Moon-Eyed People

From Kook Science

Moon-Eyed People is an appellation given to an unknown peoples that were claimed to have resided in the Southern Appalachian Highlands during times prior to the occupation of that region by the Cherokee. According to the claim, first attributed in the eighteenth century to Col. Leonard Marbury, these peoples were believed to have been albinos that were either blind during "certain phases of the moon" or were only able to see by moonlight, and were either annihilated outright by a rival power or simply driven out of their territory and forced to migrate southward. It has been suggested there is a link between the stories of the Moon-Eyed People and those of Madoc ab Owain Gwynedd and the Welsh Indians.


18th Century

19th Century

  • Helper, Hinton A. (1886), Western North Carolina, New York, p. 3-4, 

    Of the earliest traditional knowledge of the mountainous section, or the Southern Highlands of North Carolina, it may be said that it has been handed down by the Cherokee Indians, as stated by Col. Thomas several years ago in an interview while acting as Chief of the Cherokee tribe. Long before the Cherokees came to the Southern Highlands the country was inhabited by a people known as the moon-eyed race, who were unable to see during certain phases of the moon. The Creek Indians inhabited this section before the Cherokees, took advantage of these moon-eyed people, and during their period of blindness killed them outright. The Cherokees afterward conquered the Creeks, nearly annihilating the whole tribe.

  • Mooney, James (1900), "Myths of the Cherokee", in Powell, J. W., Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1897-98, Washington: Government Printing Office, p. 22-23, 

    There is a dim but persistent tradition of a strange white race preceding the Cherokee, some of the stories even going so far as to locate their former settlements and to identify them as the authors of the ancient works found in the country. The earliest reference appears to be that of Barton in 1797, on the statement of a gentleman whom he quotes as a valuable authority upon the southern tribes. "The Cheerake tell us, that when they first arrived in the country which they inhabit, they found it possessed by certain 'moon-eyed people.' who could not see in the day-time. These wretches they expelled." He seems to consider them an albino race.B Haywood, twenty-six years later, says that the invading Cherokee found "white people" near the head of the Little Tennessee, with forts extending thence down the Tennessee as far as Chickamauga creek. He gives the location of three of these forts. The Cherokee made war against them and drove them to the mouth of Big Chickamauga creek, where they entered into a treaty and agreed to remove if permitted to depart in peace. Permission being granted, they abandoned the country. Elsewhere he speaks of this extirpated white race as having extended into Kentucky and probably also into western Tennessee, according to the concurrent traditions of different tribes. He describes their houses, on what authority is not stated, as having been small circular structures of upright logs, covered with earth which had been dug out from the inside.H

20th Century

  • "Fort Mountain State Park", Natural Resources of Georgia, Atlanta: Georgia State Department of Education, 1938, p. 16-18, 

    Picture in your mind a steep mountain that rises more than two thousand feet above the floor of the valley, with a summit which is almost inaccessible, but with views of the surrounding country which are unsurpassed in splendor. That is Fort Mountain and Fort Mountain State Park.

    Somewhere behind the dawn of history of the North American continent, some one built a fort around the summit of this fascinating peak. This fort, constructed of stone and laid out according to the most approved methods known to military engineering, is over fifteen hundred feet in length, and in places is twelve feet thick at the base. The existence of such a fortification naturally raises the question among both authorities and laymen as to how, why and when this huge, stone wall was constructed. Some ethnologists have gone back to the nineteenth annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology, made to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and found that there was a dim but persistent tradition among the Cherokee Indians that a strange race of white people was here when the Cherokees came. Some of the stories about this unknown race went so far as to locate their former settlements, and to identify them as the constructors of some of the ancient mounds and fortifications in this country. They were known to some of the Indians as moon-eyed people, since they claimed that this prehistoric race could not see in the light of day.

    In 1897 Barton's report was inclined to consider them of albino origin. Twenty-six years later, Haywood says that their fortifications in this territory extended down the river as far south as Chickamauga Creek, and that here these moon-eyed people entered into a treaty with the Indian invaders to the effect that they would depart from these lands if allowed to go in peace. Today, both the conquered and conquerors are gone, and this fort, on whose designs no modern engineer could improve, stands as a silent memorial to the invasion of the Cherokees of the South.