I encourage my readers to check out the books by E. Randall Floyd, who is now the publisher and owner of Harbor House Books in Augusta. Mr. Floyd is a longtime journalists, and he has even written screenplays. Before becoming the founder, president, and owner of Harbor House, he wrote a number of books on southern mysteries, many of which can be still found in bookstores and online. A colleague of mine gave me an old copy of one of Mr. Floyd's books that I simply could not put down when I got it. It is More Great Southern Mysteries and is a great read. In the book is a great story called The Lost Maidens of the Okefenokee.
According to Floyd, when conquistadores arrived in these parts in the late 16th century, they heard stories about a "...tribe of beautiful, dark-eyed, maidens known collectively as the 'Daughters of the Sun.'" These women were said to speak in accents of music and looked like angels. It was said that they lived in the Okefenokee on an island that was protected by swirling mists, deep rivers and alligator-filled lakes. Floyd goes on to say that later Creek legends tell of white settlers who became dizzy and unsettled as they searched for these women. Out of nowhere, these angelic-like figures appeared from nowhere and took them to an island nearby where they nursed them back to health. As soon as the white explorers were well again, they were whisked away in a cloud of smoke. Other stories include young Indian braves who encountered these beautiful women but that they were married and tried to have the young braves leave before their angry, jealous husbands came back to the village. Some later explorers in the swamp have claimed to have heard "soft laughter" and seen thin, clouded forms whisking through the swamp.
Floyd tells us that there are several theories about what and who this is. One in particular is that they are leftovers of the Mayan civilization that migrated to the Okefenokee over a thousand years ago. Other theories include tale of Atlantis. I had never heard this legend before reading Floyd's book. But I can tell you one thing; there are lots of myths and legends about the Okefenokee Swamp. On this blog a few months ago, I recounted a story of the Bigfoot attack in the early 1800s in the Okefenokee. There are other stories about giant skeletons being unearthed in the swamp. The Okefenokee is full of myth and legend. I will try to post more about these legends in the coming days.