Several years ago (1997) I had an incident happen that changed my whole view of how I view the Seminole/ Muskogee way of things. I learned that to follow Nenne Mvskoke, you cannot just take what you like and reject what you do not like. You have to accept the entire system, and the best way of describing it would be to say that you need all the pieces of the puzzle to make the total picture. But you are not totally locked into an inflexible system like many religions, because Nenne Mvskoke adapts and constantly changes, while staying the same. It is a philosophy, and not so much a religion. It is a way of doing things. You may have heard of Eastern philosophy; well, there is also a Muskogee philosophy, or Nenne Mvskoke.
So in 1997, I went out on my first trip to Oklahoma, where some amazing things happened. I will not tell everything that happened, but just to say they were pretty enlightening. I will tell you the short version. I ended the trip at Fort Washita, one of the most haunted places in America. Most all night, my lone friend who shared the 2nd floor barracks room with myself, stayed awake as I did, as the sound of boots walked up and down the outside walkway. There was nobody there; it was one of the ghosts.
After I left the next day to catch my plane, I became ill. I have rarely been that sick. I will not describe the symptoms, but it was serious. I arrived back in Orlando and went straight to the hospital. They never found what was wrong with me. Several of the elders including a Seminole lady on Brighton reservation, all said that it was the ghost sickness from the symptoms described. This taught me an important lesson, that if I follow the ways of the Seminoles as I do with the reenactment and living history, and dress and act the part, I become a part of their world. I need to accept their reality and world as it is. I cannot take what I like and ignore what I do not like.
So, there is a reason why I do some of the things that I do. This past weekend at Fort Cooper, I told a young man during the battle reenactment not to whistle, because in Seminole and Creek belief, that will bring in ghosts. The young man unfortunately said that he was not Seminole or Creek, which seemed pretty insensitive to those of us who take it seriously for a reason. If he wants to play the part of a Seminole Warrior and attempt to dress the part, he may be in for a rude awakening if he is ever confronted with the traditional Seminole reality.