My blog will be moving to my new site soon! You can find it at

Monday, April 7, 2014

False Face Society and the Flying Head #atozchallenge

F  - Prior to the arrival of our European ancestors in the Americas, the Iroquois Confederacy (or the Six Nations) had spread far and wide across what is now the United States. Each of these tribes had their own unique traditions, beliefs, and folklore. Unfortunately, many of those traditions have been lost to us over the years.

Those that remain are absolutely fascinating, however.

The Flying Head.
The Iroquois believed in a spirit called the Flying Head. This was a very bad spirit with long, tangled hair and fiery eyes. The origin of this spirit varies between Nations, but the Flying Head was believed to live in the forest. His purpose was to devour humans and cause disease and death.

The False Face Society is an Iroquois medicinal society charged with healing. Part of their role as healers is to cure illnesses the other societies have been unable to cure. Long ago, those diseases were thought to have been caused by the Flying Head. 

To scare him away, the False Face Society instructed the sufferer to carve an elaborate mask from a still-living tree. Once carved and consecrated, the False Face Society then performed a ritual with the masks to help scare away the Flying Head. Once the sufferer recovered from the illness, he or she was required to join the False Face Society. 

To this day, these masks are sacred to the False Face Society and the Iroquois, as the masks portray the Great Doctor and are representations of a living spirit. Because of the significance of these masks, many Iroquois find it disrespectful to photograph them. If you want to see one, I'm sure you can find a photograph somewhere, but I opted not to post one here.

In many of the Flying Head stories passed down, the creature was defeated when he gobbled up hot coals, thinking they were the acorns a widow had been eating. When the hot coals burned the Flying Head, he fled, never to be heard from again. Which is probably for the best because he doesn't sound at all pleasant!

You can read one version of this legend here


FALLThe Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million


  1. It seems as thought the Flying Head was a good way to categorize an unknown and place blame for disease and death rather than fear the unknown. When we label and then ignore what we don't understand, we can move forward.
    Gail visiting for AtoZ Tuesday is G for Gyrating Hips and Blue Suede Shoes

  2. This is so very interesting! Was not aware of any of the legends that you have shared here!
    Shilpa Garg
    Co-Host AJ's wHooligan for the A to Z Challenge 2014

  3. This was very interesting to read as we have students studying Native Americans right now. Thanks for stopping by my F post earlier!


Blog Archive