Monday, July 25, 2011

Mysticism and Mounds - in and near Transylvania, Louisiana

 Years ago,  I got chills when I passed the Zocalo (once the site of the Aztec capital  Tenochtitlan) in Mexico City. My first stop in L.A.?  The La Brea Tar Pits.  NYC?  Headed straight for the Museum of Natural History.  I guess you could say I enjoy learning about previous cultures and civilizations.

 Louisiana has a rich history of ancient civilizations and mound builders.  The mounds at Watson Brake, near Monroe, and the mounds at LSU in Baton Rouge were built  around 5,400 years ago - long before the Egyptian Pyramids.  And it just so happens that Poverty Point,  the site of  Louisiana's 3,500 year old Indian Mounds, is located just a stone's throw from Delhi AND Transylvania,
 So off I went...
  Poverty Point was built around 1600 B.C.  It contains 6 concentric ridges, a plaza and several large mounds. The largest being Mound A, also known as the "Bird Mound" as its unusual shape gives it the appearance of a bird effigy.  

I apparently decided to visit on the hottest day of the year...the tram wasn't running, so I did my own solo driving tour.  This worked out well as I could climb the steps up the 72 ft mound, (the original height of 100 ft. has been lowered due to natural erosion) not once, but twice (I forgot Betty the Bullhorn in the car...)

The path to the top of the Bird Mound

View from the top, looking over one of the 'wings'

Bird's eye view of the sky

The trees have been cut down from this mound in order to preserve it from further erosion.  But plenty remain on the grounds.

The exact purposes of the mounds are not known.  The Bird Mound is thought to be a temple mound.  It certainly is impressive given the fact that only baskets were used to transport the dirt to create this large structure.  It speaks to the strength and spirit of the culture.  I thoroughly enjoyed this site and look forward to returning if only just to soak in a little more of its spirit...but now off to more enchanting places...

The view from the road to Transylvania pretty much looks like this:

LOTS of corn fields.

 I did have a photographic angle for Transylvania - the famed (yes, famed) water tower, with the bat on it..

The Post Office:

and anything with the town name on it:

(Okay, the school was kinda creepy and cliche - i could sooo see Dracula going to school here as a youngster.)

But I nearly slammed on my questionable brakes when I saw this:

Ancient Mounds?  In Transylvania?  Of course there are.  They were built around 1400 A.D. according to the marker.  I shouldn't be surprised, Louisiana has nearly 700 mound sites, most of which sit on private land, like the ones here in Transylvania.  It was more of a pleasant surprise.    One that, in keeping with the theme of this trip, keeps me inspired.

I could tell more stories of Transylvania, like how I kept getting chased off the road by this giant tractor-bat thing, but I think some stories are meant to be sung....

Liverpool (LA)

**The few facts I list here about Poverty Point come from its Welcome Center which houses artifacts such as stone tools, earthen cookware, and beads. It also illustrates the speculations and facts of its history.  Well worth a visit! **


  1. I visited Transylvania about 2 years ago and it was a cool little town.

  2. I lived in Transylvania area all of my growing-up years and the mounds were always respected by everyone and left alone to preserve history.

  3. Yes, most of the mounds in Louisiana are on private property and preserved, including the ones in Transylvania. Its a great area. Beautiful, too.

  4. I was born and raised in NYC but my father's side of the family came from Transylvania and I use to spend my summers down there. My great grandfather was a farmer there his whole life. His name was Cullen Preslar and my father is Patrick (Pip) Hill. There were mounds right down the road a little bit. When I was a kid I remember my dad would always tell me never to go by the mounds. I never understood why but I respected it.. I always had an eerie feeling when I would ride by them on my bike like something was watching me..

  5. "The Transylvanian Spook" A True Ghostly Experience by aimspader. It can be found at: