Ghost Riders In The Sky and The Legend of Stampede Mesa.

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posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 04:55 PM
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An old cowboy went riding out one dark and windy day

Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way

When all at once a mighty herd of red eyed cows he saw

A-plowing through the ragged sky and up the cloudy draw


Ghost Riders in The Sky -Stan Jones. 1948

en.wikipedia.org...:_A_Cowboy_Legend


Ghost Riders in The Sky is a beloved American country-folk song that many of us grew up with. It has been covered by dozens of recording artists over the years and has enjoyed international fame.

But did you know that it is based on an actual folk legend from America's historical “Wild West”?

The story goes, that the tale that inspired Stan Jones to write Ghost Riders in The Sky was told to him in 1929 by a hermit named Capp Watts. Stan was only 12 when Capp recounted to him the tale of the 'devil's herd', and the cowboys doomed to chase the demon-cattle through the sky. It is said that the old man told young Stan the story as they were watching a storm roll in. They were in Cochise County, Arizona, at the time.

It is believed by folklorists that the legend that was recounted to Stan Jones was a variation on a folk tale that had a basis in a real life event. the specifics have grown a bit foggy with time, but it is now widely held that the inspiration for the song must have been The Legend of Stampede Mesa, from 19th century, Crosby County Texas.


The Legend of Stampede Mesa


No one knows if the old man was passing through or if he was in fact a homesteader, or 'nester' as they were referred to. The old man had 40 or so cattle and he was grazing them on a well know, highly coveted local spot that consisted of a 200 acre plateau of grass. One side leapt off in an abrupt cliff.

Later that evening, a short-handed crew of cowboys came through with a huge herd of 1500 cattle. They were headed up by a man named Sawyer, and when he saw that plateau, he moved for it. Some say Sawyer asked the old man if he could be gone in the morning. Some say that Sawyer rode right up and that the old mans paltry 40 cattle got tied up in the big herd of 1500.

The old man demanded that his cattle be cut out. Legend tends towards the possibility that Sawyer was tired, overwrought, short-handed and that he cursed at the old man, telling him to vamoose. The old man grew irate and demanded that his herd be cut out or he would stampede, “The whole mess”. Sawyer just drew his gun and drove the old nester away.

Later that night, true to his word, the old man, drove the cattle in to a stampede with a blanket and hooting and hollering, some say he was firing a gun. The stampede went over the cliff, killing all but, it is said, 300 of Sawyers herd. In the rush to control the stampede, two of Sawyers men were swept off the cliff to their deaths, along with the cattle.

Sawyer and his remaining men immediately tracked down the old man and brought him back to what would be henceforth known as Stampede Mesa. They tied the old man up with a rawhide lariat, sat him on his horse, and drove him over the cliff to die on top of the slaughtered herd. Some say they set him afire first.

From then on, the plateau was never again considered a favored spot for grazing, and has ever since been called Stampede Mesa. Many have reported seeing or hearing the ghost herd in their death struggles, and some tell a tale of having seen the phantom of an old man, tied to a horse, that is rushing across the mesa, carrying the screaming old man to his death.

And that, ATS, is the story that likely inspired, the beloved song, Ghost Riders in The Sky

Thank you for reading.





www.rootsweb.ancestry.com...
edit on 20-2-2013 by Bybyots because:





posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 05:07 PM
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S+F Bybyots,

Was reading the other thread and I like to see stories like these every so often, I think the main reason we don't see more of them is the fact that the subject material is well known. One can only have so many stories about Bigfoot or Lochness as the subject material doesn't get added to very often if at all.

Maybe I will get the urge to contribute and see what stories I can find in relation to The Mothman, or another myth or legend if it has not already been covered. I love that Johnny Cash song, but never put 2 + 2 together to realize that this was the origin of the song.



posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 05:57 PM
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reply to post by Bybyots
 


Thank you for that one.Have always loved the song.
Being from Texas and familiar with Texas lore I have heard the story of Stampede Mesa,but was unaware of the connection with the song "Ghost Riders In the Sky".

As a younger man I once was friends with some of the members of the "Ghost Riders Motorcycle Club".I had the oppurtunity once to attend a party at the North Texas chapter clubhouse.In their clubhouse was a jukebox.The only song on the jukebox was...you guessed it."Ghost Riders in the Sky".Not sure how many slots there were but each one had a different version of the song. True story.



posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 06:09 PM
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I don't live too far from Crosby County, Texas, so I found this old legend very interesting. I have a version of "Ghost Riders" on my MP3 player, as it goes so well with the atmosphere out here.

S & F for you!



posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 10:20 PM
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reply to post by mardukiscoming
 





As a younger man I once was friends with some of the members of the "Ghost Riders Motorcycle Club".I had the oppurtunity once to attend a party at the North Texas chapter clubhouse.In their clubhouse was a jukebox.The only song on the jukebox was...you guessed it."Ghost Riders in the Sky".Not sure how many slots there were but each one had a different version of the song. True story.


I thought that this quote was an especially choice bit of Americana, and American folklore. Thanks very much for sharing that with us all.




posted on Feb, 21 2013 @ 05:06 PM
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reply to post by Darkphoenix77
 





...in relation to The Mothman, or another myth or legend if it has not already been covered.


Hey,

Thanks for the support on these threads. I would feel free to go ahead and cover it again, your unique perspective will make it interesting.

Maybe attacking it from a purist folklore angle will cause the mystery to yield some ground.




posted on Feb, 21 2013 @ 11:10 PM
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Awesome thread and thanks for sharing!

I grew up listening to this song, as my grandpa was one of them 'old country' guys. I did not know that there was an actual story behind it.



posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 01:47 PM
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s+f gotta love HELLO IM JOHNNY CASH
LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS SONG!!! thank you for the background to the story & the song



posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 10:16 PM
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Okay, I found the urge to contribute myself so here ya all go


Who is the Mothman?



posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 10:28 PM
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The song "Ghost Riders in the Sky" always reminded me of the European story of the Wild Hunt. Does anyone know if there is any connection?
edit on 2/22/2013 by Pillywiggin because: I had a typo in the word "song".



posted on Mar, 17 2013 @ 03:26 AM
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posted on May, 13 2013 @ 06:31 PM
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reply to post by Bybyots
 


Don't know if it was intentional, but have you ever noticed the acronym? G.R.I.T.S.

Heh....grits.

I'm a huge Cash fan.



posted on Oct, 15 2013 @ 06:15 PM
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reply to post by Pillywiggin
 




The song "Ghost Riders in the Sky" always reminded me of the European story of the Wild Hunt. Does anyone know if there is any connection?


Indeed,

Here is a very fine article on that very subject...

Ghost Riders in the Sky: The Wild Hunt and the Eternal Stampede

Thanks for asking.

edit on 15-10-2013 by Bybyots because: .



posted on Oct, 17 2013 @ 08:50 PM
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reply to post by Bybyots
 


Thank you for this link! The information is fascinating.





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