Ozark Bestiary – Moving Islands – Ozark Healing Traditions


Other Names: grassy backs moss turtles

Habitat: lakes swampy locations

Diet program: fish compact mammals

Look: Frequently on cool mornings in summertime, a fisherman will step out onto a wide patch of marshy plants and rocks, only to have the spot give way, plunging him into the murky waters. These are the Moving Islands, as they are most frequently known as right here in the Ozarks. They are ancient turtle-like creatures, so slow in their movement via the water that they gather plants, rocks, and frequently animal life that use their shells as compact ecosystems of their personal. There’s no being aware of how extended the creatures reside, as no a single has ever discovered a single dead. I’ve observed them from as compact as a lily-pad, to as large as boat, and I reckon they develop properly beyond that in locations exactly where they are least disturbed.

Behavior: Since of their extremely slow pace, the Moving Islands are most frequently ignored till an unknowing passerby measures out onto their shell, whereupon they will plunge themselves downward in order to escape. This also, sadly, disturbs the shell ecosystem, frequently beyond repair. I estimate it ought to be like the sinking of Atlantis for the unsuspecting insects and other attached creatures. At initial I could only guess how these creatures fed themselves. I believed for a moment that they could possibly absorb nutrients by way of the plants developing out of their shells, but then I had the chance to watch a single via clear, nevertheless water. The Moving Islands are of course no hunters, but I was happily shocked to watch as a single specimen gradually opened its mouth below the water, posing as a rock crevice, and just patiently waited till an unlucky fish swam into its gullet.

Interactions: These creatures are peaceful sorts, who only lead to harm to other individuals as a outcome of guarding themselves. Moving Islands subsist on a diet plan of mainly fish, of varying sizes, and the occasional compact mammal who unknowingly requires refuge inside of the beast’s mouth. Extra frequently, the Moving Islands are themselves the victim of violence, ordinarily at the hand of speeding motor boats and building crews.

Tall Tales: Although there are a lot of stories about hillfolk encountering Moving Islands, in particular fishermen, and about the unexpected lessons in swimming that so frequently happen as a outcome of these encounters, maybe the most popular legend is about the Blue Jay Campground. As it goes, there was when a well-liked camping region out on Blue Jay Island, close to Red Bluff, on Beaver Lake. It wasn’t a large region, but in the course of the summer season could hold about fifteen or twenty tents, and was ordinarily often packed with campers when the climate was good. Properly, a single July, the island was complete of people getting a excellent time. A couple youngsters had brought along some fireworks, illegal to set off on the island, but everybody decided to turn a blind eye and just appreciate the show. So, as evening fell, the boys and a couple of adults set up the largest show you’d ever saw, and as quickly as it got dark they lit the fuses and ran for cover. The show was a spectacle of light and thunder, and some of the people watching could even swear the sandy ground itself was moving from the force of the blasts. As the show ended, and people had been a-clapping and a-hollering, an individual shouted that the water was increasing about the island. Panic struck as the campers hurriedly packed up their belongings and headed to the couple of boats that stayed on the island in case of emergencies. Of course, they weren’t sufficient to hold everybody, so most had to take their probabilities swimming to security. By morning the island had totally sunk underneath the lake, and the people just watched on from the Red Bluff shore, stupefied, as their belongings had been carried away with the present. Some stated there was some seismic activity below the lake that ought to have collapsed a bunch of sinkholes, top to the island becoming swallowed up complete. The factor about that was, no a single in the region about the lake felt something. It was only years later, when Blue Jay Island popped back up out of the water, that people suspected some ancient creature, in certain a single of the Moving Islands, was to blame.


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