More creatures and legends from the reservation:
1. Ishkitini “The Horned Owl” – a sinister character believed to prowl about at night killing men and animals. When the ishkitini screeches, it means sudden death or murder. Owls were often associated with witchcraft.
2. Heloha “Thunder” and Melatha “Lightning” – huge birds responsible for dramatic thunderstorms. Heloha would lay her giant eggs in the clouds. They rumbled as the rolled around atop the clouds, causing thunder. Her mate, Melatha, was so fast that he left a trail of sparks as he streaked across the sky.
3. Shilombish “Outside Shadow” – Choctaws believed that every man had a shilombish (outside shadow) and a shilup (inside shadow). After death, the shilup departs to The Land of Ghosts or Heaven, while the shilombish is doomed to wander about its former home. The shadow would often try to frighten the dead man’s family and drive them from the house by imitating the cries of a fox or owl, which were bad omens. The only way to tell the difference between the cries of the shilombish and the animals it imitated is to listen for a reply. When a fox barks, or an owl screeches, another fox or owl replies. But when the shadow imitates the sound of either animal, no response is given.
4. Nahullo – This is a generic term that applies to spirits that never existed as human beings, although some say they were a race of gigantic hunters who lived in western Tennessee and the northern parts of Alabama and Mississippi during the Choctaw immigration. Later, the term was applied to Caucasians due to their pale skin.