boxed Mac and cheese."
"I don't understand how something so processed can taste like the color yellow and yet be enjoyable but here we are."- RagePandazXD
An Aquired Taste, For Sure...
"I had a Portuguese boss once, and our team would often go out for lunch."
"Me, being a bit of a foodie/adventurous, would often recommend lunch spots."
"I decided for a change we should go to this restaurant that served nothing but PB&J sandwiches, with various twists like the Elvis - a warm sandwich with bananas and bacon slices, etc."
"He later recounted it as "'he worst lunch [he] had ever had", and thought I did it out of revenge'."- spaetzelspiffKevin Smith Celebs GIF by DiggGiphy
FIrst Impressions Can Be Dangerous...
"Thought smashburgers would make the burger dry and juices ooze out."
"I had one from Shake Shack when I was in NYC."
"It was delicious and crispy and not dry at all."
"A bit salty but oh well."- teems
Most Cakes Don't Have A Shelf Life...
"Those are gross to most Americans over 15 years old too."
"Honestly, most snacky cakes."
"Maybe twice a year I'll get a wild craving for a Star Crunch or a Swiss Roll, but then I'll have one and remember why I rarely buy them."- Not_a_werecat
Carbs And Fat...
"If you've never eaten biscuits and gravy, you're missing out."
"If you've had it and say you don't like it, you've either eaten it at a bad restaurant or you have no soul."- Mother_WashGiphy
Oscar Wilde Was The One Who Said "Sugar Is No Longer Fashionable..."
"Unsweetened iced tea."
"Love it."- Quinocco
So Much For Southern Hospitality...
"Things my South African/British wife found weird."
"Scrapple, chicken and waffles, biscuits, sausage gravy, chicken fried steak, okra, Brunswick Stew, real BBQ (as opposed to grilling), grits, pickled pig feet, pork brains, Boudin sausage, pecan pie, Key Lime pie, boiled peanuts."
"If I think about it, a lot of Southern/Soul food."
"She was also unfamiliar with Mexican and TexMex other than those horrid Old El Paso hard shell taco kits."- Shuggy539
A Cute Alternative Word For "Scraps"...
"Many people are repulsed by scrapple."
"I have been enjoying it all my life, but I don't try to push it on anybody."- Warren_Puffitthungry pork GIF by Chipotle Mexican GrillGiphy
If You Know The Origins...
"I taught history for years and now I am a chef."
"So food history is a professional area, and a personal passion."
"I have also lived in my 40 years in three country's and 6 states, and I have been to 45 out of 50 states."
"Peanut Butter was invented for medical use and an easy way to get vitamins and nutrients into patients."
"Peanut butter and jelly became popular during world War 2 due to food rationing."
"Most Americans grow up on it, so for many of us its traditional."
"Chicken and waffles is from a subset of American Cuisine, Southern Cuisine."
"Most people outside the South dont get it either."
"Also, if the balance of the savory chicken and sweet waffle/syrup is off, it really is terrible, but if you get it right, it's delicious!"
"Most people outside the South have no idea how to cook grits, or even what they are."
"Many people in the South don't do it right either."
"Gravy in America is NOT the same as in the rest of the world."
"The gravy traditionally used in biscuits and gravy is even more different, and easy to screw up also."
"Southern Biscuits go best with this gravy, and Northern Biscuits and definitely SCONES are not the same as these Biscuits (the South uses a softer wheat to make flour)."
"Many American don't get spray cheese either."
"Combining savory and sweet is not just an American thing, but we do combine them a lot."
"Keep in mind we ARE a melting pot of cultures and different cultures can combine in odd ways, especially in food."
"As an American chef I always tell people to lay off a lot of canned or packaged items in stores because of the amount of salt and preservatives, and even sugars in them."
"I even mix and sell my own seasonings to my local community to help people with this."
"If your in a restaurant and find the food too salty, chances are part or all of it was prepackaged and not fresh."- zeljadisFast Food GIF by US National ArchivesGiphy
At the end of the day, one's taste in food is personal, and everyone reserves the right to like and dislike whatever they want.
Even so: WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND DOESN'T LIKE MAC AND CHEESE?!?!?!
Those who have traveled to Europe or interacted with Europeans may very well know they do things very differently and vice versa.
The differences between our different cultures can include idiosyncratic behavior, preferences, or attitudes.
And while we can very much appreciate these differences, there are certain customs that can be major head-scratchers.
Curious to hear examples of what those can be, Redditor a_m42_ asked:
"Americans, what is something that Europeans have/do that makes no sense to you?"
Getting from point A to B can vastly different.
It's A Driving Thing
"I'm Canadian, but it's always baffled me that some Europeans consider a half hour's worth of driving a long time. That wouldn't even get me out of the area I'd consider local."
The Size Of A Country Matters
"Lol, I moved from Germany to the Netherlands. The Netherlads are so small that the longest you could actually drive from one point to another is 4 hours, otherwise you would cross a border."
"When I was a child I used to go to my grandparents' house every weekend. They only lived an hour away so the way was short to me."
"My boyfriend is Dutch and he told me be barely ever saw his grandma growing up because she lived so far away and they never visited her because of the long way. She lived 1 1/2 hours away."
"My coworkers from Switzerland came out to Denver and I took them over to Glenwood Springs, which is about a 3.5 hour drive and after about half an hour they’re like 'are you okay to drive? Do you want one of us to drive for a bit so you can rest?' I drive two to ten hours to go camping with my husband and two dogs at least two or three weeks a month, so this was just a normal weekend to me, but they were acting like I was some kind of crazy person lol."
Things at home aren't always what they seem as they are in the US.
"It's not that it doesn't 'make sense,' but the first time I saw those windows that can be moved a bunch of different ways, you would have thought I was seeing a rabbit being pulled out of a hat, that's how amazed I looked."
"Tilt and Turn Windows."
"I don't know if you know this, but many European windows also have a winter mode. When the handle is 45 degrees up, they open up just a tiny bit (1-2mm), to provide some small amount of air circulation, but not too much to not lose warm air inside."
"us Germans are obsessed with ventilation. even in the middle of winter, we'll periodically slam our fancy tilt windows open. problem with the tilting or slight opening is it can lead to condensation with low temps and thus lead to mold. and we are obsessed with preventing mold."
"anyways, make sure the air in your room stays good, it makes all the difference."
Just A Place To Sleep
"In Germany, apartments don't normally come with a kitchen. It's purchased/installed by the Tennant. Sometimes you luck out but not usually."
"Edit.. Because this comment blew up, here is an article talking about it."
The Kitchen Stays
"When we sold our house recently, a german woman viewed it and said "this is lovely kitchen. Will be shame to see it go" i was like go where?"
"She was so excited when i said we werent taking the kitchen anywhere. Me and my husband were so confused.. she thought the house was a real catch because of it and was really shocked when the estate agent said that nobody takes their kitchens with them! Odd."
We all act a certain way, but these types of behavior can be jarring to Americans.
Now, See Here
"Idk if its all Europeans but Germans have a real big problem with staring like I owe them money. Also paying to use the bathroom in public spaces."
You Got That Look
"Lol we do stare a lot. When I went to study in the uk one of my professors asked me during a tutorial whether he was saying wrong things because apparently I kept staring at him, I didn’t even notice it haha"
"Edit since apparently it’s causing a bit of confusion: a tutorial is not the same as a lecture, in a tutorial you’re around 15 people in a small room, it’s much more intimate and easier to notice if somebody’s staring at you (which evidently was not just looking at him to show you’re paying attention but much more unnerving)"
We Can't Handle The Truth
"I’m from the Midwest and my family is from the Netherlands. So the society that wouldn’t dare offend you in any way and the society that has no problem dropping truth bombs on you. It’s rough."
"The (in)famous Dutch straightforwardness or directness. We have been taught to tell it like it is. We will be polite and civil about it, but we have no time for beating around the bush when a problem has to be resolved. That being said, some of my countrymen use it as an excuse to be rude a**hats."
"Just say 'Ken jij het beter dan, pannekoek?' and be done with it."
I'm not sure if this is a thing but the first time I went to Paris, I found it very odd that my soft drink was served without ice.
This happened at three different establishments where I asked for a Coke and was presented with the soda can and an empty drinking glass.
When I asked for ice from the server, he scoffed, returned with one ice cube on a spoon and proceeded to pour the drink from the can onto the ice and into the glass.
Are you kidding me??
And he left with the spoon and the partially-melted ice cube. I didn't even get to keep that, so I was talking about leaving a lousy tip, to which my friend who was with me said the French don't tip.
It was definitely a culture shock day for me as a very young traveler.
Even though the United States of America is largely viewed as the best country in the world to live in, many Americans dream of living abroad.
Particularly in Europe.
From their eyes, there are several things about one's way of life that simply seem unquestionably better in Europe, including health insurance, education, and food.
Of course, many of these things are just in their minds and aren't actually true, and they have to have the news broken to them rather gently.
Sometimes, however, the things they've grown to accept about Europe aren't worse than they imagined, but infinitely better.
"Europeans, what is something us Americans aren’t ready to hear?"
In Case You Didn't Know Just How Big "Big Pharma" Actually Was...
