To the editor:
Haunting of the Calusa. The Calusa dominated all south Florida. They built pyramids made of shell and sand and a canal system from here to Miami. They haunt us in our language which is odd in the fact that we only know 8 of their words. Miami is one of their words and means big water and Tampa was originally Tampo and was a city located on Pine Island and means beloved town. The Spanish changed it and named present day Tampa by mistake. Just about everything in south Florida is named Calusa or Caloosa this or that. The Caloosahatchee River is named after them. They believe we had three souls, three gods in one, they had three burial pyramids, and three rulers of their tribe.
They built the Island of Mound Key (183 acres) and made it their central capital. Archaeologist estimate it took a thousand years to build it. They also estimate it took a thousand years to build many of their other sites. Meaning they must have been a fairly large population. They were into aquaculture and built a great civilization around the water. One of few to do so without an agricultural base. They built islands that were fish traps and weirs.
During the Stone Age they were in the Shell Age and made all their tools from shell, bone, and wood. With their fiber technology they could make rope, cord, clothing, mats, and shelter. They signaled from island to island with horse conch horns and smoke signals much to the dismay of early explorers and ship wrecks. They were the exclusive salvager's of the area and many ship wrecked people were killed or enslaved by them. Many shipwrecked Spanish gold ships were salvaged by them. But in the end they had nothing and became a lost civilization.
Today, people living on the few remaining pyramids tell of objects disappearing in one room only to reappear in another at a later date. They tell stories of phantom foot steps in the upstairs of their houses and upon investigating find nothing (I experienced this). Or doors slamming and hearing conversations in another room only to find no one in the rooms.
I feel them with me when we visit their sites and hope they are pleased that we honor them. You can take a Calusa Ghost Tour with us to Mound Key and experience for yourself the lost civilization of the Calusa. Follow us on Face Book facebook.com/calusaghosttours or visit www.cgtkayaks.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org .