"EpiPens cost $69 in the UK compared to the US $600."
"And yes the Pharm companies are making a profit."- DevDudeZX81
Phonetics Ain't Gonna Help You With This One...
"Wash your sister sauce."- dbl1nk22
'I was making dinner at one point and asked my wife to get me the sibling cleaning sauce - once it clicked, she was hysterical laughing."- belsonc
And No, That Doesn't Stand For "Part Time Only"...
"27 days of PTO is absolutely normal."- Whole-Bank9820Out Of Office Vacation GIF by StickerGiantGiphy
Anyone From The UK Can Make That Clear...
"Europe and the European Union are not the same thing."- BradyvonAshe
Yes, They're Actually Efficient...
"Y’all need some trains."- CabbageMasher
Ironically, Church And State Are ACTUALLY Separated...
"Whats the deal with mega churches?"
"Why do you send them that much money?"- JandolinoOn My Way Church GIF by EMPIREGiphy
Bipartisanship? The Very Thought!
"Middle grounds exist."
"It doesn’t always have to be pro this anti that."- MySocksAreLost
"It's okay not to have an opinion about everything."- AlwaysCurious93
All Jobs Have Value
"Tipping is stupid."
"Just pay your staff a proper living wage!"- Coin-op77
"Tipping culture is placing the working class against the working class."
"And you lot are falling for it instead of striking."- Comander1SUV
"You should work to live not the opposite."- Realistic_Abrocoma61·Giphy
At The Very Least, Not In Such Large Quantities
"Sugar does not belong in everything, esp."
"Not bread."- WrestlingWoman
Merely 2 out of 44
"Europe is more than England and Paris."- SloRules
Health And Education Are A Right, Not A Privilege
"It's neither normal nor okay to have to go bankrupt just to go to school or going to the hospital."- Roselily808student loans burn GIF by Ethan BarnowskyGiphy
...Um, Does Anyone Actually Need This?...
"You do not need a 5000-pound truck to haul your laptop and cellphone to the office."- It_is_Fries_No_Patat
Frustratingly, many Americans who will be told these facts by Europeans will look for anything and everything to argue about them.
As the most significant thing most Europeans aren't ready to hear, or at least don't want to hear, about Americans?
Most will look for literally anything to fight about, rather than actually taking a little time to enjoy the view...
Just like the items and behaviors that are easily defined as "American," there are some activities and mindsets that are distinctly "European."
From castles to coffee culture, to an overall dismissal of "hustle culture," this combination of characteristics will leave zero doubts in a person's mind that they have entered a European country.
Redditor doeyy0 asked:
"What is the most European thing ever?"
A Day in the Life
"Driving through four countries to go on vacation, not using your passport, no visa, and using the same currency everywhere."
"Plus using your cell phone all the way with no extra cost."
Castles, Castles Everywhere
"I can literally see one castle out of my living room and another one out of my kitchen window."
The True Meaning of "Walking Distance"
"One big difference is the way from villages to big cities are laid out. They all have numerous squares or public gathering places. You can enjoy a drink, music, and people-watching. You don’t have to drive everywhere. Local pubs abound."
"I always wondered how so many Europeans could make do with those tiny fridges. But then I realized they shop fresh all the time. There are so many butchers or bakers, produce stands, cheese, deli, and flower shops within walking distance. They shop locally and fresh all the time. Without a car."
"My Uncle lived in a big condo or over the row housing area. Every Saturday mobile butchers, bakers, fruit and produce, etc. would set up outside for a few hours and then move on. Everything is fresh and local, and absolutely delicious. And no car needed."
Just a Few Minutes Away
"Going to another country just to go shopping."
"From an American's perspective; Kebab shops. I've been all over Europe and I've got to say, those things were everywhere and I stopped at way too many of them. I could really go for a durum kebab right about now..."
Trains, Trains, Trains
"Trains. Trains that are clean. Trains that go where you want to go. Trains that are affordable."
Better Soft Drinks
"Fanta, but not the American kind."
Truly Ancient Buildings
"Casually having buildings from millennia ago around you all the time."
The Musical Sport
A Continued Tradition
"Closed stores on Sundays."
"One weird thing I learned about other countries is how they get American music on their radios, but we hardly ever get their music on our radios. Recently, the closest we’ve come is Boy With Luv by BTS featuring Halsey."
"I wish we could get some foreign hits on our radios, but oh well. I can look that up online."
A Top Priority
"A proper selection of cheeses."
Dressed Up to Go Out
"Men unapologetically dressing super stylish."
"Paid vacation time."
While these things might be seen occasionally in the United States or other countries, seeing them all compiled in one place feels undeniably European.